I write this 48 hours after TEDxVictoria 2013: Emergence took place at the McPherson Playhouse. I am tired. Very, very tired — exhausted even.
When I woke up this morning at 7AM — the first time I slept 7 hours straight in I-don’t-know-how-long — I opened my eyes with purpose, took a moment, and remembered that the event I’d spent the last 11 months working towards had already happened. I no longer had a reason to get out of bed.
I have slain my dragon. My quest is complete.
I’m not depressed or anything; It’s just that each TEDxVictoria has taken its toll on me, and this year as the Creative Director it took a much grander toll than either of the previous events. I put in more hours (thousands instead of hundreds), had more meetings, took fewer breaks, had more fun, and just got more involved than I ever did before.
I took on a leadership role in TEDxVictoria 2013 like I hadn’t in 2012 or 2011. This time, instead of having a trio of leaders making the executive decisions on how to run the event, it was just me at the top. And it was tiring. If I learned one single, most-valuable, most intrinsically important fact working on TEDxVictoria, it is this:
You can’t do it all.
Now, I’m not saying I tried to do everything (I didn’t), nor that I did everything (I certainly didn’t). But I pushed myself to do more than I ever had before, and in a way, I was living these past 11 months in the area that Adam Kreek described as being between your comfort zone and your absolute limit.
I needed to ask for more help sooner, but I have a tendency to push myself and push myself and push myself. At this point in my life I can say that I am not yet comfortable with failure (despite being well acquainted with it because hey, me and failure are old friends), and the ambitions I had for what I wanted to accomplish with TEDxVictoria 2013 at times actually frightened me. I feel like this year’s event, much more so than past years, was a reflection of my vision and what I wanted to accomplish, so I was much more personally invested in how everything went.
I was high strung from the moment we started releasing information to the public and tickets went on sale.
But then during the speaker rehearsal and coaching process, after I watched the first version of Adam Kreek’s TEDxVictoria 2013 talk “I Seek Failure”, I became comfortable with my doubts and the possibility that the event might fail. After all, it would only make me stronger, wouldn’t it? I’d be like Batman or something. And Batman is awesome.
Luckily, TEDxVictoria wasn’t just a success, it was an achievement beyond even my high expectations, and I owe it all to the amazing team of brilliant human beings I was working with.
I didn’t sleep particularly well the evening before the event. After meeting all of our speakers for dinner at Relish Food and Coffee, I went home to fret over last-minute details. I had been aiming to have it so that everything that I was personally doing to make the event happen would be complete before event day so that I could relax and enjoy the show.
Of course that didn’t happen.
If you’re an event organizer you’ll already know this, but if you’re in charge of a large scale event there is no such thing as relaxing. You just can’t not be involved. You’re helping out anywhere you can see a need, and you’re right in there with the other volunteers making sure that everything goes off without a hitch.
This is where having an incredible team comes in. They killed it. I don’t know how the public saw the event, but from where I was sitting (about 3 rows back in the middle of the theatre) everything went perfectly. I hope that in 2014 we can afford to actually pay our production staff with money and not just hugs, because these people are more than willing to volunteer their incredible production skills to making magic on stage — and their professionalism and skill is what makes everything flow so smoothly.
Depending on who you ask, different talks will be their absolute favourites. As the lead event organizer I can say that it is very hard for me to pick out which talks I enjoyed the most. That said, some of my favourite moments of the day were:
- Jim Townley asking the audience if they drank coffee, if they’ve made friends over coffee, or if they know anyone who drinks coffee. It set the right tone for the day right from the get-go, and he delivered it perfectly.
- Alan Cassel’s self-deprecating sense of humour. Alan never ceases to be both brilliant and hilarious, and his bucket tub was no exception.
- Adam Kreek calling the other enormous men on his boat “snugglebears”
- Rebecca Marino’s humbleness and honesty. I don’t know anyone else who has retired at 22, but I’m kind of jealous.
- Holy crap, Cameron Fraser can move. I can’t remember a physical artistic performance moving me before quite like his did, and I can’t even put my finger on why. Was it the music? I don’t know.
- Tiffany Poirier is the teacher every single one of us wishes we had. Wow. And kids ask some big questions!
- Bob McDonald smashing his own face with the earth. It was hilarious during rehearsal, and equally as funny a second time.
- Mary-Wynne Ashford getting 800 people to sing together. It was a powerful moment.
- That moment when Ian MacKenzie took off his Guy Fawkes mask and you heard some audiences members whistle.
- Watching Kathryn Calder’s performance from the side of the stage was so emotional it was actually tough to get through. I can only imagine how it sounded for the audience.
There were many more moments for me. These are just the ones that stand out to me right this second.
We do it again.
But we don’t start yet. We have a checklist of things to finish to truly wrap up TEDxVictoria 2013 before we can begin putting together the pieces for 2014. Some of our amazing team may want to move on, while others may want to do more (or less). We also have many bills to pay and people to thank for their efforts — it took 84 volunteers, 20 sponsors, 15 speakers, 3 performances, and 11 months to make this event.
I still feel that the best is yet to come.
Thanks to everyone below for their amazing contributions that made this event happen.
Adam Price, Adam Quiney, Alison Root, Amy Willson, Andrea Hayes, Ari Hershberg, Brandon Gains, Breanna Carey, Brett Reid, Caitlin Tally, Carol-Lynne Michaels, Casey Bennett, Catherine Bridge, Charlotte Wood, Charmaine Niebergall, Chris Marks, Christian Lesemann, Christina Barnes, Christine Williams, Christopher Bowers, Colleen McCormick, Connor McCleary, Danielle Pope, Darragh Grove-White, Darren Laberee, David Malysheff, Davin Greenwell, Denise Brown, Emily Shebib, Eric Buchanan, Eric Watchorn, Genevieve Von Petzinger, Gina Bethell, Grady Lawlor, Gregory Johnson, Heather Daynard, Holly Vivian, Janine Wolfe, Jason Dyck, Jenny Chan, John Mardlin, Jordan Gordon, Juliana Niebergall, Katherine Filteau, Katie Ganassin, Keri Coles, Kim Nagle, Kim Perkins, Kirsten Øvstaas, Kyle Gilmar, Lane Schneider, Laura Brougham, Laurel Lindsay, Liam Johnson, Lisa Preston, Marg Rose, Maria Schmidt, Matthew C Davidson, Mayor Dean Fortin, Mick Miller, Mike Roma, Molly Heaney-Corns, Nathan Bengey, Nicole Olszewski, Norman Lee, Reine Jensen, Ross Copeland, Sara Wu, Saraugh Wright, Shawn Newby, Shay Boechler, Sheril Mathews, Sherri Andrews, Spencer Bialek, Stephen Thomas, Steven Saunders, Susy Rudkin, Terri Heal, Vanessa Pattison, and Yasmin Yassin.
Our speakers and performers:
Adam Kreek, Alan Cassels, Angela Moran, Bob McDonald, Cameron Fraser, Dave Morris, Ian Mackenzie, Jim Townley, Jose Barrios, Kathryn Calder, Lee-Anne Davies, Marnie Setka-Moonie and the St. Mary’s Childrens Choir, Mary-Wynne Ashford, Mike Vardy, Missie Peters, Rebecca Marino, Sarah Hunt, Tiffany Poirier, Tom Rippon, and Nathan Docksteader (aka Natron).
Royal Roads University
Investors Group, Slegg Lumber, Rifflandia Music Festival, and The Zone @ 91.3FM.
Gabriel Ross, Harbour Air Seaplanes, Langham Court Theatre, The Oswego Victoria, Pizzeria Prima Strada, Social Innovators Network, Social Media Camp, Tectoria, The Lavin Speakers Bureau, Tom Lee Music, Total Delivery Systems, VICFest, Victoria Event Center, Wannawafel, Yelp Vancouver, and each of the 50 people who purchased a contributor ticket to the event.
Stage Design Sponsors
André & Associates – Interpretation and Design Ltd., Ross Taylor at Gabriel Ross, Joey MacDonald at InterArts Centre, Kyle Gilmar at Cue42 Productions, Langham Court Theatre, Rande Cook, and Slegg Lumber.