Pause Fest 2014 was a fantastic weekend of insights, education, entertainment and activities at Federation Square, Melbourne. Over the four nights and three days of events, both myself and Aaron learned a great deal about what is next on the horizon for motion, gaming, music, startup and creative. We left Melbourne inspired, involved and a little dusty from the closing party at Loop Bar. Here’s a recap of what we got up to.
Opening night kicked off proceedings with introductory speeches from a City of Melbourne councillor, Pause Fest founder George Hedon and a short panel discussion including the people involved in the opening film sequences, plus a whole bunch more. This was followed by an opening party under the guise of ‘networking drinks’.
Friday included some fantastic film shorts at Fed Square and the showing of Downloaded: A Story of Napster. Downloaded is a recent release that documents the rise of Shawn Fanning and Sean Parker’s infamous Napster client in the late 1990s. Anyone over the age of 20 will remember Napster and most likely used or know someone who used it – such as myself (jokes, N.S.A.). The documentary was a funny and retrospective look at the story of one of the key moments of internet history, it had tongues wagging over the weekend and I highly recommend you legally obtain a copy and check it out for yourself. Preview below.
On Saturday we managed to fit the Masters of the Industry session into our schedule – and we’re very glad we did. With speakers from Reactive, Reg Agency, Push Collection, The Royals, Method Studios and sixty40 all taking part, we were seriously surrounded with some advertising and creative genius. The highlight of the session was when James Wright, the Managing Director of Red Agency, showed the audience a bunch of campaigns which helped connect everyday people with missions, campaigns or real agendas. The following clip shows how Brazilian football club Recife cut the heart transplant waiting list from 1,000 to 0, all thanks to a heartfelt campaign from international advertising company Ogilvy & Mather. The short clip nearly brought tears to some of those in the crowd.
On the final day we ventured into the Deakin Edge Theatre for a full day of presentations, panel discussions and brain-straining insights. The day begun with key people and founders from Canva, Optus innov8, 99Designs, inspire9 and Elance, all pitching their stories and tips to the crowd, it was a session both Aaron and myself thoroughly enjoyed and learned a lot from. Given Aaron has already been through the startup process with Crucial, it was great to hear of other’s journeys and find similarities between those and Crucial’s.
This was followed by the Creative and Gaming sessions, plus a Music panel, all of which were as interesting as each other. Australian based VR gaming company Zero Latency showed off their revolutionary gaming installation, whereas One Fat Sheep’s Jonathon Keyes showed off their cool augmented reality app. The Music panel included people from Mushroom Group, 123Agency, I Manage My Music plus more. A key talking point was the impact the last five to ten years has had on the old school music industry, which seemed fitting after the Napster documentary on Friday night.
Closing out Sunday was our favourite session of the weekend – the Web Stage. The theme for the session was ‘Can we harness the power of digital experience design to make the world a better place?’
The two hour session was the perfect way to finish up the weekend, both myself and Aaron connected with many of the speakers and found some of the topics incredibly funny and interesting. I strongly recommend your learn more about Steve Sammartino and his rocket building escapades, sub-orbital Lego space shuttle missions, and air-powered lego car achievements. Video about the shuttle mission below.
The central theme of this year’s festival, Connected, managed to embed itself into each presentation across the weekend. This provided a real sense of harmony across the three days and helped spark a few ideas in our own heads. For anyone asking themselves if they should attend next year, the answer is easy: Yes.
We’d like to thank George and Steve from Pause Fest for their hospitality, plus all of the speakers, presenters and staff involved in this year’s Pause Festival. Hopefully Sydney can provide the backdrop for the next one!