For those of you who’ve sat on the PM society jury in the past you’ll recall a big drafty room at the BMA in Russell Square and two days out of the office, walking round a room peering at rounds and rounds of cardboard.
This year, like many awards shows, most of the judging took place online, streamlining the process in to one day of robust opinions with the location transferred down the M4 to the Crown Plaza Hotel at Heathrow.
When I remember the first time I rolled up at the PM Society lunchtime bash at the Grosvenor Hotel a few years back, it was mostly print with a few digital pieces starting to creep in here and there. A documentary was seen as breaking important new ground.
This year I was lucky enough to be the PM head judge, and I must say I think the standard of work has steadily improved year on year and reflects a steady growth of creativity in what we do every day at the coal face.
The PMs has always suffered in a lot of creatives minds for having less prestige than some other shows.
Because there must be a winner in each category, so it removes the possibility of the Craft judges only awarding (what would have been in most other shows a bronze) a bronze.
Sometimes that’s hard to get your head around.
Fortunately this year the Golds popped out, I can’t recall a single discussion in any category about what was Gold.
These days there are quite a few high production films, both animation and live action, that wouldn’t look out of place in a consumer show, some exquisite digital design and even social media campaigns.
This year’s jurors also numbered several previous Cannes judges, which might have seemed unlikely a few years ago.
Nevertheless, some entrants still do themselves no favours.
Let me give you some tips.
If you are preparing work for any awards jury, I ask you to consider that usually those juries are curated from the industry’s Creative Directors.
We don’t need to see the shoot, most of us are familiar with a set, editing software and lights. It’s less impressive than you might hope.
Unless of course, the technique is part of the idea.
But don’t include the whole story of how you came up with it and how much effort it took to produce, no timelines please. It might impress clients and new biz prospects, but save the backroom insights for them.
Why? because I don’t care. I’m judging the idea and the craft.
So get to the problem and then the idea as fast as you can.
If you have a digital piece, like say even an idetail, don’t just upload all the pages as a series of jpegs. Trust me, nobody has the time to try and figure out what the UX was. Make it as painless as possible and help us love it as much as you do.
As a rule, people presenting the idea to camera, be it agency CDs or Clients is really boring.
Imagine something really boring, then imagine something more boring than that.
You can say it’s a fantastic new idea that people loved but it won’t help. We’ll be the judge of that thank you very much.
I say this with all the genuine understanding of the difficulty that making case history films involves.
And I know not all entrants are agencies, but all entries are equal when it comes to the jury room.
So anyway, I hope this helps.
My thanks to all the jurors who gathered at the Crown Plaza this year, I hope we did all our entrants, organisers and sponsors proud.
And if you got nominated, congratulations. I’ll see you in January.
Have a fab non denominational seasonal holiday break and a happy New year.