Tech+Art Podcast: Sakchin Bessette

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OVERVIEW

Welcome to the new Tech+Art Podcast!

Join us on this adventure as we meet & speak with: artists, makers, researchers, designers and creators from all background and fields.

Our objective is to understand their creative perspective, dive into their workflow & creative process, be inspired by new ideas and their work – and stay one step ahead of cutting-edge industry developments.

"It’s the mix of different people, with different head spaces, and not knowing that it’s impossible. Just jumping into it."

IN THIS EPISODE...

In this episode, we’re chatting with Sakchin Bessette, the Co-Founder and Executive Creative Director of Moment Factory, a new breed of studio that has been pushing the boundaries of of several industries in order to create some of the most imaginative public experiences the world has ever seen. Since its inception in 2001, Moment Factory has created more than 400 unique shows and destinations. Productions span the globe and include such clients as the NFL, Microsoft, Sony, Madonna and more. Sakchin joins us to share his story, perspective on the evolution of the industry, a glimpse at their creative process and much more!

Question 1: How did you really get into this space? Because at the time - nobody was doing any of this. How did you find a style and this unique blend of disciplines?

[ 5:58 ] – Ya I guess it’s the mix of different people, with different head spaces, and not knowing that it’s impossible. Just jumping into it.

Question 2: Speaking of the role of technology and people. How have you seen this industry take shape and evolve over those years building Moment Factory?

[ 7:16 ] – When we arrived, there wasn’t really an industry. I see it sometimes a little bit like the beginning of cinema, where they would start by using somehow the tools of theater in the cinema […] they would basically use whatever they knew as far as a language to be able to start developing this. Then people would come in and start contributing . Then you see what’s happening with Netflix today, it’s a completely different game.

[ 8:17 ] – […] in normal, physical environments, we start adding technology and tricks and tools to create magic in these contexts. So this is a whole different context and whole different way of telling stories and engaging audiences.

Question 3: Can you give us examples of some of the projects and clients you work with now?

[ 9:03 ] – So it just became something I think, with time, with dedication, and work – and timing somehow. With technologies arriving and making things possible. There wasn’t any After Effects really when we were starting – it was just starting. There was no internet, no iPhone – everything was just starting.

Question 4: A moment ago you spoke about context and really understanding that in order to then add magic and other unexpected elements to it. How do you balance the seemingly opposite sides of business requirements and creative ideas together? Or when working with a specific artist for example - how do you balance what they want with something unique that only Moment Factory can bring in?

[ 9:52 ] – It’s a good question. We had to invent all these processes and how we work, because we couldn’t take it from an Architecture firm, there will be a similar process to another architecture firm, because they went to school you know? […] But we needed to really invent this medium. We needed to invent ways of working. And we needed to mix different mediums and different tricks and processes from different industries. And it depends on the project. Some projects are different than others, but generally it comes with a certain research base. We need to understand the context that we’re working with.

[ 11:11 ] – I see the process often as like this kind of shape, it goes like this: we zoom out, we research; we zoom in, we find a big idea; then from this big idea, we look out wider to where we can take this, then we zoom in again. So we zoom in and zoom out, often. And then we try to twist it and turn it, and make sure we thought about everything as much as we can to push it.

[ 11:36 ] – But at the same time, the good ideas are simple. If you make something too complicated, too big, too much – it doesn’t work. Generally.

[ 11:51 ] – It’s really this fine balance. But it takes experience. It takes time. You need to know what’s possible…. And what’s not.

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Question 5: Where do you think this creative industry is heading? Is it about new and emerging technology or is it about that human connection?

[ 13:38 ] – For me technology is useful, it’s a tool, it’s good. It’s not useless… but it’s not about that. It’s about the connection, about the humanness, it’s about the relationship, it’s about the experience. And then the technology helps to bring this in.

[ 14:09 ] – […] at the same time, our work is really based on humans. It’s not based on technology. We’re not robots, we want to create emotions.

Question 6: What has been your most ambitious project to date? Something that really stands out in your mind….

[ 16:06 ] – I mean, there’s been so many, so many crazy projects since the beginning. We couldn’t – even if we said like ‘ok, what’s the craziest thing we can image?’ – we could never imagine like 1/10 of what the projects that we’ve done or will do I’m sure. Because there’s so many things become possible one after another.

[16:24 ] – But for me, the craziest thing is the studio. The fact that we built Moment Factory and we have 400 people in this amazing space. And all these amazing people, so talented, people coming from all over the world, all growing together, one project after another […] for me, to see people grow, to see people learn as humans together, that’s what for me is really the most exciting about all this. The projects are amazing, but they are kind of like the environment for this human connection, for this human growth.

Question 7: So given the pace and rate of change in this industry and this new world, what advice would you give to someone who’s just looking to get started in this space?

[ 19:01 ] – I would say ‘learn to do it yourself’. Learn to do as many things as you can, yourself so that you’re independent and that you understand a bunch of things. It’s a really multidisciplinary world or medium. So It’s not like you can learn to program and then you can do everything. You know? You need to learn programming, but you need to learn design, and you need to learn aesthetics, and you learn storytelling, and you need to understand the technical, and you need to understand the sound.

[ 19:35 ] – Somehow, I see it a little bit like making a big robot dance. You can make it move. A lot of people can make it move. But to make it dance in this really flowy way…. Is where it becomes touching. And doing that is really tricky.