F5 Talk 01: Simon Robson and Tim Rayner

For those of you who attended F5 last April, you know that our speakers were a diverse and inspiring mix of creative people from a wide spectrum of fields. As promised, we’re sharing those talks with the world, starting with Simon Robson and Tim Rayner’s presentation about their collaborative project, The Coalition of the Willing.

Although Simon and Tim weren’t the first speakers of our two-day event, we’re sharing their talk first for two reasons. 1) We believe in their cause, and 2) They need your support.

I asked Simon to tell us about his experience of F5:

Talking at F5 was a real pleasure. It gave Tim and I the chance to introduce the project we are currently developing, entitled ‘Coalition of The Willing’. It also gave us a deadline for which to prepare enough material to give the audience a good idea of what the project is all about. In short, F5 gave us a shot in the arm.

I won’t go too much into what ‘Coalition’ is about here, Tim does a fantastic job in the presentation of distilling the thinking and ideas behind the project. Suffice it to say that it’s a film that suggests a collaborative, technological way of combating climate change.

The film is also being made in a collaborative way. In the presentation, I talk about artists who became involved prior to F5. Since F5, Loyalkaspar, Parasol Island and World Leaders have all begun creating sections for the film. I’m thrilled and excited by the good will and the caliber of the artists who’ve thrown themselves into this project.

We plan to give the film a staggered online release, starting by publishing the written argument online and then fleshing this out with shots as and when they are completed. It’s an idea that Tim and I have been developing with Chris O’Reilly from Nexus Productions.

We hope that people will engage with the argument and then respond to the way ideas are visualised as the shots are published. It’s all about keeping the argument current and alive. To this end, we will be making the film the ‘core’ of a site that will evolve as people post comment and invited writers post articles on issues that branch off from topics introduced in the film.

We’ve been inspired by online data visualisation by artists like Manuel Lima, and we’re currently looking for an online partner to help us develop our online aspirations for this project.

So finally I’ll just echo the last thing I said at F5: If you’re a great moving-image maker or a creative interaction designer and you’d like to get involved with Coalition of The Willing, then please get in touch with me at simon@knife-party.net.

I hope you enjoy the talk.


About the author

Justin Cone

/ justincone.com
Together with Carlos El Asmar, Justin co-founded Motionographer, F5 and The Motion Awards. He currently lives in Austin, Texas with is wife, son and fluffball of a dog. Before taking on Motionographer full-time, Justin worked in various capacities at Psyop, NBC-Universal, Apple, Adobe and SCAD.


Marc B.

Might as well fly over the pond, pollute the air with co2, talk in front of an audience about how bad global warming is and exhaust more hot air. Al Gore did this few years ago and got hit by the door on the way out.


So what’s the solution Marc? Silence? Inertia? Impotence?

Might it not be considered legitimate to take an overseas flight if the purpose for doing so is to raise awareness of our agency and responsibility and discourage us from frivolously deteriorating our habitat?

It’s a rhetoric I’ve heard often raised and one that encourages besides immobility.


Sorry – that should read “little besides immobility”.


I’m with UN.
Hats off to simon and tim for trying to do a little good in a very cynical industry. Its a hugely commendable effort, especially so when held in contrast with all the awful mass animation “collaborations” posted previously.


Totally thumbs up!


I think Simon Robson is a Brave man.
I am learning to animate, about that i have nothing to say.


I dont see ‘Coalition’ as a different thing to Massanimation, just because it is for a “good cause”
Nor do I agree that we are all mindless beings that will be compelled to action by a large movement like a swarm of fish.

Simon Robson

Thanks for your comments. Best thing i can do is describe the process of “Coalition” and then you can make your own mind up.

Tim and I wrote the polemic (Well, 95% Tim really in the end, once we’d chucked out all my lame ideas ; )) Then i story boarded out each of the sections. Since then I’ve been animating the sections and envisage creating about 30-40% of the film myself by the end.

Then i got talking to some close animator / designer friends who wanted to help based on the message and the approach. So they began helping out. Then Matt Day from Clapham Road Studios in London got into the idea and helped me achieve stop frame animation with all sorts of help. Then we got some work together for F5, showed it there and asked if anyone else was up for helping. The response was amazing, some people were right to work with, some not quite right. There’s never been any ‘pitching’ process, just if someone or some company is interested and i like their work, then we get together and get stuck in. The design and animation process is organic, people take on what they’re willing to give and deliver when they can. This is why we want to do a staggered online release, a kind of shot by shot thing as opposed to one overall release. There’s no competition here, no ‘submit your ideas and I’ll judge them’, Christ no. I’ve had that happen to me too many times with commercial pitches ; ) It’s just people who are interested, getting stuck in. We review design, ideas storyboards, everything together really. It’s been amazingly creative and I’m staggered by the good will. I can honestly say it’s the most optimistic, good willed venture I’ve ever been involved with. If by some means we score some funding, I will be absolutely transparent and share this out amongst the collaborators.

In terms of us depicting ‘mindless swarming beings’. I’m sorry you read it this way, the fault must be ours for not communicating well enough. The concept of the swarm is incredibly optimistic. It’s about people all pushing for the same thing when they figure out it is of mutual benefit and that it is an empowering thing to do. We attribute enormous amounts of self reliance and independent thinking to the individual. We say that these individuals are self actualising and can in fact cause great change when aligned. This is a challenge to the top down way of doing things. We are sick of waiting for governments to ‘do the right thing’ as regards climate change. We believe a self-actualised mass movement will make the greatest change. I hope this gives a better idea of what we’re about. Tim expresses it much better than i can in the talk. Perhaps if you have a minute and skip to the bits where he’s talking about this.

OK, hope this clarifies things a bit!


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