tagged: iwe

Behind the scenes of the Metapwhoar 2012 opening cermony

In case you don’t know, I run an industry event called Metaphwoar, in which speakers use (often elaborate) metaphors to explain ideas. It’s designed to be fun as well as thought-provoking. And yes, it’s pretty silly.

Part of Internet Week Europe, the third Metaphwoar took place on Tuesday night in East London, in front of a brilliant crowd in a very hot room. I wanted to do something a bit different this year, so I decided to re-enact the Olympic opening ceremony. Well, this bit anyway:

I did it on a *slightly* tighter budget. Here’s how it turned out (bad light and sound alert):

The official (read: good quality) photos and videos will go online soon. In the meantime I thought I’d share some behind the scenes of how we pulled off such a stupid and *almost* entirely pointless thing…

As you know, every ‘Olympic mound’ needs a fog machine inside it. I built a shoe-box cradle so I could position it vertically without bending the cables. Annoyingly the machine stopped working this way, so on the night we had to put it flat and make a last-minute shoot to bend the smoke up and out of the top.

Then I cut and bent chicken wire around the fog machine. Warning: chicken wire is sharp — I scratched my arms, a lot. Oh and look, the plant pot fits snuggly on top. It was at this point that my wife starting saying things like “And this is going to be in our house for how long?”

I obviously had to cover the mound with green grocers’ grass. It felt like I was fitting a wedding address for an eccentric, invisible bride. Or something. I attached the grass by pushing wire through the mesh and twisting it closed. (That’s right Andy, keep talking like this was a worthwhile exercise)

Lighting test! Another annoying realisation:on stage no one could see the lights, so we removed them last minute. Still — pretty!

And what’s an Olympic mound without farm animals… and a tractor.

Oh yes, and if you’re going to levitate a plant pot out of a smokey mound, you want the industrial revolution to emerge soon after. Short on time and budget, I covered things off with a sign or two. (‘Fax’ and ‘The Internet’ followed the industrial revolution. Metaphwoar is nothing if not historically precise)

And here’s the first test I tried at home — my wife dutifully filming the ‘important’ event:

Never again. But worth it. Sort of. Better quality videos of this and the talks will be live soon. Promise.

Also, we might bring this to the States – to either Internet Week NY or SxSW. If that interests you, please shout.


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