It's normal for any company to conflate its core product with its purpose—"we exist to make 'x' for 'y' consumer." But sometimes a deeper sense of that purpose relies on another kind of variable laying dormant in plain sight.
When Ed Brojerdi, U.S. CEO of creative agency KBS, was approached by members of his staff wanting to make a short video profile of New York City-based artist Bradley Theodore as a sort of side project, it seemed like a harmless enough idea. Theodore was a friend of the agency and the team seemed eager enough to take on the extra work so Brojerdi green-lit the short film. It wasn't long after, however, that he got the sense they had a unique opportunity on their hands.
"It was very clear to all of us right from the beginning that this is something we should be doing on an ongoing basis," Brojerdi says.
And so Becoming was born, a series of short films spotlighting various artists across a spectrum of fields (dancing, painting, cooking, etc.) to extract key elements of their creative process and to learn why they do what they do.
"This is what our folks in the agency are doing everyday—they’re walking through the creative development process—they’re walking through the journey of doing from concept to execution," Brojerdi says. "And so this just a fun way for us to bring that to life in a film that we can make in-house."
The Becoming films are created within KBS's production arm The Armoury with new shorts films tentatively going up every month or so—but there's no immediate payoff for the agency. This isn't work for a client or any kind of content guaranteed to strike a new revenue stream. Not to mention this isn’t on the production team's slate of regular assignments—the shorts are developed, shot, and edited on personal time. All of the above may portend dwindling interest, but Brojerdi doesn't see it that way.
"The folks that are working on this right now want to be. Their passion is filmmaking—their passion is storytelling," Brojerdi says. "If anything they’re really grateful that they can leverage the agency’s equipment or edit bay or whatever it may be to bring this to life. This is one of those things that they live and breathe every single day."
Brojerdi isn't necessarily concerned with how Becoming will fit immediately into KBS’s overall strategy other than being a showcase for the talent of The Armoury staff. Through Becoming, KBS's purpose as content creators and storytellers is expanding while simultaneously providing its staff a new creative outlet.
"We want this to be really impactful and be a series where people not only can be entertained but that it starts unlocking all these different ways people go about their creative process and it can hopefully inspire those in our agency and those in the industry to progress their path," Brojerdi says. "You’re doing it for the spirit of telling the story and for the spirit of bringing it to life. From a content perspective, it helps reinforce and demonstrate our capabilities. So if we have a film that gets into Tribeca, it speaks a lot to our existing clients and brands and it’s a great proof point that the content that’s being created for them sits right next to content that’s getting recognized by Tribeca."