ABOUT

Sebastian Thiel is a 27-year-old Award winning Filmmaker & Digital Social Entrepreneur. The Key, Trap Town, Illegal Activity (Screen Nation winner) Adots Apprentice, Friday  UK, Fill Me In (Sundance Finalist.)

In his late teens he Founded Upshot Entertainment, a company that aims to leave a mark on hearts and minds through entertainment. Thiel has featured on TEDx Talks, and was listed in the Top 25 Under 25 most influential Londoners by Evening Standard. He made his TV debut on London Live with his Documentary ‘Trap Town’ in 2014. His Award winning short film ‘Illegal Activity’ was screened at BAFTA, Warner Bros and Google HQ. Following that, his second short film ‘Fill Me in’ was a finalist at Sundance Festival Short film competition.

Sebastian has filmed and worked with a number of high profile talents such as Dynamo the Magician, Westlife and brands such as Sony, Virgin Media & UKTV. More recently Upshot Entertainment has been supported by Warner Bros to host Upshot Cinema at their private theatre. Thiel has built an online following amassing over 8.3 Million Views for his productions. His latest work includes a 45min Documentary ‘The Key’ an documentary about Social Entrepreneurship shot in Kenya.

www.itsupshot.com

THE STORY

A Dream Deferred
“We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the life that is waiting for us.” -Joseph Campbell

AS HE stood in a busy London airport, businessmen and holidaymakers rushing by him to catch their flights, Sebastian Thiel’s future in basketball left on the plane without him.
An oversight on the part of a basketball summer camp organiser, charged with getting a group of promising young ballers to the United States for a shot at a career in the sport they loved, meant the gifted teenager would be forced to watch his dreams on the court from the sidelines.
Sebastian told no one about that fateful day in a London airport, the day that changed his life. The Zambian-born athlete, whose talent towered his 5”7 height was forced to confront the harsh reality that his future would not be in the sport he loved. Overwhelmed by embarrassment of his failed dream, he subsequently dropped out of college fearing the reaction from his peers who believed the dream trip to the States would set him on the path of great things.

The Birth
“And you? When will you begin that long journey into yourself?” ― Rumi

It would have been easy to turn to a life on the streets to pacify his pain, but instead the 17-year-old channelled his energy into founding Its Upshot, in its infancy stage, a clothing brand aimed at sparking conversations between London’s disenfranchised youth. Together with two friends Jhynno Marcelin and Shane, Upshot Entertainment was formed. Shane later went onto fulfill football ambitions. In 2008, they joined forces with Claudio Simao and Mikel Ameen. That union lasted a year, after which they both left to set up their own community ventures. No one in Sebastian’s family had ever been involved in business, but unlike basketball, this was something he could be in charge of, a fate he controlled and a destiny he could fulfill. The witty and thought-provoking statements emblazoned on bright coloured tops from his Upshot Entertainment products were aimed at “causing conversations between people, breaking down barriers and giving people something to represent.” And it wasn’t long before the inspirational message behind this new venture soon caught the eye of celebrities, who began endorsing the shirts in droves.

The Calling
“I believe there’s a calling for all of us. I know that every human being has value and purpose. The real work of our lives is to become aware. And awakened. To answer the call.” ― Oprah Winfrey

Sebastian began filming celebrities wearing his clothes to promote the brand, many who would perform in front of crowds of hundreds draped in his brainchild.
He taught himself how to edit & film taking on work experience at leading corporations, most notably with Jump Off TV, who honed Sebastian’s raw talent behind the camera and where he also learned how to best utilise YouTube for the growth of his Idea. After watching UK comics Babatunde and A Dot perform at an event in the capital, he approached them and proposed the idea of working together. It was a decision that put the entrepreneur on the path of developing Upshot Entertainment as we know it today. By now, popular video sharing site YouTube had risen in prominence and provided a platform to showcase his growing talent behind the camera. He filmed the Adot Comedian in a promo for his shirts and the video soon went viral. The short clip amassed over 600,000 views and was posted on the coveted Worldstar Hip Hop website.

Entertainment’s Power
“There is no higher form of artistic expression then film” ― James Lee Burke

It was at this point, Sebastian realised the power of entertainment and influence on his generation. This, he decided, would be his future. The Upshot social enterprise project launched at Lyric theater, through a Grant Thiel won from UNLTD. In a cruel twist of fate, Sebastian was then offered the chance to go to the United States to fulfill his basketball dream, but he declined this offer of a lifetime, choosing to instead fully explore his growing talent and passion behind the camera. Thiel Decided to pass on the opportunity to someone else. Subsequently, he began making a name for himself on the film and entertainment scene, which led to requests to shoot videos for Award winning Magician Dynamo, Hollywood Actor Aml Ameen, MOBO award-winning Artists Fuse ODG, Sway and spoken word artist Suli Breaks, whose work has been endorsed by Hollywood actor, Will Smith.

The Growth
Growth is never by mere chance; it is the result of forces working together. – James Cash Penney

Today, Upshot Entertainment stands as one of the leaders in its field producing cutting edge films, documentaries and sketches, which expertly showcase the company’s directing, writing and production skills with his innovative ideas.
Upshot Entertainment’s YouTube page has over 20,000 subscribers and boasts 7.8 million views, while it has a further 30,000 followers on social media sites.
In 2013, the company released a spoof of cult classic Friday, which follows the storyline of the popular 1995 film with a ‘London, African twist.’Within a few days of posting, the trailer gained over 50,000 views and got the seal of approval from the film’s writer, DJ Pooh. But it was short film Illegal Activity, in which he made his directorial debut, that won Upshot Entertainment its first bit of silverware for his display cabinet after it was named ‘Favourite Film’ at the inaugural Screen Nation Digital-iS Media Awards. The annual awards were set up to “highlight a new born media maker that can simply wake up write, cast and fund a project online.” The short film was screened at the BAFTA 195, Google headquarters and at Warner Brothers studios.

Driven By Purpose
“The only people who can change the world are people who want to. And not everybody does.” ― Hugh MacLeod

But entertainment production isn’t the only string on Upshot Entertainment’s bow. One of its most pertinent aims is nurturing and investing in youth development.
As explained in the company’s mission statement, this was further explored in his documentary trap town, later aired on the Evening Standard’s community network, London Live. The documentary, for Latimer Films, which was executively produced by award-winning director Penny Woolcock (1 Day, One mile), explored the 2011 London Riots and managed to successfully fuse hard-hitting issues with a comedic tone. The company also promotes this message through a number of inspiring workshops. In 2013, the Sebastian delivered a powerful Tedx Talk to a crowd of over 100 people. It was here where Sebastian shared intimate details about his inspirational journey to the top. Much like Virgin founder and entrepreneur Richard Branson, who made Sebastian a Virgin Media Pioneer in 2012, he has concerned himself with becoming a social enterprise, a fate that was further sealed when he joined the School of Social Entrepreneurs in the same year. He recently joined forces with Elevation Networks, an award-winning youth employment charity that seeks to develop the leadership potential of young people to increase their employability, who wanted a way to promote start up loans to a young audience in a unique way. Upshot Entertainment came up with Adots Apprentice, a spoof of the BBC 1 series with Sir Alan Sugar at the helm, is a three-part series starring UK comedian A Dot, which was released exclusively online and commanded a number of hits from young people around the country. To date, Sebastian Thiel & Upshot Entertainment has worked with a number of high profile brands such as Sony, Virgin Media and UKTV.

Still Dreaming
“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending” – Maria Robinson



As a teenager, Upshot Entertainment founder Sebastian Thiel had dreams of a lucrative career on the basketball court. He had dreams of scoring winning match points in stadiums around the world, seeing his name inscribed on leading sports pages and kids wearing his number on their jerseys. But that wasn’t his fate. Today, he owns one of the leading entertainment companies in the UK. He’s not scoring winning match point, but his company are winning numerous awards for their work, his name isn’t emblazoned on sports pages, instead it has found its way on front pages and young people are buying into his inspirational company – and its manifesto – everyday.

Lesson: A dream deferred is still a dream.