On Thursday evening I was fortunate enough to be asked to represent North Studio at the annual VIATeC Awards.  Having recently moved to Canada from Northern Ireland I wasn’t sure what to expect from the evening – but I guess I went with an expectation that it would be a pleasant, but not very exciting, way to spend an evening.  How wrong I was!  These Tectorians (as I gather they are known) definitely know how to enjoy themselves and it was a really fun evening.

First of all, the sheer numbers of people there was very impressive.  I gather there was over 500 people in attendance and certainly trying to find a bit of space at the pre-dinner networking was a bit tricky.  But there were plenty of people to chat with and I met some nice folks from Udutu and Calliope Learning.  From there, it was on to the dinner and the awards.  The dinner was fine – soup, roast beef, creme caramel and coffee – no complaints there, especially given the fact that they were catering for so many people.  Oh – and somewhere in the middle of dinner we had a lot of fun trying to build the tallest structure we possiby could given some interesting items: spaghetti, string, marshmallowsand sticky tape!  That was fun, although when it came to sticking our final marshmallow on top our ‘structure’ collapsed – no prizes for our table!

Then we came to the main part of the night and the Awards presentation – compered by the double act of Dan Gunn and Andrew Duffy.  I have to say that they worked well together with lots of humour and irreverent jokes.  The whole awards ceremony was set around a Star Wars theme, with clips from the movie being shown as introductions to the various awards.  The most memorable was for Executive of the Year, where they showed a clip from an early Star Wars movie where one of Darth Vader’s Generals has the audacity to question his strategy and Darth Vader promptly starts to strangle him from across the room using ‘the force’.

Another highlight was from the owner of a business (whose name I don’t remember – sorry) who talked about their team building strategies, one of which included strip poker!  Hmmm, not sure if we’ll be using that one any time soon here in North Studio!  They also did some interviews with the award nominees where they asked them for their favourite Star Wars scenes – some funny stuff in there too http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3F8vcArk3Cs&feature=relmfu.

The official part of the evening ended with light sabres being handed out to everyine for ‘the largest indoor light sabre fight in the world’ (I think that’s how it was billed) – great fun!  Check out the video – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hSDVc2DCNpY

All in all, a very enjoyable night – thanks North Studio and VIATeC!

Richard Clement