I have just returned from the Sheffield Documentary Festival where at a glittering awards ceremony on Saturday night we scooped the Crossover Prize.
The idea entitled ‘Museums of our Future’ (then renamed ‘Tomorrow’s Today’) was the output of a week working with Diarmid Scrimshaw from Warp Films and Anna Higgs from Quark Films at the UK’s first ever Crossover Lab.
A few things that stand out for me about Crossover/DocFest:
1. I love our idea
As well as loving my team, I love our idea. It works beautifully across three platforms (TV, web and real life). We are going to work hard to bring it to a screen, laptop and event space near you soon.
Happily the idea was not spawned by some elaborate ‘let’s all think about the future’ type of brainstorm. It emerged from a meeting of minds over dinner one evening. An intellectual debate ensued, a creative match emerged and, hey presto, an idea was born.
2. Creative environment
The Crossover environment was really conducive to thinking. We were literally locked up in a hotel for a week (okay, not literally). At times it was all too much but ultimately all the teams developed inspiring ideas.
3. Great people
It was a pleasure to meet loads of creative people with different skills and experiences from around the country. The mentors, commissioners and, most of all, the other participants really rocked da house.
Three things that I learnt from the experience were:
- Go with the idea that you are passionate about. If you don’t love your own idea then nobody else will;
- Run it past anyone who will listen. An old colleague from my accounting days had a screensaver that read “Feedback is the breakfast of champions”. Hard to apply in the world of auditing but a great maxim for devising crossover documentaries;
- When it seems like you have hit a brick wall - keep going. Give yourself a deadline by which time you have to pitch something. Otherwise great ideas can be written off as soon as they reach the first 'this is difficult' moment.
On a more personal level, I found the whole experience quite emotional. I sometimes act like a ‘cold as ice small town likely lad’ (although, like many Welshmen, I burst into tears at the opening bar of a male voice choir or watching the rugby at Cardiff). At Crossover, I experienced a sense of hiraeth. Normally this feeling is reserved for Neath, Swansea and Port Talbot area but now I must add Skipton to that list. Very odd.
Marvellous memories, inspiring ideas, but most of all firm friends.