UDEN - 'Tis the Season

Time to get in the festive mood: grab your favorite holiday sweater, grab an egg-nog, sit in front of a roaring fireplace and enjoy this month's news update!  Includes a recap of UDEN #17 at Silicon Slopes, a call for volunteers and, as always, this month's upcoming events.

Can you believe that UDEN will be three years old next year? It feels like only yesterday that I sat on a panel at the Utah Breakfast Club, hearing the audience of creators complain about Utah's film and game sectors, and in a moment of madness asked "if we set up an action group, would you support it?".

Fast forward to last Wednesday when we held our 17th membership meeting, our last of 2017, at the impressive (and cool!) Silicon Slopes HQ in Lehi. UDEN #17 was a lot of fun and as usual involved some really great conversations with some terrific people. A great reminder of the talent and potential that Utah holds in digital entertainment. The evening was kindly sponsored by JP Morgan and included the chance to try Microsoft's mixed reality technology first-hand, as well as arcade VR from Virtualities. A recap of the evening can be found here: http://www.guv1.com/jonblogs/uden-17

The big announcement of the evening was a partnership between Silicon Slopes and UDEN, in which we will become their official chapter for digital entertainment. Through this partnership, UDEN and Silicon Slopes will work together to identify ways in which we might leverage the respective skill sets of our communities, fostering collaboration and mutually beneficial opportunities. This will include sharing of knowledge, capabilities and services in addition to the cross-promotion of events. Joining forces with Silicon Slopes will help UDEN toward its goal of building a strong ecosystem for digital entertainment across the entire state of Utah. It's a very exciting development for us.

Silicon Slopes began life when several technology companies in Utah decided to group together and market the tech sector, not just themselves. It has been a huge success and a great example for UDEN to follow. Their mission has grown to encompass growth and education for all tech business in the state. In January this year Silicon Slopes staged a huge event, their Tech Summit, which was slick, professional and very well attended. They will be holding it again in January - and we should all make a point of supporting it.

At UDEN #17 we reflected on the fact that Utah, despite having long, historical ties to both the film and gaming epicenters, have never become major forces in either industry -- despite our talent, occasional successes and leading educational programs in this sector. We took the opportunity of being at Silicon Slopes to highlight that it is possible for individuals and groups in Utah to collaborate for a common good, to build something larger for all to benefit from -- Silicon Slopes being the example. We noted that the strongest digital entertainment ecosystems in the country and overseas have all been created through just such efforts: communities are created where people work together, put the needs of the collective above the individual and achieve commercial success.

Film and games are creative and technical industries, both entertainment industries. Utah clearly like its tech businesses, as we see from Silicon Slopes, but could it be that entertainment has always been too frivolous to be taken seriously in Utah – despite the huge money that it makes? I really hope not.


We are a volunteer organization with, frankly, very few volunteers! So, if you can spare a few hours each month (unpaid) and would like to do something for UDEN, please let us know as we have some ideas that we think could be really helpful in building our ecosystem and be really useful to you! (To volunteer for UDEN please email us: [email protected])

Specifically we're looking for:
- Jobs Board Curator: Someone to scout for open jobs in digital entertainment, post them on the website jobs board - make it a useful tool for the community
- Upcoming Events Curator: scout for all the great events related to digital entertainment in Utah, post them on our events page, keep it up to date and useful
- Advisory Board Members 2018: help guide our direction next year, help with fund-raising, getting sponsors, organizing our meetings
- Event volunteers: people to help us during our upcoming events


Making things happen needs to continue to be our focus for 2018. For UDEN's part, we’ll continue to do what we're doing behind the scenes as well as organizing meetings.

Right now, we’re working on two events in January during Sundance – we’ll share more details soon but they include a social mixer event in Park City, with the Utah Film Commission, much like we had this year. We’re looking for a sponsor for this – so if you know anyone that wants some prominence during Sundance, please get in touch! [email protected]

The other event will be held in downtown Salt Lake City over three nights, intended to showcase to the public the best of Utah digital entertainment. Lots of hands-on interactive activities, live VR, music, film and performance art. We’re also looking for someone to write a simple AR app for use at the event in return for exposure. Interested? Get in touch. [email protected]

FOLLOW US on Twitter and Facebook for updates on these events!

INDUSTRY SURVEY - Can You Spare Us 3 Minutes?

If you already completed our industry survey - many, many thanks!  If you did not, please do so now. We're trying to get a good snapshot of just who we are as the digital entertainment community here in Utah, so we can better understand, plan and advocate.  We're starting with a few simple questions, and over time we'll ask different questions as the picture becomes clearer. 

We want to hear from everyone - groups, clubs, companies, individuals, schools etc.

If you could spare us just 3 minutes of your time to respond, it will be a huge help and another important step along the path to building a thriving community for the creators of content and technology in digital entertainment!  (Hey! That's us!).  We'll update you with the results.

MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD!  Click here to give us your responses.


TODAY - Gaming as a Career

Register for the Microsoft Store's event in Salt Lake City, for a full day of information about Gaming as a Career! We will have industry experts here to discuss different aspects of their respective specialties (including UDEN members!).  Register: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/store/locations/ut/salt-lake-city/city-creek-center/store-21#eventid=1032948631

Dec 4 - 9th - Hour of Code Minecraft Workshop (ages 8+)

Join us any of these days for this free, 90-minute workshop to take part in the global Hour of Code movement. Go behind the scenes to learn how to code, program, and play in your own Minecraft world. You’ll use fun, interactive coding to learn how creativity and problem solving come together to make something all your own. No experience with Minecraft or coding is required.  Register today! https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/store/locations/ut/salt-lake-city/city-creek-center/store-21#eventid=1032948594

Dec 5th - Legal Clinic

Come to get legal advice for your current or future business! More details here: https://utahsbdc.org/event/legal-clinic 

Dec 7th - Small Business Tax Withholding Workshop

Join us to learn the ins and outs of paying and complying with employee tax requirements. In this power-packed workshop, you will get to hear from a tax CPA expert, as well as relevant federal and state agencies, all in one place. After the workshop, you will come away with knowledge and confidence of how to navigate this complex area. More here: https://utahsbdc.org/event/small-business-employer-tax-withholding-workshop

Dec 7th - Health Insurance Clinic

Learn what it takes to have health insurance for your employees and yourself. Attend our Avenue H, the State of Utah's answer to the small business group insurance marketplace. More here: https://utahsbdc.org/event/health-insurance-clinic

Dec 9th - Gamers Holiday VIP Shopping Event

Join us at The Microsoft Store at City Creek Center for a very special VIP Holiday shopping experience for members of our Awesome Gaming Community! This exclusive event features tasty refreshments, a personalized white glove shopping experience with our gift expert associates and exclusives offers including 10% off select products in the store. Details: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/store/locations/ut/salt-lake-city/city-creek-center/store-21#eventid=1032944793

Dec 13th - Raising Capital Through Equity Crowdfunding

Traditionally startups have had to rely on Angel Investors, Venture Capital and/or Private Equity in order to raise capital.  Through the recently-enacted JOBS Act, companies are now allowed to use Equity Crowdfunding to raise up to $50 million, and in some instances, may solicit unaccredited investors.  Come learn about the various ways to raise capital for your startup, whether it’s an initial raise or a later round of financing.  Equity Track and the law firm of Kirton McConkie will be discussing both the practical and legal applications for a successful Crowdfunding round using Regulation A+, 506(c), and Regulation CF. More here: https://nvite.com/eb/39524281189

Dec 30th - Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses

Returning with an updated orchestral adventure, the show will feature an all new movement from Skyward Sword, a much-anticipated Breath of the Wild arrangement, and the return of a classic that might just make some wishes come true!

Celebrating 30 years of stirring virtual adventure and memorable soundtracks with live orchestral renditions directly approved by franchise producer Eiji Aonuma, The Symphony of the Goddesses is now in its fourth season. The two-hour concert comes to life with a 66-piece orchestra, 24-person choir, and a reimagined score that draws from recent and requested Zelda games, including A Link Between WorldsTwilight Princess, and the remake of Majora’s Mask, while still paying homage to such classics as Ocarina of Time and A Link to the Past. The concert’s five-movement symphony regales ears with Nintendo composer Koji Kondo’s original music, recalling moments of Link conquering dungeons, running through forests, and struggling to decide what color tunic to wear. Throughout the evening, a video collage syncs up with the adventurous tunes to spotlight exciting moments from the venerable franchise.  Tickets: http://utahden.org/legend_of_zelda_symphony_of_the_goddesses

Throughout December - FREE FILMS!

As always 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/

Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays – Entrepreneur Launch Pad

The Entrepreneur Launch Pad (ELP) helps startups and small businesses on the Wasatch front. Free mentoring, education, resources for growth. These meetings in Sandy, Kaysville, and Orem.  More info here:


 - GamesIndustry.biz maintain a comprehensive list of upcoming events for the gaming industry, here: http://www.gamesindustry.biz/network/events

FILM - Our partners at the Utah Film Commission have an events calendar, here: https://film.utah.gov/event-calendar/

You can find an interesting, wide variety of tech-related events at our good friends Silicon Slopes' events page here: https://nvite.com/community/siliconslopes

- The VR/AR Association maintain a growing list of events relevant for those involved in the creation of VR and AR, here: http://www.thevrara.com/events/

- the Utah Games Guild maintain a calendar of local events here: https://www.google.com/calendar/embed?src=v468q15oiiqtdu7dmfcs5l9ui8%40group.calendar.google.com&ctz=America/Denver

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

From all of us at UDEN, our thanks for your continued support in 2017. Wishing you the very best for the rest of 2017, and a very happy holiday!

     - Jon Dean

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