Progress & Leadership: Jack Layton

“Progress & Leadership: Jack Layton” (2011)

 

The NDP’s National Policy Convention was hot on the heels of the 2011 Election Campaign. Hosted in Vancouver’s gorgeous convention centre the convention was aptly named “VanCon 2011.” There were a few key pieces that I had to make… Specifically for the “50th Anniversary Showcase” programmed for the Friday evening of the Showcase. We wanted to do a video retrospective of the NDP’s leaders for the videos to be played in between the showcase speakers, of which included “Prairie Giant” star Michael Therriault re-enacting Tommy Douglas’s leadership victory speech from the NDP’s founding convention.

This being my first convention, I took away some learnings.

Lesson one:
Always have video content formatted for TV Broadcast to both feed to the truck and for use after the event.

Lesson two:
Always make convention videos “for the room.” I got lucky, people began cheering the facts as they appeared on screen and it worked. Something I repeated for the 2012 Leadership, 2013 Montreal and 2012 & 2014 ONDP Conventions and the 2014 CLC Convention.

Lesson three:
Give the music enough space to breath in the room, because it makes an impact with the audience.

On the Sunday afternoon, about an hour before his keynote speech, I ran into Jack backstage. To set the context for this… We were still working on the speech, he had an idea of what was coming, but he was yet to see the draft. So, he had to be in a pretty anxious place leading up to it. But, he stopped while I was on my way to the washroom to take the time to thank me for my work. And told me about the conversations he was having with people after the showcase about the videos. He told me that my work and my voice were important and that it was of great importance that we continue to tell our own stories and take the initiative to not let anyone else define our history for us… That simple gesture fed my faith in my work for the party for nearly two years after. And to this day, swells a warmly saccharine lump in my throat.