The Ciclope International Festival of Craft kicked off in Berlin earlier this month with inspired talks, panels, case studies and Q&A’s with some of the brightest talent in the industry. The fine art of collaboration, the effectiveness of craft, why craft still matters and the importance of love, passion and happiness were some of the subjects examined over the 3-day event.
Richard O’Neill, Executive Director of Integrated Production at TBWA\CHIAT\DAY gave an enlightened discussion on why craft is still important in the ad game today, referencing challenges he faced aside Ridley Scott bringing the Grand Prix-winning spot “1984” to the screen.
“As a producer you have to know your craft, otherwise you’re in real trouble,” overviewed O’Neill. “You need to be part of that creative process.”
O¹Neill talked of the importance of craft in successful work throughout his career, referencing talent such as Oscar-winning sound designer Randy Thom plus directors Dante Ariola and Rupert Sanders. “Everyone needs to be a terrific craftsman,” he explained.
O’Neill went on to say that technology has made it increasingly difficult for clients to appreciate craft. “It has become problematic explaining where you are in the process,” he offered. “As craft becomes harder and increasingly more technical, so does the duty of explaining exactly what’s going on. “
O’Neill referenced work on the bombastic “Call of Duty – Black Ops” commercials directed by Rupert Sanders following an impressive screening of “1984” that still stands up well on the big screen after a few decades in the can.
He discussed the benefits of in camera effects on both 1984 and Black Ops, revealing how he used mirrors on the famous Apple spot to increase the number of people seen in any given scene. He also explained that glass matte painting was integrating with live-action footage throughout the shoot to save on production costs. The methodology echoed his approach on Black Ops:
“We used real guns, real flashes of ammunition,” he explained. “Shooting real guns helped enhance the reality for both the actors and the post effects. You have to understand what will work practically on set and help the effects in post. All the explosions were live, then post helped the visceral feeling that you get from the whole film – one explosion alone was 650 gallons of gasoline going off.”
“Mankind keeps on evolving and craft has to evolve alongside,” he concuded before wrapping his speech. “That should be our industry’s motto: keep refreshing the world, keep it young through innovation, craft and design.”
Meanwhile, other case studies included director Vellas of Sentimental Films discussing his mesmerizing short “Soul” created for the launch of the Leica M Monochrom digital camera. The work scored at Cannes with a Golden Lion for Cinematography, Silver Lion for Direction, two Bronze Lions for Editing plus Art Direction – all in the Craft category.
“In Gut we Trust” was another talk of note, an inspired speech from Tommy Zee of Massive Music, Amsterdam discussing the challenge of creating internationally acclaimed music for an array of big, eager clients.
“How do you trust your gut?” he queried on self-belief and making the magic happen. “Well, you are what you eat. If you feed on good books, good conversation, good music and the greatest things the world has ever produced, then you can probably trust your gut.”
“But if all you read is Facebook, Twitter, Tublr, Stumblr, RSS feeds – I mean what is a feed? “Feed” sounds like something barn animals line up for. Don’t recycle links on the Internet because you cannot truly nourish yourself. If you do I doubt you can trust your gut because it won’t be there for you when you need it.
“Close your laptop, go outside, feed on nature, listen to the birds chirping, pick up a good book,” he continued. “Who would you rather talk to, someone on Facebook circulating a link that millions of people have already seen, or have a conversation with Marcus Aurelius? It’s easy. Just pick up his book, read his journal and his innermost thoughts.
“Act this way and there’s a good chance when you’re working on your next campaign something you’ve read or seen will give you insight or a golden idea. Then people will ask you, hey, how do you get your ideas? You’ll respond that it’s very easy, that you’re not nourishing yourself with the ‘feed.’”
As for clients defining a craftsman’s needs, Zee explained there is no need to listen to them – unless they make sense:
“Henry Ford said that if he questioned what people wanted they would have asked for faster horses,” said Zee on the subject. “Steve Jobs said that it’s not the client’s job to know what they want. This is what craftsmen get paid for, they help define what the client needs.”
Does doubt slip into the equation when you listen to your gut instead of the client?
“I compare doubt to your mother,” continued Zee. “She loves you and cares for you but you don’t always have to listen to her. You should hear her out, but you don’t have to do what she says. You will know best because you trust your gut.”
He cautioned working hard with impossible deadlines leaves us all forgetting to do something very important – absolutely nothing.
“Do anything completely unrelated to the problem and insight will come your way when you least expect it,” he said. “NCAA coach Dean Smith said that if you turn every game into a life and death situation you’ll have problems – for one thing you’ll be dead a lot. Remember, it’s only advertising… ”
With close on 300 people in attendance the first year of Ciclope in Berlin was a success. It is slated to return to the same venue next year. “It is both refreshing and exciting to be a part of a festival that is all about the work seen on the screen,” says Sally Campbell, Founding Partner at Somesuch & Co. and Ciclope Jury President. “There is no other agenda at Ciclope but examining the craft that has gone into the work.”
“A huge thanks to the Jury for committing so much of their time to the judging process and awarding some truly remarkable work,” adds Ciclope founder Francisco Condorelli. “Thank you also to the fantastic delegates who came to the event from all over the world – we hope to see you all next year.”