Studio Insight: Electric Theatre Collective
How big is Electric Theatre Collective and what are some of the biggest projects you’ve worked on?
We touch on a wide variety of styles, our biggest full CG spots would likely be our campaign for Great Western Railway in London based on the Famous Five novel characters and our music video for Riot Games and Pentakill. Our live action spot to note is our award-winning spot for Jose Cuervo last year titled ‘Last Days’
A positive attitude and desire to learn are the main 2 characteristics you should have.
What is the history of ETC and how many people currently work there?
Electric Theatre Collective was started in 2011 by Lee Pavey (Producer), James Sindle (CG genius), Giles Cheetham (one of the industry’s leading VFX Supervisors/Flame Artists) and Dan Marum (the best CTO in the business and also a genius CG artist). We are a young collective of artists and makers with a distinct point of view. We pride ourselves on our ideas, creative integrity and above all, our people.
Since our humble beginnings in 2011, we have become an industry leader, winning a reputation for our production flair, innovation and visionary style.
In September 2015 we expanded from London and opened our second studio in LA. Our collective is now growing to produce culturally relevant, genre-defying work that consistently sets the benchmark for advertising today.
Tell us about the company culture and what motivates you to work for ETC?
It’s a very tight-knit culture. I believe this comes from the fact that the partners and owners all started on the artist side, so they have a very deep love for the art of VFX and animation. Because of this, everyone we bring in has close ties to the entire team all the way up the company ladder. It’s a very open environment for expression. I love working with passionate people…so this is a perfect spot for me!
What software do you use and where do you see a shortage of talent at the moment?
Our studio uses a wide variety of software; for animation, we are in Maya, our lighting, look dev and FX use Houdini and our 2d team uses Nuke and Flame. We also run Mari and Substance for texturing at times, and the Adobe suite for designs and pitches. I wouldn’t say our office has a shortage of talent anywhere really!
What do you look for when hiring junior artists?
We look for passion mainly! As I described before, our culture is built around people who have a real fire and desire to create awesome work. A positive attitude and the desire to learn are the main two characteristics you should have.
How much ‘On the job training’ does someone get when they first start at ETC?
I would say it begins immediately when you start and doesn’t finish until you and the team feel totally comfortable. There are no rigorous schedules or standards expected when first starting at Electric. Since our 2D team is somewhat small here in LA, as soon as you start you will have an opportunity to work closely with our leads and Head of CG.
On the first few projects you work on, you can choose to do a lot or a little, with no expectations either way. As projects go on you can continue to pick up more and more responsibility as desired.
How much scope is there for a junior artist to move between departments?
There is a lot of opportunity for movement and growth here. Many of our artists are generalists in nature due to how much opportunity we have to share tasks within such a small team. Some of our artists are specialists and we welcome that too, but anyone who wants to experiment and dabble in other areas will certainly have the chance to do so if they want. Also with our animation wing, Friends Electric, we work on more traditional CG animation. There are times when we work on joint projects with them as well, which is another area where our team is open to exploring.
If you were to offer one bit of advice to somebody wanting to work at ETC what would it be?
Be passionate! Build up a portfolio that showcases some of your best stuff and send it into us. Our recruiters will be looking out and can help you set up interviews from there. Don’t be afraid to follow up and look out for job openings posted on our site!
To hear more about Electric, you can listen to a recent podcast by one of the founders Lee Pavey.