From the makers of AirWick Day, AirWick Night comes to a screen (and a side table) near you! NERD Productions and Peter S. send a sense of ease and relaxation over the airwaves with this stunning TVC in partnership with Havas.
The new film immerses you in a world of fireflies and lavender, married with a perfect bed of relaxing sound design. So sit back, relax and check out the full spot here.
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!
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 😀
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
Exciting times at NERD! We had a chance to catch up with our latest signing creative powerhouse and stop-motion director Rachael Olga Lloyd. We spoke to Rachael about everything and anything under the sun, we hope you enjoy getting to know her as much as we did!
Growing up as a very British kid with a relaxed Christian upbringing Rachael was always a cheeky one with an overactive imagination. Art was one of Rachael’s obsessions; she would make up fantasy stories, draw creatures, witches, and unicorns as a creative outlet. Rachael even had her own little club called ‘The Creepy Club’ where she would tell horror stories at her local school to anyone who would listen.
All these fantasy and horror stories made for a fun childhood and Rachael grew up as a mixture of extrovert and introvert, often switching between those two. Happy-go-lucky, she’s always in touch with her inner child and that’s apparent in her work. She’s both her own harshest critic and her biggest fan!
Rachael kicked off her directing experience back at the university where she was studying Animation and her group of friends won a pitch to make a film for Fair Trials charity. It was her first job as a Director. Getting into stop motion was kind of an accident, allowing her to discover experimental stop motion and realise this is something she wanted to explore. Learning the craft is a continuous process and she always learns something new on the job (as well as discovering things on YouTube as she started out). “Make make make” is the approach Rachael stuck to to perfect her technique and create the stunning films she shares with the world.
The first job for Fair Trials showed Rachael that she can do what she truly loves and get paid for it too. A pivotal piece of work for her was the first film: The Lonely Mountain. After making that it felt like all the pieces fell into place and she understood that animation was what she wanted to spend her life doing. As an artist, she always tries to push her style towards something new – this time, music videos for Frances were a chance to explore her craft even more. Exploring one’s personal style and applying it to their commercial work was the ideal way for development.
As a stop-motion director, a lot of craft is done by hand and this is what Rachael enjoys the most. Seems like a perfect situation doesn’t it? She calls it ‘therapeutic and rewarding as you always have a physical thing to show at the end for your time spent.’ Stop motion involves a lot of problem-solving like making the idea into reality and finding physical things that reflect exactly what you have on your mind which happens to be ‘the most rewarding part of the whole job’ for Rachael.
Speaking of the nature of the job, uncertainty, when the work is slow, does bring its own insecurities, however, Rachael would hate to be a 9 to 5 person. The free time allows her to push her personal style and technique which always comes in handy for any project. Keeping herself fresh and open to new experiences, she enjoys hanging out with industry friends, attending festivals and building connections with people on production.
We see a lot of contradiction when dealing with stop motion: ‘I always find it really sad when stop motion becomes so honed and perfected that most people don’t even know its stop motion!’ and for that reason ‘stop-motion is one of the hardest mediums to use so why use it unless you fully utilize what is so unique about it; the handmade feel and the imperfections.’
We always get excited about stop motion and it is very refreshing to see more and more stop motion animation spots where ‘stop motion being released that is new, different and not aimed at children.’
As in any industry, there’s always space for improvement and ‘green lighting and encouraging more experimental and varied animation is appreciated. There will always be a lot of the same stuff being recycled as it is safe and lucrative. But more risks and pushing boundaries would help. ‘
Being inspired by women in the industry, Rachael feels ‘women directors who have smashed through that cautiousness and have the complete confidence to believe in themselves and their work, and that inspires me a lot as I have had a struggle with it myself.’
Outside of the animation world, Rachael is very much a multi-dimensional individual who likes to hike, watch TV series (Korean dramas) and play computer games. Professional passion still doesn’t go away when thinking about free time as she enjoys all different handcrafts, collecting home pieces during her travels and cats!
Being inspired by Tom Rosenthal and Keaton Henson, Rachel’s taste in music, again, helps her explore different themes in her work. On a nerdy side, ‘Surprise, surprise, I’m a massive nerd. I love gaming in my spare time, RPGs, board games and DnD if I have the time.’
Having followed through Rachel’s story, we see her being always fulfilled by exploring her own style, inspired by everything around her and forever eager to explore. Her passion and drive for her craft make her a perfect match for NERD’s roster, and we could not be more thrilled to have her join our talented team!
Although our peers feel that efforts for a more diverse industry are being made; we still think that the actions taken are surface level, and black people are a rarity in our industry.
We spoke to black creatives who contribute significantly to their field and have asked them words of advice for current and future artists of colour wanting to break through the creative industry.
Next up is Animation Director Corinne Ladeinde.
Corinne is an award-winning animation director with a passion for storytelling, design, animation and illustration. After working as a lead compositor on projects such as The Snowman and the Snowdog and We’re going on a Bear Hunt! for Channel 4, Corinne further pursued her directing ambitions and has since directed a range of commercials and online films for clients such as Dove, Bach, Bonjela and Liz Earle amongst others.
When did you decide to become an animator/illustrator?
From the age of 6 and growing up, I had in mind that I will become an animator; but once I had graduated and dive into the professional world, I realised that I love storytelling and from then on, started directing.
How has your upbringing influenced the work that you do today?
My mum is a true stoic. She is my inspiration to always investing my time in the things I truly enjoy. My mother used my brother and me as an excuse to watch the latest animated Disney films at the time. I grew up on a diet of animation from the Lion King to Aladin and The Nightmare Before Christmas. When I was a kid, I was reading a lot, attended regular arts and crafts activities, theatre and galleries. All these things have influenced my vision as an artist.
What advice would you give your younger self?
“To act as if it’s impossible to fail”. This is an Anthony Hopkins quote, that I have learned to live by.
How has it been transitioning from composing to directing?
Directing my first spot was challenging and also very rewarding. It was such a pleasure to work with a team committed to support and nurture young directors.
Working with NERD Productions has allowed me to work with other directors of different disciplines which have helped me to broaden my horizons and offer clients a more varied approach to their work.
Since this whole thing started, many of us around the world, even those who haven’t been infected by the virus, have had to self-isolate at home for the past few months. Before that, we’ve all had planned to travel the world, meet-up with loved-ones, attend weddings, parties or grab a coffee with a colleague – simply, enjoy our lives in different ways. Working from home for us, NERDs, was nothing new, although this situation is a bit different. NERD’s Executive Producer and avid painter Claire shares her tips to coping with self-isolation and anxiety, which we hope will help you or someone you know turn things around and enjoy the simple things we might sometime take for granted.
Chris and Ty are the fraternal union behind toast, known for their dreamy miniature animated worlds that tell amazing stories. With their heavily stylized 3D animation style, Toast’s eye-catching and mesmerising scenes allow them to express their distinctive style while grabbing the audience’s attention