I had the great pleasure of playing MC at the 25th anniversary of the agIdeas International Design Forum yesterday.
Founded by Melbourne design icon Ken Cato, the International Design Forum has hosted over 600 of the world's leading creatives and over 100K delegates over the last 25 years. The event took place at the Plenary room at the Melbourne Convention ad Exhibition Centre and around 1500 people attended.
My job was to introduce the day, introduce each speaker and moderate a panel discussion that featured the founder, teachers and alumni from the LA based Gnomon School of Visual FX. Specifically, the panel included
- Alex Alvarez, founder of the Gnomon School who has worked as a Creature Development Artist on the James Cameron film Avatar, JJ Abram’s Star Trek and the DC Comics film adaptation of Green Lantern
- Neville Page, a concept artist, illustrator and creature designer who was the Lead Creature Designer and Concept Designer for James Cameron’s epic Avatar
- Madeleine Scott Spencer who has worked on The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey & The Desolation of Smaug, Battle of Five Armies, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and Iron Man
- Neil Huxley, who has directed announcement trailers for Warner Bros Games, Mad Max, Rise of the Tomb Raider and the TV spot for the internationally acclaimed series Assassin’s Creed and
- Aaron Limonick, a concept artist who has worked on Transformers: War for Cybertron, The Last of Us and Uncharted 4
The day was jam packed with inspirational talks from international designers at the top of their game. Highlights for me included Amina Horozic's story of coming from war torn Bosnia to Detroit as a refugee, Flavia Cocchi's almost silent presentation due to her thick French accent, fellow South Australian James Brown knocking it out of the park on his birthday and Neil Huxley's showcase of directing TV spots for video games.
I felt privileged to sit side stage and watch all the presentations when I wasn't introducing speakers and announcing matters of housekeeping.
A huge thankyou to Kristin McCourtie, Elise Bufton, Tess Power and Leah Rachcoff for giving me the opportunity and looking after me on the day.
I am eternally grateful also to my mentor Toby Travanner for believing in me and teaching me everything I know.
My parting thought for the day is to reference Ira Glass and Steve Jobs. Steve Jobs once said “real artists ship.” And Ira Glass's advice to beginners is that there is a gap between what you like and what your capable of when you first start out.
I'm inspired to keep practising my craft. I hope you are too.