Steve Back's D&AD Diary # One

BACK-judging1.jpgSteve Back, director at Sydney-based Brilliant Films, is in London judging the Integrated and Collaboration category at D&AD. Here is his first report, exclusive to Campaign Brief
The exceptional to the sublime.

Is the idea original and inspiring? Is it exceptionally well executed? Is it relevant to its context?

The three things we're asked to consider when looking at the work to judge. Pretty simple really and it's the thing I love the most about D&AD; creativity at it's purest. I'd been looking forward to this exercise for a while. The total immersion into creativity for two days had gotten me a bit excited and for those of you who know me, I don't get excited about much.
BACK-jury-2.jpgAfter a very thorough and motivating briefing from D&AD CEO Tim Lindsey and President Bruce Duckworth on the virtues, desires and goals of what we're about to embark on, we move off to our little corner of The Truman Brewery.  (Yes an award show judging in a Brewery; living the fuckn dream.) The location is as usual, perfectly selected by D&AD in a very cool part of town.

What I love about D&AD as you walk through the endless gallery rooms of work is it feels like you're looking at the best our industry has to offer.  It is all rather inspiring which I think we all need a healthy dose of now and again, especially these days with creativity feeling like it's under siege. There's a heightened expectation of what D&AD represents, which brings out the best in the industry.

Our first task was to get  down to a wooden pencil short list. This took 10 hours. We diligently watched 116 case films that had made it through online pre judging, at least twice and it was exhausting. By the time we finish we know the work. Intimately. We weren't unnecessarily tough but we all felt the weight of upholding the D&AD standard. Every decision was discussed thoroughly so be rest assured, if you win a pencil it's been well earned.

BACK-jury-3.jpgI think it's a good strong list that will inspire and evoke the sense of "I wish I'd done that". I didn't witness too much of over-entering across a scattering of categories. Although a few pieces did come up a couple of times, they didn't seem to be misplaced.

The most encouraging thing is there is a really diverse range of smart work from all over the world. I know creativity is doing it tough in Australia at the moment, but you wouldn't have suspected so by the standard of work coming from our shores.  It was a proud moment when I saw the juries' response to the Australian work. It really stands up and brings a freshness that generated a genuine excitement amongst the jury.

There where a couple of trends that did raise concerns. The first being the large proportion of charity work and our reliance as an industry to use this to showcase our best, as opposed to the work we're doing on larger brands. Maybe a sign of how tough things are in our industry at the moment? The second being brands attaching themselves to causes that have no brand relevance what so ever, in an attempt to be seen to be doing the right thing. A good sign of laziness.

Congrats to all those who receive a wooden pencil, trust me it's a massive achievement and you should be proud. I'm looking forward to judging graphite and yellows tomorrow.


Ibaka said:

Love you Backy.

Adrian@AIRBAG said:

Thanks for the great insight, Steve.

Patsy said:

It's a long time since I've seen you excited! Interesting read and great to see Oz getting it's mjo back on the world stage.

Denim Pencil said:

Looking sharp Backy!

Good bloke said:

Get it done big fella.

InYourEndo said:

You give me wood Backy. Keep livin' the dream

eyeswideshut said:

"Inyourendo" hahaha, well played sir.

Bede said:

Nice one, Captain Back!

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