Web Summit 2018 was held in Lisbon and ran from November 5th to November 8th. Irish Film School travelled to Portugal for this event to find out what the emerging tech trends are for filmmakers and content creators.


It was busier than Grafton Street on Christmas Eve! More than 70,000 people attended the event this year and it was jammed with startups who were vying for the attention of the crowd and of the investors that go there each year to look for talent. We attended over 20 talks during this busy week and here is an overview of our highlights.

Main Themes


One of the main themes of the WS this year was regulation. The inventor of the World Wide Web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee spoke at Opening Night about how more than 50% of the world’s population in 2019 will, for the first time in history, be online.  With this event comes great responsibility on the shoulders of the tech community. Recent data protection scandals, cyber security issues, privacy infringements, fake news as well as falling stock prices and huge anti-trust fines have left the industry battered and bruised. Sir Tim’s report on the community was “Must Do Better” and he has created the hashtag #ForTheWeb to encourage a more responsible use of the Internet.


Another major WS 2018 theme was storytelling and on Opening Night director Darren Aronofsky of Protozoa Pictures spoke about the technology of storytelling.  He questioned whether technology has improved our storytelling ability or whether an over-reliance on tech and on the newest special effects has curbed our ability to truly connect with an audience.

Creativity Breeds Success

Olivier Robert-Murphy of Universal Music Studios gave an interesting talk on Tuesday morning which included insights into his role as a judge at Cannes Lions this year.  He maintained that the main elements of creativity centre around 3 things – storytelling, emotions and impact.  That is what he looks for in a Cannes Lions campaign.

He showed the Adidas ‘Original’ video campaign and used this as an example of using existing creativity and building on it to create new creativity. He believes that creativity needs to focus on creating engagement – likes, shares etc and not just reach.  He thinks that we need to stop thinking in terms of reach and awareness and focus more on genuine engagement.

Monetising Your Movie

We met and interviewed Olivier after his talk to ask him more about his experience at Cannes Lions and about his previous experience as VP of Marketing at Universal Pictures. We will be publishing his interview on the blog very shortly, where you can read about about his fascinating career and gain valuable insights into marketing and branding opportunities for filmmakers and content creators.

Creativity and the Secret of Success with Paid Social

On Tuesday afternoon we saw David Schneider and Joe Orton of That Lot discuss the importance of being strong creative even in the new landscape of paid social. They pointed out that organic reach for brands is only 1% on social and that brands must embrace paid social media, whilst not neglecting their owned and earned media. David and Joe talked about their reinvention from a social media agency to one that now focuses solely on paid social.  They emphasised the use of in-stream video (playing on Facebook with sound on) which has a 70% view through rate on average.

9 Tips On How To Create Effective Social Video

According to That Lot there are now 500 million people watching videos on the Internet daily and 40% of content on Instagram is now video content. They shared 9 tips on how to create effective social video:

  • Start with a strong opening – develop the hook
  • Get the branding in early
  • Design for sound off
  • Remember platform specificity, 60% of Instagram videos are watched with the sound ON.
  • Use formats that make your ad seem native
  • Design for vertical – 7 out of 10 campaigns perform better in vertical
  • Make sure to have momentum in the story
  • Create a video with ‘beats’ – on social these are like episodes or frames that move in rapid succession
  • Control how the audience sees your content. Is it straight away or do you hold something back to create the element of surprise?

Here are some really cool samples of good social video

Sharing The World’s Greatest Stories

On Wednesday Greg Peters, Chief Product Officer at Netflix gave an insightful keynote on how technology helps the community to share the world’s stories.

An AR/VR Renaissance: Human Storytelling

Penrose Studios is dedicated to its mission of defining the next generation of human storytelling and they brought us glimpses of new ways to experience our favourite worlds and characters in their talk given by Eugene Chung, on Thursday morning on Centre Stage.

Want To Know More?

You can watch all the speakers in action on Web Summit’s YouTube channel.

Black Friday Discounts - Up To 80% Off Fees!

Kieran Corrigan - lead instructor on the Business of Film Production course


We left the WS with plenty of new ideas for additional content and guest speakers for our filmmaking courses and are looking forward to sharing these with our students soon!

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Our courses are open to and this month we are offering 80% of our NEW Business of Film Production course with online coupon code 80PERCENT at checkout.

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All of our other courses are also discounted by 20% with online coupon code 20PERCENT at checkout. Book your place today and prepare for the filmmaking world of tomorrow!