NERD’s Airwick ‘Breath of Nature’ wins ‘Best Animation in a Commercial’ at BAA 2022

AirWick

Our photoreal film took the ‘Best Animation in a Commercial’ award at BAA2022 last Thursday. Crafted in collaboration with Havas London and directed by Peter S., this nature-inspired commercial made a lot of noise since it first aired last March. Its incredible high-end animation and whimsical sounds take the viewer through a sunny garden inspired by the director’s local flower market.


One of the most magical features of this spot was the focus on sound design to create a Zen zone that we are witnessing virtually. To accompany the mood of the commercial our team focused a lot on the pace of the animation to dissolve movement and create tranquility of the piece.

Our Executive Creative Producer, Milana Karaica (who is soon to have a lovely baby boy) and Director Peter S. accepted the award on the night:

The rest of the team joined to celebrate:


NERD’s team is incredibly grateful for the recognition of hard work and talent. We are proud to be a part of the community like BAAs as they are the only awards to recognise all forms of animation and reward the work of both new and established animators across all aspects of the UK Animation scene, from student work to commercials, children’s entertainment, short and experiential films, music videos and new technologies.

Women and their allies at NERD on IWD2022

NERD has always been a creative bunch full of diverse talent with strong values at our core and we are on a mission to help our industry be a more diverse & inclusive one for all!


We’ve seen the power of diversity and varied perspectives in our own NERD team and talent roster – more than 75% of our squad is female – but wouldn’t it be great if we could live in a world where this number is not something impressive, where it is just normal? For us IWD is all about breaking the bias, supporting the underrepresented and being surrounded by the proud allies of women!

At NERD we believe that our differences make us stronger! This International Women’s Day we would like to share our thoughts on what this day means to each of us:


Margaux, Social Media Assistant :

‘IWD lets us reflect on the successes of women throughout the years. This is the best day to celebrate and appreciate everything women have achieved and are still trying to achieve.

At NERD, we celebrate women everyday. We celebrate the talent, the passion, and the dedication of the beautiful women that are a part of this team.

The IWD has never just been celebrated one day out of the year. It is celebrated everyday because in every day, there is something for us to celebrate and appreciate in the women around us.’


Lydia, Head of Talent & New Biz:

‘I’ve worked in media sales for over 20 years representing some incredible female directors. At NERD it is so exciting to see so much female talent rising up in animation & live action. A great example to young women making their way through what was a male dominated industry. Keep going girls!!!  I am excited about what is yet to come #wehavegotthis’


Maria, Head of Talent & New Biz Europe:

“IWM is a good moment to remind us of the huge importance of feminine presence in leading roles in society. 

We will always need the equilibrium of masculine ideas, but with all things happening in the world right now, it is evident that the planet Earth is urging for the compassion, sympathy, loving essence of the feminine forces. The world needs us now as leaders!

NERD’s team, including our executive producer, Milana, is a reflection of what compassionate and mindful leaders are, even in a tough industry as advertising could be”


Ira, Creative Producer –  proud ally of women everywhere:

‘International Women’s Day is a great time to celebrate all the courageous and persevering women of the world who endlessly strive to do good and make the world a better place against all odds. 

I see it as the perfect opportunity to be still and reflect on all the women who’ve shown me love and helped me become everything I am today. My heart goes out to my mum, my grandma and all my titas (aunties) and ninangs (godmothers) – today is for you!


Viktoriia, PR Executive:


‘On this day I would like to say THANK YOU to every woman who made a difference in my life. International Women’s Day is after all, just like any other day – a reminder to show your love to everyone and everything around you. I love being a part of a strong female community and on this day, I am insanely grateful to be working in one myself!’’

Shay Hamias, Animation Director & Talent Mentor:

I love finding opportunities to make change happen in the industry, often by simply helping clients discover the importance of inclusion and diversity. I find there’s a benefit to everyone involved!

I usually suggest considering portraying women as heroes, and not just picture-perfect glamorous models but actual women with real body types, skin tones and gender identities. Advertisers and agencies are slowly but surely catching onto the benefits of being more inclusive and forward thinking but it is also our role as creators to help shift perspectives, spark new ideas and allow hearts and minds to grow in love and understanding.


Milana, Executive Creative Producer & Founder:


‘I never had female role models in advertising, I also didn’t notice more than a handful of ethnic individuals in senior positions or those that came from ‘non-traditional’ backgrounds. Bearing in mind that I’m all of those things, my inspiration stemmed from many male-dominated meetings and my fondness for craft and filmmaking.

Together with our male counterparts – there is no reason why we can’t make the industry a more equal one for all talent! As a woman, I don’t want to take away anyone’s opportunity, just an equal chance to try for the same.’

This IWD we are celebrating NERD as a female founded business and pledge, once again , to empower and support women. We encourage you all to celebrate this day or simply say ‘Thank you’ to all the incredible women in your network, from partners and family to your lovely clients and team members.

All illustration by Esther Lalanne.

The Black Cop: a villain, a victim and a hero. 5 Questions we asked Director Cherish Oteka

Exploring the complexities of identity, authority and community with Cherish Oteka, director and producer of BAFTA-nominated “The Black Cop: a villain, a victim and a hero.

NERD: Gamal’s story is about the complex challenges that ethnic minorities sadly have to face to this day. How did you come to know Gamal’s story, and when did you realise that this was something that everybody needed to hear?

Cherish: I first heard about G when I attended a workshop for LGBTQ+ people of colour. During the workshop there was a breakout session to discuss role models within the community and G’s name came up. While I didn’t actually know the details of his story at the time, I reached out to him to generally make contact. G and I built a friendship from there and along the way he shared details of the challenging parts of his journey. He was keen on sharing his story in the hopes that it could help and inspire other people. I knew that this was an important story of overcoming self-hatred and that is a universal journey that could connect with audiences.

NERD: Gamal is proud of who he is and has taken ownership of himself, his past and his identity – all of which he now uses to help better the lives of others. How has his story impacted you personally, and what impact do you think it will have on others?

Cherish: I hope the impact of hearing G’s story will be the same for others as it was for me. While G’s story is shocking and triggering in parts, making the film and meditating on these themes have been healing for me. His story provided an opportunity for me to reflect on pivotal moments I’ve had with my identity and the impact they have had on me. I think everyone can relate to being told directly or indirectly that there are parts of who they are that aren’t good enough. The intention behind this film is to make conscious what is largely unconscious when it comes to self-hatred.

NERD: Race and gender identity are common themes in your work. How do you tell stories to people who have so few touchpoints with the issues facing minorities?

Cherish: Identity as a whole is an area that I am interested in and we all have a sense of self. My approach to storytelling is to tell specific stories in universal ways. In that way, whether someone can directly relate to the struggles of marginalised communities or not is less relevant. It’s ultimately about the emotions that drive our collective experience of humanity and those feelings transcend race, sexuality, class, gender etc.

NERD: There’s a clear exploration of identity, as well as a rallying cry for equality and inclusion. Why did you choose to centre the story of an individual rather than a group of people?

Cherish: G’s story alone touches so many important moments in recent British history. From the Black communities’ resistance of oppressive policing, to the push for LGBTQIA+ equality and the aftermath of the West African ‘farming’ phenomenon, where white families took care of Black children outside the remit of local authorities. There were so many important touchpoints in his story alone that allowed us to speak to several bigger societal issues. Because of this, I didn’t feel like we needed more voices to tell this story. Some of my favourite films are ones that tell big, complicated and nuanced stories through one persons’ perspective and that is what I sought to do with The Black Cop.

NERD: Gamal’s story is inspiring but heart-breaking. Do you have a message for all the young people of colour out there who are silently internalising many of the same conflicts that Gamal faced growing up?

When we think of racism or any other form of bigotry we think of the big events and give little attention to the daily subtle comments and actions that can negatively impact self-esteem. I want us to acknowledge those events, the impact they have and begin or continue a journey of healing.

Want to see more from Cherish? Tap here.

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

5 Questions with NERD Producer & AOP Board Member Ira Giorgetti

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!

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.


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!

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.

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.

Diablo II: Resurrected – A real labor of love and respect by Billelis

Diablo II: Resurrected is a remastered port of the classic dungeon-crawler and we got to craft some truly spectacular labors of love for Blizzard’s iconic franchise.

​While working on this fiery set of artworks, Billelis focused on the importance of the franchise’s heritage, its lengthy history, and endless fan love while also managing his own creative needs and ideas. The combination of all these elements has shaped Bill’s voice within the artwork itself.

Billelis was an obvious choice for this project as there’s no one better suited to portraying such recognisable characters in this distinctly dark, mysterious, and powerful visual style!

The key visual art took around six months to create as there was a lot of back and forth communication with the client to make the piece true to the brand’s vision and legacy the game already has. Blizzard’s original artwork was created over 12 years ago and Billelis nailed the rebirth of the artwork shaping it into a whole new, contemporary style. 

For NERD Productions it was one of the most exciting projects that Billelis has worked on and we were extremely excited to support the creation of such iconic pieces. Once again, an unbelievable collaboration with the artist who truly loves the franchise and his craft.

See more from Billelis here.

Bossing It: Staying Calm During the Tough Times with Milana Karaica

Our founder and creative executive producer on working like an animal, accepting failure and partying like it’s 1995.

Milana is an active diversity and a passionate equality advocate. Having built a successful diversity-led production company, Milana champions innovative and forward-thinking company culture, focusing on empowering and nurturing accomplished as well as young talent and talent from non-traditional backgrounds.

What was your first experience of leadership? 

After being a runner for a while, I landed a cool new job – Office Manager at a busy production company in Soho. Sounds like quite a boring job if the title is anything to go by BUUUT.. I had a team of amazing runners to help me pull off the most random, eccentric production tasks as well as incredible parties, team bonding trips and sometimes even the most bizarre requests. No day was ever the same, no task was ever the same. It meant always being on your toes, continuously learning, meeting new talented people and partying like it’s 1995 every single day! 

How did you figure out what kind of leader you wanted to be – or what kind of leader you didn’t want to be? 

This job meant that I had to interact with producers and EPs on our day to day.. They had their crew, I had mine and we had to come together to make a job happen. 

It was here that I first got the real taste of amazing leaders and also simply horrific ones too. There were those that were kind, polite and open to sharing their knowledge with others on the team regardless of their social background or what role they played in production. On the other hand, you had those that would talk to people like they were dirt on the bottom of their worn-out trendy Converse trainers! It was painful to watch, listen to and simply be in the same room with. Even though I had only little say at that point in my career, I often clashed with those individuals, perhaps even when the situation didn’t involve me at all as I just could not stand unfair behaviour! I knew I wanted to be different from them, power or no power, I did my best to be supportive but straight up at the same time, both with the ones who were mistreated and the ones that were favoured.

What experience or moment gave you your biggest lesson in leadership?

Being a young EP and getting so ahead too quickly! In my eyes I had the right to be there due to my relentless work energy and never saying no to a random all-night task or an unexpected challenge. With that came the need to prove myself though, to my peers whom I left behind, to older colleagues and specifically those that didn’t like me for many personal or subjective reasons – like being too young, too ethnic, or just for being from Croydon! 

I worked like an animal, day & night. Missing family gatherings, birthdays – doing conference calls at funerals… yes, I did that! However, with the recognition and praise came the ego as well. There was a point where I started to care too much about myself and the unfair treatment I was getting, even in this position and actually forgetting that so many others had it the same or worse, but had much smaller voices than I did. 

Did you know you always wanted to take on a leadership role? If so how did you work towards it and if not, when did you start realising that you had it in you?

I think three weeks into my first job in the industry I knew I would run a production company one day. Not because I wanted to lead, but because it really pissed me off how things were being managed from a clique and classist point of view and I wanted them to be done differently, based on merit and talent.

What are the aspects of leadership that you find most personally challenging? And how do you work through them? 

I hate having to let people go! It’s never nice to have to let someone go so I always try to empower people to see why they may be better at something else or be more suited to another adventure. It’s not fair to keep people on if they are not the best version of themselves as they are wasting their own time too, not just yours. 

Have you ever felt like you’ve failed whilst in charge? How did you address the issue and what did you learn from it? 

We all fail! Sometimes you don’t notice a team member is down and struggling with something, be it personal or work related. Sometimes you don’t initially pay enough attention to a problem or an unusual friction between team members. I believe it’s all a part of the process and if we couldn’t learn and improve continuously in our industry, then I would just quit! It simply means it’s got to the point you don’t care enough anymore.

In terms of leadership and openness, what’s your approach there? Do you think it’s important to be transparent as possible in the service of being authentic? Or is there a value in being careful and considered? 

I think honesty is the most important element of any successful relationship. We value this in our personal relationships so why not in our work collaborations? I’m not saying to share your every thought and worry, but to bring transparency while coming up with suggestions is always appreciated whichever side you are on.

As you developed your leadership skills did you have a mentor, if so who were/are they and what have you learned? And on the flip side, do you mentor any aspiring leaders and how do you approach that relationship? 

I have had a few people to look up to over the years and some of those have let me down which is always devastating while others inspired and motivated me more than I expected. I mentor a lot of young and up & coming talent and always treat those as friendships and close relationships. You really have to get to know a person to be able to see their strengths & weaknesses and how to help them get to be the best they can be. It’s a big responsibility!

It’s been a really challenging year – and that’s an understatement. How do you cope with the responsibility of leading a team through such difficult waters? 

Its not my first rodeo, ha! Sadly, I have had to lead teams through tough times before and that is one of my strengths – No matter what life throws at me, I just produce my way out of it. Staying calm and motivated in times of adversity is the best team bonding exercise you can ever ask for. You will be better for it and come out the other side with wonderful friends and more experience to add under your belt.

This year has seen the industry confronted with its lack of action/progress on diversity and inclusion. As a leader how have you dealt with this? 

As a change maker in this specific area it’s been a fantastic year for my talented Directors, Illustrators and Photographers! They are finally getting the opportunities they have been side-lined for in the past for unfair reasons and they get to have a bit more of a spotlight.

How important is your company culture to the success of your business? And how have you managed to keep it alive with staff working remotely in 2020? 

As a company that represents diverse talent, we have been a global company since our first day. Working remotely has not really meant that we have had to change a thing about how we craft. Our company culture is the only reason I started NERD, so it is the key to what we do, how we do it and why – every day! 

What are the most useful resources you’ve found to help you along your leadership journey? 

Other passionate and creative people!

NERD’s Director Rafa Cortés on the power of printing and how to find the best ideas.

Rafa dives deep into the thoughts on how to find the best possible ideas, why he needs to print the scripts and what it takes to be a guy from ‘now’,

What elements of a script sets one apart from the other and what sort of scripts get you excited to shoot them?

Scripts choose me! People who get in touch with me usually already know what I can do for their projects. That’s why I don’t usually get scripts that could be difficult for me to end up shooting. I feel lucky because this saves the agencies, my producers and me a lot of time used in unnecessary pitches. The scripts that catch my attention the most are those where I can really tell a little story and provoke emotions to the audience.

How do you approach creating a treatment for a spot?

First and foremost, I print everything. I need to see a script on paper so I can draw on it, move things around. On the first day I never try to do anything with it, I just go away from my desk and spend some time with my family to let my mind relax trying to keep the project in the back of my head till the ideas start appearing by themselves. After that, I try to imagine what points of the treatment will help me explain what I would do with it. Mechanic typing comes then, I let everything I have flow naturally into the treatment.

What I don’t do is to start the process looking for references. It might be an ego thing, but I let my mind come to something on its own, look within myself. I, of course, can come to it naturally, although it might have already been created and it is perfectly normal. I do need references anyway, no matter how much I dislike it, because I need to find a way for the agencies and the clients to visualise my proposals. Although, I still think it is good to come up with something on your own first.

Nenuco – Regalo

If the script is for a brand that you’re not familiar with/don’t have a big affinity with or a market you’re new to, how important is it for you to do research and understand that strategic and contextual side of the ad? If it’s important to you, how do you do it? 

In my commercial work, I’m there to help sell a product/service, and to associate the companies and their brands to certain feelings or ideas. We always need to distinguish the brand from their competitors, how they’re different and how we can show it in the best possible and more effective way. There’s always a moment when I need to do some research, market research and also ask the agency/client some questions to help me understand where they are at and what they are looking for.  The best way to get a genuine, interesting spot, is to make bespoke work. 

For you, what is the most important working relationship for a director to have with another person in making an ad? And why?

I think the most important is trust and collaboration, with everyone – producer, creative team, management, crew, etc. An important part of my job is to help solve their problems, read between the lines, and come up with the best ideas!

La Quiniela 70 Aniversario (Trio)

What type of work are you most passionate about – is there a particular genre or subject matter or style you are most drawn to?

Fiction, storytelling, recreation of reality and anything that involves testimonials. Errol Morris is a director I look up to and I often think that I would feel at home facing a lot of the testimonial and commercials projects he has masterfully crafted. 

What misconception about you or your work do you most often encounter and why is it wrong?

One of my biggest frustrations is when people think there’s no script or mise en scene behind my work, that everything happened for real. My ability to make something that is fake seem very real is what I am also known for. But it is sometimes difficult to imagine that kind of work for people who haven’t been following the process. They usually think I am lucky with getting a lot of real stories, told by ‘real’ people, when in fact, there’s a lot of hard work in writing scripts, casting actors and all other things. I’m mostly about fiction!

What’s the craziest problem you’ve come across in the course of a production – and how did you solve it?

It was one of my personal projects, a feature film. I had a scene with one very complicated and strong actor. He had to wear a gorilla mask, you can imagine, as an actor it might be quite frustrating. Then he got really angry because of something I didn’t really understand. He is German and he started shouting in German, so what I had to deal with was a person wearing a gorilla mask, shouting in the language no one understood and I was the person in charge, who had to fix everything. What did I do? I went up to him and said “Wait a minute, do you realise I have a gorilla shouting at me in a foreign language in the middle of a set, can you help me solve this?”. After a deep pause, he smiled, we both laughed and the conflict was resolved.

La Quiniela – El Grito

How do you strike the balance between being open/collaborative with the agency and brand client while also protecting the idea?

In the commercial world, I really fight for finding the best possible idea that works for both me and my clients. The client knows the brand, I know filmmaking, and we create harmony of those things together.

What are your thoughts on opening up the production world to a more diverse pool of talent? Are you open to mentoring and apprenticeships on set?

I tend to be open to anything that makes me see the world from new different angles, I like meeting new people and hearing different and sometimes controversial ideas. I have different friends, I have worked with different people and I am very happy that I am able to learn from people who come from a different background than I do.

Although, I do not specifically look for anything but my doors are always open!

I mentored quite a few people who are now directors and actors. I wish I had more guys like me when I started, a mentor who would advise and help. This is essentially why I am mentoring everyone who comes to me and needs my help.

How do you feel the pandemic is going to influence the way you work into the longer term? Have you picked up new habits that you feel will stick around for a long time? 

I wanted to think that this pandemic would make us better than we were, same with the economic crisis. I tend to be optimistic and I have learned a few things myself.

Working from home has certainly made us appreciate our loved ones more, as well as the change in work ethic. For me, it was no new working from home, I live in Mallorca and I do most of my work from there, so I was trained to work from home for years 😀

Your work is now presented in so many different formats – to what extent do you keep each in mind while you’re working? 

It depends on every project, sometimes you need to put more effort in one of the formats and create others to support the main point of the campaign.

Depending on the format you shoot it, you always need to remember those extras to make it work across all platforms.

VW Polo – Pelota

What’s your relationship with new technology and, if at all, how do you incorporate future-facing tech into your work?

I am a guy from ‘now’. As soon as something new comes out, I will be one of the first people to try it out. I was one of the first guys in Spain who started shooting with a RedOne camera, when people were afraid of digital video, and will be happy to continue to incorporate new technologies in my work as soon as they come.

With new technologies, we should always keep ourselves at the top of the game. For me, it is applying my unique ideas to this new technology, it gives you the advantage over others and I would suggest everyone to do the same.

See more from Rafa here.

‘Must know’ facts about NERD Productions animation director Sharon Liu

Sharon Liu on visualising the core values of a brand and using her skills to enhance the power of women.

Earlier this summer NERD Productions spoke to Sharon Liu about her experiences, director tips and tricks, and a few opinions on recent changes in the world, and how it impacted her career.

 What elements of a script sets one apart from the other and what sort of scripts get you excited to shoot them?

I get excited by scripts that are full of emotion and might be challenging to describe in words.

How do you approach creating a treatment for a spot?

I read the deck over and over again, to get a feel for what the client wants to achieve (both aesthetically & technically). Then I will thoroughly do my research to find a connection between what I think would be the coolest approach but still effectively reach the client’s goal. Once I have that connection/idea in my mind, I can start sketching out some style frames. Most of the time the thinking takes longer than creating.

 If the script is for a brand that you’re not familiar with/ don’t have a big affinity with or a market you’re new to, how important is it for you to do research and understand that strategic and contextual side of the ad? If it’s important to you, how do you do it?

I always think one of the greatest parts of being a director is that I get to work on projects/ campaigns in areas that I’m not familiar with. It keeps me curious and learning.

Therefore I take research very seriously, it helps me to visualise the core values of the brand. I compare the brand’s ad campaigns from the past to the more recent ones. Then I brainstorm with my colleagues and constantly mix and match ideas until the best creative solution appears. I will take notes about the brand’s target audiences and try to find out what people like the most from the brand so I can enhance those aspects as well as delivering the message from the campaign creatively.

Nina Simone – Colour is a beautiful thing

For you, what is the most important working relationship for a director to have with another person in making an ad? And why?

It will have to be my producer, she forms a solid bridge between me and the clients, manages the technical side of the project so that I can execute the creative side.

What type of work are you most passionate about – is there a particular genre or subject matter or style you are most drawn to?

I’m open to all kinds of collaborations, I like to use my skills to support things I like and believe in. In particular, I like to use my skills to enhance the power of women. I really enjoy drawing and designing female characters.

What misconception about you or your work do you most often encounter and why is it wrong?

In the past I’ve had people comment that my work doesn’t have a ‘style’ because I don’t use the same materials/methods for every project and I don’t draw the same character over and over. I would like to think I do have a style but perhaps not in a conventional sense.
As well as being an animation director, I am an artist and I like to creatively challenge myself all the time, so that my work will consistently morph to improve and keep up with trends. I like to use different techniques/styles to create bespoke designs for every client, I think my strengths lie in an exciting use of colour and an elegant style of storytelling.

Lady Florence Boot

 How do you strike the balance between being open/collaborative with the agency and brand client while also protecting the idea?

As a creator, I have always believed that it’s part of the fun to be able to deliver the idea in multiple ways. I see the project/idea as everyone’s baby (client, agency & production company). We all share the same goal which is to make sure the baby is safely delivered and grows healthily. Therefore I have trust that other’s opinions and criticisms are in the best interests of the project and I hope that my clients have the same confidence in me.

What are your thoughts on opening up the production world to a more diverse pool of talent?

I think that would be the best way forward. From my personal experience, a woman of colour in London, it would be a dream come true to see diverse talents exchanging ideas and supporting each other. I believe together we can create something really special.

Your work is now presented in so many different formats – to what extent do you keep each in mind while you’re working (and, equally, to what degree is it possible to do so)? 

In a way, a different format means a different canvas. It’s almost impossible to keep the artistic composition the same on every screen. However I will always try to design my shots with extra artwork at the edges of the frame so there is wiggle room for me to reposition the shot if I need to.

See more from Sharon here.

NERDy Work Secrets from Lydia, Head of Business and Talent

As a production company that represents diverse talent and crafts for global clients, NERD Productions has always been progressive in everything we do! We had mastered the WFH concept way before it became a thing we all now call ‘the new normal’.

The creative industry never sleeps and we need to be at the top of the game, producing and creating inspiring visuals. To our team production is all about human connection and relationships, this is why we have Lydia. She is a ray of sunshine and that one person who always brightens up every room she ever happens to be in. We spoke to her and she shared her secrets of working and nailing it at NERD!

We hope these thoughts give you an insight into what it is like to be a NERD and rock the world of production!

  1. Our talent pool is where the magic happens. I feel motivated when I watch our directors shine, see them grow within their skillset, and the spark in their eyes when they receive the next script to work on.

  1. The importance of maintaining relationships is what numerous lockdowns have taught me. It is important to gain but also maintain those relationships with our creatives, friends, and producers. We like to have casual chats and catch-ups with our clients and talent. Good relationships always lead up to a fantastic job in the creative industry!

  1. NERD is a bunch of very creative people and we thrive when we receive exciting scripts. As a sales rep, my day-to-day life consists of lots of calls, emails, knock-backs, and cancellations. This line of work is extra rewarding, especially when you secure another wonderful project. That being said, receiving inspiring, creative scripts is one of the main points that makes me excited about work!

  1. NERD Productions is a big family. The past year has proven how close we all are and how important it is to be there for each other every step of the way. After all, we are all in the same boat and we sail together! The culture at NERD is what keeps me going – regular catch-ups, Zoom coffees, virtual parties, and that general feeling of belonging and care.

  1. Last but not least is running. This is one of those activities when I connect with my body, let it flourish, and nurture my mind. I like to get a good early morning run at least 2-3 times a week. What is better than a sense of accomplishment and endorphins early in the morning? Ready to crack on and keep winning! 

Whole Earth ‘WE’RE WITH YOU THE WHOLE WAY’

We’re proud to announce that our latest TVC for Whole Earth goes live today! This collaboration was made in peanut-buttery heaven as we love the brand’s creativity, heritage, patriotism, love of sport, and dedication to making the Earth whole again. 

There is nothing more we enjoy than using our creative skills to craft visuals for feel-good brands that have sustainability at heart.

Milana Karaica, EP.

This film was a true collaboration with creative agency Isobel featuring Joe Fraser, Holly Bradshaw, Helen Glover and Zoe Smith; four outstanding Team GB athletes living the Olympic dream and training relentlessly for the upcoming Games in Tokyo.

The tactile film transports us across the globe to a quirky, sunny and earthy animated rendition of Japan dreamt up by the animation and design team at NERD where we get a glimpse into the lives of our Team GB athletes. We feel their passion come right through the screen as we see them vault, split and heave their way to victory.

NERD’s very own Shay Hamias directed the charming, handcrafted film, his playful sense of fun and whimsy visual approach is a natural fit for the spirit of this film. 

“I had a real blast creating this film! We used hand-drawn animation, photography, cutouts and all sorts of different textures and layers to craft this mixed media universe. The hardest part was probably arranging to film the athletes as their busy schedules, difficulties with access to their usual training spaces and double-safe COVID production measures made for a real challenge!”

Shay Hamias, Director

The creative process was made particularly enjoyable by the agency team who gave us a lot of freedom to explore the best visual ways to bring different elements to life, like when we had to come up with novel ways to incorporate jars of peanut butter into an athletic routine. We also needed to find ingenious methods to get the required live-action footage, including digging up a vintage rowing machine for Helen and figuring out clever ways for Holly to simulate some vaults. Whole Earth generously provided us with an overflowing supply of peanut butter on set – we just chalk it down to the perks of being a production company!

The real fun came after all the footage was captured and we went into post-production as we needed to get just the right blend of smooth animation and organic, crunchy textures for Whole Earth’s lovable, delicious product. We wanted the visuals to be every bit as authentic as the yummy spread itself. Animating the athletes was no easy feat either, but we luckily had help from another NERD director Peque Varela. She perfected their playfully natural cartoon movements and made sure the object tracking was on point.

We were lucky to work with friendly, fantastic, best-in-class talent on every side and we’re really happy with what we’ve all created. It’s always a fun, collaborative process when we get briefs like this from perfect agency teams and we’re always down to cook up new approaches and try out-of-the-box routes! 

The spot airs nationwide from today, if you happen to see it do cheer our team on. Watch the spot here and join the journey!

NERD Productions is a creative production company in London. We represent a diverse roster of hand-picked directors, illustrators and photographers who craft memorable, engaging and award-winning animation, illustration, live-action, mixed-media and photography for television, digital, social, editorial and everything in between.