Thursday, May 5, 2011
Beyond Digital….What Matters Now?
Obviously, knowing where the attention will be directed is always a guessing game in today’s media world. Kelly also stated that screening is the new paradigm. We now live in a society where we are surrounded by electronic screens. But, in the future, change will come as the screens will adapt to our needs and purposes. Not only will we be watching screens, but the screens will have the capability to watch us. Kelly called it eye tracking because the screens will be able to detect our eye movements thus indicating what we find interesting and engaging on the screen.
As usual, the breakout sessions and workshops covered a multitude of topics. Especially interesting was Bill Marsilli, the screenwriter for Déjà Vu. He gave advice on how to incorporate spiritual themes into mainstream feature films. Bobette Buster, a screen and television writer, hosted a seminar on Hollywood Economics 101. She described the future media world by using the term, atawad, which means anytime, anywhere, any device. In this scenario, the consumer will have total control of his or her media choices. Although this is an exciting concept, it also presents challenges for content producers and distributers.
New to this years conference was the Access Lunch. Participants could select an area of interest in their field, such as writing or producing, and have an opportunity to have lunch with an industry insider who is an expert in that area. Conference organizers hoped this would provide a more intimate setting that would spark discussion and dialogue.
The closing session featured several well-known speakers, including Tom Halleen, Senior Vice-President of Programming at AMC and DeVon Franklin, Vice-President of Production at Columbia Pictures. Both shared their insight on what has helped them to be successful in Hollywood. Halleen believes that his success is due to his ability to take care of the small things. Franklin believes what has helped him the most is his ability to read a room and to read people.
The final session featured an interview by Phil Cooke with actor, producer and director Sean Astin of Rudy and Lord of the Rings fame. Astin echoed the theme of good storytelling as a must. Perhaps, the only thing that seemed a bit strange was that Astin did not necessarily speak about the main theme of the conference, Beyond Digital…What Matters Now. Although it was interesting to listen to his experiences as an actor, I felt that we were missing something because it did not inspire the audience in both a spiritual or practical means to deal with a changing world that we all face.
The Biola Media Conference will be held next year in late April or early May. I encourage you to consider making it a priority for 2012.
Photography by Nathan Morgan, Kelsey Heng and Harold Hay
Special thanks to Jenna Bartlo, Media Relations Coordinator - Biola University