Post written by Associate Producer, Tim Williams.
Like a pendulum, the team at the Emerging Writers’ Festival 2012 is currently in full swing and we’re all very excited about the program we have on offer this year. I must admit that my wrists are already starting to cramp up after an onslaught of tweeting, blogging and emailing in correspondence with the festival’s venues and our talented artists.
This year, I’m at the helm of the pecha kucha-based “Revenge of the Nerds: Slide Night” and I’m pleased about how it is shaping up so far. Led by our fabulously geeky MC, Ben McKenzie, our artists will be showcasing a very disparate array of nerdy hobbies and geeky obsessions which, let’s face it; we’ve all had at some point. Whether it’s playing Dungeons and Dragon or still putting on that old Wham! record you bought in 1984, everybody has those little hidden obsessions that, often, we are too embarrassed to bring up in public.
My first major childhood obsession was with the movie Grease which I still, to this day, carry a certain guilty reverence for. Come on! Tell me you wouldn’t want to go to a high school where students spontaneously broke into song at lunchtime and settled their issues with a car race on Thunder Road! From this starting point, I inevitably got taken in by the ‘Hanson’ (Taylor was my favourite) and ‘5ive’ boy-band phenomenon. I seem to recall that the pop groups of the 90s divided the genders a bit as the lads had 5ive and Hanson while the girls favoured Nsync and the Backstreet Boys more. However, one thing that seemed to unite all these groups (apart from their fanatical followings) was the fact that there was always one member in every group who did bugger-all but was still somehow everyone’s favourite. In the case of 5ive, it was J, the eyebrow ring-toting, English white rapper whose rap break in the middle of every song was always a fan highlight. Although my iPod now displays a much different selection of artists and my copy of Hanson’s seminal album ‘Middle of Nowhere’ is probably still gathering at the Moonee Ponds Cash Convertors, these obsessions nonetheless helped shape my childhood in a significant way.
Before taking on production duties for this event, I had completely no understanding of ‘pecha kucha,’ which is the format all of the presentations will be adopting. For the uninitiated, pecha kucha is a style of performance whereby artists perform accompanied by a slideshow consisting of 20 slides being shown for 20 seconds each. Challenging, right? Pecha kucha is still quite a recent phenomena which originated in Japan within the field of architecture. It’s a little known fact that architects have a history of ‘crapping on’ when it comes to presenting their own proposals so pecha kucha was introduced as a way of keeping their presentations a lot briefer and tighter. The great thing about the technique is that is keeps both the artists and the audience on their toes as there is only a short amount of time to get the information across. With the broad theme of nerd culture colliding head-pm with this new age format, the Revenge of the Nerds: Slide Night is bound to be one fast, frenetic and fun night where the geeks will inherit the earth. Will our artists make it? Well, you’ll have to come along and find out…