Luke Youngman

Job title:
Executive Producer / Deputy Head of Production

Career path

After finishing a Masters degree in Aesthetics, Luke found himself living in Bristol and looking for work in media. Luke already had a passion for film and at University had run a Film Society. He assumed various runner jobs for HTV West, the BBC and independent production companies, whilst also temping in offices.

Working on Robbie the Reindeer, a BBC stop motion, half hour special, Luke joined a crew of around 30 people, many from Aardman Animations, for around nine months. Luke helped the production manager set up the studio and spent a lot of time helping various members of the team. Before this job, animation had not been something he had considered as a career, but he found the experience of working on the set and with the crew amazing.

After this production finished the Producer recommended Luke to Aardman, and soon after a Producer at Aardman rang Luke up looking for a Production Assistant. He worked at Aardman for almost five years and gained experience of being a Studio Manager, Production Manager, Line Producer and also produced a couple of small projects. He then went on the produce at Hibbert Ralph for a few months.

By chance at the cinema he happened to see the Honda Grrr commercial produced by Nexus Productions and knew that this was the type of work that he wanted to be involved in. So when he discovered a production manager position at Nexus advertised on Mandy.com, as he had previous experience, Luke applied for it and was successful.

Luke has worked at Nexus Productions for ten years. Moving from production manager to producer to senior producer to executive producer during that time.

The Role

Luke’s work at Nexus includes overseeing commercials, short films and music videos, and at times installation work and web projects. Although there are producers designated to broadcast and feature projects, Luke will advise on the assets and crew required, particularly stop motion projects given his experience of working at Aardman.

The main business at Nexus is commercials. Advertising agencies and clients send scripts to Luke with a brief of what the product is, when it needs to be delivered by and how much they have to spend on it. Sometimes they will also request or suggest a director. The brief will be discussed internally, the executive producer will oversee the pitch, budget and schedule, and then the executive producer, producer and director will meet the agency or client for the initial meeting. Usually the studio will be pitching against three or four other studios for the same job.

Once the job has been confirmed the project will be taken over by the producer who will manage it, with the exec checking in from time to time to make sure that the producer is satisfied with the relationship she/he has with the director and with the agency or client. Should it be necessary the exec may have to step in to sort out problems.  

At any one time, Luke can be dealing with around ten enquiries, and exec producing up to five projects, where he will have creative input into the production. His main project at the moment is for Google ATAP (Advanced Technology and Projects). Nexus is developing one of the brand’s Spotlight Stories, an interactive video than runs on bespoke mobile technology. Nexus pitched for this project in October 2014 and will be delivering in October 2015. 

“It’s an exciting project to work on. You’ve got to direct the viewer where to look, they can also look around the scene and you have to pause the story whilst they do. This new platform is throwing up many questions about how the usual cinematic tropes will work, how we can develop character, how you develop a non-linear story and so on.”

Luke also attends production meetings at sister company Nexus Interactive Arts (NIA) as there is more and more cross over these days between their projects and they share resources including studio space. Luke will often assign an animation producer or production manager to NIA projects that feature animation assets, to help facilitate the relationship between the production and the animation studio.



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