Leo Keller’s on a mission to empower creatives

Headshot of Leo Keller surrounded by images of video editing

Highlights

At just 17 years old, Leo Keller has taught himself the art of filmmaking and content creation, working with dozens of high-profile clients
More than anything, Leo loves to share his knowledge and is committed to helping other creators reach their potential
Leo says music and sound effects are crucial to his artistry, which is why an Artlist subscription was his first-ever investment as a creator
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Leo Keller’s always been an independent thinker. Ever since he made his first stop-motion animation aged 11 using LEGO, he’s taught himself everything. “I don’t see the point in paying for a course when I can just watch tutorials and learn how to do it myself,” he says.

Leo’s chatting from his home studio in Münster, where he lives with his parents. It’s a small city in western Germany and Leo absolutely loves it. “It’s not too big and I have lots of friends here,” he says. 

In a couple of months, Leo will turn 18, which he’s really excited about — mainly because he’s one step closer to finishing school, which means he can dedicate all of his time to creating content. Leo is so passionate about filmmaking, he’s borderline obsessed. 

At the time of writing, Leo Keller has over 120k followers on his preferred platform Instagram – up from 110k last week —  where he shares tips and tricks to help creators improve their craft. That includes short, snappy videos of desk set-ups, tutorials on how to streamline your workflow, and beautiful product videos. 

Finding a creative outlet

Everything Leo does is aesthetic, meticulous, and deeply satisfying, and he’ll spend days perfecting lighting, music, sound effects, and composition to get the end result he envisioned. His commitment to his craft is massive, but he only found an outlet for his creativity when he picked up a camera.

“I never really felt creative or artistic when I was younger,” Leo says. “I wasn’t that good at art class and I couldn’t really draw. So discovering video was a way for me to present my ideas and still be creative.” 

Leo’s mother works for a German TV channel, so spending time on set as a kid kickstarted his interest in film. His first videos were focused on finding ways to tell stories through stop-motion film with his LEGO set. “Just small stories, like trying to get a Christmas tree out of the forest,” he says. 

Leo uploaded all the videos onto his YouTube channel, documenting his progression in real-time. “I had to figure out all these technical terms and settings, which I enjoyed. I love figuring stuff out by myself without anyone having to teach me.” 

Leo applies this ethos to everything. His English, for example, is near perfect, and he taught himself how to edit using iMovie followed by DaVinci Resolve, which he still uses today. “It’s such a powerful tool,” Leo says. 

Turning a hobby into a profession

After Leo mastered the craft of storytelling, he moved on to product videos. “I’d make films about tech products, desk set-ups, camera gear, and create short ads for companies to use on their websites,” Leo says. “I just love finding creative ways to express a vision for a company.”

In the beginning, he wasn’t thinking about turning his hobby into a career. He was more excited about exploring his passion and unlocking his new-found creativity. But getting his first proper client was a huge moment. “I filmed a corporate video for an up-and-coming artist, which was such a cool experience,” Leo says. “It was so cool to make money from doing what I love. It felt super surreal.”

Leo’s work ethic is unparalleled. He’s navigating final exams at school while dedicating all his spare time to content creation. Luckily for him, his friends and family are just as excited about his venture as he is. “My friends think it’s cool that I have such a clear vision of what I want to do, and that I love my hobby and my craft.”

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Giving back to the creative community

After several years working with brands including Nomad, LG, and Aperture, Leo hopes to inspire other creators by sharing information he wishes he had access to when he first started out. He feels it’s important to be open with his knowledge because that empowers him as well as his fellow creators. 

His community is mainly on Instagram, and Leo says reaching his first 10k followers was one of his biggest achievements. “I don’t know why, but 10k just felt so out of reach,” Leo says. “But I posted something every day for 150 days, and everything grew exponentially.” 

Now he has upwards of 150k people viewing his work; which gets disconcerting if he thinks about it too hard. “It’s scary, but you just have to stand behind what you’ve created and say ‘yeah – I made that. That’s who I am and that’s what I do.’”

Leo applied this confidence to the newsletter he recently launched. He had no idea how to make a one, but he watched tutorials, practiced his written English, and now it’s another crucial way for him to engage with his followers and feed into the cycle of inspiration. “People are actually writing back to me and saying my newsletter is helpful,” Leo says.

Clearly, Leo gets his kicks from sharing knowledge, which is unique in the highly competitive world of content creation. “People try and hide what they do because they’re afraid it might take business away from them,” Leo says. “But I feel the only way to actually succeed in the creator space is to work together.” 

The first investment as a creator

There aren’t many content creators focused solely on helping other content creators — but empowering others is Leo’s passion, so he’s delighted with his niche. Leo’s always sharing tips and tricks on how to optimize workflows, and one recurring collaborator is Artlist. 

Leo discovered Artlist two years into his filmmaking journey when he was focusing on his YouTube channel. “I needed licensed music, and a subscription to Artlist was my first investment as a creator,” Leo says. “It’s super easy to use, and having just one license for everything impresses my clients, plus the music is super high quality. I’ve been using it for 3 or 4 years now and haven’t looked back. It is such a good investment.”

Leo teamed up with Artlist in the summer of 2022, to create a short film showcasing his Artlist library, and again in early 2023 to create a video showcasing Leo’s workflow, which got hundreds of thousands of views. 

This week we’re launching a competition with Leo, asking his community to create a similar video and win gear provided by Artlist. With this initiative, Leo hopes to push his community to try new things, get out of their comfort zones, and explore their creativity. 

Being open to learn, happy to fail

Perhaps the secret to Leo’s success is his total fearlessness. Failure doesn’t scare him, and if he doesn’t know how to do something, that just motivates him to try it. “Some people, when they don’t know how to do something, automatically give up. But being open to learn and happy to fail is super essential. Learning new skills is a skill in itself.”

Needless to say, Leo Keller has a bright future ahead of him. He’s not sure if he’ll go to college, but he’d like to spend some time in the US or Canada to connect with other creatives and work with some of his favorite brands. 

Ultimately, though, he just feels grateful to have discovered his passion at such a young age, and wants to help others unearth their passion too. “I want people to know that I started somewhere, too,” Leo says. “If people can see where I began and how I work, they’ll feel motivated to keep pushing and learning new things.”

For more Leo Keller content, follow him on Instagram.

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Alice Austin is a freelance writer from London. She writes for Mixmag, Beatportal, Huck, Dummy, Electronic Beats, Red Bulletin and more. She likes to explore youth and sub-culture through the lens of music, a vocation that has led her around the world. You can contact and/or follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

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