UDEN#20 - Virtual Studio + Best Networking Ever!

UDEN’s 20th membership meeting took place on September 5th, 2018. It was held at Redman Movies & Stories, Salt Lake City, Utah USA. The following are key notes and take-aways from the evening.

The evening began with a welcome and preview of tonight’s event:

[Jon Dean] Redman Movies and Stories as a tentpole of the Utah film industry that has been around for over 34 years. Redman is one of Utah’s digital entertainment gems, a great example of the highly talented and skilled service companies that reside here. Redman’s clients are production companies both large and small, from North and South America, Europe, and Australia. They have supported dozens of major motion pictures including “Shawshank Redemption,” “Interview with The Vampire,” “Courage Under Fire” as well as hundreds of TV specials, and mini-series; as well as commercials for clients ranging from British Airways to Porsche and Suzuki.

We are here because Redman Movies and Stories continue to innovate; they have a new virtual studio; a really cool facility that allows actors to perform on virtual sets in real-time.  It’s a customizable space that is at home in the world of videogames and motion capture, as it is state-of-the-art for TV and movie production. Tonight, you’re going to get the opportunity to see it first hand, get a tour of the space and see it in action!  

But before then, let’s talk about tonight’s meeting:

• First of all we’re going to hear a few words from our very generous sponsors that have made tonight possible

• Then we’re going to ask each and every one of you here tonight to come up on stage and tell us your story. We’re calling this a ‘meet and greet’, so you know who else is here, what they’re doing and what they’re looking for.   This means you’ll be able to pin-point them easily during our networking hour later. It’s a bit like a speed-date for networking!

• I’ll then tell you more about our trade mission to Paris next month

• Then we’ll move to our networking hour which is your chance to meet follow professionals, exchange contact info and, we hope, begin working together.

• During this time, we’ll also begin the VIP tours of the Redman virtual studio in small groups. 

A Word From Our Sponsors

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[Jon Dean] Food tonight has been created by Square Kitchen of Salt Lake City. It has been sponsored by our very good friends at GrowTix. Who are they? Well, you know when you go to a trade event and they have RFID bracelets, automated ticketing or apps with the event schedules updated on there?  Chances are it’s part of the GrowTix event management technology.  Born and bred right here in Utah, the GrowTix team started out running a fan event called GEEX.  They took all the logistical knowledge they gained from that and now support other people’s events throughout North America including many of the comic cons and fan fest events.

We would like to thank GrowTix for being a sponsor not just for one UDEN event, but most UDEN events in 2018.

Now to tell you more about Redman Movies and Stories, as well as their state-of-the-art virtual studio, please welcome President of Redman, Bryan Clifton:

[Bryan Clifton] Very nice to have you here. About four years ago, I started hearing about UDEN events, met a few people and started seeing the potential for what we’ll show you here tonight. For quite some time I have been concerned about how we grow our industry. We have an incentive program for our motion picture industry based upon a limited amount of money that the state appropriates every year. But the potential for growing our industry really involves things that are non-incentivized. Innovation, technology, creativity. We have developed a stage here at Redman where we have a wireless camera that we can move anywhere hand-held; the simplest, fastest system we’ve seen to get you into a virtual world with real characters.

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I’m here as an inspiration to you out there, looking for people that have ideas. This space doesn’t work for me unless I have people in it. I envisage a TV studio in there, perhaps a stage play, games, VR etc. We shoot your ideas. My biggest hope is to provide a space where you can create and realize your ideas. I would like to be approached with ideas for what we can do together using this virtual stage. Don’t worry about money, this is about ideas and making things happen.

[…] Joe from Redman then spoke followed by CJ, who walked through the process of how the virtual studio works, using the Unreal Engine, Vive VR and motion capture. CJ showed a video of what he envisions this could look like using this technology.

Paul Mattson of Park City Film Studios then spoke. They have partnered with Redman for the Virtual Studio. Paul explained their process and showed a video of how these come together.

Business Development

[Jon Dean] UDEN’s theme this year is business development. When you’re a service company it’s often hard to find clients, especially when you are also a creator. What would be ideal is if they were local, right? The recurring themes we hear are: either you can’t find the talent you need locally, so you hire contractors out of state, or that you can’t find work locally, so you wonder if its viable to even work here.  Which in turn reduces the local talent pool and so mean people can’t find the talent they need locally. This is why all UDEN meetings are about networking. Helping you to meet other professionals in your field, to learn from, share with and, hopefully, collaborate with.  We have seen quite a lot of successful connections happen as a result of UDEN networking meetings.

Our goal tonight is to supercharge that. We want everyone in our community, whether in film, or games, or education, or audio, or streaming --- you name it…

• When you have a need THINK LOCAL first.

GO OUT OF YOUR WAY, find a way, to HIRE LOCAL.

By doing this, you will be undertaking the easiest business development you can – right here on your doorstep. By doing this, you will be helping to create a healthy local ecosystem. By doing this you will be SUPPORTING LOCAL business.

Thinking of business development and collaboration, tonight we want you to get to know everyone else in this room. And I mean everyone! Welcome to our MEET AND GREET!

Meet and Greet

[Jon Dean] For those that want to, we would like you to come up here on the stage one-at-a-time and say a few words.  We’re storytellers, so tell a story! Tell us who you are, what you need, what you can offer and your contact info.

Here is a summary list of those who spoke, their needs, what they can offer and their contact info: here.

STAYING CONNECTED

[Jon Dean] Now let’s think about how to make connections when you’re not at a UDEN meeting and useful tools.

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For example, where can you POST open jobs?  Guess what? WE HAVE A PAGE FOR THAT! Right here on the UDEN website - utahden.org/jobs_board. It’s a central point for jobs in Utah’s digital entertainment. You might say “I looked on there once and it wasn’t very current”. Or you might say “I posted on there once and I didn’t get any responses”. Both very likely. But remember, these tools are only as good as the people who make use of them. UDEN isn’t our full-time job, we’re all volunteers working for this community - for you, for me, for US.

This is a community tool and if the community – that means YOU – if YOU don’t use them, guess what? They’re not very useful tools. So it may not work for you first time.  But try it a second time. And a third. Encourage your colleagues and peers to support this community. If you know of an open job, please, post it on the website. It’s FREE! Just tap the JOBS BOARD link. THINK LOCAL. HIRE LOCAL. SUPPORT LOCAL. Whenever you can.

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Again, UDEN meetings don’t happen all the time, but you can still stay in touch with this community. Finding more ways to connect and share knowledge, expertise and business cards is super important. Guess what? WE HAVE A PAGE FOR THAT TOO! Our wonderful volunteer Josh Sohn has gone out of his way this year to keep our events page stacked full of upcoming events. Thank you Josh! It’s on the website under ‘Upcoming Events’. utahden.org/upevents And like much of our website, you can add your own events up there for FREE!

Trade Mission

[Jon Dean] At UDEN, we’re always trying new ideas to see how we can help this community. In keeping with our business development theme this year, we are taking UDEN to Paris, France. We have taken a booth at Game Connection 2018 at the end of next month.

It’s a trade event where service providers go to find new clients, We want to say huge thanks to our generous sponsors for making this event possible – WildWorks, GrowTix, the Utah Film Commission and Guv1 Digital Consulting. We have additional sponsorship slots available for any other companies who may be interested.

What does this have to do with you? Well, we have two main goals:

  1. start to put Utah on the digital entertainment map. We always complain that people don’t know about the great work we do here – so we’re going to start blowing our trumpet and be seen on the world stage

  2. business development. You can have your services included in the handouts we’ll be giving out, on our video showreel, and in meetings we have

It’s a cheap and effective way for you to do business development without having to leave Utah! It is primarily a videogame event, but last year the attendees were looking for a wide range of entertainment services, which is why we thought this would be a good show to attend. I go to quite a few trade shows and last year I only saw 1 company from Utah exhibiting or even attending any of them. We need to be out there getting more business!  This will help! I went to this show last year for my own business and found it very helpful. 

GCE is part of a much bigger event called Paris games week, held in the center of Paris. It’s a trade event, as I mentioned, which means is quite quiet with meetings and deals being the focus. It’s also very pink! Most of the booths are small, as will be the UDEN booth; a few chairs, a monitor, a table and some signage.

As you might expect, it costs money to do something like this.  So we’re asking all of you to donate a fraction of the cost. In return, we’ll include you in the materials we promote at the trade event. We have devised a range of options for you, which start at $50 to be included in a digital eBrochure which we’ll be handing out [UPDATE - since the event we have been able to offer this for FREE thanks to generous sponsors!!]. We’re getting close to the deadline where we have to go to print so if you are interested in being part of the Trade Mission to Paris, please sign up as soon as possible. Full details are at the website – utahden.org/trademission.