A Week in My Life: Jon Kershaw, Creative Engine Manager of Factory Create

Simon Austin's picture
by Simon Austin
Jon Kershaw

This week Jon Kershaw, Creative Engine Manager of Factory Create, runs us through a week in his working life. To suggest another senior media or creative figure for A Week In My Life, please email david@prolificnorth.co.uk.  

Monday

A working day at ‘Factory’ is 09:30 to 18:00, I think that this is a hangover from the good old days when animation was shot on 16mm film and animators and directors would have to wait for “rushes” to be delivered from the developing lab to see if the previous day’s footage would require reshooting. Of course these days everything is shot digitally, but we still start late which allows me plenty of time to watch the breakfast news and miss the worst of the school traffic.

A Monday morning normally means new prints to take off our ever expanding team of 3D printers, it’s a nice way to start the week, they are much more stable than they used to be so I am happy to pile on some massive print jobs on a Friday afternoon (it’s delightful to think of them chuntering away over the weekend while everyone else is getting a bit of R&R). Once I have taken the prints off the printers I take them straight to our specialist post processing team for clean-up and preparation, I also pop my head around a few other doors to make sure everyone on my team knows what they are up to and that they have everything they need for the rest of the week.

Once I have checked my emails I spend the rest of my day knocking items off my to-do list, it’s always surprising how quickly six o’clock comes around.

Tuesday

I find that a Tuesday morning is the best time to set the 3D printers going again as an average print run will last until Friday allowing me to reset them for another run of big prints over the weekend. We are currently working on research and development for a new top secret animation project which at the moment is very 3D print heavy so I usually spend a couple of hours prepping files and getting the printers up and running again.

Along with the R&D for the new project ‘Factory’ is preparing a new facility for the manufacturing of puppets, sets and props, this will be called the “Creative Engine” (hence my job title). Things are coming along nicely now – although it is still quite the building site, it has been a fantastic project for me to take part in right from working on the initial design and layout to picking the décor for the various workshops.

Wednesday

Normally Wednesday’s are a little calmer for me as the printers are usually happily working away and don’t really need any input, it’s a good opportunity for me to catch up with the various teams to see how they are getting on with their work for the week.

We have our weekly production meeting for the new project on a Wednesday, it’s a good opportunity to see what the various departments have been working on. We all have to report on our ongoing work around the project, it’s still early days at the moment, but there’s some really good work being done by everyone involved. It’s such a privilege to be working with such creative and intelligent people and I always find these meetings very engaging and enjoyable.

Thursday

Thursday morning is when we have our operations meeting, this allows senior production staff to report on the progress of their production responsibilities, give an update on how their various projects are coming on and report any building maintenance or other issues. I’m always interested to hear what’s going on in the rest of the company as I find it is easy to lose track with what’s going on when I’m busy.

Thursday normally represents a turning point on my to-do list where I will normally have checked off more items than I have added.

Friday

Friday is usually extra busy for me as I have to scurry around getting big prints ready to keep the 3D printers busy over the weekend. Usually the senior production teams have their various telephone conversations & Skype calls with broadcasters etc on a Friday and this normally leads to comments on designs, which in turn normally leads to new projects for the following week.

Once I have the printers up and running I like to draw up my new to-do list for the following week, this will include items raised in the various meetings, emails and conversations with team members and senior production staff during the week. I find that if I can get everything down on paper it helps me free up my mind and all that’s left to ponder is whether the 3D printers will behave themselves over the weekend.