There is a dramatic, continuous change in the way media is being produced – now, today – for brands of all sizes. Will Berner (Chatham 11) and his business partner, Charlie Aprahamian (down for Stowe but deflected to Bloxham) demonstrated their cunning creativity by launching their company Ablinq at the cusp of this change.
Since then, their company’s growth has been three fold in as many years and looks set to get bigger still. Demonstrating true entrepreneurial flair, Will and Charlie positioned their company to solve the elusive problem of how to create captivating content to position your brand’s visuals online.
Their company links brands with young and ambitious creators. Ablinq is pioneering a new way of building relationships with creative producers, brands, influencers and collaborators to create content that is genuinely different. They are now a fast-growing media house telling authentic stories and producing bespoke visual content around the world for brands like Ted Baker, Fairfax & Favor, IMG, Emilia Wickstead, Michael Graham and Positive Outlook. With sharp minds and infectious enthusiasm, they deliver on concepts, script writing, cinematography, editing, colour grading, photography, music production and digital media consultancy.
Ablinq has been producing content for Stowe and the Old Stoic Society for the last few years and the results have been fresh and invigorating. When tasked with producing content for this edition of The Corinthian, Will masterminded a stunning sequence to launch the online edition of this magazine: an interview with OS entrepreneurs, Marcus Fairfax Fountaine (Chandos 09) and Felix Favor Parker (Cobham 09) from the skies above Stowe! The results are quite simply spectacular. The film encapsulates the wealth of talent that exists within our ranks.
Will and Charlie share some trade secrets about how they broke into the Media industry in our short film. They have kindly shared some insights about their company and its development and growth below:
How did you come up with the name Ablinq?
It started with our surnames, Aprahamian and Berner, A and B got the ball rolling. We saw ourselves and our work as the link between the consumer and the brands, the A-B link. On top of this, we are very much a visual marketing company and use eyes as a big part of our branding, eyes blink so that fitted rather nicely and before we knew it there was a q instead of a k. And that was Ablinq… pronounced like a blink of an eye.
Did you study media after leaving Stowe?
Not at all really, I read Marketing at University and Charlie read Accounting & Finance. We just loved making short sharp videos. It is very easy to teach yourself new skills these days with the wealth of the internet and YouTube tutorials.
How did you learn the camera and editing skills required?
Lots of reading, even more video watching but most of all practice.
What’s been your greatest challenge since launching Ablinq?
Knowing the right kind of busy. We are working under so many different job roles and doing so many different things. Finding the best balance between working ‘on’ the business and working ‘for’ the business keeps us on our toes for sure. We are right in the thick of it with a long long way to go, I’m sure our greatest challenge is yet to come.
Has anything ever gone wrong?
There was this time a couple of years ago on a car shoot where things got a little too close for comfort. We were in the depths of Snowdonia trying to film a hero shot on a cliff edge, you know, sunset coming down, landscape was breath-taking and a 4×4 looking fabulous peering off a cliff edge. It was too good to be true.
Before long the wet Welsh ground had swallowed up the tyres and the Land Rover was stuck on top of a mountain, luckily for us we had another Land Rover with a winch, so we drove that up the hill in aid. Not the best idea, as it transpired that one got stuck as well, and on an angle that can only be described as bloody dodgy.
With both vehicles stuck and digging with our hands not proving very effective, we resorted to sending our drone pilot (Jimmy) on a cross-country run to the nearest farmer. An hour later our knight in shining armour returned in the form of a red Massey Ferguson and a very kind Snowdonian farmer – to this day we couldn’t understand a word he had to say! It was a hairy situation.
Turning up to the client 4 hours late coated in mud probably wasn’t the most glowing representation of our business. We came out the other end with a great film to show for it believe it or not… Considering there was a time we nearly wrote off a Land Rover and squashed a team mate on the Welsh hillsides, I’d say we got off pretty lightly.
How do you stay ahead of the game from a technology point of view?
It’s tough because it changes so fast but we’ve found when it comes to new purchases, it’s just a case of working out what we need, what is affordable and how much difference it will actually make. It’s easy to get carried away on tech and specs but they always come second to the narrative and workflow.
Do you work with any exciting brands?
We think so, we have been very fortunate to meet people who work for some big brand names. The exciting brands aren’t necessarily always the big ones though. Some of the most exciting work we do is when we have a lot of creative control and a real down to earth reason to produce some new visuals that could make a huge difference to someone’s business, their perspective or even their life. Video is such a powerful tool!
How do you want Ablinq to grow?
I think we’d love to see it roll into a more solidified brand name in the media industry. A name people can trust to deliver on a project, no matter what its size or story is. Somewhere creators can rely on working with great people on interesting projects and clients can rely on us providing a team that is fun to work with.
Did your time at Stowe help when you were setting up your company?
Absolutely. I could relate many scenarios in our day to day management of the business to aspects of Stowe life. Not only in a practical sense but definitely in a holistic way. Stowe gave me an appreciation of the bigger picture and has greatly influenced my moral compass which inevitably affected my decision making.