NEW SIGNING: Director Lewis Andrews joins NERD Productions

Lewis Andrews NEW SIGNING NERD

NERD welcomes Lewis Andrews – a young director with a distinctive cinematic style, who filled our hearts with joy and excitement for future projects together!

Lewis Andrews NERD Productions on set

We asked Lewis a few questions about his career, passion, and future plans:

How did you manage to get such a large folio at such a young age?

All of my endeavours have always been tremendously supported by my parents. Whether it was staring in my films, driving me to remote film locations, or financially backing the films I was making whilst I was still at school. My parents are the people who believed in me, allowed me to do what I wanted and supported me through everything. 

I dropped out of school to pursue my passion for filmmaking as I was already doing what I loved. I weighed it up, is leaving my education any more of a risk than pursuing a university degree in film? The point I am trying to make here is, curating a large portfolio happened when I took the right risk for myself.

The first pivotal project in my career was a short documentary film I made for a pub in my town Hertford, called The Dog and Whistle. I was highly lauded by locals when the film came out on YouTube. I decided to start my production company Wonderfilm Pictures to help market my work. I got contacted by various people after the pub film release, including a content producer at Sky Sports. Since then I have worked with Pro:Direct, Whistle Sports, Puma, Nike, Sony Music, Fast & Furious, Vogue India, and more.

My leads continued to expand through recommendation and word of mouth. I have been very fortunate in my career which has taken me to many corners of the globe to over 10 different countries. My portfolio is like one big spider gram of stories, mis happenings and coincidences which exemplify how the world is small and everyone knows everyone.

Lewis Andrews NERD Productions on set

What advice would you give to anyone who wants to pursue a career in directing?

A key thing for me has been creating opportunities for myself. Good advice I would give to someone is to be polite, sociable and introduce yourself to as many people as possible. Try to form connections in all departments because you never know who can help you and vice versa – from your fellow bin collector to an assistant director. 

If you find yourself on a set one day, right at the bottom, feeling a million miles away from where you want to be, just know it is a very fortunate position to be in. 

What inspires you?

What inspires me are ideas. I love the melding of components that make a concept great. I get inspired when people take things creatively to levels that have not been attempted before. I get inspired by ideas that are so fresh you feel irritated that you didn’t think of them first. Elon Musk is an inspiration of mine because I think he is possibly one of the most influential people alive at the moment. I think Kanye West, Drake, The Weeknd are doing marvellous things for the creative world.

There are too many actors and directors to name that inspire me. Steven Spielberg has always been at the centre of my inspiration for style of direction and editing. In particular, I think he makes his imagination feel the most real to the audience. His movies make imagination feel real. I think he captures disaster in a very realistic way, forcing you to feel immersed in his movies. I have always been inspired by the vastness of space and how little we know about it. I get inspired thinking about how different things could be in the future. Some of my favourite movies are War of The Worlds 2005, Empire of the Sun, The Joker, I, Robot, No Country for Old Men.

Lewis Andrews new signing NERD Productions

What excites you the most about joining the NERD talent roster?

I am excited to be amongst such a wide representation of diverse talent. I love the approach of the team; they have been so positive and detail-orientated when giving feedback about my work. Their staff have all been welcoming and they encourage creativity. I can tell that NERD’s founder Milana Karaica has a wealth of knowledge and I would learn more from her. I have joined the NERD talent roster at a rather strange time in history, during a global pandemic. When the world is a bit more normal, I would love to meet the NERD team in person.

What is one thing that most people don’t know about you?

I once worked in a Michelin star Chinese restaurant in St James, London called Imperial Treasure as a commis chef. I love to cook for my girlfriend in my spare time and one day I would like to launch my own brand of cupcakes.

See more of Lewis’s work here.

Breath of Nature with AIR WICK directed by PETER S.

Breath of Nature Air Wick by NERD Productions directed by Peter S.

‘Every single decision we made, had that “Zen feeling” in mind’.

It only takes pressing the play button to take a deep breath in and exhale in relief. This wonderfully textured photorealistic CGI piece, crafted by NERD Productions x Havas London for Air Wick, takes rhythmic pulsing and deep breathing to a whole new level. Just when the world needs to breathe in the new season; the film brings the whooshing sound in the ear, blended with the graceful flower dance and water rippling effect, right on time for spring!

Orange Air Wick - still from the film
Click to play

Director, Peter S says:  ‘A blossom’s wonder only increases the closer you investigate them. For this film, I was surprised to find that lavender bulbs are so fuzzy!’ The spot transports us to an enchanting garden, warmer climates and reminds us that you can experience calmness from the comfort of your couch.

Peter’s local flower market visually inspired the animation during the pandemic. The sound design, which is so important to immerse the viewer in this Zen zone, echoes the beauty of what we are witnessing visually.

Lavender Air Wick still from the film

‘It all comes down to the pace.’ says Peter, ‘Having the edit and animation work together at a unified pace which were treated with cross dissolves so that absolutely nothing disturbed the film’s tranquility. Every single decision we made had that” Zen feeling” in mind. Each camera movement stays at a certain speed. The animation of the flowers sticks to a certain rhythm.’

Rose Air Wick still from the film

Executive Producer from NERD, Milana Karaica also mentioned: ’Working on this piece during winter, being in lockdown made it very special as we were all looking forward to those much-needed brighter days’.

From the client, agency, and down to the last animator, this brief felt exceptionally refreshing.

NEW SIGNING: NERD Presents Its First Ever Photographer – Gabby Secomb Flegg

MidSummer

We are excited to welcome Gabby to our roster of amazing talent and get creating and empowering from day ONE. We are convinced she will rock the commercial world with her powerful and refreshing visuals!

To properly start the season of new beginnings, we signed our first photographer – Gabby Secomb Flegg. Gabby is a queen of magic and a pro of telling people’s stories through her shots. She brings powerful female energy everywhere she goes and makes sure to capture authenticity and diversity of every person who happens to be in front of her camera.

A few words about this big step for NERD from our Founder & Executive Producer Milana Karaica:

As a production company that prides itself on being forward thinking, promoting collaboration and diversity, it was only a matter of time before we added talented and fresh photographers to our talent pool!  To make our NERDy mark on the industry and truly complete our creative offering to our agency and brand clients, alongside the live action directors, animation directors and illustrators we are proud to present the first female NERDy photographer! Gabby, who shares our ethos and mission is an incredible addition to the family. Her work is concentrated on diversity and female empowerment which is exactly what we practice at NERD.

To help you get to know Gabby a little more, we spoke to her about her story, inspiration and plans with NERD:

When did you decide to become a photographer?

I have been photographing since I was 19 years old (coming close to that 10-year mark now, yeesh!) but I only took it very seriously when I was around 25. I was working as an event manager full time for an insurance company and was shooting weddings, 21st, formals, christenings and everything in between on weekends. It got to a point where I was getting so busy and worn out that I couldn’t maintain the energy for both of those career paths, so I took the plunge into photography full time and have never looked back since! 

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Take the plunge earlier! Not that I didn’t take it at a great time, but I could have saved myself a load of suffering by not working as a check out chick at a local supermarket. However, that being said, I believe everything we experience makes us who we are (even the hard stuff) so had I taken the plunge earlier and missed out on all those in between jobs, perhaps I wouldn’t be in the position I’m in now! 

What played the key role in your positioning as a photographer?

Getting rejected from college. Yep. I took my then portfolio to apply for a full-time photography course but was advised I wasn’t ready to take it. This was such a critical part in my desire to prove people wrong and to thrive without any formal education. I took their 12-week weekender course for beginners to understand the basic functionality of my camera, but I went off to do my own thing after that! It was one of the best things that never happened to me.

What excites you the most about being the first photographer to join the NERD talent family?

Who doesn’t love being the first in something haha?! Really though, what I love about NERD is the diversity in their talent and their desire to represent women in this space. I’ve admired NERD from afar for about a year and decided to throw myself out there a few months ago to just see what would happen – and here we are! What I am super excited about is the opportunity to help build this sector of representation in the NERD family and to have the opportunity to work with so many incredible like-minded, talented artists. 

What inspires you on daily basis?

Inspiration is a funny one, I don’t think it’s a daily experience, it’s more of an anomaly. Seems to show up when it feels like it but when you chase after it you can never find it! For me I find myself most inspired when I am travelling or interacting with other talented people. Seeing others thrive in their creative field really sparks joy in me which can then lead to inspiration. But usually, inspiration hits me in the quiet pockets of space I try to carve out through the week. 

What shot are you most proud of?

I had a full afternoon shoot just for fun with my friend Renee and incredible makeup artist Anthea Billet. We took to the Newcastle beaches in Australia to get some moody fashion snaps and I convinced poor Renee to get into the freezing water and make floating look effortless and ethereal. Turns out floating in a sequin dress is actually really hard, so we tried some standing shots.
By a stroke of pure magic, the sun came out and beamed through the misty sky and lit both the sky and water up like liquid gold. It was the most perfectly timed shot I’ve taken to date and I’m so proud of it.

Tell us about your women empowerment strategy while shooting.

Before I started shooting more editorial and fashion-based work, I shot as a female empowerment boudoir photographer. I spent 8 years as a pole dancer so female empowerment was a huge message that threaded through this experience and kind of subconsciously made an impression on my work. I really thrive helping women see a side of themselves that they’ve never seen, it brings me so much joy for them to look back on their images and say “holy shit, is that me?!” 

I think there are so many photographers out there who give no direction or positive reinforcement (a lot of them definitely don’t shout ‘YASSSS QUEEENNNN’, mid-session) which can have a huge impact on the result of the shoot. 

I really enjoy making people feel comfortable and eliciting genuine reactions at a shoot, so I am lucky to say that empowering people comes very naturally to me. 

What is one thing that most people don’t know about you?

I’m actually a massive introvert. I can come across as very extroverted to people but I recharge best being on my own! Give me cartoons in bed by myself any day over a social function! 

See more of Gabby’s work here.

Body Positive Visual Artist Esther Lalanne Joins NERD Productions

Esther At Work

On the International Women’s Day, Esther Lalanne joins the diverse and inclusive NERD family, led by Executive Creative Producer/Founder Milana Karaica. NERD welcomes Esther Lalanne, body positive and whimsical visual artist.

Esther is a prolific visual artist who accurately represents bodies and identities, primarily women, who make our society. Esther’s bubbly and quirky aesthetic is inspired by everyday life and human interactions.

Esther has always loved to draw women; she says: ‘Growing up, I have always felt frustrated in this all-white-cis-male world, and drawing has been a useful way of expressing myself and others like me.’ 

Esther is well-placed in a ray of talents at NERD, including powerful Animation Directors like Sharon Liu, Elmaz Ekrem, Hayley Morris, Corinne Ladeinde, Heather Colbert and Peque Varela. Visual Artists like Blake Kathryn, Helena Elias and Lana Dudarenko. And our Live-Action Directors – Kyla Philander, Cherish Oteka, Shona Auerbach, Harriet MacDonald and Meriem Adib.

Esther wants to depict a world where women, people of every race and sexuality, can be more visible and free to exist without expectations or limitations. She believes that the power of craft influences real life and people.

She creates fun visuals that touch the soul and speak to a vast array of people. Esther has worked with Refinery29, Ellen MacArthur Foundation, The Body Shop, King’s College London, Green Peace, ITV, and NHS.

See more of Esther’s work here.

Discover a Heart-Warming, Stop-Frame Spot Directed by Hayley Morris

Prepare to be moved by the latest online commercial for the eco-conscious baby brand, Charlie Banana, where we are introduced to the heart-warming story of a mother bonding with her newborn baby while pledging to take action to create and protect the future of our planet, our home.

Watch our fun behind the scenes

Teaming up with Curiosity, we mixed two marvellous animation techniques; stop-frame and hand-drawn animation to develop the whimsical online commercial. This beautifully crafted piece walks us through what it takes to make a better world for future generations and celebrates motherhood and all-around sweetness.

‘’ Am I choosing the right products to put on my baby’s skin? Am I taking action to protect the environment for future generations?‘’ Milana Karaica

This was a very relatable situation for Milana Karaica, Executive Producer at NERD Productions who was eight months pregnant when the script landed on her desk. We were thrilled to craft the ultimate maternal bond at this extraordinary time.

‘’ Working with a brand that cherishes sustainability and has it as their mission statement feels very special.’’ Hayley Morris

Hayley is coincidentally, currently eight months pregnant and has a real passion for sustainability in her own work. Throughout the creative process, Hayley used sustainable and recyclable materials.

Every element in this stop-motion animation was entirely handcrafted, from the characters to the plants and flowers, using layering and watercolour techniques.

To bring this delightful film to life, even more, Hayley created jointed paper dolls to heighten the interaction between mother and daughter through to the end of the blossoming visual tale.

An essential part of telling a story is to feel the characters’ emotions. To really make the characters extra charming, we started by making the puppets with blank faces. Facial expressions were then added frame by frame using an animation style hand-drawn technique and tracked to the stop-motion film.

Milana says ‘’We were proud to be able to feature and hero a mixed-race family which is important for us at NERD. Even if they are animated characters, they are essentially our actors so we want to craft those carefully and make sure that we are representative and reflect the reality of our audiences.’’

At a time where diversity & inclusion is talked about a lot in the advertising industry, actions are more important than words. It was particularly vital to us to show characters that will make the world a more inclusive and tolerant one for the future generations to come. We believe that championing diversity is the key ingredient to producing powerful visuals that stand out and engage with real people across the world.

Click here to view Hayley’s portfolio.

Want to work with Hayley Morris or another NERD? Click here.

NERD’s Black Stories: Animation Director, Corinne Ladeinde

Although our peers feel that efforts for a more diverse industry are being made; we still think that the actions taken are surface level, and black people are a rarity in our industry.

We spoke to black creatives who contribute significantly to their field and have asked them words of advice for current and future artists of colour wanting to break through the creative industry.

Next up is Animation Director Corinne Ladeinde.

Corinne is an award-winning animation director with a passion for storytelling, design, animation and illustration. After working as a lead compositor on projects such as The Snowman and the Snowdog and We’re going on a Bear Hunt! for Channel 4, Corinne further pursued her directing ambitions and has since directed a range of commercials and online films for clients such as Dove, Bach, Bonjela and Liz Earle amongst others.

When did you decide to become an animator/illustrator?

From the age of 6 and growing up, I had in mind that I will become an animator; but once I had graduated and dive into the professional world, I realised that I love storytelling and from then on, started directing.

How has your upbringing influenced the work that you do today?

My mum is a true stoic. She is my inspiration to always investing my time in the things I truly enjoy. My mother used my brother and me as an excuse to watch the latest animated Disney films at the time. I grew up on a diet of animation from the Lion King to Aladin and The Nightmare Before Christmas. When I was a kid, I was reading a lot, attended regular arts and crafts activities, theatre and galleries. All these things have influenced my vision as an artist.

What advice would you give your younger self?

“To act as if it’s impossible to fail”. This is an Anthony Hopkins quote, that I have learned to live by.

How has it been transitioning from composing to directing?

Directing my first spot was challenging and also very rewarding. It was such a pleasure to work with a team committed to support and nurture young directors.

Working with NERD Productions has allowed me to work with other directors of different disciplines which have helped me to broaden my horizons and offer clients a more varied approach to their work.

Click here to view Corinne’s portfolio.

Want to work with Corinne Ladeinde or another NERD? Click here.

NERD Productions’ Roman Bratschi crafts mouth-watering visuals for Sephora

Sephora is launching its first natural ingredients perfumes collections this September. Roman Bratschi, tastefully designed the gorgeous CGI ”DO NOT DRINK” key visuals for the campaign – so good; we want to taste these!  

The collaboration between Roman, NERD Productions and Sephora is a splendid one, just like the mix of elements inspired by nature and texture details that ultimately enhance the overall aesthetic of the products. We spoke to the team about the ways they brought these mesmerising concepts to life.

Continue reading “NERD Productions’ Roman Bratschi crafts mouth-watering visuals for Sephora”