hat started as a summer-time experiment half-way across the world is now a company that makes film ads for start-ups and companies called Nexo Productions. During the summer of 2015, the excitable Vadim Ordovsky-Tanaevsky (C’19) reached out to an old contact in Russia with a new ambitious idea. With only a month and a half, Vadim asked his friend to join him in making 11 vastly different film ads for two restaurant chains in Russia. Taking his passion for creative production, and his friend’s technical filmmaking skills, Vadim wanted to see if the project could successfully rest on the two of them within the given constraints. When his experiment was a success, he decided to bring the concept back to Penn.
Back on campus in the fall, Vadim and a loosely-assembled team began replicating his project in Russia. He partnered with different creative minds on Penn’s campus to make ad films for start-ups on campus. While they initially worked for little to nothing, they realized the model had tremendous potential. They began speaking with potential clients: incubators, start-ups, and people involved in the entrepreneur movement.
Second semester, they fine-tuned their process with the goal of a more solidified structure in mind. When the experiment evolved into a budding company, Vadim took the summer to push it forward by creating an operational structure and establishing more contacts.
Today, Nexo Productions is a team of roughly 20 people. Two members are assigned to each project; they are in charge of film development and client communication. Before delving into the project, they attempt to understand the passion that led the start-up into existence. Utilizing that energy, they bring their clients ideas to choose from for the films. Depending on the nature of the project, they sometimes make several films for the same company, targeted at different audiences. Often, the start-ups are involved in the entire process of making the film, and enjoy being on set to watch the ideas come to life.
Nexo’s emphasis on fluidity and collaboration is what makes this company so special. “I hate the word client,” Vadim said. “I literally hate it.”
He said the most difficult, yet most satisfying, part of the process is breaking down the boundaries between the Nexo Productions and the clients. By pushing people on his team to become closer with the clients, Vadim strives to make the clients as much a part of the process as possible. Through collaboration, Nexo Productions fluidly develops film ads based on the company’s individual needs.
“We want to allow for people to be creative by not giving them too many constraints,” Vadim said.
While he felt intimidated by the free-form nature of what he was doing initially, he said he is thankful because now Nexo Productions has retained the fluidity of its beginnings with a necessary increase in structure. He expressed that throughout this process, he realized how passion and excitement can push one through the continual challenges of situation and make the implausible seem plausible.
The WALK took a behind-the-scenes tour of Nexo’s production process. To see the team in action, check out the video below!
Images and Video courtesy of Karen Yang.