The festival opening is a part of the festival that some people skip, thinking it’s not a ‘learning’ part of the festival. Indeed, some of it is about what to expect at the festival (for about two thirds of the people in the room this was their first time attending) and how the festival has been doing and surviving since it began three years ago. But aside from the basic stuff, this kickstart to the festival was about motivation, motivating ourselves, motivating each other, each person in the room bringing something valuable to the festival and that we could all face our fears together.
I realised that even in an awkward moment of meeting someone for the first time when the guy sitting next to me said hello, that I had given in to fear of trying to make conversation when I didn’t know what to say and taken the easier route of falling silent. Fear holds us back too much in many ways, including ways we don’t even recognise as underlying fear. But as I learned when I confessed my own fear, I wasn’t the only person who had felt awkward in that moment, and realised that there are two halves to any exchange and ultimately they are equal in terms of who gains and who has something to give. I guess that’s an important thing to remember as we go on through the festival, pitch projects, meet strangers. It’s easy for me and perhaps all of us to put words on paper, we do it all the time, putting words into one’s mouth to say something to a person you don’t know, especially when you want to be liked and to have your work liked, seems much harder sometimes. But a room becomes so much more pleasant when you’ve said hello to the people in it. And that is how my festival began.