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REALTIMERS: Lizzie Horsburgh, Studio Production Director

Name & job title:

Lizzie, Studio Production Director

Where do you fit in?

Somewhere between the cool cats on rooftop bars until the wee hours of the morning, and the nerds queuing up to watch the latest comic book adaptation.

How did you get your start in the industry?

I worked as a runner on a Manic Street Preachers video.

Your superpower?

Spinning multiple plates at the same time, and having a mostly reliable photographic memory.

What inspires you day-to-day?

Making my parents proud, being a role model for my daughter, and proving everyone who said doing a Film Studies degree at university was a stupid mistake, wrong.

My desert island film would be:

True Romance and my tv show would be a toss-up between The US Office or guilty pleasure Real Housewives of Beverly Hills!

My soundtrack whilst working is:

“Ibiza Beach Club” playlists on Spotify – primarily because they’re easy to listen to background tunes, but also because who doesn’t want to imagine drinking champagne on a cabana bed in Ibiza whilst battling with an Excel spreadsheet!

If you could work with anyone who?   

Bill Nighy – although my childhood obsession was Jerry Bruckheimer!

If not this, then what?

I would love to be a high-profile event planner because I love themed parties, crafting bespoke décor, and organising the perfect night that everyone can enjoy.

Why REALTIME?

I like the fact that I have flexibility to work from home and pick my daughter up from nursery, or wear pyjama bottoms to a meeting if I’m feeling bloated. I like how friendly and welcoming everyone is. I like going into the Manchester office to see everyone, collaborate in a fun, light and airy space, and the bars around the studio are great too.

People would be surprised to know that…

I can’t ride a bike, and my go-to cosplay is The Valkyrie from Thor.

Advice I’d give myself if I were just starting out?

Think more about what you’re going to say and how others might perceive that message, but equally don’t hold back if you have an opinion as everyone’s voice has a right to be heard. Ultimately, there’s a right place and a right time for everything – just learn how to read the room.

REALTIMERS: Doug Russel-Fisher, Production Coordinator

Name & job title:   

Doug Russel-Fisher – Production Coordinator

 

Where do you fit in?   

At REALTIME, I work in the TV/Episodic production team, helping coordinate the flow of work through the various pipeline steps and between internal and external teams. 

In life, wherever there is good music, good food, or good laughs  

 

How did you get your start in the industry?   

Same as everyone else… at the bottom! I’ve always wanted to work in film, but before I started, I was working in the city and hating every minute of it. I wanted something different, so I decided to give the film industry a proper go. With no formal education or experience in anything film-related, I wasn’t sure where or how I would fit, but I was lucky enough to get hired as a runner at a brilliant post facility in Soho. From there, I was immersed in all things post production and worked my way up to the production office, working with super talented and knowledgeable people on some awesome projects in both DI and VFX. 
 
Your superpower? 

Connecting with people: I like to find commonality with people in any way I can; whether through humour, shared interests, or just straight up empathy! I believe it not only helps build a better working relationship with someone, but also aids communication, which leads to better understanding and ultimately a better quality of work. It also makes work more fun!

 

What inspires you day-to-day?  

Oh man, what a question! So many things! In a nutshell; the people around me. At all levels, both professionally and personally, they’re doing and creating amazing things, which is a constant source of inspiration.  

 

My desert island film / TV show / animation / game /artform / piece of artwork is:   

Anything by the Coen Brothers or Paul Thomas Anderson, but if you had to push me for one: The Big Lebowski 

 

Your soundtrack whilst working:   

NTS Radio (if you know; you know!)—whether it’s their live channels, recorded shows, or their infinite mixtapes they have impeccable selections for all modes and moods. It’s nice to not have to think about what to put on, plus I’m always discovering so much amazing new (and old) music!

 

If you could work with anyone who?   

Spike Jonze – director, photographer, or maybe Hideo Kojima, legendary game director!

 

If not this, then what?   

I’d love to work in UI/UX design, maybe digital nomading out of a nicely converted van in some lovely country, getting out in nature whenever I please. That would be a swell existence. 

 

Why REALTIME?  

Initially, it was a case of right time, right place; I had been working with fairly basic 2D workflows but wanted a change, and RT luckily had room for me! I much prefer the depth of 3D/CG visual effects work; there’s so much to learn, and it’s always evolving as an artform, so your knowledge is constantly a work in progress. I also really enjoy getting to work in that sweet spot between art and science, where we use equal parts creativity and technicality to basically create magic.

 

People would be surprised that…   

I’m one of six kids (second youngest!) 

 

Advice you’d give yourself if you were just starting out?   

  1. Knowledge and experience can always be acquired; opportunities present themselves to those who make a good impression. 
  2. Don’t break yourself; you can’t fill from an empty cup! 
  3. Little wins become huge victories; celebrate yourself. 

 

REALTIMERS: Matt Gardner, HR Manager

This week, we meet our newly promoted HR Manager, Matt Gardner, who alongside being a HR whiz, is a trained butcher and fishmonger, with a degree in mathematics to boot!

Name & job title:

Matt Gardner, HR Manager

 

Where do you fit in?

My role spreads across the whole company, fitting in when and where needed. HR is there to oversee most parts of the employee lifecycle (with support from the fantastic Skills & Development and Talent Teams), from onboarding, to pay, to benefits, to offboarding and so on.

 

How did you get your start in the industry?

Although I’ve been in HR & Admin roles for quite a while, this is actually my first role in the VFX industry! I’m an avid gamer, so to be able to work in a role I love for a company that does something I feel so passionately about is extremely fulfilling!

 

Your superpower?

Definitely learning. I’ve always been the kind of person who is looking to learn new things, and I’ve previously been told my brain is like a sponge (I’m assuming this was a compliment)! After finishing university, I definitely felt like my brain was missing the stimulation, so I ended up studying through apprenticeships, learning more hands-on skills, and got into some random hobbies in my free time (this ranges wildly from things like learning to crochet to sitting and watching 3 hour videos about astrophysics, pandemics, or the god particle), and even recently studying Korean!

 

What inspires you on the day-to-day?

I’m a very empathetic person, so knowing that I’m making people’s lives better or easier or giving people the chance to feel listened to plays a big role in getting me motivated day-to-day.

 

My desert island game:

Any Final Fantasy game! If you drop in on me during my free time, I will be playing Final Fantasy, be it XIV online with friends or spending my free time playing 1–16 one after the other, that’s what I’ll be doing!

 

Your soundtrack whilst working:

I have a very varied (and questionable) taste in music! I can bounce between Kate Bush (Wuthering Heights, of course), to current pop, to bands like Rammstein, however, most of the time I just listen to whatever monstrosity of a playlist my Spotify concocts for me!

 

If you could work with anyone who?

Square Enix, of course! It’s my dream to see the ins and outs of a Final Fantasy game being created!

 

If not this, then what?

That’s a very difficult question! I very much love living in the moment, which has gotten me into some strange roles in the past! I’m always up for trying anything at least once, so I’m sure by now I’d be something like a part time astronaut or a professional dog washer if someone asked me in the right way!

 

Why REALTIME?

The moment I saw the Subnautica Below Zero trailer was something we’d worked on, I knew this was something I needed to be a part of! It’s a pleasure to be surrounded by such talented individuals who love what they do (and do it so well)!

 

People would be surprised that

I’d say either that I’ve got a degree in Maths, or that I’m a trained butcher and fishmonger!

 

Advice you’d give yourself if you were just starting out?

At the risk of sounding cliché, don’t stop yourself from trying new things because you’re afraid to make mistakes, you’ll always make them; just learn to own them!

REALTIMERS: Sean Kelly, Senior Producer

Meet Sean Kelly, our Senior Producer, who spends quite a lot of his weekends and holidays travelling the country to conduct weddings for people! Piqued your interest? Thought so.

Name & job title:  

Sean Kelly, Senior Producer 

Where do you fit in? 
I mean, very few places, frankly, but here I’m on the Games Team. 

How did you get your start in the industry? 
Honestly, I kinda fell into it sideways, I finished Uni doing Marketing and Management (don’t judge me) and joined a Grad Scheme for the Royal Bank of Scotland. I ended up doing a placement in their in-house film team – and fell in love with that. I worked my way up to Producer, then head of the team, before going out into the wide blue yonder. I worked in various agencies directing, writing, and producing live action stuff before that tiny worldwide pandemic hit, and I moved to Animation and VFX – and never looked back. 

Your superpower? 
I’m from the West of Scotland, so I can’t ever say anything positive about myself I’m afraid.
If I had to choose, I suppose it’s an unending ability to make jokes at even the worst of times…often especially at the worst of times.  

What inspires you on the day-to-day? 
It’s the really obvious answer, isn’t it? Working with really talented people who do some amazing stuff that I could never hope to in a million years. Working with them and learning as much as possible is constantly a source of amazement and inspiration for me.

My desert island film / TV show / animation / game /artform / piece of artwork is
Grim Fandango. One of the first games I played on my absolute trash fire of a PC as a kid. Got me into the whole Lucasarts point n click – not to mention warped my sense of humour in general.
Something about the melding of Film Noir, Art Deco, and Mexican/Day of the Dead aesthetic and storyline just got me good. I had never played anything like it before. Even loved the remake that came out a few years back. And the music…. oh the music.  

Your soundtrack whilst working: 
Quite a lot of lo-fi video game soundtracks strangely enough. I’m a sucker for anything with big brassy stabs though, so anything with that I’m your huckleberry.  

If you could work with anyone who?  

I suppose since this is a work thing, I should be classy and aspirational and say someone like Billy Wilder or Mel Brooks.
But, meh why not if this is a fantasy – Indiana Jones.  Fight me.  

If not this, then what?  

If not producing, I’d probably have darker hair…or still in Marketing and comms…shudder 

Why REALTIME?

I have a powerful urge to pay my bills and eat.
But perhaps more than that, I really wanted to get more involved in gaming and away from TV and Film. REALTIME has a great range of projects they work on, and some genuinely lovely people to work with.  

People would be surprised that… 

I am a Legal Humanist Celebrant and spend quite a lot of my weekends and holidays travelling the country to conduct weddings for people and steal as many canapes on the way out as possible.
I can legally marry you or bury you. Nothing in-between 

Advice you’d give yourself if you were just starting out?  

Nothing is ever as good or as bad as you think.
Learn from the f**k-ups and move on. Enjoy the win’s but don’t get cocky kid.  

REALTIME team up with Codemasters for F1 23 ‘Braking Point 2’

Two years after the critically acclaimed F1® 2021, we have teamed up with our old friends at Codemasters once again for the eagerly anticipated F1® 2023 Braking Point 2. Our team crafted over fifty minutes of in-game cinematics using the latest in-engine solution and state-of-the-art performance capture tools.

Braking Point 2 allows players to immerse themselves in a compelling racing story that gives a unique peek behind the curtain of the world of Formula One. The story revolves again around rival drivers Aiden Jackson and Devon Butler, but with the added twist of them being teammates for the newly formed Konnersport Butler Racing Team, alongside a new female driver, Callie Mayer.

REALTIME was tasked with creating cutscenes that ranged from emotional character performances right through to on-track action, featuring intense races and high-speed collisions.

“The visual fidelity we were able to achieve this time around was a huge step up from F1 2021. Everything from the lighting to the skin shaders and facial animation, we advanced every single element of our render quality.” Says Ian Jones, CG Director.