Letter from the Chair - March

This month's letter was so impassioned, it became the basis of our 'About' page!  The controversial post argues that if we want to ignite the fire of change, then we need to create the sparks by working together and becoming a community. It has worked in Montreal, New York, Austin and other creative hubs like ours.



Only 9 more months until 2018 - we need to make the rest of this year count. The digital entertainment industry is changing faster than ever, led by new innovations and increasingly, new players; more States are developing competitive educational programs today, while entire countries are taking aggressive steps to secure the digital jobs of tomorrow. If we like living in Utah and working in digital entertainment, we're going to need to stay ahead of the field. 

We're not competing. Despite boasting a wealth of creative talent here, we only have a small number of entertainment businesses that make enough money to sustain and compete on the world stage. Despite our State being ranked as one of the best places in tech to do business, in entertainment we don't even make the list. 

This is not a whine. It's a call to action for YOU.

This is not a cry for a handout. We can't build a future based on incentives - think of them like gasoline: if you have a fire, they can make it boom. But if you just have a pile of wood then adding gasoline just makes that pile of wood damp!

WE need to be the sparks that make the flame.

UDEN is two years old. Our goal is to create a community of the creators of digital entertainment. We are making progress but it is slow and time is not our friend. We can't do this alone. We need ideas, plans and volunteers to deliver on those plans. And while we truly believe that our network meetings are important, we don't just want to be meeting organizers!


Here is a perfect opportunity!  At next week's UDEN meeting, we pose the question "Should we all be working in VR?" The idea being that we, the UT digital entertainment community, could all focus in the same technical area and become the world's best in it. Our filmmakers can help us all understand storytelling and narrative, our game developers can help us understand interactivity and user interface, our artists and special effects creators can help us deliver powerful visuals, our YouTubers can help us understand audience, while our educational institutions can help produce the future workforce, ready to hit the (virtual) ground running. 

In fact, so powerful are these cross-overs. that our sector can also collaborate with the wider tech businesses in the State, almost all of whom will have VR or AR-related parts of their business in future.  A panel discussion will lead the topic which will then be opened to the floor for thoughts, pros and cons.  What do you think?  Good idea? Terrible? Unsure? Please attend, listen and join the discussion.

Above all, if we decide that VR is a good direction - then we need to DO something about it, not just feel good that we had a nice evening.  If not, then what CAN we do to build a sustainable sector for the future?

This is the year we make it count! Let's do this. Together.


Mar 3rd -  LIGHTSPARK Media Summit (yes - this Friday!)

S.J. Quinney College of Law, University of Utah. Now only $50 for UDEN creative professionals and $10 for students. Keynote from Maria Bello, the day is focused on digital entertainment with contributions from The VOID, Kaskade, Sundance Institute, Imagine Dragons, Sony, Turner, Bonneville International, Neon Trees and UDEN's very own Jeff Peters. Online tickets now closed, so get yours at the door if you don't already have yours!  More details: https://www.lightspark.media/

Mar 8th -  UDEN 13 (next Wednesday)

Access Salt Lake - Networking plus Hive Ignite featuring the Entrepreneur Launch Pad and Aurora Awards, plus the aforementioned panel on "Should We All Be Working in VR?" Be there! FREE tickets: www.utahden.org/uden_13

Mar 14th -  IGDA Chapter Meeting + Kelly Harper

Impact Salt Lake. This time we will be hearing from Kelly Harper from Projectile Entertainment who released Momentum, which won last year's Utah Game Dev Choice Award for Best In Show. Come catch up with fellow developers in your area! https://www.facebook.com/events/1426497384089083/

Mar 17th - 18th - Salt Lake Comic Con FAN X

Salt Palace Convention Center.  Where else can you dress up as your favorite characters - and meet people who created or play them?  Among those in attendance will be the legendary Stan Lee, Verne Troyer, Jason Momoa, Bonnie Wright, John Rhys-Davies, "Weird Al" Yankovic, Dule Hill, Judge Reinhold and Sean Maguire.  Tickets: http://saltlakecomiccon.com/

NOW - Call for Submission; you have until March 25th to submit your films shot using drones! The Leonardo's 1st Annual Drone Film Festival takes place April 7th - 9th and includes a photography showcase and film screenings with both amateur and pro sections for each category. Details: http://utahden.org/the_leonardo_drone_film_festival_call_for_submissions

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

 - Our friends at SL Circle hold weekly lunch & learns and other events on different topics. Last month it was VR! They also have a monthly beer social. Details of all these events: https://slcircle.com/events/

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 Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/UDENUtah/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/UtahDEN
YouTube: Search for UDEN Utah
Email: [email protected]

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