SIGGRAPH Business Symposium to Focus on Key Issues Facing Film and Game Industries

CHICAGO — (BUSINESS WIRE) — July 3, 2013 — The SIGGRAPH Business Symposium offers attendees an intense, productive day with this year’s focus on disruption and innovation in the content creation industries namely games and films. Unlike any other conference, SIGGRAPH provides a unique forum where leaders from film, games, and broadcast cross paths and share ideas with scientists, academics, and world-class researchers. It is geared towards higher level executives and studio heads.

"There has never been a more urgent time for industry leaders to unite in order to discuss solutions for the dire straits our industries and colleagues are facing," says Evan Hirsch, SIGGRAPH 2013 Business Symposium Chair and Executive Creative Director, Engine, Co. 4." We must deliver productive change as the industries as we know them are in a precarious situation. I am thrilled that we continue to add speakers to the agenda that will inspire our attendees and stimulate conversation amongst them. For instance, the new addition of Academy Award winner Richard Chuang of Cloupic along with Marc Bolas, a noted researcher and pioneer from the USC Institute for Creative Technologies, adds even more depth to what already is a can’t miss event for industry executives, leaders, and visionaries.”

The Business Symposium is a day of dialogues, inspiration and networking for studio leaders and executives in the production and creative communities, investment bankers, lawyers, and various government representatives who want to move beyond the constant disruption happening throughout computer graphic industries.

The following are just some of the highlights of a very packed day of sessions, panels, and talks:

Panel: Innovating Business Models
Moderator: Don McGowan, General Counsel, The Pokémon Company International; Meredith Amdur, VP Digital Strategy, DirecTV; Phil Ashcroft, Independent Producer; Matthew Cohen, Director of Business Development, Machinima

Despite the major contractions in our traditional markets, competition from foreign markets, and the effects of tax credits that rarely directly benefit content creators, entertainment still lives by the mantra "Content is King." The studios may be releasing fewer tent poles and AAA games but there have never been more platforms, venues, and formats hungry for high-quality, compelling content. Three panelists offer their insights on how they will connect with audiences that are enthusiastic yet diverse in how they consume content, how they will monetize it, and where opportunities lie for linear and interactive content creators.

Panel: Creative Deal Structures for Growth And Survival
Moderator: Don McGowan, General Counsel, The Pokémon Company International; Steve Goldstein, Partner, Stubbs Alderton & Markiles, LLP; Joleen Winther Hughes, Principal, Hughes Media Law Group; Justine Kasznica, Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP

In an environment where creative work is more and more often produced outside the US and acquired for global distribution, business executives need to know the cultural expectations that IP creators bring to the table. How much can business realities enter into creative decision-making, what expectations will creators have for how they will be treated by foreign businesses, and other issues have usually been considered from the perspective of US content going overseas. This session provides valuable insight into the realities that US-based companies face in acquiring content and working with developers, and informs those creative developers by providing some perspectives that their US-based partners will likely hold.

Keynote: Disruption in the Battlefield
Speaker: Capt. Thomas Chaby, Executive Officer, Naval Special Warfare Center

Over the last 15 years, it is the rare SIGGRAPH attendee who has not been involved in creating content with military themes. Throughout production, the terminology of war and combat is used constantly, and as leaders we constantly talk about aligning objectives, situational awareness, dealing with ambiguity, and adapting to unpredictable conditions. In reality, when things go wrong, as significant as our losses may be, they are limited to shots, sales, and money.

Captain Thomas Chaby, an active-duty US Navy SEAL officer, talks about the reality of developing and training the very best of our military’s special operators to be successful in situations where the environments are all but guaranteed to be dynamic and disrupted, and the deadly serious implications of failure. While failures in our production environments may not result in the consequences faced by our military special operators, we can draw on lessons from them on how to lead successfully in fast-moving, hyper-dynamic conditions with limited predictability.

Panel: The Role of R&D In Production (and Profit)
Moderator: Carl Rosendahl, Carnegie Mellon University; Lincoln Wallen, CTO, DreamWorks Animation SKG; Scott Cronce, VP Technology, Electronic Arts; Joe Alter, Principal, Joe Alter Inc; Farchad Bidgolirad, R&D Supervisor, Ubisoft Motion Pictures

Complex CG behaviors and effects such as crowds, water, fire, and cloth have found their way into most software packages, leading companies of all sizes to the belief that CG research is the domain of universities. This panel explores the notion that if you outsource innovation and rely on the same software as your competition, you are guaranteeing that you will compete on little more than price and date. Four panelists discuss how companies large and very small use research and innovation as a key part of their strategy for success and, ultimately, longevity.

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