Meeting with David Zolkwer – Creative Director at Jack Morton Worldwide

David was a very down to earth man and the way he passionately spoke about his work on the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, showed us that he really puts his heart and soul into his work. He works as a creative director for Jack Morton Worldwide and has worked on several Commonwealth Games ceremonies and other major projects.

He told us how he and his team successfully planned the 2014 Games:

  1. He kept emphasising how important collaboration was. Working with others to achieve shared goals.
  2. He wanted to create, inspiring, spectacular theatre for live broadcasts and performances.
  3. He wanted to create moments of drama and spectacle to entertain audiences.
  4. He wanted to celebrate the uniqueness of the time and the place, to offer distinction.
  5. He wanted to engage with the communities; by having them participate in the show. The ceremony had so many participants, of all race, gender and age.
  6. He wanted to create enduring memories.
  7. He wanted to capture and convey Glasgow’s unique story.
  8. He wanted to leave behind a a meaningful legacy.
  9. He wanted to create each program, that was unique in its own way.

Employees:

  • Skills, talents and experience were the core qualities when choosing staff
  • Everyone can give new ideas in the early stages of production

Cast:

  • Personality was very important
    • They had to work together as a group
  • Diversity was also important

Celebrity Endorsements:

  • Celebrities were part of the ceremony but they weren’t the stars
  • They were integrated into the performance and embraced the experience

 

He said something and it really stuck with me.

“Failures usually come up with something better!”

For the actual ceremony, David wanted something to represent the progressing technology in the world, so he got Eric Whitacre to make a virtual choir, which involved over 3000 people being a part of the video.

In the program there had to be an allocated time for Unicef; he said it was quite hard to find a time to play the video as Unicef is not fun and entertaining. So he had an idea to bring out athletes from each region and introduce a film sequence, which showed the audience inspiring stories. Each region had a celebrity, and each celebrity had a Glaswegian partner to relate it to the Glasgow Commonwealth Games 2014.

David said that the spirit created at the 2014 Games couldn’t have happened without the collaborations. He did say collaborating was hard, especially when everyone has their own opinions but it is completely worth it in the end.

Tips and Advice From David Zolkwer:

  1. Ego is toxic to collaboration
  2. For it to thrive, you need a safe, non-judgemental team culture
  3. All ideas and opinions are welcome
  4. Listen
  5. A clear vision. A shared vision
  6. Trust
  7. Courage
  8. Team Players – good people

 

“You want right ideas not just good ideas.” – David Zolkwer

I hope this advice from David Zolkwer helped you, as it did for me.

 

 

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