The other night I had one of those points in my life where I took a mental snapshot of the moment to keep with me forever. I was in a room with some of the most talented people in the industry. In a single space, I was literally rubbing elbow with individuals from The Mill, Lobo, Nailgun, Leftchannel, Troika and too many others to name.
Where we having a brilliant discussion about where ideas come from? Or the importance of imagination and play and their impact on design and animation? Or maybe we could have been discussing the fantastic art installations at the Currents Media Festival happening at the same time. All of these events and topics would have been great, but this most memorable moment had nothing to do with any of them.
Throughout the Motion Conference, we listened to people talk about mind blowing projects condensed inside short timeframes. We heard about the challenges and stressors of consistently using everyday tools and imagination to deliver magic to our clients. It goes without saying that it can be a stressful industry. Yes, we love what we do, but it comes at a price. Our own concepts of balance and harmony in our designs can starkly contrast with the lack thereof in our professional lives.
So, the memorable moment came at about 1am in a cramped basement bar that isn’t much bigger than many college dorm rooms. I was crammed shoulder-to-shoulder with professionals that have had the weight of the world on their shoulders countless times. It was loud. It was hot. But this night, it was the night to let off steam. An organic swirl of dance was flowing throughout the bar, as were drinks that were bringing down the personal barriers. In that moment, we were all friends. No one had a presentation to prepare for. No one had a deadline to worry about. No one had a render on which to check. There were no pitches, briefs or guidelines to rule us.
It was that moment that I realized that this is equally what conferences are about. It is a time and place for professionals to be human, social animals. Our lives need that contrast. We cannot just think, create, deliver and sleep. Just as our designs and animations have contrast, so must our lives. It is only at that moment of resolve where the contrast brings balance that everything becomes beautiful.
Or, maybe it was the whiskey.
But still, in that moment, everyone was beautiful and normal and amazing. This is why conferences are more important. Yes, the talks and workshops during the day are fantastic. But beyond that, when we resolve the tension of the workload and professional expectations to just…being ourselves… that is the moment where truly balance our lives.
So, let’s raise our glass one more time to the conference: the outlet that can be beautifully unprofessional and I wouldn’t have it any other way.