President to President
This year’s Film Jury President Pete Favat gets some good advice from his 2016 predecessor Joe Alexander of the Martin Agency.
Fans of the West Wing will remember the bit at the end of the series where the members of the outgoing Bartlett administration leave notes of advice for their successors. Like lots of things in the West Wing, we though that was a good idea, so we've reproduced the same concept here for our Jury Presidents.
"Enjoy the process. This group will never ever be in the same room again together."
Joe Alexander with the Film Lions Jury in 2016
This is a chance for this year's Presidents to get the advice of their predecessors - the really useful stuff that only another Jury President would know.
This week, Deutsch’s Chief Creative Officer Pete Favat speaks to his counterpart Joe Alexander, Chief Creative Officer at the Martin Agency. Joe went so far as to produce a special book for his jurors, with advice, illustrations and mantras to guide them through the process.
Pete Favat: There is bound to be lots of talk, discussion, and perhaps a squabble or three as we narrow down Film winners. Can you share three key tips for keeping the process moving forward, and of course maintaining the peace?
Joe Alexander: “Avoid politics. The film jury can be especially political. Blocs can form for regions, counties, networks. The staff does a great job hindering this. One tip: Move people around every day, sitting in new spots. Let them get to know the whole room and sit by people they don’t know.
“Watch out for rabbit holes. It’s easy to get side-tracked and slowed down by too much debate. Keep things moving. You don’t want to hear “I’ve seen it before.” Get jurors to tell you and have the Festival staff look into it. It’s a drag on the room and often sends it spinning.
“Give everyone a voice. Inevitably there are a couple jurors who are shy and very quiet. Often it’s a language thing. Give them a chance to always weigh in.
“Be present. Keep the phone off. Stay focused. Enjoy the process. This group will never ever be in the same room again together.”
A page from the booklet that Joe produced for his jury in 2016
PF: Grand Prix versus Gold. Did you have hard set guidelines for jurors?
JA: “When the audience sees the medals on Saturday night, they will be judging you personally. Be selective. Winning a Gold is very, very rare. Winning a GP is going to live way beyond the year. Make sure it’s something never seen before. In idea, execution, craft, etc.”
PF: How do I get everyone out of there as a reasonable hour?
JA: “It’s your job to know all the rules, deadlines and critical decisions. Use your Festival coordinator in the room who will be awesome. You can’t remind the room enough about the rules. Before we started every day, I went through an agenda and goals for the day. You can’t do that enough – creative people are ADD as you know.”
PF: Who arranged your wardrobe last year? You looked amazing!
JA: "That was my very stylish wife. :)"
You can see the work that Joe and his jury awarded in 2016 in more detail on the Cannes Lions Archive, or if you think your work has what it takes to make the grade this year, visit the Awards Section.