Category Archives: public speaking

Public Speaking

I am booked to speak at two events in the next few months; FlashBelt in Minneapolis and Flash on the Beach in Brighton, UK.

FlashBelt is first. As in five weeks away! I’m super stoked about speaking at FlashBelt as it’s in its seventh year and I really respect what Dave Schroeder has done with FlashBelt.

Next up is the awesome Flash on the Beach! I was invited to speak there for the first time last year and had such a blast! Fortunately John asked me back and I can’t even begin to say how much fun I have in Brighton.

At both events, I’ll be presenting my 2010 session.

The Art of (Mis)Communication

Consider your past projects. Tight timeline? An art director or a technical lead with a huge ego? A project manager that neglects to disclose specific details? While these things directly impact your project you’ll find, more often than not, they can be more easily dealt with when you provide and receive proper, effective communication.

Let’s delve into how we deal with the people we deal with. Let’s look at how we speak to the people we speak to. Ins and outs of conversation. Lengthy meetings that test everyone’s patience. Email forwarding and why a few minutes of editing can save hours of time. Setting alerts. The little things, the big things and everything in the middle. Nothing should be overlooked. Taken in perspective, every project starts with a 50/50 chance of success. It’s how we as a team communicate that pushes that ratio one way or the other.

If you’re in either locale, I invite you to come and enjoy my stress of standing on stage!

FiTC Made Me Fat. Again.

After finally getting back to the gym in March and actually making an effort, I was excited to see I could get back in shape. Then FiTC. Son of a… three days of sessions and four nights of catching up sets my exercise recovery back by a month at least.

I feel I can never do justice to my experiences at conferences. Primarily because it’s such a personal thing. Reconnecting with old friends, making new friends and generally existing in a good vibe. Mostly I lament not spending time with enough people, but you need to be judicious as there simply isn’t enough time. That being said, let’s see if I can rough it out.

Grant and Bobi showed up a little early and started my FiTC experience off right with a quiet brunch with Libs and Declan.

I attended or saw the most sessions ever on record for me at a FiTC. This can be attributed to Influxis streaming sessions live via fms. Therefore, some morning sessions that I’d most likely miss, I actually didn’t.

Keith Peters and “Programming Art” was totally inspirational. Keith’s work has always impressed me, but the variety of possibilities he showed in his talk were incredible. I honestly had no idea there were that many options.

The panel “From Solo to CEO” was pretty good. There can be issues when you have one extremely dominant personality in the panel which can lead to silence from the others, but it was moderated pretty well and I think most opinions were fairly evenly aired.

The session “The Apparat” and Joa Ebert. Joa has to be one of the smartest people I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet. Let’s face it, he is one impressive dude. His session was thoroughly confusing as I’m not at that level, but still inspiring.

“Storytelling: Absorbed, Obsessed and Immersed” well, what can I say here? The panel was chock-a-block with talent and interesting to say the least.

Thanks again to Influxis, I was able to catch Wes Grubbs speak. I met Wes a few years ago at Flash on the Beach and haven’t seen him since. Good talk, informative.

Stacey Mulcahy is a perennial favourite for her off-colour language and funny delivery. Her talk was interesting, to be sure.

The last session I sat in on was Mario Klingemann and I really can’t explain how much Mario inspires me. Just his easy way of speaking and nonchalance in the face of brilliant discoveries make me want to try harder.

Freelance. You know, I spent a number of years attempting to build a freelance career and had just put myself into a good spot when I decided to drop everything and get a “job job” as I like to call it. Now that I’m back in the freelance game, FiTC seemed like the perfect place to *shudder* network. What I don’t normally realize is just being a nice guy is sometimes networking. Opportunities presented themselves that I would never have thought possible. So yes, I am freelance and yes, I want to code the SHIT out of something for you.

Shawn Pucknell. Shawn’s been personally running FiTC and the flashinto flash user group for so long, it would be nothing without him. Kudos to him and his crew for another amazing show.

There were a number of situations that occurred on a personal level that once again reaffirms the word “community” to me with these people. The close ties I’ve made simply become tighter (ties that bind, donchaknow) and I wonder how I ever got so lucky. You know who you are, you magnificent bastards!

The next event I’ll see anyone at will be Flashbelt where I will be presenting my first session of the year.

Once again. FiTC, to quote John Grden, you \m/

My 2010 Session

Now that FlashBelt 2010, happening June 13-16, has opened registration, I feel okay with talking about my intended 2010 session. I also got the thumbs up from John Davey to say I am confirmed for Flash on the Beach 2010, September 26-29, as well! They’ll both be super fun and I highly recommend checking them out!

Here’s the session description:

Consider your past projects. Tight timeline? An art director or a technical lead with a huge ego? A project manager that neglects to disclose specific details? While these things directly impact your project you’ll find, more often than not, they can be more easily dealt with when you provide and receive proper, effective communication.

Let’s delve into how we deal with the people we deal with. Let’s look at how we speak to the people we speak to. Ins and outs of conversation. Lengthy meetings that test everyone’s patience. Email forwarding and why a few minutes of editing can save hours of time. Setting alerts. The little things, the big things and everything in the middle. Nothing should be overlooked. Taken in perspective, every project starts with a 50/50 chance of success. It’s how we as a team communicate that pushes that ratio one way or the other.

I’ve been doing this (making stuff in Flash) for over 10 years, working at large and small agencies, owning my own boutique flash shop, and as a freelancer. It’s been an interesting path to follow.

I was surprised by the reaction to my session at Flash on the Beach last fall. It felt like something out of fiction. However, all I did was point out things that could help a person get to work. Gratifying is not a strong enough word for the encouragement I received by my friends and the people that attended my little session on the last day of the conference with my broken voice and punctuated by timely(?) cursing.

I spent the next few months wondering how I could follow The 10 Best Things to NOT do Amazing Work up. Then a light bulb went off.

As a freelancer, I am graced with the ability to work on many different projects for many different agencies for many different clients. Since leaving my last full-time position, I’ve worked for OLG, Subaru, Nokia, Pedigree and Gillette. That’s exciting for me. After two years of one client, this potpourri of clients is like manna from heaven. It gives me pause to think how lucky I am.

Here’s the crux; I now work in one position for many different team dynamics. I see good and bad, exceptional and accepted. There is something to be said for effective communication that goes beyond simply doing your job and hoping everyone else is doing theirs. Of course, I like to turn that notion on its head and talk about a lack of effectiveness. Que sera sera.

Anyway, here’s my pitch. Come to my talk. Sit back, sit forward, stand up. However you like to watch and participate in sessions. I can promise it won’t be boring.

Dear conference or festival organizers, if you like the sound of this session, you too can have a lifesized Hugh at your event! Just ask and, as long as I agree with the premise of the event, I will totally be on board.