NEWS FOR THE MONTH OF APRIL 2015... (LAST UPDATED APRIL 22, 2015)
1. April 2015 Chair Report
2. NMC East
3. NMC Northwest
4. Member Spotlight: David Fox
5. Upcoming Events
6. NMC Board: 2014-2015
APRIL 2015 CHAIR REPORT
Greetings NMC Producers!
It has been an amazing week here in Los Angeles. We've just completed three major events and I am so proud of the NMC Board members and numerous volunteers who came together to produce some of the best gatherings I've seen from the PGA in some time.
Make sure to check out the pictures on the NMC WIRE Facebook Page. Here's a recap.
PGA OPEN HOUSE
In an effort to provide opportunity for Guild members to get involved, the NMC and AP Council held an "Open House" for its Committees at Maker City LA near downtown. Great connections were made and all agreed it is something we'll be doing again in the fall. We will be posting the link with all of the contact info shortly.
PGA @ YOUTUBE SPACE LA
Months and months in the making, this recruiting mixer attended by over 300 Guild members and YouTube creators proved to be a great start in cultivating a meaningful relationship. With the new broadband membership requirements in place, we hope to get a spike in new members.
SOCIAL MEDIA MASTER CLASS @ YAHOO!
As the first effort in the NMC's initiative to bring new media education to the entire Guild, the half-day event last Saturday could not have turned out better. From the range of quality speakers to the over 300+ attendees from all three councils, the day proved to be an informative examination of how producers can use social media to engage their audiences.
OUR NEXT EDUCATIONAL EVENT will be focused on transmedia and will take place on Saturday, May 16. Details to come.
ALSO.... Keep an eye out for the NMC Board Elections Ballot some time after May 4. It is very important for everyone to participate and make informed decisions on the NMC leadership for the new year. In addition to candidate statements, there will be a MEET THE CANDIDATES EVENT as part of the PGA's Thirsty Thursday on May 14 at Pink Taco on the Sunset Strip. MTC events will also be taking place in New York City and San Francisco. Look for details below.
Thank you for this opportunity to update you. Please feel free to email me with any questions.
We have a jam-packed April and May and a wide range of events for you to keep an eye out for.
April 21-23 - Games for Change From April 21-23, our members should check out the Games for Change Festival at the Tribeca Film Festival.
April 27 - Producing for Multi-Channel Networks On the heels of NewFronts, learn about Producing for Multi-Channel Networks at The New School, with Sony Crackle, Collective Video Studio, AOL, and Worldnow. Then join us again at the New School on May 13, to learn about E-Commerce for Producers as a part of Internet Week New York.
May 7 - Meet the Candidates! Save the date for May 7, when the PGA East hosts its Meet the Candidates event. Meet the current and nominated members to the NMC board before you cast your ballot.
May 13 - Spark! The Conversation Save the date May 13 for Spark! The Conversation at the Paley Center. PGA Members and their guests are invited to a special recruitment party and a fantastic conversation at the Paley Center between Matt Blank, CEO of Showtime Networks and legendary TV Producer, Tom Fontana. Bring your potential member guest and share a fantastic evening with PGA East. Special thanks to Felicia Wong for her work pulling together this event.
Have ideas? Thanks to all the members that attended our Steering Committee meeting. Members who want to get involved, pitch events, or have ideas, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
May 5 - Meet the Candidates! Come and meet the NW Region's SF-based candidates for the 2015-16 NMC Board! More info to come.
Have ideas? Members who want to get involved, pitch events, or have ideas, please email PGA NW Chair John Gilles at email@example.com.
NMC Northwest is well underway on its Master Class series, which includes:
More info to come.
PGA Northwest consists of the following areas:
Recruitment efforts are underway for the Seattle and Portland areas. Leads to qualified candidates should be sent to PGA NW Chair John Gilles at firstname.lastname@example.org.
MEMBER SPOTLIGHT: DAVID FOX
"I was the third employee hired at the new Lucasfilm Games Group. Luckily for me, they didn't want people with a lot of game experience – they wanted us to re-invent the game business."
Educating children about how games are designed and how they can get involved is the most rewarding part of David Fox's professional life. He is eager to share his experience and communicate his enthusiasm, both to the new generation of game-builders and for the technologies they can use.
"It began the first time I saw a computer game, in about 1973. My college psychology class took a field trip to Stanford Research Institute where I saw a CRT with a game called 'Spacewar!'. MIT students invented it and other students played it on college computers around the world. I knew I wanted to make games like that."
Fast forward a few years, to the mid-70's, when Fox and his wife, Annie, devised a plan to create an interactive Disneyland. "Instead of going to on a ride that was always the same, players could interact and change the experience. Building this vision was what we wanted to do."
In 1977, to improve their understanding of computers, they founded the non-profit Marin Computer Center, the first public access microcomputer center, where Annie led class field trips and they both taught programming. They converted Radio Shack games to run on different computers and got paid for their talent. They also sometimes found bugs in these games and fixed them.
"Our first original game, 'Mix and Match Muppets', was for the Children's Television Workshop, for 'Sesame Place' in 1979. Next, while researching a book on computer animation, I contacted the Lucasfilm Computer Division for photos and data about high-end computer animation. I became friends with several of these people and compared ideas about the future of computer graphics and home computers. Just as I finished the manuscript, Lucasfilm started a games group within their computer division and I joined it. Atari provided initial funding and we began creating games for their computers."
With Computer Division fractal wiz and office mate Loren Carpenter, Fox began thinking about ways to make high-end computer graphics work on a home Atari. They created a game called 'Rescue on Fractalus!', a first-person shooter inspired by 'Star Wars'. Their first two games were intended to be throw-away learning experiences. "Instead, they turned out so well they were the first products out the door. Initially our game production teams were very small, with each member filling multiple roles. On most of my projects I was the project leader, game designer, and one of the programmers. A Project Leader was essentially a producer, but later, we actually hired producers, filling a separate role from the project leader."
The Computer Division was eventually sold to Steve Jobs and became Pixar, and Lucasfilm Games remained with Lucasfilm and became LucasArts. Fox stayed with LucasArts for 8 years before he was able to create what he had envisioned from the beginning - an immersive theme park experience. As the Manager of Entertainment Software at Lucasfilm's Rebel Arts and Technology, he helped build 'Mirage', a multi-player, networked entertainment system for theme parks (as a joint venture with Hughes Simulation).
In 1992, Fox and his wife started their own consulting company with the whimsical name Electric Eggplant. "I loved Industrial Light and Magic as a name. It's a fun juxtaposition of colliding ideas. We chose Electric because it's more retro than electronic. And Eggplant because it sounded cool (and because one of Annie's special dishes was eggplant parmesan)." The company continues to support their work in educational software, mobile device apps, emotional Intelligence content, and emerging technologies.
In 1996, Fox became employee #7 at LiveWorld, an online community company that created 'Talk City', where he produced The InSite (www.TheInSite.org), a site for teens wanting to make a difference. He's also an experienced author, with co-writer credits that include 'Armchair BASIC,' 'Pascal Primer,' and 'Computer Animation Primer.'
Over the past five years, Electric Eggplant has created a stable of apps and, in November 2013, released 'Rube Works: The Official Rube Goldberg Invention Game,' the first (and only) official Rube Goldberg game (http://RubeWorks.com).
Fox recently became more of an educator by talking to kids via Skype in the Classroom about 'Rube Works' and game design. He meets with kids of all ages as often as once a week. His audience is all over the US and in a few overseas locations. "We talk about how hard it was to create our game, how many people were involved, what process we had to go through, and how long it took. It's fun to talk about that with them since most have never considered how games are made."
"In the mid-90s, we met PGA member Deborah Todd at a writing conference. Recently, she told me I could join the PGA as a game producer, so I did. I'm now a one-year member and loving it. I will be on a PGA-sponsored panel at the Game Developers Conference this March. I'm looking forward to being more involved."
Question of the Month: What Is the Parallel You See Between Game Production and Film Production?
"I've never been a film producer so I can't speak from experience about the parallels between film and games. I'm sure the biggest similarity is having to juggle thousands of details all at once.
"If I were a film maker, I'd definitely be producing independent films. By the time I left Lucasfilm, the game projects were getting bigger and I preferred smaller teams that can be quick and nimble.
"When you publish a game, it's not necessarily finished. You can update the game, add features, levels. Compared to a movie, which is complete when it premiers, games can grow and adapt and continue to improve. That's an intriguing advantage.
"As an independent, you have more room to be as picky as you like about how the project goes. The downside is you don't have the marketing muscle to help push the game once it's out in the world. Adoption is more grass roots and word of mouth. Schools use our 'Rube Works' game now, but it took time to expand into that market.
"As an independent, you can build the game you see in your mind. That's much less frustrating than having a big company in control that pushes the game in a direction you disagree with."
Save the Dates!
April 21-23, 2015 - Games for Change, NY
April 27, 2015 - Producing for Multi-Channel Networks, The New School, NY
May 2015 - VOTE! Board Elections
May 5, 2015 - Meet the Candidates, SF, Come meet the SF-based candidates for the 2015-2016 NMC Board.
May 7, 2015 - Meet the Candidates, NY. Come meet the NY-based candidates for the 2015-2016 NMC Board.
May 13, 2015 - Spark! The Conversation with Matt Blank and Tom Fontana, Paley Center, NY.
May 13, 2015 - E-Commerce for Producers, The New School, NY
May 14, 2015 - Meet the Candidates @ PGA Thirsty Thursday, LA. Come meet the LA-based candidates for the 2015-2016 NMC Board.
May 16, 2015 - Transmedia Masterclass, LA. Info to come.
May 30-31, 2015 - Produced By Conference
Registration is open! Please check this link for all the info - www.producedbyconference.com.
NMC BOARD: 2014-2015
John Heinsen – Chair
Gary Bryman – Vice Chair
Felicia Wong – Vice Chair
Deborah Todd – Secretary
Emily Barclay Ford - Secretary