LGBTQ+ and Safety in the Workplace: Ira Giorgetti

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In honour of Pride Month, Ira Giorgetti, one of NERD’s passionate Creative Producers, discusses the key factors that make a workplace safe and inclusive for people who identify as LGBTQIA+.

We explore the significance of inclusive policies, diverse leadership, and an open and accepting culture in order to foster a sense of security, trust, and belonging for all.

As a queer person of colour, what makes a workplace feel safe or unsafe for you?

When it comes to feeling safe and supported in the workplace, there are a few key topline factors that play a significant role:

  1. Inclusive Policies and Practices: A safe and inclusive workplace has well-defined policies that explicitly protect LGBTQIA+ individuals from discrimination and harassment. Leadership has to ensure that policies are communicated effectively and upheld consistently, creating a sense of security and trust among employees.
  2. diverse and Representational Leadership: A workplace needs diverse leadership, including individuals from LGBTQIA+ and racial/ethnic minority backgrounds. Representation at the top sends a powerful message that everyone’s voices are valued, and it helps foster an environment where different perspectives are respected and celebrated. At NERD Productions, we are lucky to have an open-minded female founder from an ethnic-minority background, so we’re a head above the rest right from the starting line!
  3. Open and Accepting Culture: A safe workplace is one where people can be open about their identities without fear of judgment or negative repercussions. Creating a culture of acceptance, where colleagues and superiors actively listen, learn, and support each other, is crucial. This includes embracing differences, challenging biases, and fostering a sense of belonging for all employees.
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Pride Inside National Campaign DOOH (2020)


In contrast, an unsafe workplace for me would be one where discrimination, microaggressions, or biases go unaddressed, creating a hostile and unwelcoming environment. A lack of diversity in leadership positions and a culture that ignores or dismisses the unique experiences of LGBTQIA+ individuals and people of colour can make it challenging to feel safe and thrive professionally.

At NERD Productions, our core values revolve around crafting excellent creative work and championing diversity and inclusion. We strive to create an environment where colleagues and partners feel safe, respected, and empowered to bring their authentic selves to work. By fostering a culture of acceptance, celebrating differences, and providing a platform for diverse voices, we ensure that our workplace is a haven for everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or ethnicity.

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Raven Mandella (Great Exposure UK 2022)

Can you compare your experiences as a queer person who has worked and lived in two countries with differing views on rights and protections for the LGBTQIA+ community?

In the Philippines, where comprehensive anti-discrimination laws are lacking, marginalised groups, including the LGBTQIA+ community, often face underrepresentation and are susceptible to abuse. The absence of legal protections and societal acceptance creates an environment where expressing one’s authentic self can be challenging and sometimes risky.

On the other hand, moving to London in 2016 offered a transformative experience for me and my partner, with whom I’d been in a long-distance relationship for over five years. The city is known around the globe for its progressive stance on diversity and inclusion, which shows in its comprehensive legal protections for LGBTQIA+ individuals. Such laws provide a profound sense of safety and allow people to openly express their identities without fear of legal repercussions or social exclusion.

The contrast between these places highlights the significance of safe and inclusive workplaces. Working in a company like NERD, which prioritises diversity and inclusion, becomes particularly meaningful. Our team and culture provide a supportive environment where individuals from marginalised backgrounds, including myself, can thrive and contribute their unique perspectives to the creative process.

Having personally encountered the challenges faced by the LGBTQIA+ community in a country without robust legal protections, I am deeply aware of the urgency and importance of advocating for greater rights and equality. My experiences in the Philippines and London fuel my passion for promoting diversity, amplifying underrepresented voices, and working towards a more inclusive future for all.

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Pride Inside National Campaign DOOH (2020)

How does feeling safe in your working environment impact your personal life?

Feeling safe at work as a queer photographer and producer positively impacts my personal life. It allows me to authentically capture the beauty of men’s fashion and the intricacies of the male form without holding back and fearing judgment from my professional peers. It allows me to create art that resonates with my identity, build meaningful relationships, and maintain a life with my loved ones by my side.

Whether I’m shooting in Soho, a vibrant queer hub in London, or working with friends from home who also identify as part of the community, a safe working environment strengthens connections. It allows us to embrace our identities fully.

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Munroe Bergdorf (Trans Activist, Contributing Editor At British Vogue)


Working with clients and freelance talent in the LGBTQIA+ community is a joy. We share a common understanding and appreciation for each other’s journeys. Feeling safe at work fosters an atmosphere where everyone can bring their authentic selves to the table, resulting in collaborative projects celebrating diversity.

Feeling safe also spills into my personal life with my partner and our chihuahua, Momo. When a workplace is genuinely secure and inclusive, it allows one to strike a healthy work-life balance, allowing for the time and energy to nurture relationships and create a loving environment at home.

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Portrait of Abigail Thorn (PhilosophyTube)

The Art of Production: Maria, Head of Business and Talent in Europe

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Introducing Maria, our Head of Business and Talent (Europe), who offers a glimpse into her life in the production industry. From navigating the challenges of getting started to managing difficult relationships and being the calming force,  Maria has seen it all. Having discovered her love for production in London 14 years ago, she never looked back and knew this was the path for her.

We recently caught up with Maria to gain valuable insights into relationship building in production. Her answers to some of the most pressing questions are sure to provide the invaluable knowledge & truths you’ve been seeking!

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How did you first get involved in the production and what appealed to you about it?

It first started 14 years ago, when I was an office manager in a post-production company while I lived in London. Later on, when I moved to Madrid it became very natural to start as a talent rep as I already knew the industry and its peculiar jargon.

What about your personality, skills and experience make this position such a great fit?

Besides the general knowledge that this industry needs, I believe it’s crucial to possess an empathetic personality to grasp the needs of clients/brands. Luckily, I naturally possess this trait 🙂

What piece of advice would you give to someone just starting their career in production?

To avoid getting overly caught up in the tumultuous nature of this industry, I would recommend not spending all of your energy on it. Instead, prioritise engaging in enjoyable and creative endeavours while also selectively choosing meaningful projects to take part in, as they will help make your journey more manageable.

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Thinking back to some of the most challenging experiences you’ve had in your career, what do you think tends to lie at the heart of the more tense or difficult client? 

Well,  there’s been a few, the worst one involved a poor relationship between the agency and the client, making the entire process much more excruciating than it should have been. I think taking the time to get to know each other, and building trust and respect would help hugely!

And what are the keys to building a productive and good relationship?

Being sympathetic to other people’s situations. Never take things personally, when someone does something wrong, even if you feel it was directed at you, they usually have their own struggles.

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What’s your view on disagreement and emotion – is there a place for it and if not, why not? If so, why – and what does productive disagreement look like?

There’s always a place for disagreement, otherwise, there wouldn’t be a place for productive conversation. It is important to put everyone’s needs and limits on the table to have a better process and better end result. 

These days, agencies and production companies do so much beyond traditional campaigns. As a producer or account manager/sales manager you do so much to put all the pieces together – and that complexity can often be mirrored on the client stakeholder side too.
What’s the key to navigating (and helping the client navigate) that complexity?

As an account/business development manager, the key is to truly listen to everyone’s needs. Paying attention to all creative and practical opinions will help find a balance within all of them and integrate them into a funnel to materialise the best out of it.

What recent projects are you proudest of and why? What was challenging about these projects from a sales/production perspective and how did you address those challenges? What was so satisfying about working on these projects?  

It was a huge campaign for Facebook and the production process was complex. The process was painful but in the end, the campaign was a huge success 😉  It was incredibly rewarding to see all of our efforts come to fruition and to know that we had played a significant role in achieving our client’s goals.

NERD Productions: Promoting a Sustainable Future for Advertising

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At NERD Productions, we firmly believe in the harmonious relationship between creativity and sustainability. We strive to minimise our environmental footprint and advocate for sustainable practices at every stage of the production process, ensuring a better and greener future.

Here are some of our top ideas on how the production industry can actively contribute to a more sustainable world:

1. As a production company, we often influence viewers’ lifestyle choices, so how can we encourage our global audiences to adopt more sustainable consumption habits?

  • Create content that showcases the importance and benefits of sustainable living. This content can inspire viewers to adopt similar practices in their daily lives.
  • Collaborate with sustainable brands and organizations to create content that promotes sustainable products and services. This can create a positive association with sustainability in the minds of your audience.
  • Lead by example and ensure that your own production processes are sustainable, minimising your impact on the environment.
  • Engage with your audience and encourage them to share their own sustainable practices and experiences. This can create a sense of community and inspire others to adopt similar practices.
  • Support sustainable initiatives by sponsoring events, donating funds, or volunteering your time. This can create a positive association with sustainability in the minds of your audience and encourage them to do the same.

By implementing these ideas, we can encourage sustainable consumption habits and make a positive impact on the environment.

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NERD Sustainability Advocate & Director: Lucas Borras ‘Arrow’

2. How can we best collaborate with communities and organisations in advertising to promote sustainable initiatives beyond internal production processes?

  1. Offer resources: Provide resources and support to help the community/organisation implement sustainable practices. 
  2. Co-create campaigns: Collaborate with the community/organisation to co-create campaigns that promote sustainability. This ensures that the message resonates with the community and is more likely to be effective.
  3. Look for sustainable opportunities: Look for parts of the story or processes that can be made more sustainable. Highlighting these aspects can inspire others to take action towards sustainability.
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NERD Sustainability Advocate & Director Rachael-Olga Lloyd ‘Everything InBetween”

3. How can we entice clients and agencies to invest in making production more sustainable, as this usually comes at a higher cost?

Investing in sustainable production is not only essential for a better future, but it can also bring numerous benefits to clients and agencies. However, it’s crucial to entice them to make the initial investment. Here are some ways to make sustainability more engaging:

Firstly, highlight the long-term benefits of sustainable production. While it may require higher costs initially, sustainable practices can result in significant long-term cost savings. For instance, by reducing energy consumption, waste, and improving efficiency, businesses can ultimately increase profitability and create a positive brand image.

Secondly, showcase the business case for sustainability. Presenting research and case studies that demonstrate the financial benefits of sustainable production can help clients and agencies realise the value of such practices. This can include increased market share, customer loyalty, and an improved reputation.

Thirdly, offer incentives to encourage sustainable production. These can be in the form of reduced rates, additional services, or other perks. By offering tangible benefits, clients and agencies can be motivated to invest in sustainable production.

Lastly, encourage collaboration to identify areas where sustainable practices can be implemented without compromising production quality. Working collaboratively with clients and agencies can also help reduce costs and increase buy-in from stakeholders.

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NERD Sustainability Advocate & Director: Brett De Vos ‘World Diabetes Day”

4. How to reduce digital pollution? Our starter’s top tips for everyone:

We believe in constantly reevaluating practices to ensure they are effective and sustainable. Simple solutions like eliminating email signature images and avoiding sending unnecessary emails can significantly reduce data usage and your carbon footprint.

Sustainable web design practices such as image optimisation and file compression can further reduce the energy required to load web pages. Using video conferencing and allowing for remote work can save time, money, and emissions from unnecessary travel.

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NERD Sustainability Advocate & Director: Hayley Morris “Charlie Banana”

The Art of Production: Lydia Glanville, NERD’s Head of Business and Talent

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Step into the world of Lydia, Head of Business and Talent at NERD Productions, and get a glimpse of the thrill and excitement of the production industry. Getting briefs, catching up with producers & creatives on a daily, nurturing talent and much more. Lydia’s passion for the industry started at the age of 19 and it never stopped!

We managed to steal some time from her busy schedule to pick her brain on how she navigates the industry where personal connections are paramount. We also snatched a few bits of advice for those who are perhaps looking to embark on a similar career journey.

How did you first get involved in the production and what appealed to you about it?

It all started when I was 19 years old and worked as a receptionist at a production company in London. From then on I knew it was an industry I wanted to get involved in.

What about your personality, skills and experience make this position such a great fit?

People say I have always had “ the gift of the gob” and connecting people has always been something I felt I was good at and still enjoy doing immensely. I don’t like giving up, so pursuing the right brief for the right director as well as finding that perfect match for the client is crucial. 

I like to laugh and always say that I can hopefully make people laugh too, it always breaks the tension. Listening to clients’ wants and needs is another quality that I use in my professional life. 

Being spontaneous and picking up that phone to absolutely anyone has always been something that has never phased me and that has led to making great connections over the years.

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What piece of advice would you give to someone just starting their career in production?

Go with it, go slow and carefully, and don’t be afraid to push the boundaries. More than that, don’t give up at the first or last hurdle, push on through and do it with a smile on your face. Patience and persistence go a long way.

Thinking back to some of the most challenging experiences you’ve had in your career, what do you think tends to lie at the heart of the more tense or difficult client? 

Leaving the ego at the door can be extremely beneficial for all involved. Working as a team can gain much better results than thinking only about your own creative needs and without collaboration. Working together can definitely be much more productive and powerful!

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And what are the keys to building a productive and good relationship?

Honesty, communication, collaboration trust and ambition.

What’s your view on disagreement and emotion – is there a place for it and if not, why not? If so, why – and what does productive disagreement look like?

Having disagreements is ok. We encourage talent at NERD to always come forward and tell us their real thoughts. It can be healthy and can lead to more brainstorming and result in an even better thought/idea. However, being polite and communicative in a calm & mature manner will always have better results.

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These days, agencies and production companies do so much beyond traditional campaigns. As a producer or account manager/sales manager you do so much to put all the pieces together – and that complexity can often be mirrored on the client stakeholder side too.
What’s the key to navigating (and helping the client navigate) that complexity?

Communicating in the right way. If there is an issue –  discuss it! Don’t leave it or that can make things worse, reassurance is always important but at the same time be honest and not exceed expectations.

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What recent projects are you proudest of and why? What was challenging about these projects from a sales/production perspective and how did you address those challenges? And finally, what was so satisfying about working on these projects?  

To be honest, I am proud of them all! Pain is gain and sometimes you have to push on through the hurdles to get to the other side. Sometimes production, agency or clients can be on different pages but working together, and finding that balance can be really rewarding and have a brilliant result. When you work on something that doesn’t necessarily start off super creatively but by the end, with everyone involved, the end piece will inevitably bring a smile to everyone’s face!

Storytellers DeTuco Join NERD Productions’ talent roster

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As the first blooms of 2023 appear, we bring you DeTuco – our new & vibrant animation signing. This bunch, brimming with team spirit, specialises in bringing to life CGI characters and whole new worlds. They are eager to infuse the NERD Productions family with even more colour and craft. Prepare to be wowed as we ask them a few ‘need to know’ questions!

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What are 2 things our readers should know about you?

  • We love projects that involve characters, as we are fascinated by designing and creating new worlds and telling their stories. In every project presented to us, we look for new challenges and we always try to modify the visual style of what we do, diversifying our creativity and pushing the limits. We are constantly on the move, we even develop our own tools to innovate and go off the traditional paths.
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  • Since we like to work with talented artists and recognize their skills, a few years ago we organized an exhibition for fellow creators.

    It was one of the best experiences we´ve had as a team since it was an event without any kind of economic profit, it was made for the pure love of art. Bringing together so much talent, and so much amazing work was unique and it filled us with joy. We always talk about doing it again and we believe it may be possible this year. We choose to be infinitely curious and give the best of ourselves at all times so we can leave our mark.
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Tell us about your favourite project to date and why it has a sweet spot in your heart.

There are many projects that we love, but without a doubt the one that we remember the most is Monstruosos. It was 100% our own idea, which we were able to carry out thanks to the trusting client over at Cartoon Network. We talked a lot about the story itself and put it together little by little as a collaboration. The first script was made and a visual style was developed. CN believed in us from the start and gave us the space and resources to unleash our creativity. The months working on Monstruosos were of pure creativity. The whole team participated and contributed great ideas, it was very inspiring. Even our kids got in on the fun, joining us for lively lunches and playtime in the studio.

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Another project worth mentioning is Body Armor Edge. This project presented a thrilling combination of aesthetics and technical demands.

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We are not talking about 2023 resolutions, but rather what we are looking forward to this year. What are you most looking forward to in 2023?

This year, like every new year, we want to continue challenging ourselves and developing films that allow us to enrich our techniques or tools and explore fresh styles. We’re looking to reach and exceed the standards of what the market demands, making the most of our talent and thus, offering our best quality in each project.

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And to finish off, tell us a NERDY fact about yourself. 

Something that has become a tradition in the studio is playing video games on breaks or in little moments of free time. We discovered that disconnecting for a moment when possible and playing with (or against) each other is something that creates great opportunities for fun, laughter and bonding.

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As fans of animation in all its forms and techniques, and passionate about new technologies, we have created channels with the team members to exchange opinions, and discover artists and content. This has become an inspiring pastime for all!

We are passionate, curious, restless and love to be in constant search. We are friends, colleagues, and family – we are DeTuco.

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See more from DeTuco here.

‘Marguerite’: A whimsical blend of stop-motion and hand-drawn animation by Hayley Morris

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Hayley Morris walks us through the process of creating her newest personal short film ‘Marguerite’, and the many lessons, reflections and experiences it brought.

Why ‘Marguerite’?

I started working on “Marguerite” in 2017. Jamie Caliri reached out to see if I wanted to make a promo for a version of the new Dragonframe software based on a drawing I had done of a 1920’s style woman. As we started working on it, it evolved into a new piece, and we decided to ditch the idea of it being a promo and have it be a very short film instead. We worked on it, on and off for the past few years in between our projects and life events (pandemic, baby, new home and more).

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My inspiration for the film is an amalgamation of many things. My dad passed away in 2014. He was a musician and guitarist and we really bonded over music. I had been wanting to make a short film inspired by him that wasn’t directly a film about him. That same year, I went to Paris for a show I was in with other stop-motion artists. I fell in love with the feeling of the streets at night and hearing the city’s sounds. When brainstorming ideas, I was listening to a lot of Django Reinhardt and had been making drawings with references to 1920s Paris. In my research, I was drawn to the photographs of Brassai and his night scenes of solitary figures in shadow. I did a series of drawings inspired by the characters in these scenes. One of them was a large drawing of a woman that I turned into the main character of Marguerite.

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Stylistically, I wanted to explore how I could create a 3D stop-motion puppet that looked hand drawn. I created drawn textures for the face, hair and clothes that I then cut out and sculpted for dimension out of paper. I then crafted a story and scene around her inspired by Django-style music and references to my childhood.

Your description of this film gives us a feeling it was a self-exploratory journey for you as a director and storyteller too. What did you learn about yourself in the making of this short film?

Yes. I’ve mainly been focusing on commissioned work, so it was really refreshing to create something personal and experiment with concepts and techniques I had been wanting to explore. I think it’s important as an artist to always create something for yourself. In these projects that don’t have a deadline or expectations, you can take your time to flesh out the new ways of making. There are many things I learned: I loved crafting the puppet and exploring the style of the film. I love the mix of materials and the simplified shapes I used for the characters and props – these are gestures I would love to push more in a future project. 

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I also loved the collaborative process and working with such incredible artists. I’m used to being kind of a lone wolf in my projects and tackling every aspect of a project on my own. It was a good learning experience for me to let go a bit and see how a collaborative process could work. So, I’d say my biggest lesson was learning to trust. After this project, I realised that doing everything on my own isn’t necessary and a project can take on unexpected vitality when other artists are supporting your vision.

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I’m on the East Coast and Jamie and Anthony are on the West Coast. It was fun to see how we could make it work long-distance. We managed to create the storyboards, references, puppet, guitar/guitarist and other props back home and shipped them over to California. Then Jamie and a small team created the sets and shot them in his studio. I went out to California for about 2 weeks, crafted some more buildings, and animated the guitarist playing the guitar.

Then, I did all the 2d animation including the smoke at home and Jamie composited and edited it together. I really enjoyed this way of working. I think since the pandemic, it has become the norm. You don’t necessarily have to be in the same place to work with other artists you admire. Now, I live in the woods in Vermont and do all my projects this way. It’s great!

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You mentioned Dragonframe software, was this particularly new to you or something you wanted to try for a long time?

Dragonframe is a stop motion animation software that has changed the stop motion art form. It came out when I started working professionally in 2008. Before there were other systems that were not as intuitive to use and as complex as Dragon. Now with a DSLR camera and Dragon, you can instantly capture and see the animation you are shooting, control all of the exposure settings in Dragon without ever having to touch your camera, connect motion control and DMX lighting systems, break down audio lip syncs etc. There are so many features and it’s the best program for working in stop motion. So, I was very familiar with working in it. I was really excited to collaborate with Jamie who is the co-creator of Dragon.

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Now that the whole world can enjoy ‘Marguerite’, what is next for Hayley?

Thanks! I’m dabbling with some new concepts. I have a 2-year-old daughter, so children’s programming is becoming an avenue I’d love to explore. I’d also love to create an opening or ending title sequence for a film or tv show.

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The Work behind Rudy: a film by Shona Auerbach

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Amidst busy working days for Shona, we managed to grab her and tell us a little bit about one of her most recent creations – Rudy.

Rudy is an award-winning coming-of-age drama set in the heart of rural England. It follows the emotional journey of a teenage girl who finds herself being tested by her relationship with her father and responsibility for her younger siblings. She feels increasingly pushed out when her home gets opened up to a paying guest. Through a newfound friendship with a boy from Coventry, she discovers fun, freedom and autonomy.

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“Rudy” is a film that centres on love and loss, youth and innocence, holding on and moving on. What inspired you to create this film and pursue these themes?

The initial story was triggered by me losing my dad and also losing a friend who left a teenage daughter. The months after this I would drive past a house in the countryside every week, I started creating a story about a girl who lived in that house, dealing with her own loss and trying to find some kind of reconciliation with her own feelings, whilst also trying to get on with life. 

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You collaborated with Akira Kosemura on the musical composition for the film. How did you two meet and what was it like working so closely with one another?

My son loved his music and suggested I ask Akira if he would give me permission to use one of his tracks or even possibly compose a track for the film.  I got in touch with him and after seeing the film, he loved it so much that he offered to compose all of the original soundtracks.  I was bowled over, his music is so wonderful and I loved working with him.  Because of the time difference to Japan, he would compose in his day and send over the tracks and I would put them into the edit and feedback, and although we were a long way from each other we worked really well together. 

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The visual style of “Rudy” looks beautifully natural and nostalgic, somewhat akin to Sean Baker’s aesthetic. What led you to choose this style?

Graeme was the cinematographer on Rudy and I was originally both a photographer and cinematographer before I started to direct.  Both of us are drawn to visual storytelling.  We didn’t have much in the way of budget or crew so we had to be inventive, improvise with camera moves and often embrace what light we were given. We chose particular times of the day to shoot, when the light was right, and so operated in a more organic way.

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The Work Behind Rudy: A Film By Shona Auerbach 64 - Nerd Blog


Most of the production was done locally and with minimal crew, do you always approach your work this way?

Over the years I have had the good fortune to work on projects with decent budgets, which in turn has allowed me to have bigger crews.  However, I often think it is because Graeme and I originally came from film school, that if there is no budget, we slip quite comfortably back into shooting in a simpler way. Rudy had a minimal crew because of the lack of financial resources. Some may see this as a limitation, however, in many ways it was very liberating because it allowed us to be very light on our feet and getting what we needed in simpler ways.

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What were some of the hurdles and challenges you faced while putting all the pieces in place for this production? 

The main difficulty was the lack of money to throw at situations to help resolve them. 
We knew from the outset that this was going to be a labour of love film, and once we accepted that we did not have funding to make things go quickly, we embraced the fact that we had to make it at the pace we could afford.  We managed to get over most hurdles, finding inventive ways of shooting and we were given a lot of generous support from lovely people along the way.

Kulay Labitigan | Art crafted by heritage, strong cultural influence and gratitude.

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Happily raised in a rural Filipino town, Kulay grew up freely exposed to local artistry and cultural scenes. Then unaware of his capabilities, he already knew that he always wanted to be creating.

As a kid, Kulay spent a lot of time daydreaming and playing. In a family-owned general merchandise shop, Kulay had a treasury load of random stuff he would make into something. He loved to draw religious imagery in made-shift drawing pads that he stitched together from old notebooks and constructed art made of objects used by priests during mass. 

Kulay Labitigan

With the multi-dimensional influence of the outer world on the Philippines’ culture and history, it is safe to say Kulay inherited an exciting, eclectic aesthetic that is evident in his everyday life. Now in his thirties, he has learned to embrace the diverse culture of the Philippines. He thrives on living in the intersection of language, tradition, and meaning without losing sight of his upbringing on a little floating island in the Pacific.

Artwork

Kulay is an introvert walking around in extrovert clothing. He is very spontaneous and loves to explore new things as long as it is not far off the outermost peripheries of his secured zone. With all the realities of living back home, he developed a great sense of grit, motivation, and courage to follow the path where his soul could freely sing.

Getting started in the industry

In 2012, Kulay graduated from the University of the Philippines with a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts. Then in 2015, he moved to the UK to take up his MA in Narrative Environments at Central Saint Martins-UAL. It was a good learning playground for Kulay to explore his trajectories, meet muses, and, most importantly, his tribe. Traditional art and design education gave him the time and space to reflect, think, experiment and converse with similar-minded human beings.

Artwork

Everything happens for a reason, and Kulay’s first crack at creative jobs was pure luck, but he did spend his youth burning all the artistic fuels and has been creatively working hard to prepare him for his first position. His first job in the industry was as an art director for an independent creative agency alongside freelance design works.

Kulay loves to immerse himself in experience. He believes that human experiences make one’s creative practice richer and distinct. Therefore, he makes sure to absorb many inspirations and learnings from different fields.

Artwork Kulay Labitigan
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Going through the years of his experience, Kulay mentioned it always pays to be kind. People you meet along the way are there for a reason. However, what pushed everything forward was his fearlessness in following his gut. In Filipino, they always say, “Ato lang nang ato at gawa lang nang gawa,” which translates as try and try, work and work. 


The work, the work, the work


Before doing illustration, Kulay worked with art installations for performances. Telling stories through space shares a lot in common with telling stories through images; the only difference is how one arrives at the destination. Different mediums of work have impacted Kulay, but his piece for Kasa and Kin, launched at the end of last year, created a good amount of traction in the local press. It is, for him, the closest marriage of his present and past life as an image breathing in an enormous expanse of physical wall space. He is looking forward to making his illustrations more experiential. 

Kulay Labitigan

The favourite part of being an illustrator for Kulay is the creative process itself. He enjoys research, conceptualising, and getting lost in the craft. Kulay is lucky to be able to do what he loves, but as he likes to say, it always comes with a certain level of perseverance and commitment. Beyond this, receiving messages from young Filipino creatives back home that, in one way or another, found inspiration in his story to make something of what they do now makes all of this worth pursuing. 

The most challenging part of every project is the beginning of it — especially the introduction and the negotiation. As much as he tries to be better at it, he feels those are not his superpowers and are best left to the incredible team of producers at NERD Productions.

Kulay looks at his creative practice of illustration as a spiritual experience, almost like a religion. He says that there are three things we all want in life. First, to make our parents proud. Second, to reach for that one star, we are all looking up to. And finally, to be part of something that impacts others. Therefore, Kulay aspires to be relevant so that he can utilise his craft as a vessel for the greater fulfilment of his purpose.

Kulay Labitigan
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By digging deeper in skills, Kulay tries to constantly explore new ways of doing, materials, and scenarios. But most importantly, by giving himself permission to be still and be in solitude. We are constantly consuming information every second of our lives, and moments of quiet help Kulay develop his original ideas. 

Kulay’s Passions and inspirations

Outside work, he likes treating himself to loads of Gelato, morsels of brownies, and hours of a good bath. He is passionate about Filipino culture. Especially the Filipino language. Words capture stories, histories, cultures, emotions, and imagination. Kulay is very passionate about narrative arcs and story structures. 

He likes the art of film. He loves going to the theatre and enjoying colourful arts, exhibitions, prints, or digital. Kulay loves immersive narrative experiences. He also likes indulging in good food.  

As for his hobbies, he loves illustrating. Kulay is currently working on an illustration passion project called BRGY Hall. BRGY is an abbreviation of the Filipino word Baranggay, a local community of several households. BRGY Hall reflects Southeast Asia’s history as told by a migrant gay man living his dreams in London whilst expounding on the idea that we are all walking micro-universe. He is looking forward to sharing this with the world once they are ready.

Artwork Kulay Labitigan

With all the blessings and opportunities that opened for Kulay, he thinks he must have done well in his past life. As mentioned before, creativity for Kulay is almost his religion, and he becomes a better person the more he makes better things. What immensely motivates him in life apart from his loved ones is creativity itself, but more importantly, that sense of paying everything forward, hoping to be that person he needed when he was younger to others.

All these things and many more are what we love Kulay Labitigan for. His incredible art, view of life and unique perspective make for a fantastic addition to our creative powerhouse at NERD Productions.

See more from Kulay here.

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.

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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:

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The rest of the team joined to celebrate:

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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.

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Women and their allies at NERD on IWD2022

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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!

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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.’

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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!

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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.’

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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.