GUEST COLUMN: How can creatives find new ways to tell stories if they don’t understand new technologies?

How do creatives charged with coming up with unique and original ways to tell their stories do this if they don’t or can’t fully understand how a new generation of technology works asks Pod Bluman, project director from Bluman Associates.

The traditional hierarchies have broken, and they have broken for a good reason. No longer can creatives sit in their studios and conceive and design experiential events in the way they used to. The evolution of event technologies has been slowly but steadily accelerating over the last decade until an explosion in the last 3-4 years in both the power and capabilities of the individual technical disciplines, but also, and more importantly in the convergence of these technologies and the ability to not only control and synchronise them, but also to author and pre-visualise creative content and performances.

It is almost impossible for creative directors and producers to keep up with the pace of these developments. And why should they? In the past they didn’t need to, a light was a light, and a speaker was a speaker and it was all about the story telling.

It still is all about story telling, however, what has changed is a new generation of technology that offers new dimensions and new pathways. Everything is becoming connected now.

Everything is converging with everything else.

Realtime video and audio, XR, gaming technology, 3D, motion control, and with the addition of an incredible range of real-time capture and tracking devices, mean the possibilities to create pathways to connect and engage with audiences are more powerful than ever before.

There are now more tools than ever before to help us with the ultimate goal of creating an emotional response in audiences, one that they remember, that they tell their families and friends about, and hopefully that they will never forget.

This is the challenge as I see it. How do creatives charged with coming up with unique and original ways to tell their stories do this if they don’t or can’t fully understand how these technologies work, let alone how to use them? Given the hierarchies that exist in brands and agencies they don’t. The potential for the integration with a lot of this technology is woefully missed. And I think it is missed for two reasons; The disconnection and arrogance of many creatives and their unwillingness to collaborate. And the risk and the fear factor of trying new techniques and styles and the corporate culture of the mitigation of risk taking.

The old hierarchies need to change.

Experts in event technology need to be part of the conception of events, and part of the ongoing dialogue. It is the creatives’ job to narrate the story and communicate a desire for it to be told in a certain way, and then it is the technologists job to understand the story, interpret it and facilitate that narrative through the curation and use of technology. And if certain techniques or combinations of technologies are decided upon, that haven’t been used before then that's a good thing and not something to be scared of.

The popular conception is that event technology is a medium to deliver an idea or a story, is no longer valid. Technology is not a tool to create, but it is a creative medium in itself.

In the same way that a cabinet maker has to know and understand the wood that she uses, or a sculptor reads the form and geology of the
rock to inform the final piece.

New gen technology has now become such a complex tool, so interconnected, so responsive and so powerful, that we need to think about it in a new way if we want to get the most out of it. Collaboration at the outset is the way forward. The world needs
to see what this new tech can do, and at the moment it is being deprived of its use due to outdated modes of thinking and risk averse institutions.

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