Sven Lehmann first approached the wonders technology with a PC with a 45-megabytes hard drive. He used to play DuckTales on it. Now Sven and his company, yolo films, are shooting films from remote, without the need for the crew to be physically there.
Sven was lucky enough to find the right team, a small bunch of filmmakers with the same creative vibe and passion. The team members at yolo films are constantly fueling each other's creativity and Sven is clearly proud of his company's achievements, for which he certainly gives credit to technology, but also to a passionate creative spirit that seems to engulf them all.
For this Company Spotlight, we've had the chance to speak with an untameable creative spirit and ambitious filmmaker, one that has many a great story to tell.
How was your company born and where are you based?
The idea for yolo films came from the brother of one of my best friends and partners, Christian, in 2016. Together, the three of us wanted to build a bridge between Asia and Europe and promote international projects. Already in spring 2017 we realized the first project for Singapore Airlines at our headquarters in Düsseldorf (Germany) as Service Production. Meanwhile, we have grown and are in charge of complete productions from idea generation to the final video or photo series.
Can you explain your team’s creative process?
Well, the creative process... it definitely looks different. There is not one single way to develop the right idea or the right concept. Sometimes we work out ideas in a half-day brainstorming session with our customers and refine them in detail. Sometimes we also lock ourselves in. But one of my favourite ways is to sit together with good coffee and cake in a nice café and let ideas bubble up. Getting out of my familiar surroundings in combination with some sweet stuff is a creative turbo, at least for me!
How has technology affected the way you work (if at all)?
Currently, we are also intensively engaged in remote shootings and can realize projects worldwide without our customers having to come to the shoot. It's strange that nobody thought of this before Corona.
I think digital connected work is the normal evolution of work. When I was a teenager, my father bought his first PC. It had a hard drive of 45 megabytes. I have to laugh when I think of how I played DuckTales on it. A mega innovation in my young life followed by Commodore C64. Hardly anyone knows it anymore. The next real revolution for me was the iPad, even though the iPhone existed before. I don't know why, but that's when I realized how crazy it is to walk around with that thing in my hands and have a video chat over Wi-Fi with a friend. No wires! Today this is normal and right now video chats are experiencing an enormous hype.
What’s your team’s secret to staying inspired and motivated?
I think it's the friendship, respect and joy of work that connects and motivates us. We recharge our creative batteries daily on our beautiful green balcony. Our international creative network also contributes to this, joint excursions and the view of the small details in life that surround us.
What’s the work achievement you’re most proud of?
We see ourselves as a solution provider, even if the budget is tight or the timing is tight - or both ;)
In 2019 we supported a very complex video production on behalf of M&C Saatchi / UTOPIA Milan as a film service production. For the client e.on, an energy company, we produced a B2B film by showing the innovative power of the company. A plug-in hybrid vehicle of the BMW brand drove several laps in flowing traffic. Entrepreneurs sat in the BMW and data was fed into the side window via augmented reality, informing them about CO2 emissions in the city.
The technical implementation was carried out by another partner of UTOPIA. We organized the complex permissions for filming in flowing traffic and drone shots in the no-fly zone, the locations, additional cast, equipment, local crew and also the BMW 7e plug-in hybrid limousine. Especially the vehicle was extremely difficult to organize at this point. But we managed to do so and in the end a highly innovative film was created! You can find the case on our website: https://www.yolofilms.eu/portfolio/eon-see-the-city-anew/
How do you recharge away from the office?
I try to be in the nature as often as possible to ground myself and feel and appreciate the world we all live in. This gives me the necessary reverence and roots me emotionally and morally with our actions. I like to eat well and pay attention to a balanced and sustainable diet. And the saying "a healthy mind lives in a healthy body" is also part of my programme. I enjoy sports, yoga and laughter. Exciting, I just noticed that it applies to almost all of us in the same way.
What advice would you give to other aspiring creatives looking for work?
Show yourselves out there, as often as possible. Meet people and don't forget about them. Be patient and stay curious. Believe in life, believe in yourself! Then, also the big and the beautiful projects will come around.
What’s your one big hope for the future of the creative industries?
One of my biggest hopes is that creativity will not be limited politically or budgetarily anymore at some point. Also, marketing decision-makers should make an effort to understand what they are deciding on, i.e. in terms creativity and quality. And hopefully, customers will be more willing to take risks and show their edge. We are all human beings and yet we all want to achieve something good deep down inside. A great idea needs room to breathe.
If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be?
More respect. More togetherness. A better error culture. Just more fairness!