Julian Schreiber, executive creative director at Special Group is representing Australia on the Cannes Film Lions jury. Schreiber, along with most of the other Australian and NZ jurors, writes exclusively for CB.
Today was probably the first time as a jury we got to talk about the work openly. It was for the finalising of the shortlist. So here’s how it works (I’m telling you because to be honest, I sure as hell didn’t know and I’ve been entering for years).
We voted for two days on a little mini iPad by ourselves to create a long version of the shortlist, then Margaret J (CCO GSP), our incredible Jury President has the very daunting task of looking at the list, staring at the lowest scoring entries in each category and drawing a line in the sand, saying ‘I’d like you to vote again on these to determine whether they should stay in or out’. Suddenly all the keypad has on it is a big green ‘Yes’ or a big red ‘No’ and we go through these entries one by one, watching them, discussing them then voting. And it’s at this moment that I realise how important something that Phil Thomas, Cannes Lions CEO told us at the beginning of the judging.
He smiled politely and said ‘Please don’t call out to the entire group if you think something’s been done before or if you believe it never ran. Instead please come speak to your president and the officials privately, because as even if it’s not true, once it’s said out loud – no work can ever recover from than that.” So true. Any remark can easily sway the votes, so you have to very sure about what you bring. But, my peers in the jury are incredibly eloquent in our debates, so we very quickly get the heart of any issue around a potential short-lister.
The cultural differences of each jury member offer really interesting perspectives on work. South American sensibilities are vastly different from British sensibilities as is the Japanese.
You can also really start to see the trends emerging – The impact of Artificial Intelligence, redefining manhood, Brexit, Trump, the power of your vote. As you look at entries being considered, you begin to ask yourself the big questions – like should Serena Williams have her own category for ‘best use of Serena Williams’. Why is Queen now the soundtrack of so many ads? Did they have a song catalogue sale? And in truth, this isn’t a go over once process, it’s a go-over-it-as-many-times-as-it-takes-for-all-of-you-to-feel-right about the list process. Which is fine, except Cannes is a rolling daily live show and that means they need your shortlist by a certain time to be able to share it – you know, with the entire advertising world. We are on the clock. So there’s no ‘let’s sort this out tomorrow’. It’s literally ‘ain’t nobody going to the bathroom until there’s a list’. By the way, did I mention I’m drinking a lot of coffee?
Write soon, J