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Jen Speirs: A Month After Cannes. Where to Now?

The Influencers 162 Add to collection

INFLUENCER: BMF Sydney's Jen Speirs recaps her experience at the festival in this part opinion piece, part therapy session

Jen Speirs: A Month After Cannes. Where to Now?

It's hard to believe that a month ago I was in Cannes, about to get locked away in a jury room for five days to judge film. While I did get a few 'constructive' insights - 'It's going to be a political shitshow', 'You won't finish before 3am', and 'Film?! Haha!! That's the most excruciating' - I really didn't know what to expect. Sure, I've done quite a bit of judging - but, well, this is Cannes. Film. And I'm not too proud to admit that I was slightly shitting myself.

Turns out, I needn't have been. What I found was a jury room full of women and men, passionate about great work and desperate to move our industry forward. And, sure - we did have long days and lots of debates, but to spend five days discussing, reviewing, arguing against, and pushing for the best work in the world, was essentially the most amazing masterclass I've ever been to. Plus, how indulgent to have that long to purely focus on the work?

Do I feel different post-Cannes? Hell yeah. I came away feeling more fired up than ever, about having my agency's work being discussed in as many jury rooms as possible this time next year. Most excitingly, there's no formula for how that has to happen - or what sort of client/tone/scale/purpose/medium it needs to be. It can be a rubber stamp, for God's sake. Just do something with meaning.

A few days after I got back, I had this post-Cannes diary entry/opinion piece and accompanying 'LET'S DO THIS' agency presentation ready to roll out. That's when I got a different, much more heartbreaking reminder to make the most of my time. My 21-year-old nephew died. Sure, he'd been sick before - but he fought back, won, fought back, and was still winning. It wasn't his time to go. 

And now, 3½ weeks later - after quite possibly the most juxtaposing month of my life - I'm back in the office. I saw this diary entry/opinion piece/now part therapy session on my desktop, and while I almost parked it - I decided to change it up a bit and share it anyway. Because now more than ever, I absolutely believe that I have to make what I do matter.    

Rightly or wrongly, I have chosen this career. And it wasn't because I wanted an easy ride (if that was the case, I'd have been out ages ago because it's been far from that). I chose this because I believe in creativity - in all its chaotic, subjective, random glory. I believe when an idea is conceived and nurtured properly, there's no problem it can't solve. There's no pre-determined way forward. It literally has endless potential. 

I also believe that our industry right now is as good as it's ever been for someone like me. And when I looked around that jury room, I felt like that was exactly where I belonged. 

And as a female creative, rooms full of heavyweights don't always feel that way. We were all there, passionately fighting for the world's best work - and no one gave a shit about gender. And feeling like that, doing this job - well that's all I've ever wanted anyway.

Don't get me wrong. Coast if you want. Opt out of advertising if you don't believe it any more. I'm not saying it's the be all and end all for everyone. What I am saying is this: 

Always believe that your best is yet to come - but never doubt that you'll get there. 

Give whatever you're doing your all. 

Put your heart, soul and everything else you can muster into doing what you do with purpose and meaning. 

And get the most out of whatever time you have here. #letsdothis #RIPRob

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BMF, Fri, 27 Jul 2018 02:04:49 GMT