Nexus Studios, based in London and Los Angeles, regularly causes a stir with its innovative film, animation and interactive media projects and has already secured a BAFTA and Annie Award as well as Oscar and Grammy nominations. Part of the award-winning team is Annika Bauer, Production Manager and Interactive Media graduate of Animationsinstitut at Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg.
Read on to find out how Annika found her way from Berlin to Ludwigsburg and eventually to London.
Interview with Annika Bauer
The field of Interactive Media is very broad and we are constantly confronted with new technologies and formats that need to be tried and tested. As part of the production team, it is important for me to find the balance and to create a framework wherein the creative team has artistic freedom without the project ending up in chaos. This requires developing a process and setting milestones, while at the same time encouraging curiosity and the joy of experimentation in order to create innovative projects. I always try to trust my instincts and if something seems unclear, to dig deeper to find the problem and have the opportunity to actively search for solutions instead of trusting that everything will work out just fine.
I had previously studied Animation and Motion Design in Berlin. The course was quite new, very diverse and so I could take classes like media installations and interactive applications. It has been exciting not only to work with animations on a flat screen, but also to bring films into a space and integrate the visitors' reactions. Thus, I was looking for master studies that combined both directions and came across Animationsinstitut and Interactive Media. After browsing through the projects, games and films online, I went there to see the campus up close and talk to some students in person, which has been really interesting and so I applied straight away.
In my diploma year, students could sign up to be a "student guide" for international speakers at the FMX Conference, what sounded like a good opportunity to meet people in the industry. That is how I discovered Nexus Studios and after the two days at the conference, I said goodbye to the team and handed them my application. Some phone calls with the team in London followed to see if there was a suitable position. In the meantime, I briefly freelanced as a PM for interactive projects at Milla & Partner in Stuttgart before moving to London in early 2017. Since then, I have been working at Nexus and been responsible for teams of 2D/3D animations, XR and interactive installations as Production Manager. Particularly exciting was, among others, the work with Goolge Arts & Culture and CERN on the mixed reality experience Big Bang AR about the creation of space and time or the animation project #TakeOnHistory about the development of the tennis tournament Wimbledon.
Studying Interactive Media at Animationsinstitut on the campus of Filmakademie gives you the unique opportunity of direct contact with many creative fields, which is a huge playground for exciting collaborations. For students, it means great artistic freedom and the opportunity to experiment with different formats to develop your own artistic style. In interdisciplinary workshops, you can for example, develop media installations with production designers, XR experiences with animation students, or transmedia documentaries with authors. In addition, the international network of Animationsinstitut encourages students to make contacts in the industry during their studies, which can make it easier to get started after graduation. I am still friends with some alumni today and in contact when it comes to professional exchange.
The only tip I have for applicants is to keep an open mind and stay curious - during my admissions interview, my focus changed from conceptual design to production, which led me to focus on creative producing in the end. Reach out to current students and ask about their experiences. You will always learn more in personal conversation than on a website.