Laura Geagea's AdFest Diary: Day 1 and 2

Laura Geagea.jpgLaura Geagea, Managing Director and Executive Producer of China, Asia & MENA at Sweetshop (pictured) reports for Campaign Brief Asia from AdFest 2018.

Transforming ideas is our role
An interesting task for our ever-changing, ever-innovative industry and a great topic to start off this year's AdFest with the brave theme of TRANSFORM!

Here we are at the start of the festival season at the AdFest 2018. Speakers, delegates, sponsors and guests all arrived in Pattaya on Tuesday kicking off four days of talks, workshops, cocktails and networking. Culminating in the awards ceremonies on Friday and Saturday evening where contestants will be hoping to take home a lovely Lotus!
Day1 Networking Cocktail 1.jpgMainHall3.jpgMainHall.jpgAn impressive schedule is on the cards with an interesting focus on tech this year - yet another confirmation that our industry is evolving. But interestingly, Jimmy Lam, President of AdFest revealed that 2018 marked a 50% increase in Film Craft Entries, reinforcing the weight of the category. So, despite advertising and marketing being seduced by technology and innovation with endless possibilities and channels, one thing will always be universal: Authentic, emotional and human stories are what resonates and connects people.

Day 1: Digital Darwinism
I started my first day with a crash course in digital effects. Barry Greaves, Digital Effects Supervisor at MPC Shanghai talked to us about DIGITAL DARWINISM: Bringing the next level of character creation to advertising.

Focusing on animated characters and how MPC can help your brand and the stories you want to tell, Greaves walked us through the numerous and intricate steps of creating, building and bringing these different creatures, animals and even humans to life. They first start with the shape then the movement, the skin, the interaction with the environment and so much more than you can think of!

The process is also sprinkled with questions that the animators will scrutinize again and again throughout the process to make sure they are on the right track:

Is it the right shape?
Does she move the right way?
Is he the right colour?
Does she feel alive?
Do we connect to him?
Does she convey emotion clearly enough?

Graves illustrated his points with different MPC work, which also helped us understand all the post lingo! Great examples of renders brought to life, the adaptability of it all, the changes that happen with a simple lighting change, a scale adaptation, an extra layered element to our character... Fascinating!

MainHall4.jpgMainHall6.jpgMainHall5.jpg"Creating characters is fun and we love it," Greaves said. The point is to get to believable CGI. The past two years have seen enormous improvement in the CGI and SFX world and MPC are looking to push the limit even more with the projects they work on and tools they are creating.

The day continued with an impressive rundown of other talks about female technologists in a very male dominated industry and the power of music, with Massive Music asking the question, 'What does my brand sound like.'

And of course, at the end of the first day, everyone mingled at the Network Cocktail Party around the pool ­- great food and drinks, getting us all pumped for the rest of the week!

Day 2
First up bright and early was Rafael Guida, Head of Creative Shop at Facebook South East Asia. Rafael told us all about the ever-changing nature of... well, everything at Facebook.

Facebook is indeed the ever growing, ever changing, ever amazing platform that has allowed the transition from TV sets to mobiles and so much more. This is obviously a big topic I could write pages about this, but I'll stick to the talk!

This is where people are watching all our stories. "And where we should all be telling them" says Guida. The accessibility of the platform is that it can tell stories that are as short as two-seconds or as long as 48-hours. Rafael walked us through facebook's three main and most popular formats - Immediate, Interactive, Immersive.

70% of facebook users consume this type of content. GIFs, looping cinemographs and short videos. It's the kind of content they watch on phones in between meetings, on the way to the elevator, in between activities. They don't have much time, so the important thing is the message being quick and concise. It's straight to the point, it delivers the idea to the viewer who wants something short and sweet!

The interactive area covers about 30% of users. Creative Shop has worked on several projects in collaboration with agencies including Lowe Singapore and BBH Singapore to name a few. The interactive medium is slightly longer than the Immediate medium. It ranges from 360 videos, to carrousel medium or even just Messenger Chat. Live feeds are also popular.

Day2 Welcome Party.jpgStraight 8.jpgDay2 Welcome Party7.jpgDay2 Welcome Party6.jpgDay2 Welcome Party4.jpgDay2 Welcome Party2.jpgImmersive
Facebook estimates this to be about 10% of users. Campaigns that range from a couple of minutes long to a couple days long! Old Spice experimented with a 48-hour long live feed. Definitely worth checking out what they did with it! This part of the medium makes up the smallest part of the users as it represents people who have more time to spend online looking for content and longer stories.

The idea is that we get TV in our pocket! And in this day of age, who's going to say no to that?

Production Companies: Opportunities & Challenges
Next up was the World Producers Summit. The incredibly proactive Steve Davies, Chief Executive of the APA held the talk that brought together Executive Producers and Managing Directors to candidly talk about the realities of the industry and exchange insights.

This is all about creating a database for more production houses and agencies. It's a conversation that has been going for several years now both at Adfest and at Cannes. It's about talking about the opportunities and challenges that production companies face in different countries, continents and mediums. Producers from Poland, London, Denmark, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, China and Bangkok came together to discuss, among other subjects, how agencies are changing to do their own production and post work. With each country's industry slightly differing, it's always great to put so many producers' minds in one room to brainstorm and talk about how we can spread good habits that will back the growth and changes in the industry, while keeping our businesses successful.

Adfest Straight8
I then rushed off to the Straight 8 competition. Straight 8 initially started in London in 1999 and is celebrating its first year at Adfest with six films! Straight 8 industry shootout at AdFest challenged any APAC ad industry companies to make a film on a single cartridge of super 8mm cine film, lasting up to 2.5 minutes. every shot could be taken only once, in story order. no editing, no post-production.

The interesting part of it as well, which we are not so used to, is that it's a totally open brief! The only rules today are to stick to the super 8 roll and get an original soundtrack composed when needed. All proceeds (should you win Gold, Silver or Bronze) will go to each winning filmmaker's charity of choice.

For AdFest 2018, 6 great films were projected. Always interesting to see what filmmakers can come up with when they don't have the ease and contingency of a brief, offline editing, color grading and sync sound. The winner will be announced on Day three at the awards ceremony. A few contestants will be anxiously waiting (with all the other Lotus awards registers) for the results.

Day 2 came to an end with the Welcome Party at the Lotus Pond. Great drinks, food and atmosphere as we continue the countdown to the first awards ceremony Thursday evening!

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