Promax BDA Conference

This past week I spent 2 days at the PROMAX BDA conference here in downtown Los Angeles. Specifically I attended the Promo Boot Camp, which promised to be exciting and informative. After 2 full days of seminars and presentations, I was tired and looking forward to returning to my desk.

 

Overall I would say that it was a positive experience, and I very much appreciate the good people here at The CW for sending me. I felt the presentations overall were a bit uneven. Some were very polished, some seemed thrown together. I will give me my quick impressions of each of the talks that I attended.

 

GET STICKY: Work this conference like a pro:

This was the first talk of the day on the first day and honestly my least favorite kind of talk. This was all about how to present yourself and what other peoples’ perceptions of you might be. I dread these kind of events and I always leave feeling worse than before it began. Even though I cringe at networking exercises, the presenter, Kathy Dailey, was very good and enjoyed the event.

 

The takeaway for me on this event. Be an engaged listener. Instead of trying to formulate a response while the person is talking, really listen to what they are saying and try to relate more on a personal level. Try to remember that you are not your job.

 

6 Things about the television business that you need to know and why:

This was a panel discussion and generally informative. I would have preferred if they actually had broken it down into 6 concise points and called them out individually, spoke to each point one at a time and then clearly move to the next point. The presentation drifted a bit. A wrap up at the end recapping each point would have driven the presentation home a bit better.

 

Directing Talent 2013:

Marice Tobias gave a fascinating presentation on how to direct voice talent to get the desired results. She used a group of different voice artists, one-at-time and directed each differently to achieve the desired result. It was very entertaining and very interesting.

 

My takeaway from this session was that the talent themselves are artists and it is best to let them run through several reads on their own before you begin to direct them.

 

Making Space for Making the Most of Creativity:

Katerina Zacharia made a very confident presentation using her background as a Cultural Anthropologist to walk us through the steps that help us recognize our own effective way of working. I really enjoyed the way she worked the room as opposed to standing on a stage in front of the lectern.

 

The Ever-Moving Image:

This was essentially a technical brief on the variety of camera choices available to the promo director. This presentation would have benefitted from specifying the price points of each camera and then summarizing the group of cameras based on ease of use and cost. A specific recommendation would have been appreciated.

 

Make the Logo Bigger:

Promotions and Broadcast Design directors from FX network gave a casual talk about the ups and downs of promo production from their respective standpoints. There were plenty of examples of the excellent work that is produced by The FX Network. I would have preferred a few case studies taking us through the entire process of one or two projects to clarify some of the hurdles and better illustrate the entire creative process.

 

Dynamic Branding:

Lee Hunt skillfully led us through a 2-hour presentation on Branding, Network Strategies, Positioning and Network Promo Development. He offered tons of useful insights into the development of an effective branding message. The best presentation of the entire series in my opinion.

 

Steering the Ship: Principals of Great Creative:

Senior Executives from Troika gave an interesting and entertaining presentation. Overall I think the audience would have benefitted more from some case studies and viewing of their work since Troika is so well know for their award winning channel branding.

 

Music and Sound Design for Dummies:

This was another panel discussion that was interesting but should have been named ‘Music Licensing for Dummies’ since that was really the focus of the presentation. They did show some nice examples of the effectiveness of proper scoring for promos and trailers.

 

Storytelling:

Another panel discussion from industry experts, Chris Donovan, Len Moeller and Jennifer Titus. I found this presentation entertaining and insightful as it highlighted some of the presenter’s favorite works. Once again I would only suggest some case study specifics about one or two projects from concept to on-air.

 

Summary

Overall a very enjoyable 2 day event in downtown Los Angeles. And I finally had lunch at ‘the Pantry’. Its been open since the 1920s and it shows. Not a bad burger though.

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