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Pete and the Podcast: Chatting with Allan McKay

31 July 2018

Pete -our awesome Outsource Manager– has recently been on a podcast with Allan McKay, chatting on his renowned and self titled, ‘The Allan McKay Podcast’: a creative and career related podcast focused on artists in Design, Film, Visual Effects and Video Games, which typically ranks amongst the top 50 in the career section of iTunes!

Episode 151 of the podcast titled ‘Insights into Hiring with RealtimeUK’ sees Pete and Allan chat about a range of recruitment topics; discussing the debate of being a ‘generalist’ over being a ‘specialist’, the working culture at RealtimeUK, and what can really help a candidate stand out to a recruiter.

“I often find that [it takes] 5% inspiration and 95% perspiration.  A lot of people just need to work through that and realise that to get that first good piece, you need to make 20 pieces before you really hit it. Every time you do it, at any level, you will take a few steps forward. It’s a constant push and a commitment to learning. Which is more of a mindset.”


You can catch the podcast in full through this link: https://www.allanmckay.com/151/

[11:10] Allan: Thanks for taking the time to chat! Do you want to introduce yourself?

Pete: Sure, my name is Pete Leonard. I’m the guy who manages all the Human Resources here at Realtime UK. I’m in charge of brining in our permanent staff and managing our contractors and freelancers; basically anything that has to do with resources. That’s what I do?

[11:43] Allan: Do you want to talk about Realtime UK (just for anyone who’s been living under a rock)?

Pete: Yeah, absolutely! Realtime UK is a medium size studio here in the not-so-sunny England. We’ve been going for almost 22 years, doing effects and animation. Most of our work has been in game cinematics and commercials; but we’ve also done on realtime cinematics, VR. We’ve also had some work happening in tv.

[12:26] Allan: In terms of all the different media, is VR something you’ve been covering?

Pete: Yeah, there’s been a number of events. There is a lot we can’t talk about. The company has been doing investigation into RnD for a while. At the moment, we’re doing VR demonstrations where we’re pushing it as far as we can. We are doing it different industries. That’s probably as much as I can say about it (which is a little bit frustrating). The one thing I will say is we’ve been able to get results in VR. We’ve been happy with the quality, but it’s been a lot of work. For a medium size company, the quality of the artists is really high here. Our specialists in each area are really good and there are high level generalists.

[14:05] Allan: I want to dive back to this whole “Generalist vs. Specialist” thing. To talk about the studio, how big of teams do you have there?

Pete: It varies. Are are about 40-50 people but we can increase up to 10-15% depending on project needs. And as you can imagine, in project based industry, that can fluctuate quite a lot. But it tends to be between 10-15% increases.

[14:54] Allan: What kind of environment do you have at the studio in terms of having a fun culture to work in — and what kind of personalities you tend to attract?

Pete: In terms of personalities, we’re absolutely open. We are not set on the idea of what type of person that should be, or their background. They should be somewhat sociable. It’s not a huge studio and people get along quite well. But people come from different backgrounds: from graduates of top schools to people who’ve switched industries. It’s really important that people are committed to what they do, to learning, to improving themselves. But in terms of what they’re interested in, we’re open to that. We have people who are into mountain biking, we have some gamers, people who are into cars. It’s really all walks of life there. It’s really important they’re committed to what they do and are prepared to ingratiate themselves into a medium size studio.

[16:52] Allan: I think that’s critical to have: you want people to function in the same room and want to grab a beer after a stressful day. In a creative industry, you’re going to have different personalities.

Zoe Matthews (Marketing Manager): The notation we have, we have artists who want to jump from studios and want to push themselves. We have such a great family here.

Pete: Some of the core people have been here 10-20 years, 3-4 have been here for as long as the company has been going. What may not be known is that do have two studio locations. We have one in Manchester. We try to accommodate on both sides.