Global Radio's creative team, led by Jo McCrostie, decamped to Edinburgh with a pile of radio scripts. We spoke to her about what happened next, and why the Edinburgh Festival Fringe is an under used resource of creative talent.
First of all can you describe what the Edfest project was?
The UK boasts some of the best voice over, comedy, and writing talent in the world. And every August it all congregates at the world's largest arts festival - the Edinburgh Fringe.
We wanted to get amongst it all, to work with this amazing caché of talent - and to really 'play' with the process of working with vocal artists and comedians
We invited creative and media agencies to send us any scripts, briefs or ideas they wanted to explore and develop in a workshop studio.
We were inundated.
In just 5 days we recorded 61 scripts for over 26 different brands. We came back to London with over 25 hours of audio to edit down.
It just goes to show there is a huge appetite to exercise creative thinking through better collaboration with established and emerging talent.
Why did you decide to do it?
To see what would happen. We wanted to give creative agencies and clients access to this huge pool of talent. And the opportunity to work on ideas without restrictions of studio time, budgets, clients or even a brief.
What happens when you break free of these restrictions?
There’s a freshness and spontaneity to the work. A rawness, that makes it sound more natural and entertaining.
Radio should be written to be 'heard', not 'read'. Recording this material gives agencies the opportunity to present 'audio' to their clients, not scripts.
In other circumstances investing the time and money to mock these ideas up might be hard to justify - but Edfest really allowed creatives to play with a concept and tease an idea out of a brief.
Do you think the Fringe is a relatively untapped resource for the rest of the creative industries?
Yes. The creative industries are very reliant on visual arts - but Edinburgh Fringe is a great showcase for non-visual art, performance and writing. It's like a 'trade-show' for the artists, and every creative can get inspired by new materials to work with.
Is there a pool of talent waiting to be tapped into?
Definitely. We cast a lot of voice overs every day, so we listen to a lot of voice reels on a daily basis - yet we were surprised to find so much good talent that we'd never come across before.
Most of the major voice over agencies got involved and we worked with over 30 different artists.
Daniel Barker (Damien Slash) has amazing vocal dexterity - he played Obama, a "TOWIE style TV star" and a straight VO, line after line in the same script. Impressive.
It was hilarious watching some of the comedy pairings - Frisky and Mannish, Nick Mohammed and Catriona Knox, and female comedy duo LetLuce, improvise and adlib around scripts. Their performances elevated good script ideas in to very entertaining, and engaging commercials.
It was like having a very intimate stand-up gig with a new artist every hour. Our recording sessions were actually even more entertaining than the shows.
It just goes to reaffirm that the UK does have the best talent in the world - and we should be using it more imaginatively, and widely in commercial content.
If you think you have a campaign that deserves a Pencil, enter your work into the D&AD Awards and see if our judges agree. When it comes to awards, nothing matters more.