As technology advances so do the ways in which we enjoy the leisure activities it affords us, the entertainment industry is constantly adapting to keep up with this shift and where better to show the innovations being pioneered than the TED stage itself. Although TED is a stage that most people imagine is only made for exaggerated Powerpoint presentations, on many occasions it has become a place for dance, choirs and live music in many forms including cello and even beat boxing. This makes it a great place to see bite size clips of leading performers doing what they do best as well as take a look behind the curtain in each industry.
Musician Mark Ronson known for his catchy pop hits and dynamic collaborations with chart topping stars takes the audience on a brief journey through musical history. Here he explains how the art of sampling, though often overlooked as some kind of audio theft, showcases the progression of music. With a great delivery and accompanied by a live performance he demonstrates some of the techniques and the philosophy behind sampling and how it can bring dated music into a new generation. His insightful and impressive talk concludes with him sampling the TED opening theme itself and turning it into a useable beat. Similarly, Comedian and musician Reggie Watts takes ten minutes to illustrate in plain sight how his trademark bizarre brew of scat rambling, beat boxing and vocal sound effects can be all cleverly mashed together to create pleasing musical numbers. With his outside of the box antics that leak into each other whether that be oddball comedic acting or turning his oftentimes puzzling wit into a song, this human blender of skill and short bursts of hilarious energy is hard to look away from. Those interested in modern music production or performance will no doubt find this eccentric and surprising display very inspiring.
In the JJ Abrams talk where the writer of Lost, Fringe, Super-8 and The Force Awakens speaks about how he tackles ambiguity when writing his scripts. While keeping Lost in mind as one of TV’s most mysterious and gripping serialized shows, Abrams talks about a family story that stays with him until today. Using a mystery box as an analogy for the unknown forces and questions that lurk in the back of the scripts he brings to light, this award winning creator provides some unusual insight into the writing side of the industry.
In a different type of talk magician, performer and often stunt man David Blaine takes it upon himself to educate listeners about how exactly he performs one of his dangerous acts. Enclosed in a giant glass bubble, this enigmatic street performer and illusionist explains how he managed to hold his breath for a world record of 17 minutes. Here he talks about the research, philosophy and the great deal of labour that goes into creating and executing a stunt such as this. If you have ever wondered what drives someone to perform these Houdini-like death-defying acts of entertainment, then this is the talk for you.