Friday, 5 December 2008

Thoughts on the 4Talent Awards

Having been fortunate enough to be invited for my contribution to the magazine, I popped down to London for 4Talent's annual awards ceremony to celebrate the latest bunch of worthy winners ready and waiting to 'hit the big time'.

After a busy and eventful week, I decided the night would be best enjoyed rather than spent 'working' (either by trying to nab a few words to do a write-up or trying to 'network', as was for many the main attraction of the evening I'm sure). And enjoy it I did.

Before the ceremony had even begun I was having a great time. Walking into Channel 4 HQ for the first time was extremely satisfying, especially as a fan and keen admirer of what the institution and brand stands for. As I made my way in, I noticed that the casual dress code was perfect for the night. Everyone seemed relaxed and ready to have fun, and no one seemed to have slightest whiff of "who are you and why are you wasting my time?" about them.

Perhaps it was because most were 'up and coming' rather than established stars, but I suspect a lot was down to the setting of the tone, especially evident in the self-effacing execs and judges that dished out the rather groovy luminescent gongs (see right).

The awards themselves were swiftly presented, pushed along by the MC for the night, who with his 'middle-class' Jimmy Carr-meets-Micheal Mcintyre shtick was generally very funny (although doing a joke about someone sleeping with – the now deceased – Jeremy Beadle's 15-year-old daughter, having already poked fun at the 'Brandgate' scandal, was a mistake and rightfully bombed). All of the acceptance speeches were very humble too, often funny and never grated like so many of the teary-eyed Hollywood schmaltz-fests.

After the informal formalities were done and dusted, I had a wander around and was pleased to meet some lovely, interesting and very talented people. Music winner Iain Woods, who I had blogged on at Gigbeth, was particularly friendly and genuinely nice to chat with. The same went for James Curran and James Knott, the music video winners I profiled in the magazine, whose approach to balancing the bills with success was inspiring.

Chats were also had with Timo Langer, one half of the film direction winners, as well as last year's film winner Vanessa Caswill. Personal congratulations were somewhat fleetingly meted out to animator Liam Brazier of LittleNobody and journalism winner Natalie Whelan too.

All in all, I think the organisers can be proud to have kept the atmosphere relaxed and informal, while the addition of beatboxer Beardyman to round things up was a nice surprise (all from his voice? amazing!). The only unfortunate aspect of the evening was not having time to stick around longer, being cruelly forced to leave the fun early to catch a train back to Brum. Personally, I hope I get the opportunity to go again, and I hope all of this year's winners fulfill their undoubted talent and start 'making it big' in 2009, it's the least they deserve.

Ian Ravenscroft

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