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Black is... Talent, Passion and Creative Energy - #BehindTheIdea

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Handling the crew for one film is already no mean feat – but handling six? Come on.

And yet, the teams at Karmarama and Accenture did it. For Black History Month back in October, the agency network teamed up with black filmmakers, animators and crew to create six films around the topic of "Black is...", celebrating the personal stories of people of colour. The films resonate with power, pride and authenticity, and they are a testimony to Accenture's commitment to diversity and equality.

Today we are getting Behind the Idea to learn more about this amazing initiative that took place near the end of 2020, a beacon of strength and determination after a year like no other.

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What was the brief?

After the success of last year’s Black History Month event, the AACN (Accenture’s African Caribbean Network) approached us to turn six unique and individual presentations on the subject of ‘What It Means To Be Black’, into six films. This would sit within an online series to coincide with 2020's Black History Month in October.

How did the initial pitch/brainstorming phase go?

From the start we knew this had the potential to be a highly creative project. We wanted each film to reflect the personality and nature of the storyteller, therefore each film needed to show a different and unique flair, whilst also aligning as a seamless series. 

The creative process was very much one of collaboration. We wanted to give each individual the space to tell their stories and we wanted to use black filmmaking talent to create them. 

We decided to use a variety of filmmaking skills and mediums to bring these stories to life and felt that the diversity of characters would be best reflected using a mixture of animation, live action and mixed media filmmakers.

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Tell us more about the concept. Why was it the right choice?

From the very beginning we were really excited to not only have the opportunity to showcase and amplify six emotionally charged, important and personal stories, but also to showcase the great talent of black creatives.

Having the storytellers as the narrators of their own films really helped to personalise the pieces and give the creative talent a strong base from which to work. We wanted to give the director’s creative freedom to develop the scripts into a vision which sometimes pushed both client and storyteller out of their comfort zone.

Our role was to help steer this, providing overall creative direction for the project. It was important to creatively challenge and guide our clients as well as ensuring that production worked within the budget and timeline. The process was truly collaborative, with the storytellers inspired by the film-makers vision and the filmmakers bringing the storytellers script and personal experience to life.

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What was the production process like? What was the biggest challenge?

Once we had the scripts in a good place, we put a lot of research into finding the right talent. They were of course all part of the black community and needed to bring something different stylistically to each story. We searched through multiple platforms, spoke with our industry partners and even used social media to create a brilliant pool of 50+ animators, directors, motion graphic designers and artists. 

Other than juggling six films at the same time, one of the hardest parts then came with whittling down the talent to a final six and carefully pairing their style with each story. From there, it was so fulfilling to watch the directors and storytellers collaboratively shape their visions into the final films. It was a beautifully emotional project for all involved and we hope that this comes across in the series.

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What’s the main message of the campaign and why does it matter?

To tell authentic stories about the black experience and to illustrate Accenture’s commitment to equality and justice for all. With zero tolerance for racism, bigotry and hate of any kind. 

In 2020 this campaign is so vital, to not only to show allyship but also to amplify different perspectives, relatable content and luminous talent for all to view.

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What is one unique aspect of the campaign?

This project is a showcase of utterly brilliant, unique and inspirational black talent. Working collaboratively, the storytellers, directors and crew, all from different backgrounds, saw the importance of the campaign message. There needs to be a lot more of this in the industry at all levels.

How do you recharge away from the office?

We are a team and we all have different methods of recharging. I have four kids so in fact for me going back to the office occasionally is a bit of a recharge…

What is one tip that you would give to other aspiring creatives looking for work?

Create work which means something to you and do it with like-minded people who inspire you. Then, shout about it on as many platforms as possible.

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How long did it take from inception to delivery?

It took about seven months, on a truly minimal budget, with a dose of lockdown included.

What do you hope it achieves for the brand?

Accenture is a fantastic advocate of diversity in the workplace. I hope this project shows that to the world. I also hope it shows how as a company they can push the boundaries of creativity in all their comms and are a champion of diverse, brilliant talent.

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