Ya what happens when I drink coffee at 3 in the afternoon? Well yeah, I can’t sleep; so at least I will do something positive with my time. FITC Toronto 2010 ended last week and I was pretty busy there as I was covering the conference for Applied Arts. I wrote 3 summaries for them (1, 2, 3) but these were mostly just recaps. What I want to do here is to write what I got out of this year festival.
Storytelling and the attention to details
One thing that stood out was the importance of storytelling. From North Kingdom putting stories even in their preloaders to Alex McDowell that writes an entire biography for a house in Fight Club, storytelling should be at the hearth of everything we do. Which bring me to the other point: attention to details. No elements in a production should be there for nothing, everything should have a purpose, a story. At no point in a project should you start rounding corners, if you do, it will show up in the finished product. It is hard when you are working on it, but you should keep this in mind, stay focused.
Making your tools
There was supposed to be a presentation by the president of firstborn Dan LaCivita, but unfortunately he couldn’t make it to the conference. So instead we got Mathieu Badimon (creator of FIVe3D) and Eric Decker showing how, when they encountered repetitive tasks in projects, they would build tools to help them. That advantages for doing this are pretty obvious; if the client wants to change something, you just make the change in the tool and reexport the data, plus you learn a ton while building the tool. These tools ranged from handwriting animation font creators to character path tools. Those tools where amazing and we saw that they reused some parts from tool to tool (like path drawing). This was a common thing through out the conference. People were making tools that would export them usable assets for the Flash projects. So I thought this isn’t a bad idea, the next time I encounter a problem that has repetitive task to it, instead of solving it by brute force, I am going to build a tool for it.
Best of show
I couldn’t do a recap without speaking about the best presentations I have seen. Jason Theodor and is talk about Creativity and Chaos was really inspiring and was the best I have seen this year. He generously gives his slides on slideshare, so I suggest you see them, it won’t be as good as seeing him talk but it is still pretty good. Jared Ficklin also gave a great presentation; he is a great entertainer and his curiosity is contagious. Finally I really enjoyed the Brendan Dawes’ talk about the grammar of interaction design.
A little extra
Last year I stopped by the booth of the creative group and took a leaflet to be well surprised by the quality of it. The best part of it was that it was a salary guide and it covered most of the employes of a digital agency. So this year, I went to the booth wanting my updated salary guide for 2010 and it took the form of a calendar. While browsing through it, I saw that they went a step further this year by making an online tool (click salary calculator on the right) where you can enter your fonction and where you live and it will give you a salary range. I think this is pretty awesome and very useful. I just moved to New York from Montreal and had no idea a all what salary I should ask; I would have killed to have this tool like at that moment. So now you know, go check if you are paid enough.
It was the third year that I went to that conference and as the last years I came back from it fully motivated and with plenty of new ideas for blog post. Stay tuned for more