Event Review: Scannain @ Digital Biscuit 2015 – Day 1

It all started with Inherent Vice. A rambling and quite brilliant study of the death of the counter culture. It still sits on my brain like a heavy fog and it will take another viewing to shift. As a kicking off point for Digital Biscuit 2015 it was perfect. A film from one of my favourite filmmakers followed by two days of talks and discussions about film and tech. That is how you spend Thursday and Friday my friends. Onto day one…

Session one began with 17 year old Lee Campbell talking about youth culture and he came armed with stats about the different ways young people consume content. It was fascinating in particular the idea of the how popular Snapchat is, a real surprise to this old guy. But the idea that young people would pay for content once it is there legally and available on a convenient platform is one that I certainly chime with.

After that there was a presentation from Triona Campbell from Beactive Entertainment who talked about Transmedia. This was the idea of a product existing in many forms. The example from her company a scripted show called Beat Girl was fascinating in that it is existed online, on TV, in comics and in games. It was then promoted by bloggers and social media users. All fine but the idea that the audience can be part of the creative process as they seemed to be with their other show Collider is one that comes off as pandering, a sort of fan service that would have me worry about the quality. I guess these shows aren’t made for me!

After this came a fascinating talk from Genevieve Dexter who talked about a show from her company called Total Drama Island. It is basically the world’s first animated reality show for tweens. A phenomenal success it also worked with interactive games and with in-game and website purchases.

Session two had three interesting presentations. First there was producer Lizzie Gillett the producer of environmental documentary The Age of Stupid. I hadn’t seen the film but was fascinated to hear about the fundraising process married to an idealistic concern.

This was followed by Mike Cockayne who was the director and producer of The Hardy Bucks. I had yet to see that film either but he was an engaging presence, going through the stages of growth (Youtube, RTE and then feature film) that is still all too rare in Ireland.

After this came an excellent presentation from Mads Damsbo who talked about ‘kicking in the fourth wall’ when it came to cinema. I won’t go into too much detail but it is worth looking up his stuff he is doing some fascinating stuff (The Doghouse and Recho).

After lunch came the main event of the day and there was a serious queue to get into see the wonderful filmmaker Michel Gondry. Interviewed by the excellent Liz Gill it went through his whole career including his excellent and innovative music videos. He was a delight, with some great stories along the way. He seemed to really enjoy it too as he insisted on more audience questions!

The next presentation was the one I had most problems with. It was by director Bobby Boermans who brought the idea of the second screen aka an app on your phone that will sync up with the film you are watching to give you extra content as you. It may work as a niche event cinema but as a general concept even he admitted that the idea of people on their phones in a cinema is still a problem they have yet to crack. Not for me this one!

The last presentation I saw (there was one more after but I had to head off) was possibly my favourite. Eoghan Kidney gave a superbly witty and smart biography of himself through his tech history and his growing love for James Joyce. It was background for an interactive virtual reality experience called In Ulysses about the novel that will be full of great video and information about the novel including what certain phrases mean. It is due to launch over the summer and it is one I am fascinated by. Count me in!

All in all a great day out. Looking forward to more of the same tomorrow.