Hollywood, Flash on the Beach and digital fireworks

It’s been quite a few weeks, and I’ve been unbelievably busy.

First of all, there was FITC Hollywood and the excitement of the Phlash5 debut gig.

Then back to Plug-in Media where I got straight to work on Pyrotechnics to the People, a digital interactive fireworks display (but more about that later).


And then Flash on the Beach kicked off. What an amazing conference, John Davey really did himself proud. But for myself and Dominic Minns, Plug-in’s creative director, it started on Sunday, with a day long workshop all about Flash games. That night we did the technical run-through for Pyros, and then I had to get up on Monday morning and present my particles session! Which seemed to go really well. I even noticed a couple of Microsoft guys in the front row who are going to try to make some Silverlight particles! I’ll definitely be very interested to see what they come up with.

The rest of the day was a mad panic session in time for the fireworks which kicked off at 5.30. They weren’t really working that well at first, but no one seemed to notice (except the programmers…:-) ) A quick reset at around 6.15 and they were fine after that. There seems to be a lot of interest in this, so I’ll definitely write up a proper post about the whole process from beginning to end.

After that it was just party time for me, which was great because I got to see some amazing presentations, the ones that stick in my mind are Mario Klingemann (the first time I’ve ever seen a choreographed live dance performance at a Flash conference), Robert Hodgins (who just does the most amazing things with particles) and Jared Tarbel (who is just the nicest guy with the most inspiring session).

Awesome imagery from Robert Hodgin

Tuesday night’s party was also memorable, mainly because there was a girl in a box. Although I never saw it, I only heard. But just to be sociable I’ll take their word. Dom was in charge of organising that particular party, so I’m surprised frankly that there was only the one girl in a box.

And so quickly it ended and we have to say goodbye to our friends from all over the world. It’s been so great having them here in my home town, such a pleasure and a privilege that John chose Brighton for this conference. He put so much of himself into this and it shows. This year the conference seemed just about perfect. And I’ll see you next year!

7 replies on “Hollywood, Flash on the Beach and digital fireworks”

it sounds like an awesome conference, but… hm. what’s the point of the girl in the box? i find that really disappointing. flash professionals are more creative than that, we shouldn’t have to resort to undressing and objectifying women to throw a memorable party.

Just wanted to say it was a great conference and an awesome party so thanks to Dom for organising it! Actually, the girl in the box was pretty amazing and should be admired for her exceptional contortionist qualities…! In fact all the entertainment was provided with a bit of tongue and cheek to fit it with the whole kitch club atmosphere. I really don’t feel there was any intention of objectifying women and it was definitely a memorable party for lots of other reasons 🙂

Kathryn : It worries me that the party performers may have offended you, although the vibe of the party was fun, and in keeping with the burlesque style of the evening. There was even a half naked cowboy handing out shots if that helps? 🙂

I really like that Flash seems to appeal to a large contingent of women, and I always encourage our female flashers both within, and on a larger scale with the // initiative.

Nate : That’s a great particle system! I really like all the controls, which I can never get around to building. I’ll have a look at the source as soon as I get a chance and let you know what i think, but nice work so far!

[EDIT January 2016] I just discovered this comment and I’m extremely embarrassed by my past self. It was fucking outrageous that there was a half naked woman contorting herself into a box at this party, and no amount of half naked men could make that OK. You couldn’t find a more apt analogy for the problems that women in tech face. If Kathryn ever sees this response I can only say thank you for trying to point out the problem and I’m so sorry that I was too idiotic to realise at the time.


Just wanted to say a belated thanks for the talk last week, easily one of the most well delivered and entertaining of the conference. I was told afterwards by an Art Director who confessed to not being to actionscript savy that he fully got what you were doing – so well done.

Fireworks were great too, any chance of a little sparkler app for our mobile phones as an addition for next years digital display? 😉

Nathan : Thanks so much you really are too kind 🙂 We have some big ideas for next year’s fireworks, and love the idea of a mobile sparkler, we’re def looking into that and other exciting mobile tie-ins.

See you next year!

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