After the CannesYe highlight yesterday, today’s sessions by comparison could have been a damp squib. But with the Jared Leto, Jeffrey Katzenberg and Ralph Fiennes on the bill that was certainly not the case.
First up, YouTube. Jeffrey Katzenberg from DreamWorks conceded that the 30 sec TV spot still works in a linear world. That said, he felt that there was a deeper/ more personal connection with vlogging and short form content. Lean in rather than sitting back is the way forward. The launches of Dreamworks TV/ Awesomeness TV both challenge the status quo. And with more kids watching Netflix than any other platform the major networks need to take note. He was then joined on stage by Vice founder Eddy Moretti (a self confessed rock star). His secret sauce? Ask the audience what they want to see. And employ great storytellers. Plus authenticity is key (a common theme at Cannes in 2014). According to Moretti, “news delivered by real people not some guy wearing a toupee” is where we need to be headed. And quote of the day? Katzenberg said “within five years YouTube will be the single biggest media platform in the world. It has created the bottom of the pyramid. The advertising community needs to get in on the ground floor. It’s on an upward trajectory and advertisers need to get in now before they get left behind.” You heard it here first.
Next up was Clear Channel and the multi-talented Jared Leto. He started off the session with a selfie and two girls squealing with delight at the prospect of being with their idol. Which was fine. However the moderator was shit. He had a silk fried egg handkerchief in his top pocket. Hmm. Actually he ended up with proverbial egg (not silk) on his face with banal questions such as “what do you think about radio”? He was seriously the worst interviewer I have ever witnessed at the Lions.
The questions were then opened up to the floor (thank god because the interviewer had lost the plot) and there was a rather random question about women’s rights directed at Mr Leto on the flimsy pretext that Mr Leto had played a transgender woman in move Dallas Buyers Club. Talk about tenuous. What did capture the imagination was when Leto heckled some latecomers by saying they had missed the best bits because he had just “put my clothes back on”! Then the best question of the session. “How do you appeal to people across the globe?” The answer? “Succeed more from failure than success. Follow through even when it gets difficult. The bridge between reality and a dream is work.” Wise words.
Then it was Time Warner and the producers of Veep and Game of Thrones. In all honesty the session was a bit dull. Enough said.
And finally, the genius of Ralph Fiennes courtesy of the Guardian. With movies like Skyfall, Harry Potter, Schindlers List and (my personal favourite) In Bruges under his belt then his credentials are more than assured. His key theme was transformation. Fiennes said that transforming himself a constant source of inspiration. He added that he enjoys playing ‘tortured characters’ because they are far more challenging and he enjoys the portraying the tension, energy and charisma of people who are “brutal” and display “moral ambiguity”. He added that something of yourself has to be in the role. And an actor’s greatest resource? Themselves.