110 and love

A creative young man tells the story of his graduation, started with a tough challenge: a different way to communicate in the aeronautics industry, throughout a once-in-lifetime experience.

Aug 2020

My name is Federico Gasca, I'm 25 years old and I would call myself a “digital storyteller”.  But before explaining the reason for defining myself in this way, as in every amazing story, we need to take a step back and look at where my story (and adventure) began.

My journey in the world of communication started at the age of 17 when, by pure chance, I found myself creating web content with two other guys. Within five years, the content went viral and we created our very own brand, identifiable through the videos uploaded upon our YouTube channel. Thanks to the particular technical and narrative quality of the content, the channel managed to achieve truly satisfying results, collecting 70 thousand subscribers and 5 million views.

We were what are nowadays called "Influencers" but at that time, and perhaps more accurately, we were called "Content Creators". In the following years, our agency and its brand gave us the opportunity to collaborate with big companies and introduced us to the world of digital work from a very young age.

This very first professional experience was fundamental as I began to really understand what I wanted to do in life: tell stories. So, I ended that chapter of my life as a "Content Creator", I resumed doing what I knew best, getting better day by day: telling stories through images. I started working as a freelance filmmaker for a wide variety of companies and brands, making commercials, event aftermovies, corporate videos and other projects. Nevertheless, I felt my identity and creativity was limited (for obvious reasons) by the demands of clients, so in 2013 I started writing and directing short films, opening the door to one of the most satisfying periods of my life.

Together with various film production companies, I created audiovisual products which even won awards on the Italian and international festival circuits. From here, I arrived at the definitive answer to what it was that I wanted to do in my life: direct films.

Federico Gasca on the set with an actress while directing.

In 2017, I therefore began my university studies at IAAD - The Institute of Applied Art and Design– with the intention of formalizing my status as a professional film-maker since, up to that time, all of my knowledge was self-taught. I rediscovered advertising (which I already experienced during my YouTube period and as a freelance filmmaker) unearthing, in some respects, an entirely new and extremely creative dimension. I learned the technique of how not to limit my creative identity in advertising but rather to expand it. It was a long and exhausting journey that I would do it all again a million times over without hesitation.

In the fall of 2019, I began to focus on my thesis: I wanted to do something that was socially useful, something that could be shared emotionally with other individuals, communication at the service of people. I thought about the most suitable environment, what corporate subject to choose...  and so I asked myself who could help me realize one of the most important projects produced so far. That's how I randomly got in touch with Avio Aero and then I asked myself, “What do I know about this sector?” The answer was: “I know absolutely nothing about it... Well, then it’s perfect!”

Trying to get out of your comfort zone is the foundation for growth, in terms of creativity, so I jumped at the chance (in a manner of speaking) and applied for a thesis internship. At that time, there was still no trace (apparently) of the virus in Italy, so over the months of preparatory internship with the company (one day a week starting from November 2019), I had already developed a clear idea of what I wanted to do for my thesis, then suddenly darkness fell. The month of March had arrived.

"A change of course", suddenly: this is literally the expression I used in my thesis entitled "Project Zero - Starting over" to describe the exact moment when my initial plans were disrupted by events, just like those of any other person in any other part of the world. By virtue of their tragic nature, however, such events have made an unexpected journey possible, creating an unprecedented development, plotting a route that can only be reached by slowing down the engines of the world as we knew it before, beset by haste and disorder.

The events we have experienced and will experience over the coming years dictate an inevitable, perhaps necessary, change of course. Yes, because humanly speaking we had probably lost that sense of collective awareness which allows us to see inside and read one other and remember that we are, first and foremost, people. Individuals who are united, directly and indirectly, by a single, invisible, yet highly complex common thread: love.

Love, in the broadest sense, is the only true fuel in our lives and it is the linchpin around which my project revolves. In this case, love born out of fear. With the instinct for survival which sets us apart, we have managed to maintain control of the airplane and start over, together. It was precisely this collective emotion you could sense was in the air, that gave me the motivation and courage to let go of my original ideas and, together with the Avio Aero team, create a communication strategy that could be used to address Covid-19 and, inevitably, adapt itself to the surrounding environment.

A strategy that, with a pinch of courage and determination, as well as a handful of love for the future, invites the brand to start over with a new look, a new engine powered by the courage of the great, unseen heroes of the company. “Project Zero – Starting Over" therefore presents my cross-media strategy proposal for Avio Aero as a way of rethinking the company's brand awareness. Humanize the brand and position it on a more emotional and personal level, thanks to the feats of the Avio Aero people who, during the pandemic, gave their support to military bases, civil protection and many other supportive initiatives.

My journey with Avio Aero allowed me to explore a new reality, made up of extraordinary people with whom I had the honor of working notwithstanding the differences in our experience and specific skillsets, and who proved to be delightfully open, welcoming me on board their own flight. It was a beautiful, long journey, with some slight turbulence, but also highly educational and this is why I’m so thankful.

Federico Gasca behind the camera.

"Avio Aero is made up of extraordinary people with whom I had the honor of working and who welcomed me on board their own flight: it's been a beautiful, long journey and also highly educational, this is why I’m so thankful"

On the other hand, to graduate in the year of a global pandemic was certainly paradoxical at times. I think about the discussion of my thesis remotely, something that causes more anxiety than one might think. One might feel safer at home, but what if the Internet has problems and they can’t hear me? Or will they be able to see the videos clearly? Will they really listen to me? What if there’s a power failure? What if, during those 15 minutes, the computer is struck by lightning?! 

Fortunately, no other calamities threatened my home connection or the discussion itself and, in the end, everything turned out fine: the whole exam board appreciated the project and I could not have been happier.

I believe that in choosing a sector which is so complex, in some aspects a niche sector and furthermore a B2B, it has been even more rewarding: there are companies that do not operate in the mass consumer goods market and mistakenly believe that there is no need to tell stories, to speak through their own people. The truth is that there are other people, with similar and different needs, all around us; it's not just the general public who is interested in a commercial, a billboard or a story. Any individual, company or organization which interacts with Avio Aero in the market, or across the country, can be interested in the activities of an important aeronautics industry.

Traditional or digital communication changes radically depending on whether it is B2B or B2C, but there is no such thing as better or worse; it is simply the approach that changes.  An approach I was unfamiliar with and one I couldn’t wait to measure myself against. I don't think there is an end point; I always feel the need to improve myself, to change and to grow, therefore I have quite a few, perhaps too many, dreams in my pocket. But deep down, what could be worse than a creative guy without dreams!?

Dreaming is the fuel for my job, so I've already decided that I will definitely continue to work in advertising; it's the field in which I feel most like myself. But I certainly have a desire to be challenged and, still talking about having dreams in my pocket, my first film will be released next year. It's called UROBORO, but I don't want to reveal too much. First, I want to see what's going to happen. I can’t wait to get on my next flight in life.

Cover and page images and videos credits: Federico Gasca 2020.