TAG: Digital Media & Entertainment Summit 2016 Recap

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The Technology Association of Georgia (http://www.tagonline.org) Digital Media and Entertainment Section (http://www.tagonline.org/chapters-and-societies/entertainment/) held its annual DM&E Summit this past October at Georgia Piedmont Technical College in Atlanta.  I have enjoyed attending every year as it offers an interesting array of speakers and topics relating to digital media and entertainment. I think part of it is that the format changes every time as the definition of what falls within digital media and entertainment continues to evolve due to technology and cultural adaptations to that technology. This year did not disappoint. In this blog I would like to share with you a few gems of insight. Did you attend? What will you remember form it? What did you take away to help you in your creative business? Share with us in the comment section below.

David Lieberman TAG DME Chairperson opened the Summit with an introduction of why the summit takes place and the importance of TAG being the coordinator of such an event. He was followed by Tony Cooper, TAG VP of communications who gave a brief overview of the technology industry update and how it relates to digital media and entertainment.

“Georgia needs to create an innovation industry around technology and digital media and entertainment.”

“Turner reimagined television…what can each of us re-imagine?”

“Our greatest challenge [in this changing environment] is the workforce.” (We need to re-train).

Throughout the afternoon a number of industry leaders offered industry updates – this was different from prior summits, which usually had a number of panels with 4-5 (or more) participants. I found this approach to be more direct with specific statistics and useful information.

  • Lee Thomas, Deputy Commissioner of the Georgia Film, Music & Digital Entertainment Office, a division of the Georgia Department of Economic Development (http://www.georgia.org/industries/entertainment/, began with an overview of the film industry and more importantly, its financial impact on Georgia’s economy –close to $7 billion annually now.
  • Andrew Greenberg, executive director of the Georgia Game Developers Association (ggda.org) and director of the Southern Interactive Entertainment and Game Expo (www.seigecon.net) came next. He emphasized Georgia is now ranked 7th as innovation states for interactive entertainment production and that the industry financial impact is over $550 million.
  • Tammy Hurt, managing partner of Placement Music (http://placementmusic.com) and co-founder of Georgia Music Partners (http://georgiamusicpartners.org) gave some impressive statistics about music in this state including:
    • 48 Post secondary educational programs,
    • 150 music studios,
    • 16 orchestras, and
    • an Atlanta Symphony that has won over 27 Grammys.

The highlights of the Summit were two keynote/fire side chats: one with Jeff Arnold, Chairman and CEO of Sharecare (https://www.sharecare.com) and the other with Mama Jan Smith (http://jansmith.com). Arnold was also the recipient of the TAG DM&E Icon of the Industry award.

From Arnold’s chat:

“Don’t get enamored by the technology; build trust and stay true to your vision”

“Investors want to know:

What’s the big idea?

Who is the management team? (Do they have complementary skills?)

Do you have a proof of concept?

What is its scalability?”

“You need focus, stamina and sustainability to succeed.”

“4 Future factors for health: Artificial Intelligence, Digital Assistance, Voice Activation, Virtual Reality”

From Mama Jan’s chat:

“Music is the only thing that can enter your heart and mind without your permission.”

“Sound is one of the primary things that affect our lives on a daily basis.”

“We still have to have a human touch for the good of the [music] industry.”

“Music, film and technology need to hold hands together.”

“Meet people where they are at.”

“It all starts with trust.”

“There is importance to truth – in being transparent in everything because our industry is not based on truth – it is all smoke and mirrors.”

“When a culture loses its art, its music, then you see an erosion of that culture.”

“Technology is fast and the music industry wasn’t prepared.”

“Be available for those opportunities when the door opens and learn as much as you can.”

The Summit ended with a Combined Industry Panel discussion on some of the current issues the different creative industries are facing. It was moderated by the Summit’s Emcee, Titiana Jordan, host of Atlanta Tech Edge (http://www.11alive.com/atlantatechedge). Panelists included: Dr. Natoshia Anderson, Dean of the School of Education, New Media and Strategic Partnership at Georgia Piedmont Technical College (https://www.gptc.edu), Kate Atwood, Vice President, Metro Atlanta Chamber (http://www.kateatwood.com), Iain Bluett, co-founder for ticket Alternative (https://www.ticketalternative.com/platform/company), Rep. Mike Dudgeon, CTO, HiRez Studios (https://www.linkedin.com/in/mike-dudgeon-04079), Mark Anderson, owner of Get-a-Grip Atlanta (http://www.getagripatlanta.com), and George Lott, CIO of The Weather Channel (http://weathergroup.com/company/bios/george-lott-bio).

Their conversation focused on public policy, workforce development, the threat to Georgia’s tax incentive for the film industry, innovation in the creative industries and “what is underlying all of this” – education.

Added bonus: download the latest TAG Digital Media and Entertainment Map. http://www.tagonline.org/files/WGL-Maps/dme-brochure.pdf

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