After obtaining a degree in fine art (with an emphasis in photography) from the University of California Santa Cruz, Benzo Theodore’s career started off rather fortuitously with an internship on Spike Jonze’s feature debut Being John Malkovich. Benzo followed up that success with work as the on-set photographer on Jonze’s Adaptation and high-risk, run-and-gun videographer and photographer duties for MTV’s infamous Jackass. Benzo soon branched out into directing music videos, helming works for acts like Pharcyde’s Fatlip and Princess Superstar.
Benzo made his advertising debut with the viral video “Sunglasses Catch” for Ray Ban, which he wrote and directed. It was a runaway success with over 15 million hits, and revealed the potential of a viral video as a legitimate marketing tool. Benzo garnered nods at Cannes, the D&AD Awards and Communication Arts Annual, inclusion in the Saatchi & Saatchi New Directors Showcase in 2008 and a First Boards Award in 2009, earning him industry-wide attention. He has since created other viral hits, including Levis “Jumping Into Jeans”, and Rocksmith “Guitar Baby”, which earned millions of hits on YouTube, and mentions on Good Morning America and CNN. Benzo has helmed successful commercials for Verizon, Mountain Dew, and Hyundai as well. His work also includes a collaboration with Lance Acord on a short film for Lexus and the Honda spot “Grooves”, which went on to win several awards including Best Integrated Campaign at the Communication Arts 2009 Advertising Annual.
Benzo currently lives in Santa Monica with his wife, Kat, and their two children.