Meet Uma Krishnamurthy, our awesome Manchester based Senior Producer! A recent addition to our growing Brown Bag Manchester team, Uma is an industry veteran! We caught up with her for a few minutes to discuss her role and find out what she loves about animation.
Can you tell us a little about your background?
For the first 5 years of my professional life, I dabbled in different industries but nothing held my interest for very long. Animation has been a whole different experience. It has been amazing and interesting, I can’t imagine working anywhere else.
I started my career in the animation industry with a CG studio who specialised in animation and gaming 12 years back. The first 5 years were in that CG studio, ending as a Line Producer. After which I made a transition to the VFX industry for another 5.5 years, ending it as the Head of Production. From there it has been a little over 1 year with Brown Bag Films in a 2D animation setup, currently working as a Senior Producer.
How did you get started in your career?
Sounds clichéd, but I started in this industry by chance. The owner of a studio believed in me and my ability and gave me a break into this amazing world.
Having no creative background, I learnt everything I know now, on the job, through trial and error, this industry is a great platform for that. A huge shout out to everyone who was extremely patient and helped me find my feet and understand the terminology.
What's your current role and what does it involve?
I’m currently in a very interesting role now as Senior Producer. It’s a great mix of the hands-on experience I had as a Line Producer and the management aspect as Head of Production. I run one show while working on bids to bring new shows into the studio, working on tests and managing the overall studio resource plan.
Did you always know you wanted to work as a producer?
Having a degree in Mathematics, working in a creative company was nowhere on my radar. Once I got in though, I was hooked. I love working in Production. Each day is different and I look forward to coming into work every single day.
What does a day in the life of an animation producer look like?
The day starts with a quick catchup with leads, supervisors and production. This serves as a status check and sets the tone of the priorities for the day.
A portion of time, mostly in the afternoon is spent on client calls. People management is a key part of the job, so it is essential to find some time every day, just to check in with them.
What do you love most about animation?
It’s like living in an alternate universe, with talking animals and flying objects. The inner child in me is living the dream!
Following the creative process is very interesting. Seeing something develop from a concept to a fully composited asset is nothing short of awe-inspiring. I have the opportunity to work on a variety of shows, each with a unique style and concept.
I get to work with great talented people. I love that I can show the work I contributed to, especially with the kid’s friendly content that Brown Bag stands for.
What do you find exciting about working as an animation producer?
No one day is the same. You have to manage client expectations along with the team’s expectations. Trying to juggle resources, the budget, as well as the changes and surprises that come along the way, keeps my skills sharp. There is no question of getting bored or this being a routine desk job.
What do you think is something no one really knows about the role of a producer?
I think most people think that, as a Producer, they aren’t answerable to anyone. In fact, you’re really responsible for the wellbeing of the entire team and need to have a sense of responsibility towards them. You need to earn their respect, not demand it.
What's the most crucial skill a producer needs to possess?
Being level headed and calm in the face of challenges and changes. Believe me, there will be a lot of them, but the team shouldn’t realise it at any point.
A Producer cannot show stress, as that will impact the morale of the team.
What is the most challenging aspect of a production?
Striking a balance between pushing the creative limits and staying within budget and schedule.
How long have you lived in Manchester? What is your favourite thing about the city?
I moved to Manchester and in fact England a year back. Manchester has some beautiful buildings. There is a lot of green space, and open areas, without giving up the convenience of living in a city. I’m an hour or two's drive away from quiet getaway places, like the Lake District for example.
It is a great place to raise a family. There is such a varied blend of cultures that children have the opportunity to learn so much more than they would otherwise. Cost of living isn’t that high, so setting up a base and spending for everything from scratch has not been difficult. There are options for every type of budget.
The office is located in a creative media space, so we are always surrounded by like-minded people. There also seems to be a shift towards the North West, for companies looking at setting up a studio, so the talent pool is growing.
What advice would you give someone looking to work as an animation producer?
Be flexible and open to change. Plans are going to change regularly and learning to adapt and finding a solution is crucial.
Outside of animation what are you most passionate about?
I love travelling and have been to some unique destinations. I’m an avid reader. I still enjoy reading a good paperback, not really into e-books.
Looking to get into the animation industry? We're looking for an experienced Producer to join our growing Manchester studio - take a look at our Manchester Jobs page for info on this role and more!