Show and Tell, a Farm special

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Last week we started early at The FuseBox for a Show and Tell by members. Many thanks to Wired Sussex for letting us use their amazing facilities.

The Show and Tell format (borrowed liberally from the version run monthly at The Skiff) gives each speaker five minutes to talk about their subject, then a few minutes for questions from the audience.

The idea is to have a talk that’s short enough that it’s not too stressful to give, is in front of a friendly audience, to act as practise for public speaking, and for the audience it gives members of the group a more rounded idea of what the freelancer speaking does.

On an unseasonably dark and stormy night, we had four talks:

Paul Silver on blogging on the Farm and Skiff websites

Paul Silver, a balding man in glasses, stands in front of a projected image of this website

I talked about the problem of recording events and why I’ve been writing for The Skiff’s blog and now we have a Farm blog (thanks to Haze, who has built this website.)

The Skiff has events which are fun and interesting, but was not showing them to the world. The Farm has a weekly event which is fun and interesting (I hope) but the main places I wrote about them have closed or look likely to at some point in the not-too-distant future.

For The Skiff, I have been writing up their events and news in their blog, to try and capture some of what I love about the community there. For the Farm, I am trying to write a bit about each meet up in our blog. The plan is to also have members write about their recent work within our blog, and if they have advice about freelancing, to add it to that section.


Matt Zandstra on his project Citipages

Matt Zandstra, a man wearing glasses and a tired expression, sits next to a screenshot of his website Brighton Pages

Citipages runs over a hundred local interest sites across the UK. Matt worked for the project early in his career, and is now back as partner, driving forward the tech side of the business.

He ran through the history of the project, and what they are working to achieve now. As well as covering what they are building and why, his talk ranged into the pros and cons of using AI to try to help research local news and other tasks.

We didn’t get a chance to cover Matt’s advertising project, so hopefully he’ll be back to show us that as it develops.

Check out Brighton Pages, part of the Citipages project.


Dave Packer on making strange, viral content

Dave Packer, a balding man in a t-shirt, talks next to a projected image of a pizza

Dave is an animator and director who has worked for clients like Red Bull Racing and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation. You’ve probably seen his work, but you may not know it was him as he’s made animated gifs which are massively popular as reactions and things people just love to share.

He took us through the inspiration and sharing of a fun personal project: taking a simple corner shop baguette, scanning and animating it, then sharing it in tweets that have been viewed millions of times (and featured on Buzzfeed, Mashable, Laughing Squid, CBS news and many others.)

A top tip for freelancers from Dave’s talk: make numbered options when presenting things to clients, they love them! It gets much better feedback than giving the same options without numbers.

Dave is far too humble and it was great to hear him talk about his work, and to get a good dose of daftness with it.

Animation of a baguette moving like a seal by Dave Packer AKA sheepfilms Animation of a baguette moving like a slow worm by Dave Packer AKA sheepfilms

Craig Moore on improv

Craig Moore guides Dave Packer through some improvisation

You may recognise Craig as he helped lots of us play virtual reality games at our recent VR night. Was he talking about his deep knowledge of custom Drupal work? No, he was talking about a long term interest – improv.

Craig has run a regular improv comedy night in VR for six years, currently using VRChat.

He showed us an improv game, ably assisted by Dave, who kindly volunteered. With some prompting, Dave did an excellent job at trying to sell us an exotic wind instrument that attracted cats.


Thank you to Matt, Dave and Craig for speaking, and to Chris and Jay from Wired Sussex for looking after us and sorting out all of our AV needs. I was recovering from a stomach bug and greatly appreciated their help.

Special thanks again to Wired Sussex for inviting us into The FuseBox for the evening, and all of their support for digital freelancers in Sussex.