Keyframes and Kegs is so back! Our networking series for Chicago-based video creatives returned in August at the Revolution Brewing Brewery + Taproom. It’s been a minute since we’ve had the last one—gestures at a giant sign that says ‘2020’—but it was well worth the wait. Great speakers, cold beers, hot pizza and excellent conversations amongst members of our industry. Two members of our K&K Party Planning Committee, Marissa Davis, Producer, and Jarrett Hothan, ACD, had a chat about their biggest takeaways from the event’s return.
The Chicago Video Community is Bigger and More Vibrant Than Ever.
Jarrett: The last time we hosted a Keyframes & Kegs was in 2019, so naturally there's some hopeful optimism that comes with relaunching an event series. Will people still want to come? Will they remember us? I was really excited about the turnout. It was probably the most people we've ever had at one of our events—and a ton of new faces too. Including you Marissa, who joined our team since then. What did you think about your first Keyframes & Kegs?
Marissa: One of my favorite things about Chicago is that it's a hotbed of creativity. Not only is there a ton of creative talent, but there's also an incredible amount of emerging artists, students and recent grads that are eager to get out there and network. Before I came to Demo Duck, I worked at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and a big part of my role was planning special events for their development office. I got to know a lot of students as they prepared for their careers after art school, and was always inspired by their drive to really put themselves out there.
It was exciting to see so many people at Keyframes & Kegs that were looking to jump start their careers with the same level of enthusiasm. Folks in the video production industry love an opportunity to connect. I love that Keyframes & Kegs can continue to foster that sense of community for the foreseeable future.
Mixed Media Projects are Everywhere.
Jarrett: I thought it was really interesting how many of our presenters shared projects that were a mixed media production style. Jake Mathew's end credits sequence for Ms. Marvel he shared was a great example—live action footage of Jersey City combined with bright and colorful animated mural moments.
Marissa: Agree. I think lots of creatives are very comfortable exploring outside their comfort zone of what may be there day-to-day discipline. Embracing this discomfort—and bringing their work to new styles or formats with new collaborators—ultimately leads to some great work and education too. When it comes to mixed media, it seems there's lots of animation meets live action projects out there these days. It's a fun way to inject some magic into everyday life, and to see the world slightly differently. We've certainly done a few projects like that recently, including one you presented at the event. How was speaking in front of everyone?
Jarrett: Well, I've had plenty of brewery visits where I don't stop talking. So this time, they just gave me a microphone. I really admire coming to these types of events as an attendee, and seeing how visual creatives both explore and deconstruct the idea of a professional presentation. Some jokes, behind-the-scenes shots, memes...things of that nature. It was cool to be a part of the night and share our recent LED Wall series for Hopewell Brewing Company.
Collaborators Come in AI-l Forms
Jarrett: What did you think of our friend Mick Champayne's presentation? There's lots of doom and gloom about the existential threat of AI regarding creative work, but I liked her spin on it by using it as a thought-starting collaborator when you're in a rut. I mean, it happens to everybody.
Marissa: Mick's approach to AI as a collaboration tool was certainly one of the more optimistic takes on it that I've heard from people in our industry. For that reason, I really appreciated her message...and her transcendent butt drawings. At the core of her presentation was that very relatable idea that we all do experience creative ruts. No 'butts' about it. Sometimes those ruts come at inopportune times, especially ones that can affect project deadlines and a flow of reliable income. AI could be the 'frenemy' we all need, if we think of it as a helpful tool that could spark some fresh ideas and pull us out of a pesky rut.
Jarrett: So, as the unofficial creative director and producer of Keyframes & Kegs—what would you use AI for when planning our next event?
Marissa: Hmmm. Well, humans have already proved our excellence over machines with the existence of beer and pizza. Maybe AI could just help us make a killer playlist for the event soundtrack? We'll handle the rest when it comes to planning. Speaking of, stay tuned for the next Keyframes & Kegs event hopefully coming early in 2024!