Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.
Jochen Schmoll is a Filmaker, director and DOP. He became known in the sports filming scene for his numerous documentaries, commercials and branded content productions for brands like Gore Tex, Jack Wolfskin and Red Bull covering some of their top athletes.
He has directed various documentaries where his skills as an extreme sport DOP and director were essential. Climbing up a 8000m peak in the Himalayas (“Ascending the death zone”) or climbing out of a 170m cave in Oman ( “Into the light”) , crossing the Siberian plains ( “The 7 giants” ) or descending into the crater of an active volcano (“Spitting distance”). There’s no job too tough.
“Its all part of the adventure” says Jochen when asked to go on expeditions that take him to the ends of the earth where sleeping in a bivouac – on a rock ledge- or in weather conditions of -45 degrees Celsius is just part of the job.
Shooting in extreme conditions and with extreme characters has helped him build up a high level of stress resistance which helps when it comes to “normal” shootings such as commercials where you are always confronted with a lot of pressure. “If you ski while attached to a snowmobile filming a bunch of freaks kiting over the frozen sea of Baffin Island after having slept 3 weeks in a tent at minus 30 degrees …there’s not much that can throw you off balance back home”.
Jochen likes to tell a story with as much personal and emotional depth as possible. Being fluent in German, English, Spanish and French also helps put his protagonists at ease allowing him to get to their true essence, even before the camera is rolling.
Finding out what makes them tick and what drives them is something that needs to be discovered and told as truthfully and as naturally as possible. Whether you are shooting a commercial or a documentary, outdoors or in the studio, it doesn’t matter, there’s always characters and people that are part of it.
“You need to build a trust relationship from the very first encounter” says Jochen Schmoll, “ you never have a second chance to make a first impression”.
With the trend moving towards smaller and more cost effective productions, Jochen Schmoll often works as DOP and director at the same time.
Jochen Schmoll is based in Barcelona with an office in Germany.
Interview: Xavi Jimenez 2016