At Aberdeen’s SeaEnergy PLC, creativity is an essential part of delivering original solutions to emerging energy problems.
Personnel spend Monday to Friday working on asset management tools and communication solutions, but come the evening and weekends, creativity finds a variety of other outlets – including film-making, experimental music and fashion photography.
There’s nothing particularly unusual about that, except that many of these personal projects are achieving widespread recognition in their own right.
In October last year, for example, a group of photographers from SeaEnergy’s Return To Scene Limited won critical acclaim for a movie they produced in just two days.
Entered into the internationally praised 48 Hour Film Project in Aberdeen, Serum won Best Film, Best Cinematography and Best Special Effects.
For Return To Scene’s Andrew Keith – whose decision it was to enter the competition – creative collaboration outside the office environment has clear benefits.
“Personal projects allow us to channel our inspiration and imagination in different ways, to experiment with various media, expand what we can do and achieve recognition. This translates positively back into our 9 to 5 project work”, he said.
For Andrew and his colleagues, scripting, directing and compiling short films has developed from a hobby to providing complementary new skills to the organisation.
SeaEnergy’s CEO John Aldersey-Williams supports this process. He said: “We are really lucky to have such a talented team of people. Supporting their creativity both inside and outside the workplace is an important way of channelling fresh ideas and learning into our culture of innovation. It also ensures we keep up to date with trends in culture and technology”.
The soundtrack to Serum was written and performed by Return To Scene’s photographic manager, David Falconer. He flew out to Hollywood in March to pick up a trophy and plaque on behalf of the Serum team at the red carpet Filmapalooza Awards Ceremony.
Serum was one of 4,500 films entered into the 48 Hour Film Project, so winning the award gave the team and their work colleagues in Aberdeen a fantastic boost.
David travels around the world with his analogue synthesizer equipment, participating in ‘Sonic Weekend’ events.
This May, he’ll join around 30 other international electronic music enthusiasts for five days of improvised music making in Wales. Recordings from the event are edited into albums available from iTunes later in the year.
David is also collaborating on another film project with Mike Wilbourne a 3D artist with SeaEnergy’s Max and Co team, who returned to Aberdeen in 2014 after working in the film industry at a London-based visual effects studio.
Specialising in camera tracking and 3D rotoscope animation, Mike spent four months working on the science fiction epic Interstellar, which won an Oscar, and Bafta for best visual effects.
Mike’s experience on major movies and his passion for film are benefiting Max and Co, where cutting-edge technology and production values can push the potential of corporate videos. It’s a two-way process and working within a close-knit team allows Mike to learn new software and methodology too.
Return To Scene Limited employs 17 photographers, many of who pursue related interests outside the company. Chris Henderson, for example, takes portrait, fashion and location photography in his spare time. For 2015, he has committed to using only 35mm film to hone his proficiency in analogue photography.
SeaEnergy promotes employee training and career development and provides funding for courses where new skills offer benefits to both the employee and the company.
Across SeaEnergy, creative activities outwith day-to-day project work provide opportunities to experiment, research and develop ideas and techniques that advance the collective skill-set and commercial value of the group.