Getting creative types to orate for an hour about their work must be hard given that the creative industries are largely visual and sensory and often defy our attempts at verbal explanation. So congratulations are due once again to the Design is Kinky crew for assembling yet another breathtaking array of talent who mostly spoke quite well, at this year's Semi Permanent conference. The success of previous years' line-ups has been patchy with speakers such as last year's wunderkind Anthony Lister, who after a dramatic entrance shootout, appeared to soon grow bored of his audience.
Part of the success of this year's assortment was perhaps due to the fact that most of these artists and creative professionals have been forced to verbally sell their own work from an early age and have maintained a single minded focus on defending their unique ideas to clients, agents and agencies.
Daniela Federici, who got her extraordinary break after graduating photography at RMIT, was invited to photograph the iconic Guess campaign by Paul Marciano, featuring another new discovery, Anna Nicole Smith. She was a hugely rewarding speaker whose funny insider celebrity anecdotes and generous advice and technical asides were both entertaining and valuable.
Vernon Wilbert from Digital Domain told the absorbing story of the creation of the Gears of War campaign for xbox, the first campaign animation to use the actual games engine, resulting in an ad that was not only true to the game, but wildly successful with its intended audience. The larger than life enthusiasm of the Californian kept the entire auditorium on the edge of its seat.
Other speakers used different techniques to win their audience. Tim Kentley from XYZ Studios turned the lights low and presented by candlelight whilst stretched out on the floor. Kate Gibb confided her white-knuckle terror at public speaking from the outset and proceeded to read from her tightly clutched A4 notes. Whilst this breaks all the rules, the audience loved her nevertheless and were able to focus on her images and her insider stories of the UK band scene.
Overall, this is possibly the best Semi Permanent yet. Watch out for the first SPMelbourne later this year.