3 Lessons We Learned while Hosting a Workshop at SXSW

This past week, Marmoset took a trip down to Austin, Texas for our first SXSW workshop, “What the F*ck is Music Supervision?” Hosted by Ryan Wines, CEO and co-founder of Marmoset, as well as Kat Olsen, Senior Music Supervisor at Marmoset and acclaimed TV and film music supervisor Beth Amy Rosenblatt, our goal was to offer attendees a crash course on music supervision. We broke down the nuanced relationship between music and picture, and spoke about how to navigate pairing the two together.

After getting back into our office groove, we thought the most useful thing we could write about is what we learned while on this adventure. Here are three lessons about hosting a workshop at SXSW:

Be realistic.

Your allotted time is not endless. Let’s be honest with ourselves -- you will not be able to teach these people how to be an expert in your field in a short amount of time, so don’t try. Instead, focus on the high level points. Initially, we wanted to provide an in-depth explanation of the elements we think about when pairing music with picture, but how does one accurately explain the various ways that sound can influence picture in a 5-10 minute time frame? 

Our answer: Use examples. In our workshop, we kept our explanations brief and used a single video paired with a variety of songs to show how drastically the music can affect how one perceives the film. When preparing to lead your workshop, think of alternative ways to show how and why you do what you do. Generally, people would rather see an interesting video than listen to you talk, anyways. 

Plan for the worst.

Sometimes things go wrong when hosting a workshop. What if the technology you rented breaks down, the sound system doesn’t work, or too many people show up for the workshop? No amount of time can ever prepare you for an unexpected malfunction, but you can prepare yourself. In our case, we had a sound issue while presenting the attendees' work. In the moment, we played our cool, made a joke about it and moved on. Mentally preparing yourself to handle the worst situation will inevitably prepare you for the little hiccups that are bound to come your way. 

Have fun with it.

Finally, have fun. You’re the expert, so enjoy it. But, in doing so, always be on the lookout for what you can learn from those who you are teaching. You never know, they may help you discover the next best way to utilize your platform. 

All in all, we are extremely thankful to those who attended the workshop and to the SXSW community for inviting our team our team to host a workshop at such an influential event. 

Posted on March 24, 2016 and filed under Music.