Having grown up in an uncultured part of Germany, I didn’t go to the opera a lot (like never). Pedro Almodovar once said that he grew up in the bleak Spanish desert yearning for intense colors, hence his intense use of color in his movies. I can totally relate.
Out of my cultural desert I moved to Berlin and studied Motion Design (think film titles & animation), which involved a lot of drawing and 3D modeling I didn’t care about and rather took as many classes as possible in photography and filmmaking.
Getting more immersed in film, I came to the conclusion, that every bad movie suffers from a mediocre screenplay and decided to write a good screenplay. So I moved to Los Angeles and studied screenwriting at UCLA, but got immensely distracted by working for two start-ups at the same time. One did data analytics driven by machine learning and the other built a hyper-graph database.
Through those startups I was also involved with the Entertainment Technology Center, mainly to research storytelling and figure out how to take stories apart so they make sense to algorithms. In one specific example we correlated a few thousand story variables to box office success.
We also worked with USC School of Cinematic Arts, building software that would make it possible for young filmmakers to create movie budgets based on aesthetics.
I never finished that good screenplay, because as it turns out, it is extremely hard to actually write one, but rather started a company together with my wife Julie, to combine our very different skill sets into one entity.