New Talent: Ramin Bahari
Ramin Bahari (not to be confused with the director, as he states on his website) is a recent addition to the SuperHeroes agency team, having spent the last two years as a freelance creative. During that time, Ramin created a few stand-out projects, including Friends of Thrones – a browser extension that replaced Game of Thrones spoilers with scenes from Friends – and the Lion’s Butts awards.
LBB’s Liam Smith caught up with Ramin to find out more about him and his cheeky ‘Lions Butts’.
LBB> Tell us a little bit about your childhood. Where did you grow up, and how did creativity impact your life?
Ramin Bahari> I didn’t have your regular childhood. My parents came to the Netherlands as refugees when I was 8. My mum is from Ekaterinburg, Russia and my dad is from Kabul, Afghanistan. We’ve moved a lot. I didn’t really mind, I really liked making new friends everywhere and was always really curious about the new places we’d move to.
When my parents moved here my dad especially was under a lot of stress. As you can imagine it’s not easy leaving your whole life behind hoping to find something new. Someone recommended him to start painting as stress relief. He showed a lot of talent.
Seeing him paint inspired me later to start drawing a lot too. A few years later I wanted to colour my drawings on the computer, that’s when I stumbled upon a little program called Photoshop. This eventually led me into being a creative.
LBB> You freelanced for a while before joining SuperHeroes earlier this year. What made you decide to join the company permanently?
RB> To be honest it was scarier to pause freelancing than it was to start freelancing! I freelanced for over two years and it was going great… But I was getting a little tired of similar briefs and projects in my freelancing gigs so I was looking for a change. That’s when SuperHeroes asked me if I was interested in working with them more closely. I noticed two things about the agency that made me decide: one, the talent had a lot of potential and two, the mentality to make fun, global work. Eventually I thought ‘why not?’ and gave it a try.
LBB> You launched the Lion's Butts awards this year. I love it! What inspired you to launch the website? Has it gotten much attention?
RB> Thanks! Sometimes me and my old copywriter Judit Kun chat about how an idea that we once had or presented but didn’t sell or make would suddenly win big at some award show. This obviously is something every creative talks about. So last year we joked that we should start an award show for ideas that won, but weren’t made by you. Most good ideas are born as jokes, so we made it.
We’ve had entrants from five different countries, and got on some ad blogs which was fun. But the best thing was that someone actually emailed us saying they had a similar idea, but never made it.
LBB> I really like the Friends of Thrones project you worked on - can you tell us a little bit about it and how it worked?
RB> Double thanks! Again this is a project I launched with Judit. We were complaining about how we couldn’t binge-watch Game of Thrones because that would mean you’d have to turn off your internet for 8-10 weeks. We couldn’t of course. So we wrote a browser plugin that would change all the GoT references to similar ones but from the TV show Friends. Since every single person in the world has seen every episode of Friends multiple times, Friends is basically un-spoilable.
We actually got much more attention with this project than we thought, and even got a Webby nomination which was incredible! You can find more about it on friendsofthrones.com
LBB> Outside of work, what do you like to get up to?
RB> I spend a lot of time on personal projects. I also try to get a new hobby twice a year. I just stopped rowing and started ice-skating. After the winter, I’m starting climbing. I have my own improv theatre group, we perform every few weeks. And a weird thing I also love to do is wander trough Amsterdam looking at roof contours, if you visit Amsterdam and try it you’ll know what I mean.
LBB> What other projects that you’ve worked on are you most proud of?
RB> Just yesterday we made Google Home, Alexa, Cortana and Siri sing Christmas carols in the world’s first A.I. Chrismas Choir (as you do). That was really fun.
LBB> Who and what are your inspirations?
RB> People who like to talk about their problems. Because it makes me want to solve them. Talking to people who complain is basically like talking to a punching bag for the brain.
LBB> What’s Amsterdam like as a creative city to live and work in?
RB> The best thing is that the Dutch are very straightforward. Especially when it comes to ideas. So if your idea is bad, you will hear it straight away. While freelancing I worked in Belgium and the UK and it’s not always the case there. Which just wastes time. Tell each other your ideas are bad, people! So you can work on better ones faster!
Also life-work balance is pretty good here and bike rides are great for brainstorming.
LBB> What are your plans and goals for 2018?
RB> Travel more. The only thing I really miss about freelancing is being able to drop whatever I’m doing and travel for a few weeks. Don’t know how I’m going to do this, but I’ll find a way!