NERD Productions teamed up with Weber Shandwick to design the limited edition Skittles  Pride packs for this year’s Pride campaign

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Skittles has been dazzling fans with Pride-themed packaging since 2020, reinventing their classic design each year to amplify awareness and spread joy. This year, the vibrant new pack, crafted by NERD’s dynamic LGBTQIA+ talents Shay Hamias and Esther Lalanne, bursts with fun and energy to honour the LGBTQIA+ community.

NERD, an eclectic team of directors, illustrators, and photographers, is renowned for their creative flair and commitment to diversity across various platforms. Their recent collaboration with Skittles on the annual Pride pack is a testament to their shared mission of celebrating and uplifting the LGBTQIA+ community with exuberance and style.

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For this project, Milana (NERDs Founder & EP) brought in visual artist Esther Lalanne, known for her dynamic style, to lead the design. Together with creative director Shay Hamias, Esther turned the Skittles rainbow into a lively scene inspired by Berlin’s Tempelhof Field. The design features hands, feet, and a single head, all engaged in different activities like roller skating, playing musical instruments, and forming a love heart with multiple hands. The design also includes an easel and a camera, symbolising creativity and capturing the moment. The vibe is confident and carefree, with the tagline: “When you find your community your colours shine.”

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Esther shared that balancing diverse identities in the design was a delicate and intricate challenge. The final artwork brilliantly captures a supportive and creative community spirit, using vibrant elements that resonate with everyone. Instead of individual characters, the design weaves together symbols that celebrate unity and self-expression, keeping the essence of togetherness at its heart.

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With Pride Month upon us, the limited-edition pack is now available to consumers, and Skittles has promised to donate $1 for every pack sold (up to $100K), as well as match donations up to $25k. These contributions will go to GLAAD, a non-profit LGBTQIA+ advocacy organisation that has partnered with Skittles for Pride Month every year for the last five years.

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Film ‘The Law of The Sea’: Advocating for Asylum Seekers and Global Compassion

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We find ourselves in a world where asylum seekers face formidable challenges, where political decisions can exacerbate their plight, as evidenced by recent developments in the UK.

We sat down with Elmaz Ekrem to talk about her film ‘The Law of the Sea’ that makes us shed light on the interconnectedness of the world crises, urging us all to reflect on the choices we make as a society and to embrace the notion that compassion and empathy must guide our actions in these turbulent times.

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What is the story behind making ‘The Law of the Sea’ ?

This film started life as a graduate project but ended up being televised by Channel 4 as part of their Random Acts series in 2016. It is not a pleasant origin story.

In the summer of 2015, the European refugee crisis was escalating in response to the civil war and attacks by ISIL in Syria. I was on holiday in Turkey. That September, the bodies of drowned children washed ashore a few hundred miles away from where I sat on the beach.

The sadness and grief I felt were overwhelming and I decided I needed to use the opportunity to make my graduation film about this. To make a film about anything else felt like an act of inhumanity. How could I not acknowledge what was happening in the world?

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The team went to Lesvos, one of the Greek islands to receive thousands of migrants crossing the Aegean Sea,and interviewed many people involved in the migrant crisis from volunteers to medics to fishermen. It took a lot of interviews before we found the angle of the documentary and it emerged while translating and transcribing the interviews. We realised that the perspective of the fisherman of Lesvos had been rescuing refugees while going about their usual schedules, and spoke of their unique and heroic experiences with the same level of nonchalance as describing their occupation.

The film, once a dream born out of empathy, found its way to Channel 4, where it would be broadcasted to a wider audience, touching hearts and minds around the world in December 2016.

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What would you like to share to our audience about advocating for migrants and refugees?

After making this film, using art, documentary and filmmaking as a form of activism to advocate for migrants, refugees or displaced indigenous communities became the forefront of my practice, and something I’d like to share is how the climate crisis is something that intersects through humanitarian and social injustices. 

A quote from the Zurich Group on how conflict worsens the climate crises, or vice versa:”This domino effect was felt in Syria, where the desertification of formerly fertile farming land between 2006 and 2010 meant crop yields plummeted, 800,000 people lost their income and 85 percent of the country’s livestock died. As people lost their livelihoods, food prices soared and 1.5 million rural workers moved to the city to find jobs. Those left behind facing poverty were an easy target for recruiters from the Islamic State… societal issues caused by climate change worked to exacerbate existing tensions. The result was a conflict that fueled the world’s worst refugee crises in decades with around 6.6 million Syrians (roughly a quarter of the population) forced to flee their country.”

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My main message is ‘REFUGEES ARE WELCOME’, and should be granted safe passage. But if you’re reading this you probably agree with me.

The horrible truth is that there are people who disagree. As recently as August 2023, the UK home secretary Suella Braverman refused to endorse a scheme that would help asylum seekers in the UK, despite it being described by the UN as “more humane” while she pursues increased detention capacity for immigrants, a programme which is estimated to cost billions. 

As we navigate the climate emergency, we must recognise that global conflict and migration are intrinsically linked. Together, we can create a world where refugees are not only welcomed but embraced, where the threads of compassion bind us as a global community, and where the darkest of times can give rise to the brightest of futures.

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The VFX Factor: Peter S.

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From stumbling upon a hidden door into the filmmaking world to working on some of the biggest feature films and winning awards, NERD’s director Peter S uncovers the secrets behind his remarkable journey. Join us for an enlightening Q&A as Peter shares intriguing insights about his craft, granting us a glimpse into the enchanting realm of VFX.

VFX is a true craft in the classic sense of the word. Where and why did you learn your craft?

Similar to cinematography, VFX is one of those disciplines that requires the encyclopaedic accumulation of knowledge and techniques. You never stop learning, but working at big shops like Weta, with the best in the business, really inspired me to dream big. Initially, I went into VFX because it was a sort of secret door into the filmmaking world. I just happen to have the right skill set, at the right time, and in no time at all, I was sitting beside the world’s biggest directors, studying their approach to storytelling. 

There are two ends to the VFX spectrum – the invisible post and the big, glossy ‘VFX heavy’ shots. What are the challenges that come with each of those as a director?

The invisible shots require a good deal of humility and restraint. Every artist wants to be noticed for their work, but there are better ways to approach those shots. Instead, you have to just stick with the reference, and keep the overall purpose of the shot in mind. It’s a thankless job. The flashy stuff is really fun, but now ALL EYES are on your work so you better not drop the ball!  Those are the shots that give you stomach ulcers in dailies. The potential to fail spectacularly is very real.

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We imagine that one of the trickiest things with VFX is, time issues aside, deciding when a project is finished! How do you navigate that?

With commercials, usually, it’s done when the clock runs out, but on some projects, you are given a lot of time to nail it. And yes, sometimes you can be your own worst enemy, tinkering well past the apex of its potential. I just think that walking away from your work for a little while is the best way to get perspective. Go snowboarding, race go-karts, hike with your kids, anything works. As long as you earnestly disconnect for a little while, and then can return with a fresh pair of eyes.

Is there a piece of technology or software that’s particularly exciting to you in VFX? Why?

At first, I was a little spooked by the AI software that was coming out, but then I leaned into it on a few projects and realised that it can be a useful tool. Anyone who has spent a decent amount of time with AI knows you still need an operator guiding the creative process. It brings a few types of tasks, that have only really been available to the top-tier VFX studios, to everyone else. I’m excited because it levels the playing field a bit, and I can go toe-to-toe with the Titans of VFX! 

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How did you first get into the industry? What was your very first job in the industry and what were the biggest lessons that you learned at that time?

I had a terrifically lucky break when I applied to a little-known studio, called JAK Films, in Northern California. It turned out to be the secret art department that George Lucas was running out of Skywalker Ranch during the making of his Star Wars prequels. It wasn’t until years later that I fully appreciated what a mythic cathedral of storytelling that place was. George had a team of the top concepts in each field – Costume Design, Industrial Design, Creature Design, etc. I got to sit in a room with them every day and see first-hand how much magic you can create when you put egos aside and work to inspire the people around you.

What was your most recent exciting milestone in the industry,  you were super proud of?

While I have won a few awards for some of my commercial work in the past, the award I received last year from the British Animation Awards for AirWick was a really special one. The film was such a simple, clever script that called for a poetic, zen-like approach. Everyone involved respected that calm approach to the crafting of it, and I believe it really shows in the final product. I think that little film will stand the test of time.  

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Watch a process clip here.

What is your favourite commercial/film of all time?

The work that blows me away year after year, is the stuff that I truly have no idea how they pulled off. Apocalypse Now, (based on one of my favourite books) still makes my head explode. It’s spellbinding in its ability to be a huge spectacle, and deep meditation, at the same time. A film like that will never be made again. Like all great art, it demanded the creator’s journey into madness in order to bring back something so special. 

NERD’s Hayley Morris on sustainability in animation

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In a world of computer-generated everything, there are still a few of us who are holding on tight to the traditional and truly handcrafted ways of bringing stop-motion and mixed-media films to life. It’s a bit like being part of a secret society, except our secret handshake involves a glue gun and some felt.

Hayley: ‘For me, there’s nothing quite like the satisfaction of creating something truly unique with my own two hands. I love experimenting with all kinds of physical materials – from paper and fabric to fibres, found objects, and even the occasional pinecone (yes, you read that right!).

But, as with most good things, there’s a downside. When you’re working with real stuff, you’re also generating real waste. After years of working on commercial productions, seeing all those non-biodegradable materials being tossed in the bin at the end of the day was a real bummer.

That’s why I’ve made it my mission to think about the materials I choose to use and encourage others to do the same. By making sustainability a key part of my creative process, I’m always looking for ways to repurpose and reuse materials wherever I can. It’s a bit like a game of “How many different things can I make out of this one roll of paper towels?” (Spoiler alert: the answer is usually a lot.)

But here’s the thing: being environmentally conscious doesn’t have to be a drag. In fact, it’s made my work even more fun and challenging. I’m constantly pushing myself to develop creative solutions for every project, and I’ve discovered all kinds of new techniques and approaches along the way.’

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So, how do I do this in stop-motion animation?

I have a stash of reusable materials for every project. My advice to the animation industry is to integrate sustainability into each project from the start. We should recycle, conserve energy, and repurpose waste. Every project is a puzzle that requires its own sustainable solutions. As artists, it’s our responsibility to be environmentally conscious. Here are some ways I apply this mindset: I use my collection of recycled materials, and when I buy new items, I choose eco-friendly options.


Repurposing objects is not a new concept in animation or human experience. As children, we often use everyday items to create our own imaginative worlds, such as a pile of leaves becoming a castle and a stick becoming Excalibur. As animators, we have the opportunity to continue this sustainable projection of imagination and build worlds that inspire creativity.

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Renowned animators such as the Brothers Quay and Jan Svankmajer also repurpose everyday objects, imbuing them with emotional resonance. They transform the contents of our kitchen drawers into a cacophonous consumer or coat old doll heads with a chilling patina of menace. By using familiar objects, viewers can transition in and out of the illusion, recognizing and reinterpreting them. Animators direct an intimate dance with the object, creating a powerful alchemy that can make audiences fall in love with a puppet made from forks.

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In the music video “Bounce Bounce” for Hilary Hahn and Hauschka, I repurposed forgotten objects found in Brooklyn flea markets and antique stores. A vintage scarf became a fleet of crabs, a doily transformed into a starfish-like creature, sink strainers were used for sea anemones, and even a discarded toy piano became a reef for sea snails and ocean plants. By giving new life to these objects, I created a whimsical and unforgettable display of creativity.

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Bounce Bounce by Hayley Morris

Waste Not Want Not

Too often we dismiss it as a problem that’s out of sight, out of mind. We toss our trash into bins and watch as it’s whisked away by garbage trucks, never stopping to consider the bigger picture. But what if we approached waste in a different way?

When I was working with Explosions in the Sky on their music video for “The Ecstatics,” we wanted to explore the concept of mental clarity and the layering of thoughts. To achieve this, we used transparent materials like plastic, glass, thin paper, and light projections. But where did we find these materials? In rubbish bins, of course!

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The Ecstatics – Explosions

By collecting plastic bottles and other waste materials, we were able to repurpose them into breathing lungs and organic forms. We even used reused glass shards to create custom glass-blown shapes. And to top it off, we used antiquated plastic overhead projector sheets to create an etched 2D animation for the finale. By giving new life to materials that would have otherwise ended up in a landfill, we were able to create a thought-provoking and visually stunning music video.

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Making of – Explosions in the sky

While imaginative repurposing and recycling offer endless possibilities, sometimes embracing material constraint can lead to even more creative solutions.

Imagine creating an entire universe from a single sheet of paper. It may seem daunting, but with the right approach, it’s possible. By embracing the limitations of a single material, we can push the boundaries of our creativity and explore its full potential.

Instead of overwhelming ourselves with endless possibilities, let’s focus on the beauty of simplicity. Let’s take a single sheet of paper and see how far we can stretch its life. Can we create intricate origami designs? Can we use it as a canvas for stunning artwork? Can we fold it into beautiful paper airplanes that soar through the sky?

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Netlfix: The Half of It

Working with Sustainable Brands

If we want to create a more sustainable future for animation, we need to start by collaborating with conscious brands and inspiring others to make eco-friendly choices. One example of this is a commercial for Charlie Banana that was particularly special to me, especially as I was pregnant at the time. Even if I wasn’t working on this project, I would have chosen cloth diapers for my baby because of my commitment to sustainability and my understanding of the impact of products on the environment.

In bringing this film to life, we wanted to showcase the beauty of paper and how it can be seamlessly combined with digital compositing and hand-drawn elements. I made sure to source recycled paper to reduce the project’s environmental impact. But the sustainability efforts didn’t stop there! I saved all the paper scraps from the cutout puppets and props and plan to turn them into new paper, using my skills in papermaking that I learned in a class a few years ago. I love how this process can transform discarded scraps into beautiful, usable paper, even using fibers like old denim jeans!

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Charlie Banana TVC

These inspiring sustainable films demonstrate the incredible versatility of stop-motion animation when done mindfully. As a proud member of NERD team, who shares a passion for sustainability, I am thrilled to see more organisations like AdGreen leading the way in sustainable production practices. It is essential that we take responsibility for the environmental impact of our creative endeavours and strive to make positive changes for future generations.

I believe that as creators, we have a unique opportunity to inspire change through our work. By rethinking our processes and the materials we use, we can create compelling, environmentally-friendly films that make a positive impact. Though it can be a challenge at times, there are countless ways to craft sustainably and make a difference. Let’s all do our part to build a more sustainable future for our planet!

Facebook Lite Film: Connecting people through Storytelling

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NERD Productions presents an empowering commercial film, Directed by Kyla Philander (them, they), for Facebook Lite exploring themes of motherhood, love and unbreakable bonds. The commercial showcases the Lite version of Facebook tailored for regions with low data usage and limited connectivity. The latest version of the social media platform enables family and friends to sow, nurture, and grow relationships no matter what! 

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Diversity & inclusion is at the heart of everything NERD does, so the film was shot across South Africa due to its offering of genuinely diverse communities. Kyla met with local people, filming their personal stories that reveal how Facebook Lite keeps them fully connected. This method was the only way to keep our film authentic. Kyla explains how themes of motherhood and love bring magic to the equation and how the strong human desire to be connected runs throughout the film. 

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Milana, the Executive Producer at NERD, elaborates: “This project touched a few people from the team personally. For me, it was important to find the right talent for our agency & brand, and I couldn’t imagine a better person for it, as Kyla wants to keep the story authentic and relatable.

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During the early production stages, a province in South Africa was hit by intense flooding. Kyla explains:  “It was something out of our control but also a reminder of how crucial communication platforms are for communities at all times.”

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Milana added: “You have to love what you’re doing to be able to communicate these stories and take every challenge as an advantage. The agency was one of the most collaborative clients, easygoing and trusting. Everything just came together perfectly.”

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Rather than an off-the-shelf library track, Kyla felt that the music should be bespoke and carefully crafted in synergy with the film’s visuals. “Something curated and made specifically for the project always elevates it and brings a real feeling of humanity into the work.”

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Kyla added: “NERD Productions follows the path of diversity and inclusion in valuing and representing a vast range of carefully selected directors, illustrators and photographers. Milana and the NERD team champion the D&I space needed in our time. 

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It is so important and amazing at the same time when you can use your craft and talent to work on something like a story about under-represented communities. I am proud to say that Kyla was the person who directed this, someone who can dive deep into the brief and show real people as Kyla did.” added Milana

Watch Facebook Lite

The Art of Animation | PALOMA

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NERD Productions team sat down with a director duo Paloma to talk all things animation, their inspiration, favourite work and the concept of less is more!

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We had a great chat with both Alicja and Lucas and we can’t wait for you to dive deep into their world!

How did you fall in love with animation?

Lucas: Spending summers in Catalunia as a kid, I was lucky to watch lots of animated movies. Having a background in graphic design, I was always surrounded by people who were interested in animation and naturally, it became something that I wanted to do. I wanted things to move 😀

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Alicja: My background was in fine arts and liked to draw. I didn’t know much about animation, that’s when I went to do my Bachelor’s degree at Kingston in Animation and Illustration. I was convinced I would stick to illustration. However, in the second year of Uni we had to choose and I was so confused as to what to pick, sleepless nights and my gut helped me to choose the right path and go for animation. Once I made my decision I started feeling like the fish in the sea.

Tell us about the animation project that kick-started your career?

Lucas: I was working at the animation company and building a wider portfolio for myself. All of a sudden a producer contacted me with an offer to work on a TV show with an incredible story. It was 6 months of all ink illustration/kinetic animation and I worked on it with my wife. This became my first award-winning project that opened a lot of doors!

Alicja: For myself, fresh out of school with no confidence, I went on a Festival round with my own personal project that kick-started my career.

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How would you describe your art style and what are your biggest inspirations that developed it?

Lucas: We try to simplify everything as much as we can. When we do our design we always look and see if we can de-complicate our drawings. Although at the same time, as a solo animation director I don’t think I have a particular style as I have mastered a few different visual styles.

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Alicja: I totally agree with Lucas. One of the main inspirations for me is an American Illustrator – Saul Steinberg along with Johnny Kelly and an animation duo Kijek / Adamski. I love their simplistic style which contains lots of information. 

We also love lines that form things and characters and over the years it developed into one of our signature moves. 

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From your perspective, what’s the key to animation that really lives?

Lucas: In animation, I really love the fact that I can be very self-sufficient. While I also work in live-action where there are a lot of the things I can’t do on my own. Whereas, animation is something I can do even when I am very old and grey, I know I will be able to have the idea and create animation thanks to technology and lots of simple tools. This is what makes animation live for me.

Alicja: To make an animation that really lives it is all about having an idea and the energy behind it. Sometimes it is quite hard to control your imagination and you can always roam free when working on personal projects, unlike commercial work.

Show us your favourite or most impactful project that you’ve worked on – tell us, what is it that makes it special and what were the memorable moments or challenges?

Lucas: Definitely Casper – it has characters, it was very fun and we had an amazing relationship with the agency. Overall, from the very start to the very end of the project everything was perfect.

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Alicja: I agree with Lucas and I would also add my recent personal short film Turbo Love which recently got nominated for the Golden Unicorn at Alpinale in Austria, and got an Audience Award at Prowinjonalia, Poland in April.

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What is your favourite piece of technology or software that you use and how does it help your creative process?

Lucas: I love technology in general. I fight against settling with just one software and I am always hungry to explore all the new software and plugins to connect with technology. When my son was born I had quite a bit of time and learnt DaVinci. We always try to find new things and learn how to use them in our work. 

For example, working on our current project for Google, we are using new things once again.

Alicja: I work a lot with Toon Boom and Lucas always pushes me to try new stuff. I am very grateful for this as I am of conservative nature but do try to learn every day!

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Outside of the field of animation, what really inspires you?

Lucas: For me, it is live-action transitions, how you can magically go from one thing to another without using VFX and stop-motion. I get a lot of ideas when I do sports, ride bikes and surf. This is where the magic happens, all the ideas come through on my 1.5h bike rides.

Alicja: I look at a lot of things online, everyday life and of course, sports. It always helps to clear your mind even when you are stuck with ideas.

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What do you think are the misconceptions about animation throughout the industry?

Lucas: Sometimes people still see animation as a childish thing, something that is only meant for children. This is common for people who don’t have a lot to do with the industry, although we are happy to see how it is changing.

Alicja: People think it takes less time than it actually does. Some clients do not realise how long some things take. Reflecting on what Lucas said, I recently watched Undone on Amazon Prime and it was clearly a very adult story.

Any advice you would like to give to aspiring artists?

Lucas: Find inspiration and create your own world in animation in your personal projects. Fight for doing  what you love while you have more time and you will see how these personal pieces will bring you commercial work too. 
Alicja: Build relationships in the industry, that’s how I met Lucas and here I am. Be open to opportunities and tough challenges!

See more from Paloma here.

Pride, Drive & Excellence in Production: Ira Giorgetti

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NERD Productions’ resident Creative Producer Ira Giorgetti spills the tea on art, producership and being a multi-hyphenate in London

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Who are you?

My name is Ira Giorgetti, and I’m a creative producer, photographer and entrepreneur.

Where are you from (both in UK and heritage)?

I am of British-Filipino ancestry, although I’ve got an Italian stepfather, so I’m a little bit of that too as far as culture’s concerned! I’m based in leafy West London, where I live with my partner and our three-year-old chihuahua.

What do you do?

I’ve got a very mixed professional background as well, to be honest! The day-to-day sees me working my magic with production, showreels, pitches and directors’ treatments at NERD Productions as a Creative Producer. I’m also on NERD’s roster as an Advertising and Portrait Photographer, with a dash of Still Life and E-Commerce in the mix just to spice things up. I’m currently also working on my fledgling side-hustle Provoke Art.

How did you fall in love with what you do?

I’ve been in the media and advertising game since I was about three years old when my mother, then a creative director for a publisher in the Philippines, decided to “hire” me as a talent for a magazine cover when the model they’d booked got ill and didn’t turn up. As a result, I got paid in Mcdonald’s Happy Meals, which was an exciting start to life in the industry!

Anecdotes aside, I’d always been fascinated by film and photography, and I developed a love for the visual arts from a very young age. I first picked up a camera in high school and have been making pictures ever since. Delving into production felt like a natural next step, as I think that creativity flourishes when paired with a good understanding of how to utilise imagination best and turn ideas into reality.

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What’s been your favourite project to produce so far?

It’s hard to pick a single favourite, as I enjoy working with the fantastic roster of diverse directors and outstanding creative talent at NERD. However, a project that resonated with me and my visual aesthetic was a 3D project for Genesis Motors (a subsidiary of Hyundai), which we produced for Innocean USA with our animation director Roman Bratschi. The resulting visualisations were beautifully constructed, conceptually brilliant and genuinely designed with a perfect blend of artistic vision and an eagle eye for details.

What a production tool can’t you live without?

A good old Parker ballpoint pen and ruled index cards. I’m a bit old-school about task management, but I’m trying to learn Notion to better organise my life given how fast-paced things are nowadays!

What’s the most challenging part of the job?

When our team puts hours of effort into pitches only for us to receive word of reworked marketing strategies, delayed campaign dates, or sudden changes to execution and approach. Always hard to hear that the hard work, creativity, and commitment to excellence didn’t make it in front of clients’ eyes. However, that knowledge results in less heartbreak for us in production and our partners, designers, and directors!

What’s something you wish clients knew, but you dare not share?

So much hard work and effort occur in the background, with directors spending hours and hours poring over the little details and flourishes in their work. Sometimes it can feel disheartening when clients want to scale big ideas back or streamline concepts that work best unrestrained. Of course, we always offer our best creative suggestions and advice throughout the entire creative production process, but the client is always right at the end of the day! 

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Creativity & Art

What’s your favourite style of art?

I don’t have a favourite style or genre, although I tend to gravitate towards visual and experiential art. I’m a bit musically challenged, and even though I appreciate poetry and prose, I find myself drawn mainly to photography, illustration, painting, sculpture and architecture. I also love a bit of experiential art here and there, even if most people find it to be a bit corny!

Who/what are your top 3 artistic influences?

I have a great love for the works of Zhang Jigna, Darren Aronofsky and Alasdair McLellan.

What’s the most challenging experience you’ve had on the job?

I once had to shoot a summer fashion campaign during a snowstorm! I just managed to pull it off, although the whole crew had the sniffles for a couple of days after.

What’s your fondest memory of making art?

Probably my early days of exploration and experimentation in the Philippines, where I set up self-motivated projects taking portraits of friends and family with no particular goal in mind. I think that whilst my skill and style have developed significantly since then, I still miss the simpler times of my youth when I didn’t have to think about commissioners and how each project fits into my professional narrative. It was a lot of fun just to grab a camera, hop in the car and drive to the mountains with people near and dear to me – something I sorely miss now that the naivete is gone and I have to think a bit more about approvals, deadlines and deliveries. Of course, production is rewarding in many ways, and I appreciate the daily exposure to different ideas and disciplines. Still, there’s something to be said for one’s first few creative ventures and how that shapes their viewpoint, perspective, and approach.

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The Future

What projects are you working on?

I’m handling a fair few productions at NERD at the moment, including having just delivered some pieces for L’Oreal and Hyundai whilst working on active productions for Google, Air Wick and Guy’s & St Thomas’ Foundation. 

Photography-wise, I recently shot the social campaign for E45’s refreshed range of moisturisers and creams. In addition, I won a competition with M&C Saatchi and the Cabinet Office, which has brought my work to large-scale display at airports, embassies and government offices. Although all that commercial progress aside, I’d love to build Provoke Art up a little more! 

With any luck, I’ll be able to take it from concept to budding side hustle. I’d love for it to be a space where queer artists around the globe are celebrated and allowed the opportunity to get their work in front of more eyes and into more physical spaces. I’ve got a fair bit of interest so far, and a couple of friends from the queer and ESEA communities are keen to get involved!

What’s top of your list of goals and aspirations?

I’d love to say that it was to get published in a certain magazine, land a particular client or receive a specific grant, all of which I’m trying to do. But, for now, I’d be thrilled to see my friends and family in the Philippines again after all we’ve been through with this long and drawn-out pandemic!

Where can we learn more about you and your work?

I love connecting with new people, and I’ve got loads of profiles online where I try my best to engage regularly:

PERSONAL LinkedIn | Twitter | The-Dots

PRODUCTION Website | Instagram

PHOTOGRAPHY Website | Instagram | Portfolio

PROVOKE ART Website | Instagram

NERD Producer & Photographer Ira Giorgetti on the Association of Photography, finding a creative tribe and making work that matters

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5 Questions with NERD Producer & AOP Board Member Ira Giorgetti

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What was it like moving to London and why did you do it?

Ira: I first moved to the big smoke in 2016, back then I was fresh to the local scene and really struggled to find a community where creatives of all backgrounds and interests were both celebrated and supported. I was basically looking for a community  to call my own where guidance without judgment and mentorship without profit were the norm. I’d moved over six thousand miles to be with my partner, but starting over from scratch professionally is definitely a tough period to go through.

The Association of Photographers proved to be a great place where I found kinship with other young artists, where I developed my craft and understanding of the industry and ultimately built many meaningful relationships with similarly minded folk who didn’t put much weight on status, client list or portfolio. I found a real sense of community there, been active in many ways for a few years now and as of 2022 I’m on the Board of Directors!

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Why is it important for artists to find a sense of community?

Ira: I never really liked to fly solo, and I think it’s especially important for people in the creative industry to find a safe space where they feel supported both as an artist and a professional. Within the past couple of years, the AOP has really felt like a  community of people coming together and they’ve done so much to support the craft, the practitioners and the business and institutions that keep the wheels turning.

Although I would be amiss if I didn’t admit that there’s still a need to tackle many issues both locally and in the national, professional sphere when it comes to diversity, inclusion and equality of opportunity. The organization is thankfully modernizing and that’s been reflected with some changes to the leadership structure. 

Aside from a new female CEO the Board of Directors now also includes a pretty even split between male and female members as well as a couple of seats taken up by people of colour (myself included!). The entire membership supported the new direction which was quite heartwarming as it’s something that the rest of my team at NERD and I take quite seriously and champion daily in our approach to fairer, more equitable production.

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What happened when you finally found your tribe?

Ira: I felt supported, excited and largely relieved! Always nice to find people of the same feather, and was always nice when we flocked together to discuss ideas, create opportunities and devour red wine and pizza!

In all seriousness though, I think it really is worth joining your national trade group or professional body as it’s a good place to talk shop, find solutions to problems others have already experienced  and if you’re lucky even make friends!

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What do you do for the organisation and what has the organisation done for you? 

Ira: As a newly elected board member I am part of a few working groups that aim to engage more assistant photographers and early-stage creatives that will allow the organization to broaden its impact, increase its membership and work with both the government and the private sector towards fairer representation and treatment of visual artists.

Something that many creatives struggle with when starting out is the legal and this is an area I got a lot of help in especially in the early days! The forums are also great for talking about kit, discussing the state of the industry and making connections.

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What are your plans for your future as both photographer and board member?

Ira: I fully plan to continue pushing for diversity and inclusion in all senses of the word as I’d love to see the industry start to really take it seriously and stop with all the meaningless faff and tokenistic approaches towards better representation. I also plan to continue personally providing support and mentorship to up-and-coming photographers and creatives as that’s something the AOP did for me back then that’s had a great impact and has helped me get to where I am today!

Since joining AOP Board Ira has taken part on the judging panel of the Black History Month exhibition at Canary Wharf. See more of Ira’s work as part of the AOP’s Black and Minority Ethnic Member Spotlight Focus as well as his profile at NERD.

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


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!

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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! 

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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! 

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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!

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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.

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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.

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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.