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

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


Business Wire

CHICAGO -- 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

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.

Talk: Pre-Visualizing a Road for Financing and Expansion
Speaker: Chris Edwards, CEO & Creative Director, The Third Floor, Inc.

For most leaders in our community, offshore competition and tax credits have
already affected their traditional business models. Meanwhile, for those who
want to pivot or grow their businesses, the scarcity of financing has
presented an additional set of ever-growing challenges. The Third Floor’s
Chris Edwards describes his decision to expand the pre-viz company into the
Chinese market along with his expectations for that venture and the lessons
learned so far. He also explains how his team has turned rapid prototyping
into a tool for his clients to raise capital and pre-sell films (and other
entertainment projects).

Talk: Reactive Content Creation
Speaker: Richard Chuang, CEO and Founder, Cloudpic

As a co-founder of Pacific Digital Image and a recipient of a Scientific and
Technical Academy Award, Richard Chuang was at the forefront of creating the
graphics technology and systems that were used to create the Shrek series of
animated films as well as landmark VFX films such as "Batman Forever." After
leaving DreamWorks, he had the insight that content creators would need to
service individuals instead of an audience, and a world of connected mobile
users would demand content that is reflective of the speed and convenience of
the consumer. Instead of creating compelling content in years and months, the
timeframe for production is now hours and minutes. Richard will discuss how he
and his team at Cloudpic are building the tools and advising clients to
entertain this new audience by pushing the limits of the creative process.

Partnering With Academia
Speaker: Mark Bolas, Associate Director, USC Institute for Creative

While R&D departments have been substantially reduced or eliminated at most
VFX facilities and game developers, research in academia continues to thrive.
More importantly, many researchers are hungry to partner with industry to
drive their work beyond the lab to ensure it has impact long after
publication. Mark Bolas of the USC’s Institute for Creative Technology will
provide a crash course as to how researchers approach industry partners, what
our attendees need to know to successfully collaborate, and how companies
small and large can leverage and integrate R&D into their businesses to help
differentiate themselves.

Crash Course: Building the Symposium Community with Intro Networks
Speaker: Mark Sylvester, CEO, IntroNetworks

As we look to build a community that benefits Business Symposium attendees
well after the conference, we have partnered with IntroNetworks to bring our
attendees the same software that NASA, TED, and the Clinton Global Initiative
use to help their attendees develop meaningful business connections with other
attendees throughout the year. Mark Sylvester (a co-founder of Wavefront
Technologies) will give a crash course on how symposium attendees can use
their smartphones to get the most out of IntroNetwork’s unique technology
before, during, and until the next Symposium. (We encourage all attendees to
complete a profile at as soon as they register for the

Optional Workshop: Executive Mentoring
Speaker: Robert C. Berger, Principal, Robert C. Berger Consulting

In listening to our attendee feedback last year, we learned that while there
are many events for executive networking, the opportunities to develop
leadership skills are few. With this in mind, this year the symposium is
pleased to introduce an opt-in opportunity to participate in a mentoring
program as a mentor, a mentee, or both. Bob Berger, ACM SIGGRAPH’s
Organization Development and Leadership Consultant, along with our partner
IntroNetworks, will provide a framework for establishing and supporting
mentoring relationships among our attendees.

At registration, attendees will be able to sign up to attend the Mentoring
Information and Mentoring Networking sessions. The information session will
provide a brief summary of best practices for mentors and mentees, and an
overview of the support provided by the SIGGRAPH Business Symposium mentoring
program after the conference. The Mentoring Networking session will provide an
opportunity to meet with others interested in the program to find potential
matches based on common interests and objectives. If you are interested in
participating in the program, please be sure to complete your IntroNetworks
profile prior to the symposium or bring 10 copies of a short (one-page) bio
describing your professional career, interests, and goals to share during the
Mentoring Network session.

About SIGGRAPH 2013

SIGGRAPH 2013 will bring thousands of computer graphics and interactive
technology professionals from five continents to Anaheim, California for the
industry's most respected technical and creative programs focusing on
research, science, art, animation, music, gaming, interactivity, education,
and the web from Sunday, 21 July through Thursday, 25 July 2013 at the Anaheim
Convention Center. SIGGRAPH 2013 includes a three-day exhibition of products
and services from the computer graphics and interactive marketplace from 23-25
July 2013. More details are available at SIGGRAPH 2013 or on Facebook and


The ACM Special Interest Group on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques
is an interdisciplinary community interested in research, technology, and
applications in computer graphics and interactive techniques. Members include
researchers, developers, and users from the technical, academic, business, and
art communities. ACM SIGGRAPH enriches the computer graphics and interactive
techniques community year-round through its conferences, global network of
professional and student chapters, publications, and educational activities.

About ACM

ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery is the world's largest
educational and scientific computing society, uniting educators, researchers,
and professionals to inspire dialogue, share resources, and address the
field's challenges. ACM strengthens the computing profession’s collective
voice through strong leadership, promotion of the highest standards, and
recognition of technical excellence. ACM supports the professional growth of
its members by providing opportunities for lifelong learning, career
development, and professional networking.

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Brian Ban
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