Get to Know Stept Studios: Q&A with Executive Producer Lindsey Hagen

Jordan Kelley, Content Director,

Stept is an award winning creative and production studio known for work that feels more like entertainment than advertising. The studio partners with brands, agencies, and platforms to create campaigns, commercials, and branded content with authenticity at its core. Their award-winning roster of directors represents the next generation of storytellers, working across commercial and documentary genres. The film-quality driven, forward-thinking nature of their work can be seen in recent work Stronger Than One for Nike. Brand Storytelling caught up with Lindsey Hagen, an Executive Producer at Stept, to learn more about the studio, their approach to branded entertainment, and their recent work with Nike:

Thanks for taking the time to chat with us Lindsey. Can we start with an introduction to what Stept is all about?

Stept Studios is a full-service production studio ranging from creative services through all aspects of production from pre-production through postproduction. We have a talented in-house creative team that handles creative services and strategy for 360 global campaigns, we have a robust post house with a specialty in VFX and CGI and we also have an entertainment division that focuses more on storytelling initiatives in both the branded and network space. Stept also owns a rental house called Vault - we have an excellent roster on exclusive Directors and a collaborators list that is continuing to grow. We're based in Los Angeles and the company was started 12+ years ago by Nick Martini, Alex Martini and Cam Riley.

What sets Stept apart as a brand studio?

We don't come from the cut-and-dry agency space; we understand production and storytelling because that's how the company was started. Our founders use and operate cameras, edit and direct. We are creators at heart with a fundamental understanding of the nuts and bolts of production. Over the years we've refined that passion and skill set and have brought on incredible Directors and Creatives resulting in a handful of Telly Awards, Vimeo Staff Picks and Festival success. We take our passion for storytelling, our knowledge of production, quality teamwork and we bring that to every job from the commercial to entertainment space.

Why is it important to approach the work in a way that makes it feel more like entertainment than advertising?

There's a lot of content out there, so why not make it beautiful? We're filmmakers first, so visual storytelling is always a high priority and we pride ourselves on up-leveling scripts or docu work with outstanding visuals. There is a lot of intention that goes into cinema and we try to bring those qualities to our work regardless of the ask.

What are some of the ways in which you strategize, develop, and tell stories with your partners?

We have an amazing research and development team, and we are constantly working with Directors to workshop concepts and take them to market in the entertainment and branded space. We've also had good luck fostering relationships with amazing individuals whose stories we believe are so compelling that we actively bring them to brands to support as a one off of part of a larger series. We've had luck bringing these interpersonal relationships to life with partners like Facebook, REI, Google, Diageo, Merrell and the Wall Street Journal. In my eyes, story comes first - it's just a matter of matching the right partner.