If you’ve dutifully followed our flagship channel since the very beginning, then you may know that Staff Picks just hit a fairly important milestone. Jeff Desom’s video “HOLORAMA: An Optical Theatre” is the 10,000th video to be added to Staff Picks. Of course, representing the combined excellence of 10,000 masterpieces would be a tough ask for any one video! Instead, this video is special because it was found in the same way all Staff Picks are found: an amazing video bubbles up to the surfaces and adds its own special flavor to our ever-growing collection and community of artists. To properly honor the occasion, we’ve chatted with some of those lovely people whose videos helped us hit that brilliantly round number.
Since 2008, around 6,500 Vimeans have been Staff Picked. But what’s it really like to wake up with a badge on your video? And what happens after that? We lined up some creators we love from around the world to ask them what it’s like.
Vimeo: Do you remember your first Staff Pick?
Orlando Von Einsiedel, London (2 Staff Picks): Absolutely. It was for a short film we made called “SKATEISTAN: TO LIVE AND SKATE KABUL” back in 2010. We’d just premiered the film on Vimeo and I was at the point where I’d lost all perspective on the project. I genuinely thought that I’d messed up the edit and it wasn’t a very good film. The Staff Pick was the first accolade that the film received and it gave me some much needed confidence that perhaps we hadn’t totally screwed things up.
Danny Sangra, London (5 Staff Picks): Yes, It was for “No F****** Around In Room 427.” I was in the countryside with bad phone reception. My phone kept buzzing but I couldn’t read my messages. When I finally checked my email there was over 400 notifications from Vimeo members in my inbox. Changed my settings soon after.
Sacha Geddert, Berlin (2 Staff Picks): Of course! It was actually a really important step in my life. The film was “Fallen” and I made it together with Wolfram Kampffmeyer in our second year at Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg. For the first time, a large audience saw my film and I got amazing feedback!
Boris Seewald, Berlin (2 Staff Picks): I woke up to over a thousand emails because my Vimeo settings were set to notify me of every follower and like. I was completely confused for a moment and thought I had been hacked until I found the email confirming the Staff Pick. That moment was so thrilling, I was dancing and jumping around, and that high lasted quite a while. Of course, soon after getting the confirmation I had to change my notification settings.
Truman & Cooper, Paris (3 Staff Picks): Yes, it was for “Kid Wise - Hope.” I remember how excited we were when we realized we got Staff Picked. We texted everyone related to the video to tell them the good news. It was really important to us because this was one of our first videos, and the band wasn’t really well known back then, so not so many people would have seen the video without the Staff Pick.
Would you say that Staff Picks have impacted your career, and if so, can you tell us a little about that?
Andrew Thomas Huang, LA (3 Picks): Absolutely, getting my work selected as a Staff Pick is a huge amount of exposure and encouragement. Back in 2012 it was a real booster in getting my work out there for other jobs, and specifically helped lead artists like Björk and Thom Yorke to my work.
Celia Rowlson Hall, NYC (5 Picks): It has most definitely had an impact on my career. It helped shape, build, and grow my online community, which has been growing at an incredible pace since I first started making short films. And then when I was ready to make my first feature film “MA,” which I crowd-sourced, I already had a wonderful community I could turn to to support me and fund my film. And I’m incredibly proud to share that “MA” premiered at the Venice Film Festival this September, and won the Audience Award at AFI Film Fest last month!I remember when I uploaded and shared my short “Prom Night,” it had already been to SXSW and other festivals, but when it went online it was able to reach hundreds of thousands of people all over the world, which was incredibly exciting. That is why I make work: to reach people. I had many established directors, as well as less established directors like myself, reach out to me personally after that video, which has allowed me to make new and meaningful connections within the film world, and really launched my online community.
Sebastian Linda, Dresden, Germany (8 Staff Picks): It definitely had a big impact. [My film] “Born to Skate,” for example, was co-produced by a big film company in Berlin [shortly after being Staff Picked] and we made it to the cinema. It was not because it was Staff Picked, but just because many people saw the video, and a lot of cooperation could begin. Staff Picks definitely helped me always getting in touch with interesting people from all directions.
Julien Lassort (of Jul et Mat), Paris, France (6 Staff Picks): Yes, it was very useful for my career. When I was looking for a French production company, it was perfect to get noticed. I remember writing in caps below my first “Metronomy” promo: “Looking for a cool production company!“ A few days after the “Metronomy “Staff Pick, SoLab Pictures contacted me. I’m waiting for an English production company now ;)
Kendy, Paris (6 Staff Picks): Definitely yes, I can tell you that the impact was huge. After my first Vimeo Staff Pick with Spider, I had my first professional project with Channel 4 UK in a documentary called Concrete Circus. Mike Christie and Keelan Philips noticed my work thanks to your Staff Pick.I can say that Vimeo changed my life. Really. Making films was just a fun hobby and then it became my full-time job.
Orlando: Yes. Our short about the fantastic Skateistan project in Afghanistan was the first film I’d personally made that really gained international traction, and the Staff Pick was one of the catalysts that gave it that much needed first boost. That film opened up a lot of doors for us and helped pave the way for much of the direction my own career has gone in, with more recent long-form projects like [Oscar-nominated documentary feature] Virunga being a creative cousin of it.
Sacha: It did! I found a Job in the U.S. after [my first Staff Pick]. Although one can argue that it wasn’t just the exposure on Vimeo, I think it’s safe to say that it played an important role. Even more important though was the fact that I knew that there’s an audience for my films.
Boris: My film “Momentum,” which was Staff Picked, was probably a turning point for me. After many years making films with little recognition,many things came together and the Staff Pick was part of that success. It gave me confidence as a filmmaker and artist — something I have at different times struggled with — and of course it exposed my film to a much wider audience who value the quality of films that are Staff Picked. It gave my film, and me as a director, heightened credibility and it was of course great to receive so much positive feedback from people from all over the world.
How often do you watch new Staff Picks?
David: Any music video that gets Staff Picked is a big deal, and I need to watch it. I won’t sift through regularly, but if I ever want to dive into new inspiration and kick back with a good 30-minute selection of shorts, it’s one of my first ports of call.
Boris: I check [out] all the new Staff Picks regularly. [I] prefer to watch it on the Vimeo app on our television at home, so I often browse on my computer and mark interesting ones as Watch Later and enjoy them on the big screen.
Celia: Anytime I go onto Vimeo, that is what I click on first. I know I sound like a commercial right now, but it is true!
Truman & Cooper: Now that we get more work as directors, we are spending less time watching Staff Picks and more into working on new videos to get new Staff Picks!
What makes Staff Picks special to you?
Danny: The first one I got was for something I made with no money and bunch of friends (actually that’s most my work). So to get a Staff Pick was extra validation that it isn’t about having big budgets and the best cameras. You could create something off your own back, and you could be up alongside videos that were made on much bigger scales.
David: The staff! [I’ve] met the [curation] staff at Vimeo, [and they’re] wonderful! It truly is a small office of champions. No Staff Pick is ever made for monetary purposes, or for popularity. I know I can trust in the Staff Pick mentality of [curators] choosing Staff Picks because it’s wonderful work … it’s as simple as that.
Sacha: Staff Picks [are]a mark of quality. As a viewer, I can be sure someone put some love into what I’m about to see. As a filmmaker, it means that thousands (possibly hundreds of thousands!) will see my film! For me personally, this rates higher than a lot of regular film festival prizes.
Kendy: They are always inspiring and as you say on the channel page, they are all hand-picked by real humans! I think there’s always a sincere approach behind each Staff Pick [from the] team, so it makes them very precious and special.
Andrew: Every online platform requires curation. Without this, our work gets lost in the ocean of “content,” a term which renders our work valueless. Curation assigns value amidst the noise and sets a standard upon which we as a community can celebrate and uphold and share. Staff Picks is [also] important because it informs the community [of] how much true diversity of work [there] is out there.
Do you have a favorite Staff Pick?
David: I can’t answer that!? It’s like asking me what my favourite film is, or my favourite song. I can never answer those questions [because] it’s just impossible compare different genres and parameters. However, one of the more recent videos that sprung to my mind was Bif’s “AZEL PHARA - GREEN” video. I would have never have come across that if it wasn’t for Staff Picks.
Truman & Cooper: I don’t think we have one single favorite. but Staff Picks made us discover the music video “Nicolas Godin - Widerstehe Doch Sünde” by the Sacred Egg and we loved it. Thanks for that.
Who do you think most deserves a future Staff Pick?
Danny: Any kid that is making whatever they can with whatever they have available. The ones who keep their head down and keep getting better. That kid deserves a Staff Pick, whoever that kid is.
David: I’m kinda obsessed with Matt Reynold’s work at the moment. We shared a house together at SXSW this year, and I think his voice as a short filmmaker and artist is totally unique, and biologically wonderful! I think it’s about time “Bottom Feeders” was Staff Picked so we get a giant, drawn vagina on the front page of Vimeo.
Kendy: I think everyone who makes something creative with a lot of emotions with a sincere approach deserves a Staff Pick. All my films have been made with €0 budget with a one-man band process, they are not perfect but I’ve put all my heart in them. It’s not about the amount of production values and the money you used you get on screen, it’s about touching people simply.
If you could Staff Pick anyone or anything, who or what would it be?
Danny: There’s a lad who works in my local corner shop. He’s only about 18 but he’s always working. Rain or shine, that kid is either stacking a shelf or behind the counter. I think he could do with a Staff Pick.
Celia: Hillary Clinton