Tag Archives: ted

Looking back / Going forward 13/14 #blogpost

30 Dec

This year was full of stuff – some great things and some less so. I don’t want to dwell on the crap bits or over expound the positives. I want to rather put a list together, with some pictures of things that have been important to me over the year. I am looking forward to 2014 with a renewed vigour and I am looking forward to creating interesting work with interesting people, and to spending more time with my family and friends who are so important to me. At times it felt as if several things were pulling me in different directions – but not quite as hard as the dog walker I managed to get a picture of in Buenos Aires…


So, in no particular order

1. Blood + Chocolate – was the most extraordinary project ever. It was the culmination of two years of planning and an intense nine months of preparation and pre-production, resulting in a truly great project – my thanks go to all the people of York who came on the journey with us and to the hard work of all the teams who made this possible – so a big up to Pilot and SlungLow for making it happen.


The full webcast video of the whole production is available on demand here to watch again Blood + Chocolate webcast

2. The Knife That Killed Me – This year we finalised the edit and did the test screenings at Universal Pictures and I am very much looking forward to this being in cinemas in 2014 as we move towards the release date. This has been the culmination of 5 years work since I first pressed ‘send’ on the first draft of the screenplay to the producers. I am incredibly proud of the work that the whole team put into this, to make this completely new feature film happen


The quality of each of the frames is amazing – considering that there are 137,000 of them – and each has been hand finished and has hand drawn artwork on each one…


Great hand drawn artwork from Stu Ord on all these frames and screengrabs


3. TED Conference 2013 – I had an amazing time in Los Angeles in February at the annual TED conference. Some standout talks and great moments and new friends made…Like here ‘California Dreaming’ in front of the Hollywood sign


One of the talks by Spoken Word Poet Shane Kocyzan is well worth a moment of your time.

4. Our house – the sale fell through after 6 months of messing about. Shift Happens, I know… I have now moved back in. I love this house. We may sell it this year, we may not. Either way I am not going to stress about it as we realise how fortunate and lucky we are.


5. Shift Happens V – again we ran this in York and a big thanks to the fantastic line up of speakers – a couple of stand out moments for me were the fabulous Jenny Sealey from Graeae…

and to Matt Mason VP of  BitTorrent who came over from San Francisco to join us in York

the brilliant Julia Unwin, CEO of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation

and of course Elliot Barnes-Worrell

6. Twitter stuff – now whilst this is not really a big deal it has been one of the stranger moments this year – I read a post by a facebook friend which I adapted, thanked and tweeted. Turns out someone had done this earlier in the year too and I hadn’t seen it or was even aware of it. By that time it was too late – it went viral. I thanked all parties and then sat back and tried to fend off the 30k email notifications of each RT or favourite. I now know how to turn of those notifications btw…


7. A proud dad moment as our son Christy Romer graduated with a 2:1 from LSE.


8. And a finger selfie from Porto in Portugal as we crossed over the bridge to the old town was part of a great summer break too

photo 2

9. Where both Christy and Mills agreed to pose for their one annual picture for us, which was offley good of them…

photo 4

10. As proud moments go – this one of Susie on the BBC news – which was the first of her many live TV interviews in the course of her high profile job made me a very proud husband indeed

photo 3

11. So as I head towards our next programme of work which includes the No Boundaries Conference in February and then Pilot’s co-production with the Theatre Royal Stratford East, Derby Theatre and York Theatre Royal of a new version of Antigone adapted by Roy Williams, I feel very excited and privileged to be making this work…so watch this space for more updates and…


12. Onwards and Upwards my friends…

The amazing @lessig talk from TED2013 #TED

3 Apr

I saw Larry Lessig’s first TED talk in 2007 in Monterey. It was this talk that not only made me use keynote and powerpoint properly, but the one that launched the entire embracing of Creative Commons within Pilot Theatre. This in turn led to the creation of our first Shift Happens conference back in 2008. This talk in 2013 was one of the key stand out moment for me this year. The coalescing of thinking that echoed the clarion call of ‘the power of the people is greater than the people in power’ that Wael Ghonim stated in 2011

This talk is a landmark TED Talk and one that I was privileged to see live this year. We are continuing to make Shift Happen – and in fact our 5th event ShiftV takes place in York on July 8th 2013, where we will be continuing this conversation that Larry Lessig has started – do join us and be part of the conversation

Marcus Romer

Artistic Director

Pilot Theatre

Sugata Mitra – at TED2013 – Building a School in the Cloud –

11 Mar

At TED2013, Sugata Mitra made a bold TED Prize wish: Help me build a place where children can explore and learn on their own — and teach one another — using resources from the worldwide cloud. To Create ‘Self Organised Learning Environments’

Educational researcher Dr. Sugata Mitra’s “Hole in the Wall” experiments have shown that, in the absence of supervision or formal teaching, children can teach themselves and each other, if they’re motivated by curiosity and peer interest. In 1999, Mitra and his colleagues dug a hole in a wall bordering an urban slum in New Delhi, installed an Internet-connected PC, and left it there (with a hidden camera filming the area). What they saw was kids from the slum playing around with the computer and in the process learning how to use it and how to go online, and then teaching each other.

The “Hole in the Wall” project demonstrates that, even in the absence of any direct input from a teacher, an environment that stimulates curiosity can cause learning through self-instruction and peer-shared knowledge. Mitra, who’s now a professor of educational technology at Newcastle University (UK), calls it “minimally invasive education.”

Pilot Theatre – International Connections….

9 Mar


As a company, armed with ipads and notebooks, we have been getting out and about recently and making some stuff happen.

As I write four members of the Pilot team are away in Drammen, Norway for the final meeting of our EU network – Platform 11+ – So Amanda Smith, Mark Beasley, Sarah Rorke and Associate artist, Tom Bellerby are putting the final touches to the network’s evaluation as well as opening the show that Tom directed, called ‘Face Me’ which will perform there, as the last country in its 6 country tour, with actors from 4 different countries. The network has involved 11 countries, and we have visited them all…International? yes indeed.

Tom has been busy, not just in his role with Pilot – attending the TMA touring conference, as well as his position as creative engagement co-ordinator for the Touring Consortium, but also, his Edinburgh hit show ‘Beulah’ will hit the Arts Theatre at the end of March as part of its UK tour. So new work? yes indeed.

We have also just completed the premiere tour of Running on The Cracks – directed by Associate Director, Katie Posner – A cracking show in co-production with the Tron in Glasgow – which has picked up 4* and 5 * reviews all along the way  and again a touring team with actors with their roots from all over the globe.

This way of approaching our work and developing opportunities and International connections now runs through the organisation’s DNA. Indeed I have been fortunate to recently attend the TED conference in Los Angeles and Palm Springs. Here I was in a room with attendees from more than 70 different countries, sharing ideas, thinking and making some serious shift happen…

In fact I have met several key speakers for our Shift Happens conference that we are running on July 8th in York. So in addition to the line up here I will be adding speakers from New York, Australia, and LA. The conference hosted 52 TED talks –  I saw them all – so as they release one every week – I saw a whole year of talks in one week – like a high protein shot of ideas, thinking and new stuff. Lots of new stuff…This is always inspiring and good to get a different perspective on the issues and situations we face on a daily basis. I have posted some of the TED talks on this blog and will continue to do so as and when they come out.

So the team has not just been away – we have been filming too…Liam has been revisiting his acting roots on a new movie and has been on location all week before hitting the ground again with our Blood and Chocolate project with SlungLow. I too have just finished working on the pickup shoot and ADR recording session for The Knife That Killed Me. We are on the final stretch for this now and we deliver to Universal Pictures at the end of March. The #TKTKM team are all working really hard and The Producer Thomas Mattinson and co-director Kit Monkman are working really hard with the visual effects team to finalise the 5 reels. We are then onto the final mix and grading before delivery.

So, as a company we have been away and making things happen – As Lyn Gardner referred to Pilot Theatre a multi-platform organisation – I can safely say that this is more and more the case these days as I look at the reach and connections we have been making recently. As Artistic Director of Pilot, I am immensely proud of the team and their diverse work and connections.

So whilst the funding outlook in the UK looks bleak – we are really opening up the connections to make our work resonate on a global scale, and are looking for people who want to share this journey to join us and share the conversation.


The TED Commandments…How to keep your hair on and survive #TEDactive #TED

7 Mar


I have just spent an inspiring 7 days at TEDActive In that time I have:- Watched over 50 speakers give their 18 minute TED talks. Watched another 35 speakers present their 5 minute TEDyou presentations and provocations. Seen five live bands play and have been actively involved in creating a presentation for our Social Networks group. So how to survive when you feel like the top of your head has been lifted off…

1. Don’t skip breakfast before the first early session. You never know what surprises await you. Be there before 8am.This means you have to get up early and check what’s on offer…


2. Carry enough Moleskine notebooks. Make notes. Lots of them. This was a three book week. Then photograph the notes with your iphone. You are then able to use the hashtag #OldschoolNewschool. Take lots of pictures.


3. Wear your badge at all time. Even sleep with it round your neck so you can stagger quickly in the morning to grab a quesadilla with interesting filling. No Badge? No Quesadilla. Simple.


4. Wear Sunscreen. It is hot here, your brain is steaming and cooking enough already. Don’t fry it in the sun. Wear sunscreen. Spray it on other people’s heads too. It always starts a conversation.


5. Follow people – in real life this time. Talk to them. Don’t stalk them. Don’t be a TED stalker. This is not TEDStalks. Go to people and say hello. Even if you are scared they are mega famous. They still have a badge on. You can talk to them, and start a conversation. There are clues on their badge as to what to talk to them about. It says so on the label. Some of them turn out to be Morgan Spurlock. He is really cool – even though he is Super-Small-Sized here…


6. Watch all the talks. They will change the way you think. If you have come all this way, don’t miss any. The unexpected ones will always surprise you. The talks are a whole year’s worth of ideas. And more. JR is 27 years old. He won the TED prize. He deserved to do so.


7. Change your perspective. Sit next to people who wear interesting shoes


8. Go to the desert party. Go in a jeep on the San Andreas Fault line. Look at the stars. They are closer than you realise. You will see Tom Morello play guitar on this stage.


9. When you go to Lucille Ball’s old house for a meeting with your TEDActive group. Never miss the opportunity for doing some research. Make Shift Happen – but don’t forget to see things from both sides


10. Talk and listen. Have conversations. Make notes. Send messages, share ideas, spread the good ones. Make a stand and make change happen – and always – ALWAYS IGNORE the advice on every bottle of A1 Steak Sauce


Most importantly, leave with a full notebook, with new friends and colleagues that you know you will know for a long time. 


Pack up your bags – and head off to the next adventure…


Jonathan Harris collects stories

24 Nov

Jonathan will be joining us Live in York on July 5/6 2010 as part of Shift Happens

Jonathan Harris . Work

18 Nov

Jonathan Harris will be live in York at our Shift Happens Conference next July 5/6