Over the last few weeks, I’ve been helping UK dance curator, Sadlers Wells with a conference on the power of digital video.

Pretty simple approach, really.  I pulled together 3 experts from industry and they grabbed 3 experts from dance and the performing arts.

My section was to lay out the key trends and get the speakers to cover content creation, distribution on multiple platforms and driving consumer visibility.  I asked Tom Laidlaw, CEO of Videojug: Richard Cohen, CEO of LoveLive and Patrick Johnston, Director at EMR Digital to do their stuff.

Tom knows how to create brilliant, practical and effective short-form digital video.  Richard used his McFly example to show how LoveLive get different type of content on to various platforms that include streaming, apps and TV.  He is also able to show how to monetise the content.  Patrick talked through how youtube is really a search engine, the UK’s third biggest website and how Google loves video.  EMR Digital is great at getting your digital content seen on places like Youtube.

We evolved the presentations into good Q&A discussing practical aspects of video creation, costs, process and the viability of the stuff presented for smaller organisations.

The following session had the experts from the arts.  They included video producers from the Tate and the National Theatre.  Through to an editor from the Telegraph and a film-maker.  This got into the detail of content creation.  It had less charts and graphs than the more commercially orientated first session  but perhaps a richer insight into the film.  I enjoyed the insight into when low-fi works and how with modern technology, hi-fi films needn’t cost the earth.

What was fascinating was how to groups of presenters have a different view of the same topic?

What we need to do more of (and we did a little of this in the pub after the sessions) was to explore the overlap and see what two different groups can learn from each other.  What it reminded me was that commercial marketers (me included) who are fixated with briefs, insights, big ideas and numbers must never lose respect for the artists, whose desire for craftsmanship and flawless execution is the reason why consumers respond positively to the communication.

This is true, whether the film is shaky docufilm, ‘fly-on-the-wall’ from rehearsals or whether its a polished piece of content.  There are some things that one group is clearly better at than the other.  We had a great debate on UGC where the commercial folk were generally cynical whilst the performing arts team gave lots of examples of success.  (Obviously, I would like to have seen more on the numbers.)

All this made me realise that there is real value in getting groups together who’s lives don’t really overlap and looking for sparks, fusion and quite possibly, some collaboration.

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