“I Just Want to Make Things That Add Value to the World”
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Get to know Adam Rachlitz, the new head of creative at Stept Studios
Adam Rachlitz is the new head of creative at LA production studio Stept. As a creative director rooted in brand strategy, he is instrumental in aligning brands’ needs in conjunction with the creative vision of Stept’s directors. He’s worked on several campaigns with Stept, including the launch of Oakley’s NFL partnership, Nike’s Super Bowl content featuring the young female football player Dalia Hurtado, and the short film, Sundays at the Triple Nickel in partnership with Crown Royal. His work lives at the intersection of culture and brands - specialising in music, fashion, film, and technology. He has previously worked at Deutsch Los Angeles and Roc Nation, among other top agencies.
Get to know him better below.
LBB> Why did you decide to make the move to Stept?
Adam> Stept is a company built for the future, one where brands need more content - big and small. Having creative, production, and post all under one roof is exciting to me - being able to collaborate with directors and editors makes the work better and more innovative. I’m making some of the best work of my life here. It was clear for me that this should be a long-term thing and I’m excited to help build the creative department at Stept.
LBB> What is it about the team there that clicks for you?
Adam> I’ve actually known Nick, Cam, and Alex (the founders) since college. I was always blown away that these kids were making some of the best ski films in the industry from their dorm room. It was inspiring. When we linked up again some seven years later in LA I was impressed again at what they were doing in the advertising world. They don’t let anything leave the building that doesn’t exceed expectations and I love that.
LBB> How did you first get into the industry? What was your very first job?
Adam> Honestly, I fell into it. When I moved to LA I was broke with no job and just applied to everything I possibly could. I somehow landed a job at Deutsch LA in the strategy department. I knew I wanted to do something creative, that's really all I cared about at the time.
LBB> Where did you learn your craft?
Adam> I’ve learned a lot by doing. I have had some great mentors for my strategy work, (Jeffrey Blish at Deutsch LA for instance), but creatively I’ve learned by simply being interested. I’ve taught myself graphic design, photography, and film just by YouTube. YouTube University baby.
LBB> Before doing what you do now, did you work in any other field/ have any different career paths?
Adam> I’ve jumped around a lot. I started off in strategy then slowly transitioned into creative by accident. I worked at Jay-Z’s Roc Nation for a couple of years building a creative agency there. I worked in the fashion industry for a bit as a creative director. I’ve recently been directing films for some brands as well. I just love to learn new things. It’s made me more of a generalist I guess but that’s been helpful as I develop the creative department here.
LBB> And which creative talents in your field have inspired you in your own career?
Adam> The directors at Stept have had a huge influence on me. They are all so young and talented. Working with them has taught me so much about film and the importance of detail. How the smallest things can make the biggest difference.
LBB> What was your first creative milestone in the industry – the project you worked on that you were super proud of?
Adam> I think for a lot of our industry that’s a Super Bowl campaign. The first I worked on was mophie’s Super Bowl commercial back in 2015.
LBB> And what recent projects are you proudest of and why?
Adam> Our work with Nike for their Super Bowl content this year. It was a message bigger than Nike, bigger than football. I had people reaching out to me to tell me how much it meant to them as a Latinx person. I had never gotten that response from people before and it meant a lot.
Adam> I just want to make things that add value to the world. I don’t care if it’s a laugh, a cry, or even just a smile. I just don’t want to make clutter. Everything I work on I try to find the purpose in it. Why does this thing exist and how can it make our lives better? We are creating billboards that are part of the sky. We need to make them beautiful.
LBB> What are the aspects of your work that you really obsess over?
Adam> The big ideas and the little details.
LBB> How would you describe your approach to your work?
Adam> I approach work with the goal of doing something better than we’ve ever done before. It’s a never-ending battle. I don’t think I’m ever truly satisfied with anything which pushes me to try and do it better next time.
LBB> When it comes to enjoying the creativity of others, what sort of thing excites and inspires you?
Adam> I envy musicians. I feel like they are able to truly express themselves and pull emotions out of people other mediums can’t. What other art makes people mosh?
LBB> Outside of work, what are you passionate about?
Adam> Politics, fashion, and every now and then some trashy UK reality TV (Love Island!!!).