Meet the Artist
We interview Ellie Lucas, commercial director at Saddington Baynes
“CGI, WITH ALL ITS INNOVATION AND TRAILBLAZING INTEGRATIONS, IS A VERY EXCITING SPACE TO BE IN”
Ellie Lucas oversees and manages the likes of marketing, sales, neuroscience and more in her role as commercial director at award-winning production studio Saddington Baynes. This month we had the opportunity to interview Lucas about her experiences, and she provides an insight into how she got started in her career, what exciting innovations we can expect to see in the industry, and a selection of her favourite projects.
Why did you decide to make a career in the creative industry?
I have always been drawn to and inspired by all forms of creativity. From personal styles and self expression to poetry, art, theatre, music, photography, interior design and cooking, the list goes on. So, I think it was written in the stars that I would end up carving out a career in the creative industry.
What interested you in joining Saddington Baynes?
I studied traditional art techniques, both photographic and painting – so virtual photography, VFX and animation opened my eyes to a whole new world! Saddington Baynes is vibrant, creative and fast paced; even though the company is turning 30 years old this year, we continue to function as a startup, and I seem to really thrive in this high-energy and creatively chaotic type of environment.
What’s your typical day at work like?
There isn’t such a thing as a typical day! But there’s always a coffee run and early morning scrum with my epic team to run through our schedules. My role oversees marketing, sales and neuroscience, managing communications, strategy, planning and overseeing various processes and initiatives to help grow the business and win more work. So as cliché as it sounds, no two days are ever the same.
How long has the journey from studio assistant to commercial director been? How has your role changed and what were the main challenges you faced during this period?
Seven and a half years! My role has evolved quite a bit over that time… As studio assistant I was a runner, receptionist and PA all in one – running errands, helping organise schedules and making myself useful wherever possible. That job had a lot of perks – my Quidco account went through the roof from company supplies shopping, and I had a great time being at the heart of the studio, socialising with the team and organising Christmas and summer parties. I worked on so many different tasks and initiatives across HR, Ops, Sales and
Marketing and ended up running our social media and internal newsletters.
It quickly became apparent to my then manager that I should move into the Marketing department and once this happened the role kept evolving, from Marketing, to neuroscience and recently into a more commercially focused role. I’ve always enjoyed solving problems and therefore have a tendency to dive headfirst into land mines or challenges, which, on the whole, have worked out in my favour!
By nature, I’m an introvert and not particularly reflective, but when I stop and think about how far I’ve come, imposter syndrome often sets in, so I’m definitely happiest when on the move with my head buried in a project! I would say that’s my biggest challenge, but once I realised that everyone feels the same way, it’s hugely comforting and if anything it motivates me to do a better job, to prove to myself that I’m on the right track.
How has the company and the industry evolved since you joined Saddington Baynes?
One of the things I’ve loved most about working at Sadds is that we are constantly evolving, which means there’s so much room to explore different avenues and roles. The creative production industry is small and people move around a lot, so I have seen many iterations of scaling up and down of the business. Personally, I love this aspect of our industry, as watching friends and colleagues moving onwards and upwards really inspires me.
Innovation and success drives our team so we’re constantly improving processes, investigating new technologies and sharing experiences. In the time I’ve been here we’ve scaled up our pipeline, moved to cloud-based rendering, begun using gaming engines for real-time creative development and neuro-led production techniques. I’ve loved being a part of marrying neuroscience with creativity, powered by our pioneering Engagement Insights® service, and I’ve adored being a part of evolving and developing this service into a full consultancy department and integral part of our production workflow.
What are your thoughts on the future of CGI production?
More than ever CGI is becoming increasingly popular and relevant, offering ultimate flexibility and creative freedom for our clients; so when you incorporate the latest gaming technologies, AI, VR and now neurocreativity, the world really is your oyster. During the pandemic, people changed the way they worked and CGI became the ‘hero’, enabling productions to move forward entirely remotely. CGI offers everything traditional photography can – and it’s more sustainable, with all its
“GAMING TECHNOLOGIES ARE ALLOWING OUR TEAM TO CREATE INSTANTANEOUSLY!”
innovation and trailblazing integrations, it becomes invaluable and a very exciting space to be in.
What emerging technologies and innovations will have the biggest impact on how you work in the next few years?
Gaming technologies are allowing our team to create instantaneously! Meaning creatively developing concepts in real time. This will cut costs, time and ultimately give us and our clients the opportunity to collaborate even more closely and really immerse them in our creative process. Real time paired with neurocreativity is gold dust. Visually optimising campaigns by implementing implicit neuroscience during production means we can reward our clients with proven, evocative and engaging content. It’s a game changer and we’re seeing a huge level of interest in this space since the pandemic!
What skills do young creatives need to succeed in a production studio?
We know that the more diverse we are, the more creative we are… Technical knowledge, key software skills and creative flair will only get you so far. But an entrepreneurial spirit and a curious, openminded approach to life, work and creativity will produce the most erudite artist.
Do you have a favourite Saddington Baynes project?
No, I have a few! I’m pretty impressionable by what the artists have loved working on.
When we have projects that they love doing and capture their creative essence, there’s a buzz around the studio! We’ve worked on some awesome pieces – I’ve always loved our HR-V Explosion, it’s just seamlessly satisfying VFX, and I’ll never forget seeing the IMAX cinema in Waterloo wrapped in our Citrus Edge campaign, or walking through Harrods before the doors opened with our EKOCYCLE animations on every screen in the building… and there are a lot of screens!
Personally, and unsurprisingly, I love our RND projects. Redefining Beauty, Reggie The Robot and of course, Tortellini The Tortoise have all been highlights, as I get to collaborate so closely with the whole team, sharing concepts and watching them innovate, develop and explore new ideas! Then I get to wrap it all up and share their talents and tell the stories of concepts that I adore.
I also have the privilege of working with our insights team, developing the neurocreative side of our business, and as a complete colour enthusiast – I love colour, colour theory and the effect it has on my emotions – working on how neuroscience can help us understand the emotional effects of different creative compositions is effectively like Christmas every day… if you love Christmas!
Where do you see the future for Saddington Baynes?
Saddington Baynes will continue to evolve into a global tour de force. We will continue to trailblaze, innovate and pioneer, because that’s at the heart of our ethos and how we stay on our toes being the ultimate creative image makers! Honestly, I don’t think there’s been a more exciting time to work at Sadds. Watch this space, spectacular things are coming…