Join us as we welcome Mohammed from Khizr Studio to discuss the intersection of architecture and filmmaking.
We will be delving into the ways in which film can be used as an alternative to traditional architectural drawings, and how it can be used to express materiality, habitation, and movement. The conversation will also cover the use of film through the RIBA stages, from site analysis to concept design, to technical design, and handover.
Don’t miss this opportunity to learn about how film and architecture can work together to convey spatial and emotive narratives
The Power of Film and Storytelling in Architecture ft. Khizr Studio – Audio
The Power of Film and Storytelling in Architecture ft. Khizr Studio – Audio
Stephen Drew: Woo. Live. Almost forget what buttons are pressed. Then 2020 free celebration’s over. It’s free weeks in, but don’t worry, we’re picking it up. I’ve got some juicy topics coming up. Whoop, don’t worry. This program is not made by the AI algorithms. Not yet anyways. Just need the, they need to get Jackson, anyway.
15 seconds, we’ll go live. Ooh, I’m excited. Here we go. January, Monday. Blue is outta the way. Let’s pick it up. Hello, everyone out there in the big white Architecture world. It’s 2023. We made it. Ooh, and don’t worry. We got a lot of exciting stuff. Lines up. And what better way. Then to kick it off. Then with a good friend that I’ve known in the industry, I actually met at the tail end of last year. We met in person and I was like, oh, I am a bit interested.
This seems really cool. And then I saw this kick ass website and I was like, you’ve got to come on the podcast. So I’m joined by the fantastic Mohamed Kaiser from Kaiser. Oh, I said it wrong. Says, did I say it wrong, Kaza.
Mo Khizr: Kier Studio. Kier
Stephen Drew: Kisser Studios. Do you know
what guys? I was like, I am gonna get this right and I got it wrong.
Kisser Studios, Mohammed Kisser. How are you my friend? You all right?
Mo Khizr: Good. Stephen, thank you very much, for the introduction. It’s very sweet of you.
Stephen Drew: Don’t worry. Do you know what that sets the tone? I’ve started this year, 2023 with a mistake. Mohammed kisser. So good to have you here. How are you?
Mo Khizr: I’m good. Thank you, Stephen. Yeah, it’s lovely to be on. Yeah, it was love. Lovely. To meet you and learn about Architecture, Social and, the stuff you’ve been doing. So it really is an honor to be on and, and speak, have a platform to speak. So thank you.
Stephen Drew: The honors all mine. You might not come back if I like to keep getting your name wrong. Mr. Kisser. So moving on from that, there is a purpose here because actually for a few years, I did one podcast last year in particular about Architectural websites and one of the. The topics that came up in particular was film, and more so than that, you know how maybe Architecture film and video is part of the process.
Now, for anyone that’s not met you before Mo, do you want to tell us a little bit about yourself and your background? First and foremost.
Mo Khizr: Yeah, of course. I, so I’m a part two Architect and, I studied at, the University of Sheffield. I did my part one and part two there. And, and, I did my part one in 2019 in London, years out and, I was fortunate enough to, so I went to work for Squadron Partners in 2019 and I was fortunate enough to set up the film studio and back then I was of doing film as a hobby thing.
Me and a good friend of mine was doing music videos and things around Hamstead heats in London. And but we were given this opportunity, we had a competition bid and they needed a film done and. They were interviewing production companies and, who were quoting, upwards of 10, 10,000 pounds.
And so the practice was looking at cutting costs and. I suggested that we do it in-house and that, I’d do it for them. And me and a friend of mine, put together this sort of film unit, for Squi and Partners and we started off by making that film for a tender submission.
And then ended up doing four, four or five more films before we had to go back and do our part twos at university. So that was like the start of film and AR and Architecture coming together. And, and even before that, as a first, second year at uni, I remember Jane Duncan came in, the, she was the president of RIBA back then of the Royal Institute, and she came in to give a talk and she said something which stuck with me and it still sticks with me, is she said, and I can’t remember exactly how she said it, but she said, doesn’t matter if you’re bad at drawing, and this was like, wow.
It’s the first time I’ve heard that. And, cause I, as an Architect student, you’re all about your drawings. She was like, doesn’t matter if you’re bad at drawing. Just be good at presenting your ideas, be good at communicating. And so that idea of, the communication side of Architecture of speaking or presenting or storytelling, that I suppose is, was the sort of genesis of that idea.
And, and so I was lucky enough to expand on that squires. And then when I went back to do my part, I explored how film can be used as a representation tool within Architecture and within Landscape Architecture. And and then last year I founded the studio and, we look at kisser studios, look at, how storytelling can be used in Architecture.
And yeah, so that’s in a nutshell where it all how it happened.
Stephen Drew: I love it. I’m gonna give you another round of applause actually, so well, well done for starting your own business and Jane, that those were good white words. I tell you what though, Jane, maybe if you saw my sketch drawings, maybe that would attested your saying cuz you’re like, do you know what Steve?
They are really pretty bad, but generally, you don’t need it. What I would say Mohamed now is because this episode is gonna be really easy, so I’m gonna bring up your, your beautiful website in a second cuz it’s got loads of films on there. So for the audio listeners out here, I will put a link to the YouTube and you can check that out later.
But I will try and annotate the best I can. I will try and not butcher the films like I butchered Mohammed’s surname at the start. Hey, I’m getting back in the swing of it as. So what I’m gonna do is quickly bring up the website. I’m gonna bring up the link because I think it really gives a taste of what you are up to as well.
So now look, oh look. So we’re all back in our offices 2023, and we can, Get a sense of what is in the good life out there. So the link is down below. It will be in the bio as well. But Mo, so I’m gonna refresh the website and you’ve got one or two links in a second that you want me to go through, but I’m just gonna click into it.
And while we’re here, what I would love to know is, so what, when did you get the bug for getting into filmmaking and Architecture? When did you think, you know what, I’m really gonna explore this and I’m gonna dive deep into Architectural film.
Mo Khizr: Yeah, it’s a good question. think, I think it was definitely when I, the sort of nine months I did at Squires, and setting up their film studio and, And working on films for them, that it was the first time I’d really technically looked at film and I realized that architects are it’s a very traditional industry and this is quite a new, thing, film in the sense of, it’s only recently the sort of last five years quite where equipment has come down to the level where it’s not as ridiculously expensive.
You have to spend 10,000 pound on a camera, for instance. It’s a lot more affordable to, there’s less of a barrier to entry. And, and so that was quite appealing to me. It felt like this is the start of something. And I always say that I think within five years, maybe, probably within two or three years, it’ll be quite unlikely to see a project without some form of movement, some form of animation or some form of film, to tell its story, it’s such a brilliant way to tell the emotive and spatial narratives of spaces, which as architects, we work so hard in designing and, many times, the end user, the little details that we agonize over. It’s not, that story isn’t told so. I this is gonna become more of a thing in the industry, hopefully.
And, I think it’ll be brilliant, and I think it has the ability to engage audiences outside of Architecture. And that for me is really, the interesting bit is. Conveying kind of technical, Architectural principles, urban design principles, to audiences that might not necessarily understand the kind of detail or nuance behind that journey you take to designing those things.
Yeah, and I think I’m just a small part of that, but I think that hopefully is the way the industry’s going. I think it’s so exciting, to be having that in our.
Stephen Drew: Yeah. Yeah. Said. And when I look at this, for example, this is actually a really good video. I know I’ve just frantically clicked through. For your website and you are a perfectionist, I could feel, the care that’s gone into it and sorry, you’ve got a crazy wealth friend clicking everything.
This video for example, I think summarizes it quite well. And I see it the two things. So where I mentioned websites at the start, I think film can be a really good way to convey projects, which you do beautifully. The other bit that I and Rob was interested in as well is like studio culture.
It’s such a great way to see inside that space to see people moving. To see how, the studio comes alive and so forth. But, I’ve got a video here. You’ve told me you’re particularly proud of and I’ll play it. Just promise me, Mohammed, that you won’t copyright infringe me at the end. On YouTube.
Yeah. For playing your video. Am I allowed, I get your YouTube algorithm. You’ve heard the offer here, so I’ll play this. Maybe we can get the sound. If not, you let me know. If not, oh, I’ll put it big screen, but I can’t see when it’s playing. Can you hear the sound Mo or not?
Mo Khizr: No. No, I think it’s, it’s not working for
Stephen Drew: Do you wanna just, tell us a little bit about this video then, while it’s playing?
Mo Khizr: Sure. Um, So it is actually what you just mentioned about studio culture. With this film in particular,
Stephen Drew: Yep.
Mo Khizr: The, practice Architect tonic, they have this very sensitive approach to landscape and, connecting, how do you connect the architects to the landscape? The, without, the trick is getting across that, that d n a of the practice.
That spirit of the practice, but not directly telling people. And, a lot of, films, you’ll see, even Architectural films, you’re lost within the first 10, 15 seconds, you are, as a non-architect, it just becomes very esoteric and very artistic or conceptual and you don’t fully understand what’s going on.
So with this film, the idea was, The thing that film can do really powerfully is get across emotion. And so to emotively get across that this is a practice which cares very much about landscape, about context, about the place in which a building sits. And so that defined the tone of the film. And so there’s no bit in the film where, you know, Jackie, the Architect is sitting there going, we care about, our buildings connecting to the landscape, or we care about a sensitive approach to.
There’s no nowhere where she explicitly says that, but in watching the film, you are left with that feeling. And there’s such a huge potential and, for that, and I think, like animations like this, just explain very simply Architectural principles to people who may not otherwise understand how that process works.
I think it’s such a, it’s a really powerful way to engage people.
Stephen Drew: I said. I do, you know what, I’ve gotta be careful cause I had it full screened. Yeah. It’s I’m not even on the podcast. I’m like a, I’m like a host at the wheel. It’s just enjoying watching the video, so this is on YouTube and people can have a look at your, your channel, which kisses studio, which is great.
So I can see that, you’ve got a bit of, you’ve got that channel going as well. I’ve been, what, what’s use cases do you tend to see there, Mohamed, at the moment. So this kind of is a beautiful way into. Discovering the Architecture practice, on particular projects as well. Do you see examples of films also being used as part of the design process, or does it tend to be at the moment a combination of that and marketing or, I’d love to know your thoughts on case uses.
Mo Khizr: Absolutely. I think you’ve summarized it quite well. I think there’s two, to simplify, there’s two ways you can use a film within Architecture. So one is the completed projects or the practice profiles. The more kind of. Post-project films, but then there’s, and that’s a lot of what I did at Squires and, and that becomes, very much for marketing purposes.
However, quite recently in the last two months, I’ve been really researching really this idea of film throughout the design process. So you know, for instance, previ visualizations, of projects and clients, sometimes architects, will go to planning authorities, or tender, submit tender applications.
Stephen Drew: Yeah.
Mo Khizr: Clients absolutely love when you know they get, even if it’s like a 10, 15 second animation or a bit of film that explains the project, you know that they immediately get it And I had the privilege of talking to privilege, of talking to Jane recently, Jane Duncan, and, she mentioned that the amount of time practice, spend in drawing options and com, trying to get ideas across, communicate those ideas, those complex ideas.
And then you have to, you go back to the office and you’re waiting for a few weeks to get a response from your client and they can take time to think that can delay things. When you express all of that in a. Immediately they get it, or an animation, they get it. And it, the decision making happens so much quicker, and you are, there’s less time wasted, less time on drawing 10 options on a certain project.
So it has a way of streamlining things, if you can communicate easier, communicate ideas quicker, then it streamlines everything. So I think there’s a huge benefit of that within practice of applying film throughout the design process.
Stephen Drew: Very cool. I, maybe not Architectural related, but years ago I used to be a massive, we still am Lord of the Rings buff. And when the films came out, I had the extended edition DVDs and stuff, and you touched upon Previz and that’s what Peter Jackson used there in the film because, before you even get the big, I dunno, stages, either where they would.
Thrower running down and the big dragon behind them, ah, and all that stuff, right? Previz was a way of working out the angles, the flows, the cuts, how it’s gonna work on a fast way so that they can make an informed decisions. And so it’s very interesting to me that you say that film can be used as that tool throughout the R A B A stages.
Is it a case of. Cause a lot of the films that you do as well, which are beautiful films, is it more of a case then that you would film on site? You would film earlier, you’d meet the client and stuff, or, cuz it’s not, it, this is different form of film than we’re talking about, than cgi.
Pre-visualization, right? Or is there sometimes the worlds collide. What’s your experience, Mohamed of Previz?
Mo Khizr: It, it’s interesting like I’ve had mixed kind of, review thoughts from practice. I’ve been, constantly testing these ideas of using film throughout the. Design process with practice. And some practices have, they love the idea of the animation, the 3D animations like you mentioned.
So they love the idea of almost CGI type animation, CGI type previs. And so with, I’ve been developing, that sort of wing of the studio as well. But a lot of practices. Just want to explain plans and sections very simply, the principles very simply, like you saw in that film, that film, the Architectural project of that film was about, decluttering several, clustered spaces within a house and pulling out some of the walls essentially, and allowing light through and making those spaces a bit bigger.
So that, very simply we were able to convey that with an animation. So there’s been different responses from industry basically on, on that one. But it is still something that is in development and I think it’s very rare to, to see, I, I dunno if, it with Kisser studio, it’s, I feel like there is, it’s, we’re working on something that’s quite new, in the.
Stephen Drew: definitely feels fresh and I think that with film, where it gets really interesting is you’ve got the old traditional. Kind of ways of capturing film in this new digital world and how they collide. And, I’ll frequently see. , directors talking about how film evolves, but I imagine it changes like that in the Architecture space.
When I look at this though, this is a good example. There’s inception here because I’m looking at your website, but the way you’ve designed your website is also like how an Architecture practice can design their website and immediately a visual format I think is such a, an insightful way. Confession.
Maybe it’s something when I, when once the Architecture Social gets going and I get a few more pounds in the pocket, I can commission you on. But actually having a video at the splash page of a website makes such a big difference. Do you know much more about that kind of stuff? Have you had people that have put videos on their website, Architecture practices, which have had good engagement?
Mo Khizr: Yeah, absolutely. For a lot of practices it is still about the marketing side. So they’re, and they’re seeing the value in film. I did a project recently for, it’s just one. For the University of Sheffield. So this is now on the,
Stephen Drew: I click the right one. Hurry,
Mo Khizr: Yeah. . So this is on the School of Architecture Sheffield School of Architectural webpage Now.
And, this film was all about conveying that the core principles of the school in a way, which, doesn’t come across like you’re being overburdened with, being sold something essentially.
Stephen Drew: Correct.
Mo Khizr: But yeah, what was your question, ? I’ve
Stephen Drew: We’re just enjoying it. I tell you what, I’ve got another one while we’re here cuz I. while, so while here, the universities commissioned you to the kind of do a, a video or what have you, students, right? I involving film in terms of your projects and so forth, do you, have you started to see perhaps more Architecture students go down the narrative of expressing their projects through filmmaking?
And has that been successful from your point of view or something that you would encourage people to explore? Muhammad?
Mo Khizr: What’s it’s good thing point you bring up? So far we’ve sort about practice and, but the interesting thing is, I’m. I’m currently visiting Tutor University of Sheffield as well, and tutoring, storytelling, film and animation. And what’s been really great is when I did my masters two years ago, they, I wanted to submit my mani my dissertation as a film because that was the logical conclusion of all of my research in representation of Architecture in film.
But they were like, we can’t really, you have to submit the pdf, So I ended up submitting two, almost two discs. It was the PDF one to get maed, and then I did a visual one. And what’s been really great is that, so I’ve been, tutoring there recently and what’s been really great is they’ve opened it up now, so they’ve allowed students to actually submit, film and animation.
So it’s, and it’s been really great tutoring students there. They, they’ve really, the room’s always been full. They’ve always, they, they’ve really taken to it as a medium and, And, always say to them, it’s not about, it’s not an end film is not an end or animation.
It’s a means to an end, your overarching view should be, we are trying to tell a story here now, which parts of our story, of our presentation can film play a part in? And there’s been some brilliant projects that have come about, where, one particular student has made sort of three 42nd clips at key points in the narrative, which just, you just get it, you watch it, and you just get, okay, this is the problem and this is the solution and the journey together.
and, and for instance, with site analysis, we, for students and in practice I always say, the, as a storyteller, you are almost like a painter. And your, your wall or your presentation is the final masterpiece. And your drawings that go into it are the colors and the presentation you give, the speech or the audio, whatever it might be.
Those are the colors you’re putting together. And I suppose with film it’s the same thing. With film, your film, your, the film you end up with is your painting and the footage you collect is the colors you use. And so I’ve got this sort of philosophy with, with site analysis, but, just capture everything you can get.
Go from the smallest, most intimate parts of a project or a place and zoom right out to the, a drone level, urban design scale really interrogate the site from all aspects in all corners. And, those can, that can feed in directly into the design process, into how you come up with your proposal.
Stephen Drew: Yeah. Very cool. And look, very useful tips if anyone in the audience has anything to ask Mohammed, which could be a bit. Nicola cuz I’ll be honest, I’m not the most techy person anymore, then feel free to put it in the comments. Otherwise, I’ve, I’ve got a few questions around that point actually that I’d love to hear.
So you’ll laugh because even with my podcast, if you go back on, on my YouTube three years ago, right? You’ll see me with, a crappy Logitech webcam on so forth. I learned the hardware of myself because even in webcams film is powerful and we talked about earlier about lighting, so I’ve got like a light here on the side, which kind of shines there, but it can make such a difference to a conversation.
Lighting, drama, feel, emotion, eye contact, looking in the camera to constantly remind myself to do that. Or sometimes if you’re then looking too much into the camera can be offput. So you gotta balance all these things. So there is like an art of film through even being on webcams. And that’s the point I was gonna say to you is film is ever right.
You’re talking about it in this amazing, way of capturing a project, whether. Academic or professional or even the Architecture practice. What I would argue though as well, it’s everywhere. It’s on your laptop, it’s on, it’s us getting ready to do this podcast. Do you see film more and more then Mohamed becoming commonplace throughout the whole design process of Architecture?
Mo Khizr: Yeah, I do. And I I think like you say, it’s everywhere and recently, you we’ve seen the likes of, within the last 10 years, Instagram and TikTok and, And, film being used by more and more industries across different industries. And Architecture being the very traditional, Industry that it is.
We’ve, in schools for instance, we’re still doing, I call, as I call ’em, analog drawings. You are, you’re still doing your, drawings. Even if it’s on sort of compute software, it’s still a drawing. Now, what if we were to learn about digital drawing? What we, if we were to learn about animation and film and apply those digital storytelling modes of storytelling, within projects, and suddenly you get so much more din dynamism within projects and.
And so that’s something that I really keep, researching really. And it’s an ongoing process, but, things are always constantly changing and digital storytelling, being somehow threaded through the, our industry is really interesting to me. Just the different ways in which it can be applied.
And there’s probably ways that I haven’t, haven’t even thought yet, but, but that’s really interesting.
Stephen Drew: You know what? When I was stumbling here, I think I found the perfect one cuz it’s reels. It’s a nine second reel. Reels as well is the one which I find interesting because of course what you’re talking about expanded beautiful video is really interesting. But those TikTok reels and Instagram reels, They’re not going away in this very divisive feeling.
So I’m gonna play this one back. It probably has some really cool music I’ll get the music for next time, but there’s nine seconds, right? Where you flashing through things, you, it’s thoughtful, it’s tasteful. There’s all this stuff that can be such a big thing that’s so important, and I’ve gotta force myself this year to do reals, because what I’m noticing is that it’s another form of communication, even in my business, these hour conversations, sometimes they go from 30 to 50 minutes an hour. Some people love them. It’s not the format for everyone. Some people don’t have an hour, so maybe you cut this up, you put it 30 seconds, 60 seconds, nine seconds. But then you just, you were, this is a good example here of water’s edge.
You’re there, it’s pictures, it’s nine seconds and communicating something in, in, in that time, I think it’s really important. The last point before I open it up to you is I think that. Instagram used to be more about the images, and I’m hearing some architects get frustrated that it’s all going to video.
I don’t see it stopping. I see YouTube’s algorithm, so YouTube shorts just started monetizing, reels. TikTok is not going anywhere. It’s constantly booming and Instagram is following as well. What’s your thoughts, Mohammed, on the short videos and that culture of reels at the moment?
Mo Khizr: I, I think it’s you, like you say, it’s of here to stay and it’s another for, it’s another form of storytelling. It’s a more edited pair back version, but, And whenever I work with practices, you I’ll always say, I spoke with Damien Burs recently about this. He’s Damien Burrow’s, architects, they have this method of, they’ll commission a film and from that film they’ll get about a dozen reels that they can post.
So they’re they’re very, they’re quite recent in their thinking office. It’s not just a long format film, but how can that film be broken up into these shorts, like you say, and and posted on social media? So from one film, they could get, content to last six months up to a year, and they can repost certain things.
So you end up with actually one film maximizing your reach by quite a lot if you’re clever with how you use that footage. So yeah, I think there’s a place for that within the industry and it’s, talking to students at Sheffield, it is really interesting seeing how some students really take to that mode of storytelling.
What if we show like a 22nd, montage, yeah.
Stephen Drew: I agree. And actually you will laugh because if I was part of your film studio Muhammad, I would’ve got a big fat F this year because I was like, I’m gonna go back through all my podcast, all my podcasts, and all the conversations. And I’ll get little nuggets and I’ll put it out. Okay.
And I did one and I didn’t do it. I inconsistency in that world is key. But I have seen some people pop off in reel. It’s like Thomas Roundtree. Hams are shake. Popping off. Popping off. You get that reel. Thousands and thousands of thousands of thousands of likes. It is absolutely, whether you are a student or an Architecture practice, I. Don’t faff around with, images on Instagram anymore. You need to get in, re get into reels. And actually, while I think you’ve got this amazing approach to the way. That you do videos. It is also interesting to see, isn’t it, the hustler culture that’s coming of people doing these reels. And also I’m starting to see, and you are part of that as well, the Architecture influencers.
Can you believe it? There’s probably one or two architects out there, which is clicking off right now going out. Oh my gosh. I do not want to be a part of these architects for influencers, but hey, they ain’t going away. And what I noticed, your Edison is kick ass, but the Hamer and Tom that I mentioned as well, and son at scale.
All the editing is really damn good in different ways, and I think you’ve got your own approach, which is amazing for the short and long term, formats, and I admire it. That’s why you are here. I’m also impressed as well with different people’s perspectives on how they’re editing up these reels. So in your words, man, do you think it’s a bit of a fresh space right now?
Do you think there’s like room for people to get involved or is it. Or is he at the start,
Mo Khizr: yeah, there’s definitely room for people to get involved. And it’s a tricky one because I, I don’t, the whole, influence thing, it’s, that’s, it intrigues me that space as well. I’m not sure if I’m fully part of that, but it, it intrigues me, cause I, I wonder if, and, Like you say, Hamer and Tom Thomas Roundtree, they, the work they put out is amazing.
It’s just interesting to me how Architecture how industry will res you know, what it will make of that, what it will do with that. And I suppose I’m much more, cuz Studio is much more of a service to practice as opposed to being this kind of audience facing, influencer studio, whatever.
But, Yeah. I don’t know. I don’t know what the right answer is to that. It’s interesting to me. how
Stephen Drew: there is no answer, isn’t it? That’s the thing. I’m pondering it like you and even for me, I remember thinking now it’s gonna be really difficult to edit and cut up a long format That’s so wrong. I Look at Joe Rogan, right? And then there’s a really cool American podcast by two architects called Second Studio.
I think that’s their name and. They’re cutting them up and they’re getting the views pop. So even me, it challenges myself. And I think the thing is with film though, right? It’s a really exciting space. But perhaps Mohamed, some people get put off at the start cuz they ca it’s complicated. They go, oh, it’s a lot of stuff.
I’m not too sure. And then, They leave it. Oh, it’s a lot of work editing. What would your advice be on, anyone just getting started in it? Of course they can speak to you about you using your expertise to flesh something out, but maybe someone who wants experimenting. Where would you start just to get the bug going?
Mo Khizr: Yeah, I think that the, like I said, in the fi last five years, things have just become, there is such a low barrier to entry and. So most ca most phones have ridiculously good cameras, and I also always, it’s like you mentioned about the editing, that there really ma the magic really come through in edit, it’s not, it’s important to have good production quality.
A hundred percent. Obviously as a film studio, KZA studio, ha, the whole premise of Kza Studio was bringing together amazing production quality that you get from production companies. But, sometimes production companies lack the, Architectural na Rich Architectural narrative. They don’t come from an Architectural background.
So the whole point of K Studio is to bring together the amazing production quality and also the Rich Architectural narrative, and that’s the place in which Kiza Studio sits. But in terms of your question, you just practice. It’s just the same as everything else. It’s just practice, you doesn’t matter if you use your phone camera, what mic you use, if it’s a, what lenses you use. Get ahold of whatever you can, whatever’s available. the work I did at uni, for instance, I didn’t have an amazing camera. I had to use the loaned equipment from the university, which was, like six years old, or whatever.
Stephen Drew: Yeah, exactly. But you learn. Yeah.
Mo Khizr: you learn and it does a job. And the point is to get, you always to remember to, you’re telling a story and, I, I say this to students, don’t pick, be picky over the, or perfectionist over the production quality. Focus on the edit on how you’re telling that story.
And that’s the most important thing.
Stephen Drew: Very cool. I,
Mo Khizr: Product production can be really technical, so it can, you can, it’s a kind of a black hole.
Stephen Drew: Yeah, fair enough. I brought this video up again cause I really like the moment. I think it’s. And again, this video, which is quite interesting, is your take on a business card, which I think is really cool. We’re not talking about a physical piece of card, it’s about explaining your business. So it’s quite meta in that way, but it works and that’s how businesses can communicate what they do.
We haven’t even got sound on and I understand exactly what’s going on. Do you know what I mean? And that’s, um, that’s something I learned actually on the LinkedIn. Influencer course was like, how much people need subtitles, how many people are on their phone in places where they can’t hear, audio and there’s all these tricks that you know, and then people slowly learn after time.
And I’ve done it. And we were talking about this ma’am before, weren’t we about what should we call this title and all this stuff? Because these little things, these tricks that you look, you pick up, make a big difference. Just before we move on, the lovely, there’s a lovely Sandra Gopen in the audience, which is asked the question, woo takes the pressure on me.
And we can just have a bit of an attempt today. Mohamed. Sandra asks, how and when were you confident enough to use film as a tool for slash in the design process? Can you also explain your journey from this passion blooming into your design studio? So a lot to cram in there. Try your best, you.
Mo Khizr: Yeah, it was when I started my part two, I. Immediately, and our site analysis went straight into using, didn’t have a great camera back then either. I just used my phone so immediately was recording everything, go into site, recording absolutely everything.
And. So then it was like, so that’s a site analysis. But then I was interested in how, and I don’t have an example of this, which I wish I’d bought, but how you can use film and then trace on top of it with a traditional drawing. So you’d have a piece of film as a site analysis with a section or a plan.
And so just experimenting with different mediums and my tutors were really encouraging of that, of using these mediums. So I think that built my confidence massively. I was never. Especially undergrad was never a confident student in Architecture at all. And, but always loved experimenting.
And I think with Masters, when Masters came around, I was a lot more confident with using film. I’d done the stuff at Squires, so that was, a real blessing in having that experience. And so that kind of helped. I think for anyone willing to try it, just use your phone and go and do stuff. And I think we’ve all seen Netflix documentaries.
We’ve all seen, we’ve all got TikTok and Instagram and YouTube, and we’ve all, you can’t get away from. So inherently we are, everyone’s a storyteller inherently. So everyone has the ability to do this. In terms of, yeah, the journey into doing the design studio, I always knew, Squires actually wanted us, me and my friend who said the studio to come back after our masters.
And then Covid happened, and that plan fell apart. And even outside of that, I knew in a few years, , I’d wanna set up a filmmaking studio. knew that was what I was really interested in that idea of storytelling. So it was unplanned that I set it up last year.
But the opportunity came around, talking to a developer about doing a film and they commissioned me to do it. So then I was, I was in this position where, I was like, now’s the time to just do it and see what happens. And the good thing about, being in your twenties is that you can do that.
And if it doesn’t work out, then you can go back to, be a part two or whatever it is you wanna do. So I think. Yeah, I think everyone has it. We’re very lucky. We have, most of us are very fortunate that we have the basic things taken care of. We have, we can generally afford food and we have somewhere to stay.
So I’d encourage anyone, if you have any ideas, that you think, could be useful, could be intro, useful to practice or to whoever, just go for it and see what happens. Give it six months or a year, see what happens. And, and you definitely wouldn’t regret it.
Stephen Drew: Wow. There you go. Powerful words I get, I was, I’m so engrossed. I think visual formats always do me, cuz I end up, I forget my sound. So get a bit of an audio trick there. Little, a little nugget there. Interesting moment. So what I would say now before. We wind down or anything like that?
You can ask a few questions for me, but is there anything, and we have covered quite a lot, is there anything that you wanted to add to the mix, which you are, intrigued or passionate about?
Mo Khizr: I think, yeah, we’ve covered quite a lot. I think, the, for me it’s important that, the work I do is useful. And I think going back to that question from LinkedIn, to always aim. To do useful things and And, and I think with Kiza Studio, you know that seeing that opportunity of production companies having beautiful production quality, but not having the na, the artist narrative, there and artist practices usually either wanting to do film or tell their stories, but not having the means to do it or seeing film as this.
Art, there’s dark art or something, that, and it can be quite technical. So I think with Kids’ Studio, it’s about bringing those two things together and that’s where I see the specialness of it. And who knows if it will, be successful, but it’s something that I really wanted to do.
So that was, why I set it up really. And I think that’s it. Yeah. I, yeah, that’s it.
Stephen Drew: I think you should be really proud of what you’ve done. And I think that it looks kick ass. I remember when we met and then you were like, check out my website. I was like, yeah, we’ll check out. Cause we were in the middle of the trade show and then I looked at it, I was like, like hot dang, this is a good website.
This is not amateur hour. And there’s nothing wrong with amateur hour. Like you say. The last note I’d say, I’ll take whatever question you want about anything you want. Is that while I love your work, another example of a filmmaker I know is Will McDaniel on YouTube who studied Architecture.
So anyone you know out there, check out Will McDaniel’s work. I’ll probably actually bring one up actually. I’ll do it now. He won’t mind. I’m pretty sure he won’t copy strike me because I used to be his, like university flatmate. So I’ll bring this up because this is another extreme of filmmaking, but the point I’m going with it is that he studied Architecture.
He did, he had filmmaking as part of the Architectural process, and now he ends up, he’s basically, a big YouTuber. 949,000 subscribers. Mental, and he was a good flatmate. We still a few cheeky beers. I got a few naughty stories, which I can’t put in air as well, but that was back in the day.
We were younger, we were 1920. He was a. He was a great guy, but basically Will, and I’ve done a podcast with him before, right? He’s got all these models and he’s got this crazy imagination, but all the models he’s done, right? He learned from Architecture and is experimental in the process. So I think you, what you do is awesome.
There’s an extreme for everyone, and if he can do. Anyone can do it and film can go in different weird, wonderful ways. This is definitely a weird and wonderful way, but it’s definitely a way so people can check out Will, but I’m gonna bring your website up in the end. Oh, we’ve actually, we’ve got an interesting comment from Nick Kaufman who is part observation, part question.
So I’ll bring it. Nick passionately says, why are architects so allergic to narrative storytelling sometimes question mark. I feel like they read narrative in raw space sometimes, which is not elegible to ordinary folks. Very interesting discussion though. Thanks Nick. I really appreciate that. Mo do you have anything to add to that little thought there?
Or Nick’s, perspective on, on storytelling?
Mo Khizr: Yeah, I it is a really good point. From my experience, and I dunno if this, I went to Sheffield University, but we weren’t. Really, it wasn’t something we were really made aware of, it was like focus on the drawings, focus on the models, and which are very important in telling the story.
But as I say, those are sort of colors. You to paint a real picture, you, it’s something you need to be aware of. And I think for me, even me, it took me to, after my part one, realizing how important it is and that, lecture from Jane Duncan to realize that, wow, this is actually a thing that is quite important.
And I think, like Nick says, the narrative can be, sometimes very specific to architects. And as architects we forget, we are not designing for architects, we are designing for non architects, and we have to be, a lot more. Coherent in our, and effective in our communication to, to get across some of these things.
And people love it. People love to see that, that journey. And clients love it. It’s, there’s, there is real hunger out there for this. And like, will, that the chat showed, there’s space for everyone, and it is really exciting, really interesting.
So I think it’s just about being aware of the storytelling angle.
Stephen Drew: Yeah, I think
Mo Khizr: What do you.
Stephen Drew: I think, yeah. You’ve got your beautiful videos on one end and you’ve got the beautifully weird videos of Will on the other end, and there’s space in between for everyone’s, you I think you’re right, Mohammed. I always like to throw it back. To the guests to ask me some curve ball questions cuz you know, we, we had a few list of things, it’s an organic chat.
It’s pretty unscripted, so it’s only fair that you get to throw them at me without preparation. Is there anything you’d like to ask me before we wind down?
Mo Khizr: Yeah. What I was wondering, Stephen, what’s your sort of thought on the, this whole kind of attention economy, the TikTok Instagrams and earlier we were even talking about AI before we came live. What’s your, what are your thoughts with all that and where do you see that going?
Do you see AI as what’s the end point or, or is.
Stephen Drew: Yeah. Really good question. Spoiler alert, and I’ll say my question. What I said to my, moham before this that I’ve experimented with a chat, G D P G I, gosh, I can’t say it, am Amazon’s gonna get angry with me, but basically the AAL algorithm, everyone’s standing and I haven’t used it much.
I’ve just tested it with, video description. So the description for this video is generated by, I put in the main points, I put in, you know what Muhammad’s passionate about and I say, we are gonna be talking about these points. And it generated it for me and it was a great use of my time. The reality is though, it still is me scheduling it, it is still me and you talking about what we are doing.
It is still us live. But it was a really useful resource and I’ve seen, for instance, much less quality than what you are doing. But AI starting to do these like video montages, I was gonna say use the swear word, but they’re pretty freaking rubbish. You get like keywords and it’s like a lady crying or, a construction site and it’s getting there.
I think film’s never gonna be fully replaced, but we’ve seen that AI images now and how that you can generate buildings, you can type in heavy wick style. London in the sun, people walking on the streets, and you will get that. So I see it as a tool. I don’t see it, it replacing everything, but even me and you, which we run small businesses with startups, I think that some of these tools can be really quite useful.
Especially because they, it, it can be quite dynamic and be interesting and I’m gonna do one or two. Episodes this year. Definitely focusing on ai and I’m interested in it from the business side, but also the practice and Architecture side. And I think that there’s a lot of stuff there, which could be interesting.
The other question that you asked me, so removing AI from the side, who knows? Maybe we’ll start seeing AI reels. I could see that popping off. Because how do you get something the computer can. 10 that is 10 seconds long that people click. I can see that potentially being something, but you’re right.
Reels are not going away and I’m just grow, starting to grow the business. And even me, I have to do reels. I have to do reels, right? My Instagram, if anyone wants to have a good old laugh, if anyone wants to look at an absolutely. Cluster. I was gonna swear, cluster of a, of an Instagram. Check my one out.
The Architecture Social because it needs a revamp. It’s not quite there. And, I think the way it will go, and let’s see, in a year’s time, if I do it, Is all real space because that’s where everyone pops off. I’ve seen accounts go from 5,000, like struggling. Mine floats around five, 4,000, 5,000 up to 80,000.
If you want to grow in this today’s market, you have to do videos, you have to do reels. Okay. And then if you wanted to go to the next step, you have to involve videos. So I have on the Architecture Social, directory and even job boards, in the job board, in the Architecture Social in the job listings.
You can add a video and already the, I’ll get the data. It feels anecdotally that if for instance, there’s, beautiful images in a job post with videos, you’re more likely to get an application. I’ll try to get the, I’ll be very interesting to know the science behind that, Mohammed, because I think if that’s true and I suspect it is, then it’s a very good business case for film as well.
But I think the reason for that is, is because the medium is very emotive and I think. The projects aside. If people can have a glimpse into what it’s like to work in an environment, then they’re more likely to be able to visualize it. And if they’re more likely to be able to visualize what they are, like, what it would be like working in there, then they’re probably gonna have more applications and hey, that could save the business a lot of money.
So in short, video is very important and. I will be doing some reels, but like you said, maybe the first 10, 20 50, they’re not the best, but you know what, it’s in the real void. We just keep on going and keep on perfecting that craft and in the end they will look as beautiful as hams and Toms and yours and then we’ll get them.
But, that’s my faults and it, was there anything else you wanted to.
Mo Khizr: No, I think that’s brilliant. And I think, the work you are doing with Architecture Social is, I think it’s quite pioneering and it’s very inspiring. It’s something that I look up to as someone who’s just started up and, a studio. So yeah, I’m looking forward to seeing what you do with your, Instagram page
Stephen Drew: Oh, yeah, that’s the one to do up, isn’t it?
Mo Khizr: pressure’s on
Stephen Drew: Yeah. . Yeah. It’s up and coming. That’s what the way I always say, it needs a renovation, a liquor paint. Mohamed, here’s a, it’s absolute pleasure to have you here. So the website is, Kiza Studio, which is www kiza.uk, which is spelled C H I Z R.
Not pronounced Kaiser like I did at the start of the website. I knew I would do it. Damn. Thank you so much, Mohammed, for being here. You’re an absolute joy. Please connect with Mohammed on LinkedIn. I’m gonna end the broadcast in a bit, Mohammed stay in the stage. But thank you guys in the audience. I do have an extra special live stream.
Which is gonna be pretty good. It’s gonna have less film than today, but we’re gonna have some top tips, but Mohammed here is the expert in all things film, and I can’t wait to see where he gives up to it while you go back to work now. Sorry, I’m gonna stop talking, so hopefully I won’t get you into trouble anymore.
See you later guys. Take care. Bye-Bye.
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