In joining ENVY Advertising, Rich Hawkins expands on his illustrious industry experience, which has spanned close to two decades. A talented producer, Rich has most recently spent over three years at The Mill. Prior to this, he was heavily involved on the Nokia account at Hogarth, and produced at Prime Focus, and Rushes.
Rich initially developed his strong audio post production skillset before moving into the visual side of commercial production. As a keen musician who spent most of his free time in the studio, Rich took up a role at Jungle for three years, before continuing to further his career at Ascent Media as a Bookings Coordinator. Despite this, Rich still wanted to push for more of a hands-on role and decided to get more stuck into the creative.
With his recent appointment as Senior Producer at ENVY Advertising, he reconciles these two qualities.
“From the very first time I visited ENVY Advertising’s dedicated short form facility, I got a really good vibe and a sense of excitement about the place. There are a lot of great projects coming through the building at the moment and since joining I’ve worked across projects for Nike, Samsung, Wagamama and Instax cameras among others. The fact that we have everything under one roof - including the offline and audio facilities - is also a huge winner for me. It’s a really personable facility with a huge sense of ambition, and a place where everyone is striving to make the company the best it can be.”
To his new role as Senior Producer, Rich brings his heavyweight production expertise. With 17 years of industry experience under his belt, Rich has honed his skills at various leading facilities and turned his talents to many a high-profile project – but it hasn’t always been smooth-sailing.
It’s no secret that working your way up to Senior Producer takes time when you’ve just entered the industry and for Rich it was no different.
“I’ve wanted to work in special effects since I was very young - I think it was a ‘making of’ Star Wars documentary that got me hooked. However, coming from a council estate in Basildon in the pre-internet days, these ambitions seemed totally unobtainable. I did write to the few TV companies I was aware of but after little response, I gave up on the idea.”
Yearning to work in a creative role but with no connections and no clear way to break into the industry, Rich persevered at a dry cleaners, before landing a job at TfL – all the time, carrying a hunger to get stuck in to something more creative.
Finally, Rich got his foot in the door when he landed a runner job at a media network company.
At The Mill, Rich nurtured a strong relationship with one of the UK’s biggest retailers, managing a huge amount of material weekly for DFS. He produced DFS’ 2016 Winter Olympics campaign - ‘Great Brits’ - which went on to win Retail Week’s Advertising Campaign of the Year. More recently, Rich rekindled his childhood love for practical effects, bringing to life Monster.com’s iconic purple mascot for with an 8ft hydraulic, animatronic costume.
It was during this time that Rich was introduced to ENVY Advertising’s Executive Producer, Greg White - and although happy at The Mill – he decided to meet out of curiosity to learn more about the company’s advertising arm.
“I had been approached in the past and wasn’t expecting to make a move away, but it was really ENVY Advertising’s reputation and quality of work that made me start to lean towards it. After a couple of visits to their new Mortimer Street building and understanding their aims and ambitions I was sold and accepted the role as Senior Producer. I’m excited to have the opportunity to work with audio again, and I’m looking forward to forging new relationships whilst continuing to work with those that I have done previously.”
From a council estate with no ‘in’ to the industry to Senior Producer at a multi-award-winning facility, Rich has come a long way - but he’s far from done. He’s determined to craft a better environment for young people who share his background.
Citing the statistic that only 18% of the total workforce of the creative industries comes from a working-class background, Rich comments, “It’s pretty shocking when you think about it: there’s a huge pool of untapped talent. Even when I became part of the industry, I still didn’t really understand that I had any chance of getting to be where I wanted to be. I remember working with another runner who wanted to be a director and thinking, ‘You’re dreaming mate. That just doesn’t happen for people like us’. I had no idea about the opportunities that were out there for me, and that with a lot of hard work, my dream job didn’t have to be just a dream.
“Our industry does an awful lot to try and address such issues but I feel that a lot more could be done. ENVY Advertising runs its own academy - a specialist training programme that helps equip young people with the right skills to progress within this industry - and it’s initiatives like this that will help move things forward. It would be great to showcase the ENVY Academy within secondary schools so that students from diverse backgrounds can see the opportunities that lie in front of them, and it’s something I would like to get involved with in the future.”