Thursday, 15 July 2010

My new project - FEAT

The cat is now officially out of the bag. My new project I hinted at a few weeks ago is happening! It is called FEAT and aside from its apt dictionary meaning of 'a noteworthy or extraordinary act or achievement, usually displaying boldness or skill', it is also an acronym for Fascinating Expedition and Adventure Talks.

FEAT is an evening of time-limited presentations by South African adventurers. Each speaker develops their talk according to strict guidelines that they've been given by me. As a result, each presentation will take exactly seven minutes. Although the people invited to speak have accomplished amazing feats, they have very specific topics to talk on. It's not about, "I climbed Everest" or "I rowed across the Atlantic"; their topics are focused on an element of their adventure.

The other joy of this format is that the audience is exposed to a variety of topics, adventurers, expeditions and information during the evening; not just one talk on one topic for an hour. And, even if the speaker is not the most dynamic presenter (some people are naturals, some people are not), they're only on the stage for seven minutes and they're speaking according to a structure. This keeps the talks on track, pacy and interesting.

There are 12 speakers at this first event, which is scheduled for Thursday, 7 October 2010. FEAT will be held at Wits Theatre, a lovely cosy venue. Being a conservative type, I went for a venue with a theatre feel and a reasonable amount of seats (only 367; other venues had less than 200 seats, which is too small). I'd rather have tickets sold out and people braying for more, than having a massive venue with empty seats. And, in terms of presenting this event and getting it off the ground, costs are a factor and they go up exponentially for hire of bigger venues. That will come later when FEAT is established.

Although the live speaker format will be phenomenal, I also have a big picture in mind around to include adventure films and books coming out of SA. It's about time that SA's adventurers get mainstream recognition.

Tickets will be available from Monday, 2 August 2010 on Computicket. Friends, please book then and there so you don't miss out. This will really be a situation of snooze, you lose.

Today, Thursday, publicity around this event starts.

But first, I have some special thanks to make.

Deon, from Go Multi, was out running with me the day before I started putting this together. I told him the idea, he jumped for joy and immediately gave me Go Multi magazine's support to promote the event.

The four sponsors involved with the event all jumped at being involved:
  • Biophys - my dear friend Michael Graz, who is an adventure racer and crazy ultra runner too, always finds time to read - and support - my ideas between flying from one country to the next (his company Biophys is a consultancy focusing on operations and technical processes and systems within biotech and food technology industries - including environmental management). 
  • Buff - Eric (and Nicholas and Christo) was positive from the start, seeing the potential of this event without hesitation. Buff is a great brand to partner with FEAT because no event or expedition can possibily be completed without Buff headwear. I think that I am 'the person with the most Buffs in SA' - I've been collecting for 10 years.
  • Capestorm - Ian was the second person I told about FEAT, the night I started putting my plans together, and he immediately agreed to CAPESTORM getting involved.
  • Hi-Tec - Although Shayne is Hi-Tec's brand manager, he is also an adventurer, having biked up Africa a few years ago. He gets FEAT.
Adri, AR friend and ADAC squad member, is a graphic designer. I asked her if she could come up with a design for the logo. She got it spot-on from the start - I love the colours, clarity, fun-feel of it. She is also assisting with the design work for the promotional posters and other graphic elements.

William, another AR friend, is helping with visual elements for the evening. He came with me with Wits a few weeks ago to test projection and to make sure that the images can be seen from every seat in the house. On the night William will literally be running the show.

Matt, AR Club member, runner and producer of the Volk & Fordyce series, is just as excited about FEAT as me. We're looking into various film elements from YouTube to others.

I'd also like to compliment Wits Theatre and Computicket; I've had wonderful support from them and efficient service from the start. The Theatre is delighted to have FEAT there and as Wits is my alma mater, I'm delighted to have FEAT there.

And then there are dozens of friends that I've mentioned FEAT to and I'm overwhelmed by their support and encouragement, suggestions of speakers, offers to MC, direct parking etc. In fact, even strangers - like the guy at the signage company - are unbelievably supportive; they just love the concept of FEAT.

And, most importantly, the speakers for this first FEAT evening - Alex Harris, Andrew Kellet, Cobus van Zyl, Darron Raw, Kyle Meenehan, Mandy Ramsden, Marianne Schwankhart, Mike Blyth, Peter van Kets, Pierre Carter, Ray Chaplin and Riaan Manser - all said yes immediately. Some I know, others I've not yet met in person. Regardless, they said yes enthusiastically and I'm delighted to have them at FEAT.

They are FEAT.

So, today is kinda officially the day it all starts, especially in terms of media and publicity. Very, very exciting.

FEAT website is


Celine said...

Lees, this is fantastic news! I am so pleased to hear that your new, exciting project is finally off the ground. I look forward to hearing all abou the first FEAT. And the logo is SUPERB! Love it! Celine

Lobby said...

Wooohoooo, so exciting that it's a GO! Well done L, cant' wait to attend the first one:)