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Office tale of David Sheldon-Hicks, co-founder and creative director at Territory

Office tale of David Sheldon-Hicks, co-founder and creative director at Territory

Published by Leonardo Calcagno

Who are you :
David Sheldon-Hicks, Co-Founder and Creative Director at Territory.

Your current job :
I oversee the creative work of the motion team at Territory. We work on Feature films, Computer games and moving image content for brands. On the day to day I brief in projects, oversee creative quality, scope new projects and look after business development.

In which city are you located?
We’re in Clerkenwell, in the centre of London. Its a great central creative hub, with Clerkenwell design week each year promoting design in the UK. We’re also very lucky when it comes to delicious places to eat!

A word to define what kind of worker you are :

What tools are essential to your life (app, software, etc..)
Wunderlist! I love working to lists. It gives me a great sense of achievement, completing daily, weekly and monthly goals. My days can be very varied, and it can be easy to lose track of what I need to accomplish, so lists are a great way to track everything.

Behance, Pinterest and Vimeo are also really important. As a creative director its important to find good references to brief teams and inspire our designers. If I’m on my commute, or 5 minutes before a meeting I’ll be looking on those site for new inspiration. We’re lucky to living in a time where people are constantly innovating and experimenting. There’s so much great work out there.

What does your office space look like?
30 desks, exposed brick walls and high ceilings. a glass cube of a meeting room and leather sofas dotted around. Various shelves display remnants from previous projects, such as a piece of the Prometheus set and second world war weapons and costume from a game trailer shoot.

What kind of music do you listen when you are working ?
Everything and anything. I tend to listen to the studio music playing out, which is a playlist from any member of the team. We’re also always listening out for good new music to use in projects.

Do you have a way to organize your day to maximize your work ?
I try really hard to keep a handle on my mac calendar, and sync that with my phone…. but I’m well known in the studio for being a little disorganized at times. Fortunately everyone knows this, and keeps me on time mostly! As I mentioned, I love lists so that really helps and my notebook stays pretty close…. but that quickly gets filled with doodles and random thoughts.

What tips would you give to improve productivity ?
Focus. Turn off social media. Set times to look at emails and try not to overload on meetings if you can help it. Our most talented designers and animators completely zone in on a project, coming up for air at lunch. Its not really about productivity though, its more important for great work. Complete focus is the only way we can create the work quality that is demanded by our clients.

You’re better than your colleagues to :
Defending the creative process. Its my role to try and set up a situation where our team can do great work. I’d love to do the work myself, but now that Territory has grown I rely on people more talented than me to create beautiful and intelligent projects.

What is the best advice anyone has given you ?
Write lists, get everything out of your brain onto paper. That way, people don’t get hurt!

What is your best tip for saving time ?
Lists, more lists!

What is your routine start and end of the day ?
I get up quite early, to spend an hour if I can with my daughter. She’s 2 years old, and very cute! Because I get home late I don’t see her in the evening so its nice to spend early morning playing and getting her breakfast. I leave home around 6.00/6.30 as I have a 2 hour commute. On the train I clear out any emails and admin before I get into the studio. Picking up any emails from our clients abroad too. Its also the time I spend on any business development through linkedin, or email and marketing. Once I’m in the studio I have an hour before everyone else is in, to review yesterdays renders and designs for any internal feedback…

Coming home in the evening I email any US clients on the west coast, prepare any social media and take a look through inspiration such as pinterest, behance and vimeo. I sometimes get a bit of time to do a bit of design work or animation on my commute home too. I’ve also been into some good books too lately. When I get home, my wife and I chill, normally watching a good film and catch up on our days.

Aside from your computer and your phone, what gadget can you not you go without?
Digital SLR. I love documenting the behind the scenes in the studio or whats happening on a shoot. I was always watching ‘making of’ documentaries as a kid. I’d love seeing how films or animation was made and its now fun to be able to share the same about Territory. People often don’t understand how much craft and effort goes into the work we do, so to see a bit of time-lapse of someone working on a project is a good way to show that. The title ‘computer animation’ incorrectly suggests our computers do the work for us. I think its good to show, just how much artistry goes into our professions and to demystify the process to a degree.