MEAT, MUSIC, TECH
This year was my first time at SXSW as I have always somewhat on purpose avoided it based on my cynical view on what trickled into my twitter feed over the last couple of years.
But boy was I wrong. I have returned to London inspired and buzzing.
This is what happened in Austin.
I decided to down my tech tools for a week and just take my sketchbook. http://floxsw.tumblr.com/
I DID however instagram for D&AD over here: http://instagram.com/d_and_ad
Once I got over the amount of people being there and the complexity of doing everything with everyone – all at the same time – I settled into a pattern that worked for me.
2 talks a day, one at AM and one at PM.
Go for lunch at Ironworks http://www.ironworksbbq.com/ at 12:30 to beat the queue. (I know this is probably like saying the Gutterbar is the place to go in Cannes, forgive me, it was my first time… )
Stay at whatever talk you happen to go to! It’s about what you take out of it and not what new thing is being presented to you. Nothing is really new. And try to go to one talk away from the main conference centre.
In the evening go to one party and stay there. No, the party over there is not better than the one you are at right now. If you have the stamina after a party go to a bar on Rainey Street, possibly Lustre Pearl http://lustrepearlaustin.com/ for a nightcap and then cycle home.
I hired my bike from the amazing Rene Martinez at Longhorn bikes http://longhornbikes.com/
This is who I saw speak:
“Being terrified is a wonderful thing”
Danny Boyle in conversation with David Carr and Rick Smith from Underworld. He generously showed about 10 minutes of his new film Trance. He talked about how he used to make it up when he shot Shallow Grave and how the film is better for it, he now has to force himself into that state because he knows how things are being done.
Asked on the intensity of his new film he said that “I want to assault the audience” which is certainly true with Trance and he wanted “to fuck with genres” A wonderfully funny and surprisingly humble conversation.
Also someone in the audience mentioned this film by Alan Clarke / Danny Boyle from 1989 called Elephant, I had never heard of it. Pretty intense. Don’t watch it if graphic violence is not your thing. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0097270/
“I wanted to call my book Blood & Gore” Al Gore
In the PM I went to see Al Gore in conversation with Walt Mossberg from the Wall Street Journal. Mostly the talk was about his new book “The Future” and the six drivers of global change. Like Earth Inc and the emergence of the global mind, the internet of everything (vs internet of things), robosourcing (vs crowd sourcing), stalker technology and the wisdom of Krauts, sorry, crowds. And then he mentioned Spider Goats. I had never heard of that. Look it up! Goats with spider genes and silk in their milk. Proper scary. Actually Gore said “there is a difference between creepy and scary” you work out which one Spider Goats are.
Then I cycled off to the Gibson http://www.gibsonaustin.com/ to go to our Creative Social gathering where a bunch of people presented new stuff. I am sure there will be a post on the CS blog about this soon.
“Money is the story”
Next day I went to see Molly Crabapple and Kim Boekbinder’s brilliant talk about them being artists and entrepreneurs. And how they are using Kickstarter to fund their artistic endeavours. Molly talked about the way art is now all about scarcity – only 5 people can afford do buy a particular piece o art becuae its too expensive. It should be more about abundance and affordability and prices on a sliding scale. Because “Money is the story”. Kim offered an interesting take on our industry lumping together of creative output: “What we used to call art, writing, music is now just called content.” It’s worth sometimes to walk away from the conference centre across the river to something a bit smaller. I also saw a load of bats under a bridge on the way to this talk. And it was 11 am!
“No dicks, no divas is a really good rule” Bing Gordon
In the evening I went to see Jeff Goodby hosting a super-relaxed talk about, I don’t really know what it was about actually, but the people on the panel were incredible, a crazy mix, there was Damian Kulash of OK Go and Paul Bennett of Ideo and a chap from Lukas films. They talked about their creative approach in the widest sense and Paul shared this wonderful analogy that clients and agencies sit in the same boat rowing across the water only the client thinks it’s the ocean when it’s just a lake really. And it’s about reassuring the client that the shore is not far.
I also bumped into Mike Monello – creator of the Blair witch project telling the story how it became such a hit. “When I saw a line of kids at Sundance queuing up I knew I could add another nought to our movie deal.” Possibly my highlight of the whole week to meet Mike. Thank you for telling your story.
“There are no pockets in the futue” LeVar Burton
The next day in the morning I went to see Ben Palmer chairing a panel on The 100 Year Starship. An entertaining (mostly Ben) and serious (everyone else) view into the future of space travel.
“I am Psy” Ben Huh
Then I had a play at the Leap Motion tent with their brilliant little gadget. And then saw Ben Huh from Cheezburger. A very entertaining end to my SXSW.
Austin I thank you.