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Ramaa Mosley is Turning LA’s Teens into Tomorrow’s Filmmakers



Adolescent is a company that only reps young talent – and it is totally inspiring

Ramaa Mosley is Turning LA’s Teens into Tomorrow’s Filmmakers

As kids venture further and further away from TV screens, adland is still in a running battle to produce content that’s relevant and interesting to them. And who better to produce that content than people the same age as those to whom it’s aimed? Inspired by that, and experiences of directing movies as a teen, Ramaa Mosley launched Adolescent, a super forward-thinking production that reps and, importantly, mentors directors between 13-27 years old. LBB’s Addison Capper caught up with her to find out what inspired her to start Adolescent and how she goes about nurturing the directors.

LBB> A lot of people in the industry do a lot of talking about supporting younger talent but few really do something about it. What inspired you to start Adolescent? 

RM> I was inspired to start Adolescent because I began directing when I was 16. Since that time I’ve mentored many directors, sometimes older and often younger than me. Most recently I have been mentoring directors as young as thirteen years’ old. Their talent has been inspiring. It gave me an idea that I couldn’t shake – what if young people were hired to direct the spots meant for their peers? There hasn't been anything new in how commercials are made in a very long time. This idea excited me. And in our first 18 months in business we've proven that it is a success. 

LBB> Tell us a bit about the company and its ethos. 

RM> We curate and represent the most talented young directors. Our directors are prodigies. They are filmmakers, photographers and artists. They have a strong understanding of social media and they are visionaries. As a company, our job is to surround them with the best crew so that we help elevate their work to be high production value. We surround our 12-year-old director with the same team that I work with. It's an incredible experience to see Claire [Jantzen] or Lily [Eliana], on set with the crew and giving them direction and making magic happen. This teen at the center of the creative force. It's amazing to see our directors in pre pro meetings with clients. They're passionate and well spoken. 

On set for Hasbro with Claire Jantzen and Lily Eliana.

LBB> Your career began at quite a young age - how was that experience for you? How did it all fall into place? 

RM> I've been directing professionally for 18 years and I feel very lucky. It happened because I made work. I put my heart and soul into it and companies responded. When I was sixteen and first started, everything was shot on film. It was more difficult to get the tools but still I did it. My biggest advice to filmmakers is to make work. Make the best work you can. Never stop. 

LBB> You’re the Creative Director at Adolescent - what does your role entail? 

RM> I look for new talent. I mentor and support our directors. I prepare them for the professional tasks of doing conference calls and writing treatments. I vouch for my directors. In a way, I'm like the insurance for an agency to feel comfortable handing the reins of a million dollar campaign to a teen. That said, our directors are well equipped. They are so overly prepared!

On set for Hasbro with Claire Jantzen and Lily Eliana.

LBB> How do you go about curating the roster? 

RM> We look for the following: talented young people with a body of work that shows potential either in video or photography. We also look at people across social media platforms from Instagram, Vine, YouTube and Flickr. We launched a Vine division and that's been so much fun. 

LBB> Once they’re on board, how do you mentor the talent?

RM> It's really about encouraging our directors to make work. No one can sit around and wait for a job. They need to be creating weekly. I give our younger directors homework assignments. Even though we aren't a school, I find that some directors want challenges and tasks that they can do on their own. Some amazing work is created this way. 

LBB> How is it pitching for work with Adolescent? Are clients receptive to working with younger talent? 

RM> People love the idea. We have been meeting with the heads of agencies and everyone finds the company remarkable. They always ask the same questions such as, 'how long can a teen work on a shoot day?' and 'how does a teen hold up under pressure?' 

LBB> More generally, how do you see adland’s nurturing of young talent? What could it be doing better? How has it evolved over the years? 

RM> I think the industry has been starting to really understand that if you want to appeal to young people then you have to go trough social media. And social media is populated almost entirely by young people. This generation buys products because their friends or a beloved YouTuber recommends it. They don't buy because the commercial said the product was good. So peer-to-peer is where it's at. 

LBB> This year’s Saatchi & Saatchi New Directors’ Showcase didn’t feature one commercial - what do you think about that and the opportunities young directors are being offered around the world? 

RM> We are very excited. We have done some wonderful branded content work, short films and commercials. And we have done some very cool 6-second Vines! It's all about good creative. Our directors are young and they don't have high overheads. They just want to do cool work. 

On set for Hasbro with Claire Jantzen and Lily Eliana.

LBB> What are some of your favourite recent pieces of work out of Adolescent? 

RM> A campaign for Under The Influence by Maris Jones, a commercial for ESPN directed by Andrew Droz Palermo and a short film for Disney by Claire Jantzen. 

LBB> With regards to younger talent and the opportunities they get, where do you hope the industry stands in, say, five years’ time?

RM> It's easier for me to speak to where I think we will be. Adolescent has launched a network called AdolescentTV and we are growing web series that are created and directed by our directors. We also have a growing collection of wonderful Youtubers. Our focus is on quality. Making beautiful, entertaining and well made work. We are the future of advertising and entertainment.

Check out Adolescent's roster and the work of its talented directors here.

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LBB Editorial, Tue, 14 Jul 2015 13:59:01 GMT