Happy Groundhog Day!

Much like the movie, sometimes it can feel like nothing much changes even though the calendar has ticked on another digit! Looking back on 2017, it was a year of contraction for digital entertainment in Utah, especially in video games, as number of studios closed their doors which in turn accelerated the 'brain drain' of our talent to other states.   But it’s not all bad news! Last year we also saw a rise in the number of startups as well as the number of AR/VR projects being created here.

So this month we make the case for business development as our theme for 2018; we launch our trade mission, a page where you can make product announcements and, of course, highlight upcoming events for the month.


As we look forward to this year of opportunity, UDEN welcomes a new Advisory Board and a handful of new volunteers to help us do more and better in the months ahead, for you, our community. 


Looking at early results from our industry survey, it's increasingly clear that we are a community of creatives, less so business promoters.  Much of the work we create here gets published by companies in other states and countries, with very little visibility that this work was actually made in Utah. At most of the major trade events outside the state last year, Utah digital entertainment companies were not present as exhibitors.  The down side of this is that very few people in "the trade" realize what a vibrant community we have here, so it becomes harder to get investment or sponsorship for our largely invisible community. As a result Utah is way down the list of locations considered for building a new interactive studio, placing a new digital project, or to undertake post-production on a movie they might even shoot here.

This leads us to UDEN's focus for 2018 - business development.  At our meetings this year we plan to help our community understand effective strategies that creative businesses can use to generate work. Initial ideas include understanding how to leverage social media, direct mail etc.


In addition, we are proposing a “trade mission” – we will attend a handful of relevant trade shows this year outside the state, exhibiting under the UDEN umbrella.  There are two reasons for this:

  1. Put Utah digital entertainment on the map!  Let the world (outside the state!) know that we have a vibrant community of creators of digital content and technology; and
  2. Business development for our sector -- share details of the services offered by UDEN member companies and individuals

This will cost money, of course, but whereas the cost for any one company to attend all these trade shows might be prohibitive, if many companies share those costs and let UDEN promote them, it should be much cheaper – and not take you away from what you do best – being creators!

Now we need your feedback:  do you agree this is a good idea?  If so, which trade shows would be most valuable for you?  Would you be prepared to pay a contribution towards the cost?  Please let us know what you think by answering our poll, here: http://utahden.org/trademission.  If we get enough support, we’ll figure out next steps and update you!

Let's not get stuck in groundhog day!

FOLLOW US on Twitter and Facebook for updates on this and future events!


We're in the entertainment industry, right?  So let's share news and updates about what we're all up to in our community!  We have added a 'Product Announcements' page to the UDEN website, where you can go and add whatever news and announcements you would like to share with the community and the World!   Maybe you have come across some interesting data about our industry - share it on this page too!

Jump right in here: http://utahden.org/prodann


Last week at Sundance UDEN held our latest membership meeting - and wow, was it fun!  So many thanks to everyone that came and networked, and to our wonderful sponsors, the Utah Film Commission, SHATTERboom Studios and Guv1 Digital Consulting.

Here is a quick video recap for you: https://youtu.be/ndF77zzxns0 

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.


Feb 6th - Pay the IRS Less Without Going To Jail

Do you want to know how Trump's tax changes affects the deductions you can take in your business? Have you wondered whether you are paying too much to the IRS? More than your fair share? Do you know which deductions you can take and which ones will get you in trouble? Well, if so, then this is the workshop for you. Join Merrill Taylor, an expert in the tax code, who has saved his clients hundreds of thousands of dollars each year!

Register: here

Feb 8th - IGDA Production and Process Workshop

Join IGDA SLC for our first workshop series to demystify game development. Are you an experenced game dev and just need a little guidance in branching out on your own? Do you know what questions you need to be asking yourself before you start building your own game? Come learn best practices for Planning, Prototyping, and Process!  There will be a short presentation, with Q & A to follow. After that there will be some workshopping time and networking!  We'll be holding more workshops on other dev topics throughout the year.

Register: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/igda-production-and-process-workshop-tickets-42691163419?aff=es2

Feb 14th - Film Day on the Hill

We are happy to announce that Film Day on the Hill will take place from 7:15 AM – 10:15 AM on February 14, 2018, that’s right Valentines day!  It will be at the Utah State Capitol Rotunda.This is a great opportunity for local film professionals in production, post-production, digital entertainment, education and exhibition to network and tell the story about the breadth and depth of the Utah film industry to community leaders and elected officials. So come out and show your love for the Utah Film industry.  

Feb 22nd - Employer 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, all on ONE DAY!  CPA firm (independent contractors versus employees); Utah State Tax Commission; Utah Labor Commission; S. Department of Labor; Workers Compensation Fund of Utah.  After the workshop, you will come away with knowledge and confidence of how to navigate this complex area. Register: here

Mar 2 - 3rd - Lightspark Media Summit

Following the first successful Lightspark last year, UDEN is once more partnering for the 2018 Summit!  Join fellow digital artists, musicians, directors, producers, actors, businesspeople, students, and attorneys to explore emerging trends in the film/TV, music, social media, AR/VR, and gaming industries.

Details: https://www.lightspark.media

Throughout February - Microsoft Store Events - Throughout each month, the Microsoft Store in City Creek holds a number of community events. This month they include use of Microsoft tools, such as LinkedIn, Powerpoint and Excel, as well as gaming tournaments. Full details of these and future events here: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/store/locations/ut/salt-lake-city/city-creek-center/store-21#events  

Throughout February - FREE FILMS!

Sundance has you wanting to see even more movies, right?  Well, this month you can find terrific, engaging independent film showtimes all across the state including Mr. Frog and Hidden Figures! 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,

     - Jon Dean

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