12 jul, 2018
At JWT Folk we’re obsessed with gaining a deeper understanding of people and the stuff that influences them. When we say people, we don’t mean ‘demographics’ or ‘target segments’, we mean real folk and their real spheres of influence. Gaining this understanding is the foundation of creating ideas that get talked about. Ideas that impact culture.
Every month we invite a guest speaker in to tell us how they try to really understand the people they’re speaking to/representing in their work.
For our first session, we sat down with documentary film producer, Jamie D’Alton and Director, Matt Leigh, to discuss Irish culture in 2018 and how we can look outside our own perspective in the pursuit of understanding the people we’re speaking to. Their body of work shines a light on many aspects of Irish life from working class estates on the margin of Irish society to Conor McGregor’s McMansion in LA, the realities of immigrants in modern day Ireland as well as daily life in satellite towns in the midlands.
Here are some key take-aways, from their perspective, on understanding and representing Irish society in an honest and true manner.
LISTEN & BE PRESENT
“If you are a good listener you can make content about anything”.
We have a tendency to go into situations with the intention of extracting specific information that reinforces our assumptions and observations. However people are aware if you are actively listening to what they are saying. Listen to what people are saying not what you want to hear. Be present so that if an interesting topic arises, you have the awareness to pursue it and garner something much more valuable than previously anticipated.
CLASH OF PERSPECTIVES
There will always be pushback when depicting a place, person or product because it is a single narrative. Instead of trying to include a montage of characters or myriad of perspectives, the highest priority should always be to deliver the truth. Include the light and shade, do not over-simplify or attempt a box-ticking exercise. A singular point-of-view will always be more impactful and honest than trying to appease everyone.
HONEST WORK IS BRAVE WORK
Brave work does not need to be gritty, highly divisive or on the cutting edge of technology. It just needs to be honest. Furthermore, great work showcases true perspectives that are traditionally not afforded a platform. For example, ‘Darndale: The Edge of Town’ highlighted unemployment, crime and drugs in a working-class estate in Dublin. While the content was not drama-filled or divisive, it was an honest depiction of day to day life in a specific place in Ireland.