Academies Enterprise Trust Festival of Remarkable Lives

The Challenge

The Academy Enterprise Trust (AET)  is a is a multi-academy trust in England that currently has 58 schools right across the country. AET's mission is pure and simple: to enable pupils to lead Remarkable Lives. After a highly competitive tender process with over 70 organisations responding, AET commissioned Clearhead after a robust pitch process to be their key partner for the 2021 version of the AET Festival of Remarkable Lives.

Our challenge was to elevate what has gone before. Trying to get over 40,000 stakeholders of all ages and backgrounds to all feel part of this celebration was complex. The first year was done as a psychical event. The effects of COVID meant that the 2020 version was hastily placed online, to be a virtual celebration. This was a continuation of that.

A one day, multi location, dual stream event. The event needed to be broadcast in two streams. One stream for primary school children and one for secondary school children. This enabled different content (live or pre-recorded) was age appropriate and engaging to that audience. This needed to be the AET Festival of Remarkable Lives to beat them all!

No mean feat!

We delivered

- Creative campaign development

- On the day technical crew manage the streams, all feeds including hub cameras, remote cameras and webcam feeds

-TV Studio sourcing and management

-Set & Prop sourcing and Development

-Management of the streaming system to ensure stable stream which allows for commercial music to be played

-Scriptwriting

-Streaming support

The Solution

From the very beginning, we knew that this project needed to have a TV production approach, rather than an 'event' approach. Think Children in Need or Comix Relief, a mixture of live sections, pre-recorded sections but the ability for everyone to be able to watch wherever they were. The most important element was an interactive 3 hour event spread across a day in which every school took part in the 'Festival of Remarkable Lives'. In addition it needed to ensure that everyone felt inclusive, part of the event and also that it was fun!

Off we went! First and foremost working on the branding of the event to ensure that we elevated what had gone previously. We utilised and evolved the squares theme that the Trust had. We integrated the AET logo at the start of the presentation, we thought that was really effective and put the brand front and centre. It was also a metaphorical showcase the of everyone up and down the UK. Going through this allowed us to really be clear as to the direction everything else was going to follow. An intro animation was used to pre-promote the event and ensure that it felt familiar by the time we got to the event.

Various different teams were set up to allow us to all concentrate on the multitude of elements that were going to make up the day. We concentrated on technical, engagement and the day. Throughout these we pushed the boundaries of what was possible and looked at every angle to see what was the very best option to go with.

One of the centrepieces was to hire a TV studio, which included some of the highest proportions of video walls in the whole of the UK. This would allow the brand and content to come to the forefront and create a fantastic, dynamic experience.

Recommending Sli.do and Youtube to do our interactive elements and to take care of the streaming as a platform were two of the first steps. Once we had worked out the software we then sought to bring together everything. Our top idea was to have all of the 58 schools on Zoom wall, very similar to Saturday Night Takeaway. We would then go on a journey through all of the schools for them to say hello (in some cases screaming or shouting hello).

Working through the engagement that was going to happen on the day, was a journey in itself! In the end we ended up with ensuring that there was a mixture of small quick engagement pieces and longer engagement pieces such as 'tallest tower'. This mixed in with the competitions, awards.

The assets were created by a mixture of animation, pre-made and originally shot material. Almost 100 pieces of content were created for the event overall, which helped to ensure that there was always something new for the viewers to watch.

We were very fortunate to be working with an expert crew, full of auto-cue operators, vision mixers, sound ops and lighting directors. All together a crew of around 20 were present on the two prep days as well as on the big day. Talking of experts, we also worked with the fantastic Sam & Mark who has worked on the previous two incarnations. They were placed on talkback and with autocue support. The script was over 80 pages long and helped to give the duo all the information that was needed.

As part of the set, we also managed to get a mixture of 'party' props as well as oversized books and pencils which helped to break up the vast video walls.

Finally we invited 3 students and their careers advisor to the day to be able to inspire the next generation. The three students had tours of the green room, gallery and studio and thoroughly enjoyed their day for the AET Festival of Remarkable Lives. As we all did!

Please pass on my thanks to all of the team. Lot's of happy children which is what it is all about!

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