D&AD Festival 2016

Liam attended the D&AD Festival this year at The Old Truman Brewery from Wednesday 20th – Friday 22nd April.

All of the talks that Liam attended; dealing with branded content, PR, design and social media he found there was a theme running throughout. All stressing that there has been a seismic change in advertising over the past 5 to 6 years, and it’s completely transformed the way that brands communicate with their audiences – and the method that agencies and production companies use to help deliver that message to the public. This is still evolving, and there are no hard-and-fast rules for what works and what doesn’t. Also really interestingly so many of the award winners for content developed by major agencies were done for social causes.

Here are some highlights Liam picked up from the different talks and panel discussions:

Insight Session: Branded Content 

The definition of what constitutes “branded content” is an ongoing discussion. It can be anything from a 10 second vine video to a 90-minute theatrical release documentary directed by Werner Herzog. The important things are:

– That the content is genuine, and truly engages the audience

– The moment people feel like they’re watching a  commercial, they will tune out

– There has to be a cohesion between the brand’s mission, and the content creator’s vision

Insight Session: Technology

Social media  and digital platforms are allowing for much more personal engagement. Even as far as one-to-one engagement with the public. A great example of this is Sydney opera House’s #comeonin  Instagram campaign.

Design For Motion

Brands and branded content is delivered across so many different platforms, it’s a given now that your brand will wind up on a screen, and if it’s on a screen, it will need to move. It’s essential that motion is taken into account in the conceptual stages of brand identity, so the brand can be launched consistently  across all platforms.

Juan Fernando Pinzon Moreno – Self-Shooter / Director / Editor

Who is Juan Fernando Pinzon Moreno?

I’m a self-shooter, director and editor with over a decade of experience, recognised at an international level. More recently I’ve focused on working in corporate and documentaries alongside blue chip companies such as Diaego, Philips, The Sun, London Stansted, among others.

How did your career path develop?

After getting my degree in Film and Television I was open to direct anything – short films, documentaries or commercials. It all started with the dream of being a director. As a Colombian it is very difficult to make a living from this profession because of the lack of opportunity in my country, so I started taking work in news, radio and corporate in order to pay the bills. I’ve had many ups and downs throughout my career – after finishing university I started a company with a friend which was pretty successful until a client took advantage of us and we were left with a huge debt.

Any projects you are most proud of and why?

I had an amazing opportunity to produce and direct a documentary about the indigenous Tikuna people in the Amazon. I was also Assistant Director on ‘The Origin of the Tikuna People’ which was recognised on an international level, winning acclaim for Best First Feature at the Big Apple Film Festival in New York City and was in the Official Selection at the Native Spirit Festival, among others. I have also directed a campaign for children’s rights in Colombia with social awareness commercials broadcasted on national television and nominated for national awards.

What do you consider your greatest achievement/s so far?

With the freedom of shooting and editing my own content I feel I can offer a unique perspective that stands out and captures the attention of viewers. The experiences I’ve had in my work life have boosted my creativity, which I have maximised in my work. I am lucky to have been able to shoot in a huge variety of locations, from the Amazon Rain Forest in Latin America to an air-traffic control tower at a London airport!

Share your biggest lessons in life and work

I think my biggest life lesson was something I learnt from my mother: “we need to enjoy life now, tomorrow might be too late”.

View Juan Fernando’s Full Portfolio

Graeme Holmes – offline editor

I was born in Jersey, no not as a tax exile, and received an excellent education which included an extra-curricular “cinema course” on the making of films like ‘Casablanca’, ‘The Birds’ , ‘Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday’ and ‘Repulsion’. Before this I had just watched films as entertainment and not thought too much about them, but I was immediately fascinated by the equation of filmmaking; how script, performance, photography, sound, music and, of course, editing all work together to tell a story and make a complete film.

This lead me to take 50% of my degree in film studies at UEA, just about the only university offering such a course at the time. After graduating I spent a mad couple of years simultaneously freelancing in arts journalism, local radio, local theatre and no budget filmmaking and used that experience to get onto the prestigious post graduate film course at Bristol University, following in the cine-footsteps of course alumni John Boorman, Alex Cox, Michael Winterbottom and Peter Webber.

Road To Success: Ups and Downs

After film school I blagged some assistant editing work in TV documentary and also set up a small production company where I got to learn a lot by directing and editing extremely low budget “pop promos”, commercials and some comedy shorts for the BBC. Since then I have spent over 25 years in the UK film and TV industry as, variously, a writer, director, producer, series producer and editor. But I love being hands on with the images and the soundtrack and editing has always been the backbone of my experience, from my earliest, painful days cutting “dog-rough” music videos on VHS and U-matic machines, through simple non-linear systems, like Quantel’s D-Vision to over 20 years experience on Avid.

As a longterm freelance editor I have tended to take whatever work has come along and so have a broad experience that covers commercials, music videos, corporates, broadcast TV obs docs and factual series as well as drama in the shape of short films and low budget features.

In terms of “ups and downs” there have inevitably been projects that are more enjoyable than others, but what I recall as the “down” moments centre on the edit suites themselves. Not everyone can offer you gourmet lunches and hot and cold runners in luxurious, but dimmed, surroundings. I have edited in a corridor! (A surprisingly handy way of meeting people and making friends) and in the mouldy bowels of a ship anchored on the Thames where I battled against the sound of passing propellers and wondered about the damp smell of dead seamen (of all spellings).

I’m not sure all this has been “a road to success”, but it has been a road to a solid, unflappable store of experience.

Greatest Achievements

In terms of industry “awards” I cut two series of ‘Meerkat Manor’ for Animal Planet and the BBC, including a key episode in which the famous matriarch, Flower, died. The executive kindly informed me it was “probably the most important episode they had ever shot”. Thanks! No pressure. But happily the episode went on to be nominated for an Emmy and cleaned up a load of other prizes, including beating the ‘Sopranos’ in one category.

Proud Projects

One of the things I am most proud of was when I was left alone for two days with a pile of rushes and managed to change the entire conception of a show. The film was called ‘Raw Spice’ and was built on the guerrilla grabbed footage a media student had taken of a local gobby girl group as they formed. That group became ‘The Spice Girls’ and the plan was to have a load of clips introduced in a studio by someone like Cilla Black. I managed to go through every frame and find a compelling narrative of music industry manipulation and betrayal. ITV ran it as a one hour obs doc and it got 9.1 million viewers!

I also recently got the chance to work on ‘Bad TV’ – the 70s, for production company North One. Along with my usual editing tasks I had the chance to collaborate on “gags” for the script. This was a particular delight and I managed to get a load of “bits” into the show, building on my love of comedy and experience in writing comedy fringe plays for the London stage and some development work for ‘Big Talk’, ‘Hattrick’ and ‘Baby Cow’.

Biggest lessons in life and work

To be generous and empathetic and not to be too passionate for politics. As a bit of a production “all rounder” (and no, that doesn’t mean you are necessarily a bit crap at everything) I have many opinions about many, many things. But I have learned that not everyone wants to “have the benefit” of them all the time. As an editor you have to be adaptable and to choose your moments to comment and “offer advice”. I now know there is great merit in being able to subtly and diplomatically (!) insinuate ideas into the process and there is sometimes great merit in shutting up and getting the bloody thing out of the door.

View Graeme’s full portfolio

Robin Schmidt – director / editor / motion graphic designer

In the Blueberry Spotlight is director / editor / motion graphic designer, Robin Schmidt.

Robin is exceptionally skilled in several fields; shooting, directing, writing, editing, performing and motion graphic design. Before joining Blueberry in 2008 Robin ran his own production company – Chrome Productions, for 8 years and during this time produced, directed and edited music videos, commercials, TV programmes and extreme sports films. After making the leap into freelancing, Robin was able to expand on living his potential and pursuing his own creative projects mixed with commercials and brand films. In 2010 he won the Bahamas 14 Islands Film Competition and was named ‘One to Watch’ by Moviescope magazine. Following this he was taken on by Canon as a pro ‘envoy’ for a year and became one of their leading DSLR bloggers, experimenting and pushing the boundaries with new kit, and sharing tips and tricks along the way. This led him to winning a year long contract designing and implementing a content marketing strategy for a luxury resort brand in Mauritius. Making original and seriously creative content for commercials, Robin is paving his way into directing features and has written and directed two award winning films to date; ‘Afterdeath‘ and ‘Dog‘.

Road to success – ups and downs

I feel like these go hand in hand. My feature film had both ups and downs, I’m so glad I did it but it took so much out of me. I directed ‘The Indestructibles’ for the channel Dave, that was a big ‘up’ but when I finished I didn’t get any work for 4 months, which is rare.

Greatest achievements so far

My award winning feature film ‘Afterdeath’ was a huge acheivement. Winning the Nocturna 2015 Best Picture ‘Dark Visions’ and Best International Fantasy Feature at Feratum 2015. Setting up my own Production Company, Chrome Productions, was huge and became a great platform. And my children, they help put a lot of things into perspective, an ultimate goal would be to provide for them, whilst still being able to do something I enjoy.

Projects you are most proud of and why 

I recently directed episodes for a new TV show for the channel Dave called ‘The Indestructibles’, an action sports show. It was good fun and something I am extremely proud of, although it had a challenging budget I worked really hard to get the best out of it. I enjoyed the creative freedom I was given on this project which doesn’t happen often on a TV series.

Biggest lessons in life and work

I believe you should never regret where you are in life. There are things I could have done differently, I could have focussed more on the things I valued from an earlier age and been more constructive, though I would have been poorer! I really like the podcasts from Scriptnotes – they offer a lot of advice and are quite inspirational. I am in a good position at present, I could be either a director or an editor, I’ve got options open to me. I would like to get into screenwriting next, there is a lot of power to influence and educate people, plus creating a library of work that continues to pay when your not working on it, is more financially stable!

View Robin’s full portfolio