IGNITE - A beginners guide to audiovisual collaboration

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September saw a lot of creative events floating around brisbane, with the brisbane festival , brisbane writers festival amongst others. I decided to wet my feet again in the big ol’ pond of public speaking and turn my hand to seeing how I would fair in Ignite.

It’s best described here on the Ignite Brisbane site:

“Ignite is a geek event in over 100 cities worldwide. At the events Ignite presenters share their personal and professional passions, using 20 slides that auto-advance every 15 seconds for a total of just five minutes.

If you had five minutes on stage what would you say? What if you only got 20 slides and they rotated automatically after 15 seconds? Around the world geeks have been putting together Ignite nights to show their answers.

Ignite was started in Seattle in 2006 by Brady Forrest and Bre Pettis. Since then 100s of 5 minute talks have been given across the world.”

The evening spanned from our good buddy at Brisbane Creative Industries (Hannah Suarez) taking on the topic of “The Digital Heartbeat” and doing a damn good job, to my personal fav from the night “The evolution of ASCII Art” by John Roth. I also had the pleasure and surprise to find out that a good friend of mine Adrian Royce was presenting “Delivering software at the speed of light” on the night too. See the full list of speakers here.

So, what to talk about ?

There’s no shortage of topics to be passionate about so it was a matter of picking one really. My original topic title was ‘The collaborative process between visuals and sound in any given creative project’ but as it developed, soon evolved into ‘A beginners guide to audiovisual collaboration’. 

I decided it was such a general topic and really had to cut it back to something more specific, or that was the plan anyway. All advice I garnished from googling ignite etc. pointed to just basically lots of practice in order to make sure the frantic pace didn’t get the better of me. I don’t ‘think’ it did … it was a lot of fun though and something I’d recommend to anyone with a passion they want to share.

Following is my 20 points during the presentation & also the visuals to match (with 15 sec intervals):

  1. A beginners guide to audiovisual collaboration
  2. This little 5 min guide is really for those of you who haven’t yet tasted of the fruit of audiovisual collaboration where A. You are the musician / sound designer or B. You’re the Motion designer / Film maker / animator, etc. from an ethical POV.
  3. Relationships & Collage
  4. The ultimate success of any audiovisual project relies on the creative synergy in the relationship and the ability to take each others ideas, cut them up and repaste them into where they need to go … filling in the blanks.
  5. Transformative Effect
  6. Its all about the project at hand, but there’s nothing wrong with taking the opportunity to level-up a bit and find out what you can about someone elses work methods especially if you’ve got no experience in sound or visa versa. It will most likely transform the way you approach your next project.
  7. Get the job done
  8. Your audio or visual partner is relying on you to pull out all stops to get the job done and to not leave tasks til the 11th hr. Become good at multi-tasking and whilst it’s not necessary to know how your partner does what they do, it does help good idea to have some idea.
  9. Briefs come in all shapes and sizes
  10. Some fit like a glove, some like a ninja’s mask, some more like a cleaning lady but either way your responsibility to your collaborator/s are to address the task at hand, work as a team and find the excitement in the project to get the best possible outcome.
  11. Not all briefs fit comfortably
  12. Yes we all know about tight briefs, and that they can restrict the blood flow to the brain, but really sometimes you just need to consult with your collaborator (and maybe GP) and turn it on its head… look at it from a different perspective.
  13. Improvise & Adapt
  14. As surely as teenagers turn into drooling one eyed monsters, your brief and co-mission will change. Its how you deal with that change that’ll define your experience (and future work prospects) Any creative project is a combo of good planning and improvisation as the need arises.
  15. Put your brief away
  16. Sometimes you may need to step aside from what you’re doing and get a bit of distance from the project and your collaborator. If you have that luxury … Not too long though. Especially if you’re finding you’re in a ‘no ideas black hole’.
  17. Be a good listener
  18. Sounds obvious but listen to what your collaborator is saying about their part in the project and act accordingly. Ask questions if unsure even if you sound like a dork.
  19. Don’t be obscure
  20. Be very clear in what you need from your partner, even if you’ve only got a few hours to both complete a task, its better to clarify and spend a bit longer explaining your requirements initially. Also, if you’re partner isn’t up to speed in particular terminology use regular lingo.
  21. Treat 3rd party opinion with healthy scepticism
  22. Depending on who it is, take other opinions on board with healthy scepticism but remember that those working on the project generally know best, even if TEX is an after effects hired gun.
  23. Don’t be too self-involved
  24. Even though much of any creative process is quite self involved and solo, often the bigger picture isn’t and nobody likes excessive ego, especially when the team is relying on you.
  25. Plan Time
  26. Many agencies will have a project manager to provide structure but many won’t and as a freelancer or smaller agency you have to do everything so planning your time is imperative and so is knowing what your collaborator is up to and when.
  27. Give your collaborator space
  28. There’s nothing wrong with being familiar with your partner (after all you might have known them for years) but stick to your purpose for the duration of the project and don’t drift too far into your usual practices (if you have any) Give them the space they need to do their job/s.
  29. But not too much space
  30. After all they may be the junior experienced person and need a bit of help or brilliant but prone to bouts of excessive ping pong. Depends on how familiar you are with the other person as to what you can say but keep each other on track.
  31. Find balance through communication
  32. Be mindful of your collaborators technical requirements, file formats, length of time, syncing sound to visuals etc. Sometimes they’ll conflict with your own but find a proper balance through communication.
  33. A tasty combo – audio / visuals
  34. sound, music & visuals all exist quite well on their own of course but they excel as a team. If you haven’t had the opportunity to try making a tasty combo, its an opportunity not to be missed, give it a go with someone you know.
  35. Insights
  36. Time permitting on any project, take the opportunity to find out a bit about your partners processes, especially if you’re not experienced in that area / software etc.
  37. It can be a valuable insight that’ll greatly assist following creative collaborations.
  38. Just make stuff
  39. Don’t philosophise, just make stuff, get it done and if you can insert some of the previous points in through the process then great. If a tree falls in a forest ….
  40. Accidents Happen – make them Happy
  41. Problems will always arise but keep a sense of playfulness even in the midst of a crashed computer or massive change in brief outline near the end of the project. Easier said than done .. yes .. but its how you handle it that’ll make people want to work with you again.

It was overall a great night and something I look forward to participating in again. If you’re interested in throwing yourself in the deepend and sharing your passions, check ignite out

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