It's hard to believe that the foundations for today's UDEN were sown one year ago! On January 15th 2015, Drew Clark held the first Utah Breakfast Club meeting at the State Capital at the crazy hour of 7am! A distinguished panel was set to speak that included:
Virginia Pearce, Director, Utah Film Commission
Clark Stacey, CEO, Wildworks
Marshall N. Wright, Director, Business Development, Governor's Office of Economic Development
Craig Caldwell, USTAR Senior Research Professor, Digital Media Cluster; and Arts Director, Engineering Arts and Entertainment, University of Utah
Drew Clark, Moderator, Founder, Utah Breakfast Club; Of Counsel, Kirton McConkie
...as well as myself. The theme for panel discussion was:
"Well-known as a high-tech haven, Utah also has a supporting role in independent film production, which is showcased each January at the Sundance Film Festival. Less well-publicized is the key role that Salt Lake City has played in computer graphics and digital animation, helping to build a digital entertainment nexus on the Wasatch Front. This panel discussion will assemble key leaders in film and video entertainment to explore questions about Utah’s accomplishments and its promise, about incentives for production, about cultivating talent and about the state’s branding. What do these important industries need to take the next step?"
Highlights from that meeting here: http://www.utahbreakfast.com/news/2015/1/16/the-video-of-the-utah-breakfast-club-on-hollywood-on-the-wasatch-front
The meeting was very well attended by those involved with digital media in the State of Utah (despite the freezing temps and early hour!) and a lively panel discussion ensued with some great and pointed questions being asked. A few familiar themes emerged, which I'll paraphrase, including "Why isn't the State doing more to promote digital media?" and "There is no industry voice to represent the varied needs of this sector". So I asked the room who would join an industry group, and what should it do? Most of the participants were from the entertainment sectors of digital media, especially film and gaming. Virginia posed the interesting idea of a group much like "Made in New York", a successful trade group representing the entertainment sectors of that State. So I offered to start such a group here in Utah if everyone in the room would support it.
Made in Utah was born!
First up was a Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/MIUMadeInUtah which was created that very same day (visit to see how we started!).
Then I formed a committee - many of the panel members became committee members and most of them still serve one year later.
We held our first meeting in March which was very well attended. Soon afterwards the collective decided we needed a better name, not least because 'Made in Utah' is also used to promote other sectors in the State, not least cheese! Hence we transitioned to become the Utah Digital Entertainment Network.
Happy birthday UDEN - and thank you to everyone that has and who continue to support this fledgling effort at becoming a community, the voice called out for at that Breakfast Club meeting!