Letter from the Chair April 2017

This month we reflect on why we don't have a sustainable eco-system for the entertainment industry in Utah - is it cultural?  Also, who does UDEN represent, can you help sponsor us plus a preview of this month's upcoming events.




Welcome to April.  I guarantee there are no ‘April Fool’ pranks in this email update 😊

If you’re in a hurry, skip ahead and see what the month ahead holds, further down the page.  But if you have a couple of minutes, I would like to ask if you could think about the following this month...

Economic Growth

Many thanks to those of you that came out to UDEN #13 at Access Salt Lake downtown SLC last month (recap and pictures here).  More than 120 people showed up which was excellent, but perhaps most encouragingly in the current political climate, there was some spirited discussion on a range of topics without any name calling!  The catalyst was our keynote discussion, “Should we all focus on VR?”, which resulted in an overwhelming response of “yes” – with a few concerns duly noted for the journey!

Among many excellent points raised in the discussion at UDEN #13, was Roger Altizer’s commentary (and here I paraphrase), that we can talk all we want about economic growth but the only way we’re truly going to get traction is if we start up a lot more companies; if that comes from adopting VR, great!  Roger’s point (articulated much better from his red Hawai’ian shirt during the panel than here!) was that we don’t have a critical mass yet; we have talent, we have education turning out even more talent, we just don’t have enough jobs for the talent.  Until we do, it isn’t a sustainable eco-system.

Which leads me to wonder, is this cultural?  Are we focusing too much on the skills and not enough on innovation that might lead to new projects and so new start-ups?  Or are there barriers to starting up in UT that might not be as prevalent elsewhere?  Are the incubators we have locally effective?  Is this unique to our entertainment sector – as opposed to, say, the wider tech sector here in the state?  We’re hoping for some insights from you, such that we might be able to increase our chances of success.

A few people told me they were planning to collaborate on some new projects following the networking at UDEN #13, including some inspired to try their hand in VR – which would be great!  Perhaps you could all keep us in the loop as to what you’re up to, and perhaps share in a Hive Ignite at a future UDEN meeting?

Who Does UDEN Represent?

UDEN has tried to be an umbrella for all the entertainment sectors in the state over the past two years that we have been in existence.  We know we get more traction in some areas than others; maybe we’re not focusing on all the right things for all sectors – if that is the case, please let us know.  Most likely, what you’ll hear from me in response is “how can you help?”.  We’re all volunteers trying to do something for the greater good, we all have day jobs and if we’re missing something important, are you willing to give up a few hours each month to help us fill those gaps?  If so, please get in contact [email protected], let’s talk.  If it’s that we can do something better, we would like to. Let us know. 

Can you help sponsor UDEN?

UDEN is a non-profit and thus far we have provided our regular meetings for two years with no entry fee. We like this! To achieve it, we rely on UDEN volunteers to organize, for venues to provide the space and facilities and someone else to provide the food.  All for free in the name of the greater good of our growing community.  We're not talking huge amounts of either money or time, so if you or your company can help by providing space and/or food for an upcoming meeting, we gladly promote both in return to our members.  Please contact us at [email protected] 


Apr 7th -  Startup Conversation – Silicon Slopes

Silicon Slopes’ Startup Conversation Series brings Utah's startup community together once a month to participate in a casual conversation between Utah's most prominent entrepreneurs to educate and inspire, as well as learn about their successes, failures, and founding stories.  This month's event features Canopy CEO Kurt Avarell and Pelion Venture Partners Managing Director Blake Modersitzki. They'll talk about Canopy's recent $20M Series B round and what it takes to raise money in Utah. The event is free and will be held at Salt Mine in Sandy at 12:00pm on April 7th. Lunch will be provided. Register here: https://nvite.com/SiliconSlopes/eo8n6l

Apr 17th – Craft Lake City 2017 – Applications Close

We believe that showcasing Digital entertainment from Utah would be an amazing feature in our Google Fiber STEM building! You must act by 17th if you want to take part!  Craft Lake City is an annual do-it-yourself festival by locals, for locals, celebrating all things local.  The Festival encompasses do-it-yourself culture as a whole, featuring artists and craftspeople, DIY engineers and tinkerers, foodies, singers and dancers, collectors and upcyclers. It celebrates the best in all of us—our desire to make greatness from the mundane and share it with our friends.  We strive to keep building upon our vision—to make our community a more beautiful, self-sufficient, and harmonious place through our shared love of creating.  Pricing, process and full details here: http://craftlakecity.com/application/

Apr 19th -  UDEN #14 – Redefining Post Production in a Digital Age

‘Post’ is perhaps best known as the ‘assembly line’ of the film industry; the phase that occurs after the actual ‘shooting’ of the film; it’s editing, visual effects, color correction, music, sound, audio dubbing etc. With the advent of digital media, post production processes now exist in many forms, including games, TV, YouTube etc, as the skill-sets are somewhat transferable.  It is also highly accessible: at the low end you can make a movie and edit it on your phone, something unthinkable ten years ago.  There is no doubt that ‘post’ has – and is – being disrupted, so we ask the question: does this create an opportunity for Utah?  Not just in film?  We have an expert panel to dive deep plus the opportunity for you to join in the discussion.  Free to attend, as always. Food, as usual. RSVP here: http://www.utahden.org/uden_14

April 21st – Aurora Awards – Deadline for Entries

The prestigious Aurora Awards honor commercials, cable programming, documentaries, industrial, instructional, and corporate films.  If you were at UDEN #13 last month, you heard about them as part of Hive Ignite and even got to see one of the exquisite statues.  If you want to enter, April 21st is your deadline.  Full info here: https://www.auroraawards.com/

FREE FILMS - almost every day this month you can find terrific, engaging independent film showtimes all across the state! The wonderful Utah Film Center maintain a great list here: https://www.facebook.com/pg/UtahFilmCenter/events/

 – SL Circle

Our friends at SL Circle hold weekly lunch & learns and other events on different topics. They also have a monthly beer social last Friday of the month. Details of all these events: https://slcircle.com/events/

Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays – Entrepreneur Launch Pad

As seen last month at UDEN #13, ELP helps startups and small businesses on the Wasatch front. Mentoring, education, resources for growth.   These occur every week: Tuesdays 1 – 3pm in Orem; Wednesdays 3 – 5pm in Kaysville and Fridays 1 – 3pm in Sandy. More info here: http://www.facebook.com/elputah/

Finally, if you have an upcoming event you would like to share with UDEN members, you can add it FREE here: http://utahden.org/upevents

Looking forward to catching up with you soon!


- J

Jon Dean

Web: http://www.utahden.org
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/utahDEN
Twitter: https://twitter.com/UtahDEN
YouTube: Search for UDEN Utah
Email: [email protected]

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