Meet the production company built upon celebrating and empowering diverse talent

Milana Karaica, founder of NERD Productions, explains how the company is paving the way for a more inclusive, welcoming and creatively rich industry.

7 March 2024

The production company NERD was founded with a strong core mission: the need for fresh ideas, equality and a true care for craft. It was started eight years ago by executive producer Milana Karaica, who, after her own experiences in the industry, wanted to create a space where all creatives were welcomed. Now her company is growing, with “95 per cent of talent coming from diverse backgrounds”. Its live-action directors and animation directors, as well as photographers and illustrators, are all hand-picked for their exceptional vision and craft across many visual styles. Not only is diversity essential for inclusion; Milana sees it as the key to actually creating great work – catering creativity to an increasingly vast, global audience.

The incentive to create such an inclusive company and workspace came from Milana’s own experiences climbing the production career ladder. At 17 she started as a runner in Soho, doing any job that came her way, from making coffees to dropping off parcels at agencies. Her dedication led to her quickly becoming an office manager, producer and then executive producer. However, at one stage, Milana realised she had become all too accustomed to witnessing inequitable and discriminatory workspaces. “There came a certain point when I hated the unfair treatment of crew and staff, the racism, the classism, the prejudice, the stereotyping and bullying,” she says.

For fear of losing her job, Milana didn’t question the environment, but when the company she worked for shut up shop, she realised it was her chance to make a change. “I considered throwing it all in, but those around me refused to let me give up and NERD was born as a way of making something positive from an incredibly difficult situation,” says Milana. “It was a chance to finally create that dream production company that welcomed diverse talent and allowed every talented director to pitch, regardless of their background, skin colour, gender, sexual orientation or age.”

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The way NERD ensures it has a diverse roster deviates from many other companies – it has no interest in tick boxes or quotas, which, when applied badly, can be flawed and tokenistic. “This is not how to achieve true diversity,” says Milana. “We’ve all been there, that ‘wild card or female talent or hungry for opportunity’.” Instead, NERD promises a fair approach, by simply giving everyone an equal playing field. The team looks at every brief individually, tailoring the best creative production solution by inviting the relevant talent to work collaboratively, “bringing vast, exciting ideas to the table for clients,” Milana says. This approach allows for greater transparency, having talent chosen for exactly that – their talent – as opposed to their background, and allows younger creatives to learn from their more experienced counterparts when working collaboratively. Moreover, the team keeps themselves open to change, constantly refining and improving their practices and partnerships. NERD works closely with organisations like Free The Work, Women Owned and Fresh Meet to have vital, well-informed outside perspectives.

For Milana, this is the recipe for truly great work. “Our consumers are literally every single person on this planet! So as an industry, we need to be talking to all those individuals in a relevant way, with an authentic voice,” she says. “By embracing diverse perspectives, we unlock a treasure trove of unique ideas and narratives that push the boundaries of storytelling.”

NERD has unlocked success story after success story for its talent, but perhaps the biggest success story is NERD as a whole and the important steps it’s made in the industry in a short space of time. “These days, we have fun together, work hard together and we do it all to make a difference, so no one has to fight just to be able to have the opportunity,” says Milana. “I hope that more producers, project managers and creatives want to become that person who is responsible for changing the course of a young or under-represented director’s career. Together we can leave a game-changing legacy and revolutionise our industry.”


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NERD Productions is a diversity and inclusion-led creative production company championing an award-winning roster of hand-picked directors, illustrators and photographers. We craft animation, illustration, live-action, mixed-media, and photography for television, digital, social, editorial and everything in between.

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