F5 creative conference notes...

Here is a quick rundown of my notes from this inspiring past weekend from F5 2011


  • Tool represents interactive directors (installation, web, etc.) the same as film directors
  • Touching Stories" is a series of iPad interactive films
  • Map out key interactive points and storylines/alternate story-points
  • How do you balance out what the audience wants you to do vs. a good story (maintain) - but keep spontaneous
  • Visual storyteller + technology team = best

ALEX HENRY (director rep. by TOOL)

  • Style blends photography, motion and interactive
  • Connect your passion with your assignment
  • Tap into your passion by pulling from your inspirations

EVANS SILVER (director rep. by TOOL)

  • Directed “Skins” promo (love, lust, jealousy, drugs)
  • Find the emotion behind your pieces - feel it
  • Balance story/execution

EVAN GRANT of SEEPER (director rep. by TOOL)

  • Projection mapping/interactive installations
  • Your work is not just about selling
  • Create an imagined reality - a dream that could come true
  • Never forget your audience
  • Rapid prototyping is key


  • Just moved to Amsterdam
  • Full-motion house, lots of slow-mo work
  • We love animatics!
  • Animatics allow you to create in a short amount of time and get an idea across (and storyboard after) - impossible camera angles, no textures, super rough but gets the idea across
  •  Animatics allow you to kill your darlings, unlike hand-drawn storyboards you don’t get too married to one idea (ex. Justified & Sons of Anarchy intro)
  • Use fun techniques on free side-projects to get some hype around your work, then agency picks your style and you do a commercial paying project based on that style
  • Just keep making animatics!
  • Their process is completely backwards (or is it? just goes to show no one is right)
  • New reel or a short? Do both! Combine the ideas and where you want to go with your design style by exploring where you haven’t been yet, something challenging and different to push your skills (ex. matte paintings/set extensions) - which they are currently making a short film around that one theme (and the story/concept comes last)


  • Used Kinect hack and a double sided mirror to create a Heinekin light show
  • Open source graphics + Web GL is the next wave


  • Monty Python + Sesame Street = Epic!
  • Hand-drawn animation is more emotional than plastic 3D renders
  • Format Flip!" - get out of your comfort zone
  • The trick in teaching is making work fresh and fun to do
  • "Go D.I.Y.!"
  • Continue to move forward and share to gain momentum
  • If you ever see a cheese shop check out the back - lots of wood to get creative with
  • Ideas are around you all the time - and your biggest fan is your mom


  • Moodboards are key
  • The smaller you are the more freedom you have to be creative
  • Think epic. If you don’t have time to do it yourself, hire freelance help


  • Black Moth Super Rainbow interactive music video concept - used webcam to control what clips get fed in (blended timelapse footage, greenscreen, 3d, etc)
  • Mythologize moments (ex. Yeasayer journey of human/tech fusion)
  • Working on a new film “To the Sirens”
  • Create a religious experience with technology
  • Spend time writing (communicating your idea) vs. filming, treatments, moodboards, etc


  • Works in Sony Vegas, great for live V.J., loops, etc - “live editing”
  • The work is obviously illegal and no clear way to make cash, but they followed their passion and in the end even youTube hired them to make a spot
  • youTube = incredible resource


  • Create (action) vs. Creative (distraction)
  • Proactive vs. Reactive (emails, sms, facebook, tumblr, etc.) - we are inundated with constant distraction
  • You need sacred space of deep thinking.
  • Create windows of non-stimulation (2-3 hours, and not just while you’re in the shower!)
  • Creativity x Organization = Impact (ex. 5 x 0 = 0. 100 x 0 = 0. 50 x 2 = 100.)
  • Most ideas never happen
  • Creativity/Ideas = Organization/Execution + Communal Forces + Leadership Capability
  • Organize with a bias towards action
  • Develop a culture of capturing action steps
  • Surround yourself with progress to inspire vs. just checklists
  • There are three types of creatives - Dreamers, Doers and Incrementalists (each have their own flaws and compliment each other) - teams are important to balance this out
  • Share ideas liberally - if you’re concerned about someone stealing it, don’t. If it’s so easily stolen it probably isn’t that great of an idea to begin with
  • Rely on your community to keep you accountable on your creative progress
  • Seek out competition
  • Fight your way through breakthroughs (literally)
  • Overcome the stigma of self-marketing
  • Don’t be burdened by the “consensus” - credible mass vs. critical mass (meaningless facebook likes, etc.)
  • Leaders talk last, silence the visionary!
  • Mission driven vs. Medium driven
  • Value the team’s “immune system” (ie. the Do’ers)
  • When looking for good talent, seek initiative vs. experience
  • Gain confidence from your self-doubts


  • Don’t fuck it up!
  • Don’t fear the fuckup (failure)
  • Always deliver the unexpected - the NBC logo spot, the client was expecting 15 lensflares 3D logo, but what they got was a hand-drawn peacock eating jellybeans story
  • Built Peacock animation in Maya, great to interchange elements, expressions, etc
  • Do lots of drugs


  • Find your creative voice outside of your environment (ex. she went to Japan for 5 years)
  • Japanese Avant Garde scene combined with interactive cinema
  • Blutooth Wacom tablet = fun
  • In Japan you have more of a freedom as a video artist to work with multiple screens at clubs


  • Made the opening titles to this year’s F5 conference (children’s variety show concept)
  • Do more open work, it pays less but it allows you to take more risk without client intervention
  • Take the craft seriously - but not yourself
  • "Storytelling collective" with intense collaboration, multiple talents (film, director, animators, etc) that are all under the Buck name
  • You need an “escape" project, think of it as therapy
  • Keep a balance in your technique and concept
  • Designed illustrations in the computer (illustrator) then made stencils and hand-painted to give a real feel
  • Modular set design is fun
  • Always seek out work that makes you happy
  • Puppets are great - they are all about the personality


  • Work on projects that move you and you can’t get out of your head (ex. the book he obsessed over “Never Let Me Go” and just finished directing)
  • Speaking passionately beats a flashy presentation any day (won the rights to direct by just talking about reading the book and how much he loved it)
  • Always build trusting relationships with actors
  • Rhythm and nature are key in emotional storytelling
  • Music Video = Marketing Tool vs. Film = Personal
  • Film is beautiful vs. Digital which is not quite there - it’s too sharp and people can tell the difference.
  • Film = Poem of the Subject vs. Digital = Information
  • The more you learn the craft and get your “stew” of highly creative people to work with you can let go and stop trying to control everything.
  • Johnny Cash music video was the best project in his career - there was no budget, they shot at the Cash house & museum, and it was just the director, cinematographer and producer. Didn’t glamorize, didn’t gloss over the realism.
  • Trust your gut
  • If you’re complaining about what you could have done you’re in pretty good shape
  • Make films that are daring and sincere
  • Keep your work diverse
  • Ride the fail balloon


  • Creator of the sets of Pee-Wee’s Playhouse and is a musician, illustrator, painter, etc
  • Influenced by “viewmaster” 3D
  • Raised in the south, worked his way up and influenced by R. Crumb
  • Question everything
  • Your art is your life (party!)
  • Your best talent is bluffing your way through any situation
  • Lux Paint Pro on Commadore 64 was first entry into animation
  • Always use paintings in the background in your film, commercial, etc. work
  • The words (big/bold) that are inside of his current painting style started creeping in through the influence of old commercials and started as a joke, now works on 11 years later - never discount any idea, however trivial because you can find the gold in the rubble
  • "See Rock City!"
  • Critics don’t know SHIT (they’re just a guy with a deadline)
  • Bring humor into art - humor is the key