November 2023

Meet ILBES people - Nikola Stojsavljević, Production Manager

We present to you Nikola Stojsavljević, our diligent Production Manager 

Nikola Stojsavljević joined ILBE Studios three years ago as a Production Coordinator. At the time he had multiple challenges to tackle: to get acquainted with the entirely new and unknown industry, to get involved in setting up the work process while the construction workers were setting up the office; and to establish good relations with everyone in the studio and ensure the smooth running of our first projects.

He managed that and even more! Throughout the past three years, he played an active part in improving our workflows, advancing our communication, and accelerating our pipeline. He was promoted to Production Supervisor and was recently appointed as the Production Manager.

Everyone in the studio knows Nikola as the person you can entirely rely on and ask for support, advice, and educational tips. He is also someone very knowledgeable about our studio both historically and technically and is aware of the smallest details of our pipeline.

In his interview, he talks about his first encounters with the studio. He also presents his role, his workday, and his team. Finally, he reveals the project aspect of work in animation and film and all the excitement it brings to him.

Enjoy his story.

Q&A with Nikola Stojsavljević


What were your thoughts when you first entered the studio?

N: I was super excited about my first day, and not only because it was Friday (laughs).

It was a whirlwind of excitement and anticipation of all the opportunities on my new journey in the entertainment business. For someone who used to work in marketing in IT, the shift to the role of Production Coordinator marked a significant step in my career, and I was eager to learn and absorb everything this dynamic new realm had to offer. The studio was all I hoped for and more. Physically, it was still a work in progress. While we were “setting up shop,” the construction crews worked hard to polish up their part and get the studio ready for the artists. A nice parallel as we were also beginning to set up, soon-to-be, successful operations.


What has your career path at the studio looked like?

N: Well, as I said, I shifted professions in a way, so a lot of the responsibilities tied to setting up and coordinating a production pipeline were challenging, to say the least.

The production coordination (PC) team functioned exceptionally well together, and it felt like we’d helped set up the studio and its workflows rather successfully. Even though this was new for almost everyone, deadlines were met straight away.

As our core animation project, Puffins Impossible (PI), gained momentum, and the studio's reputation flourished, I found myself ready to take on more substantial responsibilities. This led me to assume the role of Production Supervisor. Building upon consistent success and driving improvements within the studio, I was honoured when my superiors recognized my contributions and appointed me as Production Manager. This journey meant both personal and professional growth for me in the ever-changing atmosphere of the dynamic and thriving studio environment.

Nikola Stojsavljevic, Production Manager
Nikola Stojsavljevic, Production Manager

What makes this job different from the jobs you’ve done before?

N: The uniqueness of this job compared to my previous roles lies in its complex demands. While I've had experience working within extensive team environments, my focus was often on a specific department. As a Production Manager at ILBE Studios, I operate in an entirely different landscape. I'm constantly immersed in a dynamic juggling act, overseeing multiple departments, projects, and deadlines simultaneously. Beyond the industry shift, it's the scale of operations that truly stands out – far grander operations, brimming with possibilities for growth. This environment's fast pace and greater responsibilities it entails, infuse each moment with a sense of urgency and excitement, promising a journey full of constant learning and achievements.


Could you tell us more about the role of a PC team in an animation studio and the role of a Project Manager? Why is this role important? Which skills and knowledge are required for someone who works in this position?

N: The Production Coordination (PC) team is embedded into all the departments in the studio, meaning that technically everything goes through us one way or another. In a nutshell, the PC team ensures a smooth collaboration between departments, considering multiple schedules, tracking progress, and resolving any issues that may occur in the process.

The Production Manager position in an animation studio involves overseeing the entire production process, from concept to delivery. My responsibilities also include creating schedules, coordinating multiple teams, and allocating resources. In a way, I’m the link between the creative teams, management, and distribution.

And finally, regarding the necessary skills, you need to be: good at communication (with a wide range of professions and personalities), organized, adaptive to change, and have a problem-solving mindset. Knowledge of the animation process is something you can and will learn along the way, but it’s always a big plus if someone is familiar with it straight away.

What does your workday look like?

N: Dynamic so to say. The best and the worst thing is that you literally cannot have two identical days, so much goes on in here! I usually come in armed with a coffee and embark on a thrilling quest of meetings, Rocket Chat messages, e-mails, spreadsheets, and deadlines.
On a more serious note, I usually have an inter-team meeting with the PC team, where we delegate daily tasks. This is followed up by checking and updating several tables with deadlines, bids, and tasks for our artists. Depending on the day, we would have a meeting with some of our many departments. Of course, this is the plan if nothing unexpected happens. And it happens more often than not (laughs). And that’s all before lunch. So, it goes like this: Lunch. Coffee. Tables. Meeting. E-mail. Coffee. Meeting, and so on, and so on.


Which programs and tools do you use in your daily work?

N: Are we allowed to say this (laughs)? For 90% of our work, we use ShotGrid (SG), a project management tool specialized in production tracking for the entertainment industry. It allows for quick reviews from department supervisors and makes our lives much easier with everything being in one place. You can’t really run away from an old Excel table as well (laughs). However, we try and keep everything on SG. We also use Celtx for our writing team, and Frame IO for some external directors when they need to review animatics.

What types of projects are being delivered by the ILBES team?

N: Well now I’m sure we’re testing the boundaries of the NDA. The best ones! Our main project is Puffins Impossible. We are also working closely with HQ at ILBE Group in Italy and assisting them with VFX work for their movies combining live-action and animation of our characters. We are also developing a lot of exciting projects, which I know for certain I shouldn't mention, but I’m hoping they’ll be game-set-match ILBES when they come out.

Nikola Stojsavljevic, Production Manager
Nikola Stojsavljevic, Production Manager

What are the greatest challenges of your job?

N: Ensuring seamless communication across diverse teams and departments. But one of the main challenges apart from that is maintaining delicate stability between artistic creativity and pragmatic deadlines. Balancing the desire for perfection that our artists have with the (harsh) reality of project timelines requires constant involvement.


How would you describe your team?

N: As Tina Turner would put it – “Simply the Best.” Not joking at all. The PC team tackles each and every challenge that might occur. Each member brings unique strengths that complement one another, making us a well-rounded and effective team! Shoutout to Jelena Plavšić and Jelena Pranić!


Which Puffins Impossible character are you?

N: Otto von Walrus! Everyone wants to be one of the heroes, but I believe Otto is inherently misunderstood. Deep down he is a good guy who just needs to get things done. Same with me, the artists, and the deadlines (laughs).


What is your favourite animated movie?

N: Well, when I was a kid, I used to grab my parent's video (VHS) rental store card and run across the street and rent “The Brave Little Toaster.” I’ve rented it so many times, that the owner of the store eventually gave it to me as a gift. I also loved to watch “Hercules” (1997), also on VHS, until my dad taped it over with an F1 race he couldn’t watch live. He did end up buying me a new one later. But I think I was mostly amazed by “Toy Story,” the first fully computer-animated film ever made. I would still gladly watch it whenever I bump into it, and it would bring me back to the first time I saw it in an instant. Who would’ve thought years later, I’d end up involved in making such amazing animation with so many talented people!

What superpower would you like to have and why?

N: In my opinion, the best one would be the ability to travel through time. You could visit and witness so many historical events!



As a creative animation studio, our main goal is to create great stories for the young and young at heart, and we know that it wouldn’t be possible without our #ILBES Team. We invite you to browse through the news section and read more stories of our incredible people. Also, stay tuned for the next #MeetILBESPeople interview. 

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