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Electric Theatre Collective Adds Producer Joe Billington


Joe boast credits on the likes of Black Mirror, The Kid Who Would be King and Brave New World

Electric Theatre Collective Adds Producer Joe Billington

Producer Joe Billington might be ETC's latest fresh new starter, but he's far from a new kid on the block.

In fact, New Kids on the Block were still hanging in the charts, just about, when Joe embarked on his first role with an offline editing house  – when some of ETC's Flame operators weren't even a flicker in their parents' hotpants.

Having narrowly dodged a university degree in Philosophy and Law, Joe launched his career straight from school in 1992, which means he's been involved in Flame since it was in its infancy, and his career has evolved in tandem with the industry.

In other words, philosophy's loss was VFX's gain, and Joe went on to enjoy a whirlwind 14 years as a Flame product specialist, travelling the world presenting, training and helping facilitate Flame's research and development.

Presenting Flame to 3500 people in Las Vegas could have been a highpoint of his career, but while that kind of gig might have been enough for the likes of Elvis, Joe wasn't about to follow the same fate.

A fresh start was in order, and a few years back he decided to try his hand as a producer – which means he can now boast credits on the likes of Black Mirror, The Kid Who Would be King and Brave New World.

That's if he was the type to boast, but deep down he's still something of a philosophical type.

In fact, if he wanted to, he could probably still go pretty deep into theories on nihilism, but that would mean nothing to us.

Q> Hi Joe, how does spring 2023 find you?

Joe> Hi, I’d say it finds me feeling a little less Nietzsche and a bit more Larry the Lamb.

Q> Any predictions for the year, or failing that the Grand National?

Joe> Apparently, I was born under a rare cosmic occurrence called a Grand Trine. According to starry types, this makes me inherently lucky…  Unfortunately, it turns out that a big planetary triangle doesn’t work for terrestrial predictions. I’m not sure how I feel about the rules.

Q> What brings you to ETC?

Joe> I guess there are a bunch of connected elements but, Grand Trine assisted, I was just really fortunate to be in the right place at the right time. Everyone's career path is totally unique but for all the twists and turns you, I like to think, end up where you belong.

Q> You've been involved in the industry for a few years now – has it turned out like you thought it would at the start?

Joe> Diplomatically put, thank you. I think if you’d told me, sat learning to lace up a Steinbeck back in the days of film, that one day it’d be normal to message a robot from my phone, who’d interface with an AI algorithm to remotely complete my roto… I’d have probably looked a little bewildered and then asked you - what’s roto?

Q> You've also been around the world a bit, so what's the best place you'd recommend a holiday?

Joe> Kathmandu/Himalayas - an unparalleled contrast of madness and serenity.

Q> Everyone goes on about career highlights, but all that travel must have brought a few lowlights too – are there any you can share?

Joe> Er, not sure I can. There’s a couple of Consulates that could fill you in though depending on their respective statutes of limitations.

Q> We note you're a keen footballer. Which moment in football history would you change, and why is it England's semi-final in Italia 90?

Joe> Either the 1984 or 2019 FA Cup Final results - both equally painful, you choose…

Q> Would you swap the VFX career to play up front for Watford?

Joe> Absolutely - get paid loads of money with zero expectation of having to actually score goals or win games…

Same question but for L*ton. It won’t seem to let me use the puking emoji.

Q> What's the future for the creative industry?

Joe> People, same as it’s always been. Machine learning et al are incredible assets for Creatives to utilise but the human spirit is indefatigable when it comes to the quest of pushing the boundaries of art. It’s an inextricable part of who we all are. 

Q> Is there any hope for creative professionals, or are we all going to be replaced by AI drones and Erling Haaland?

Joe> Is Haaland any good at Fluid Sims? 

Q> Cheers... wine, whisky or Watney's red barrel?

Joe> Whisky… all day long*… *not all day long

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Electric Theatre Collective, Thu, 30 Mar 2023 08:13:00 GMT