ABOUT THE ENTERTAINMENT INNOVATION CONFERENCE
Highlights From 2012
From computer-controlled high-flying stunts withZFX Flying Effectsto the inside scoop on Broadway show production with Ken Davenport ofDavenport Theatrical Enterprises, the firstNorth American Entertainment Innovation Conferenceat the University of North Carolina School of the Arts drew nearly 400 professionals and students to Winston-Salem, NC, to experience the latest innovations in entertainment with hands-on sessions and insider workshops from September 6 to 8, 2012
“The Entertainment Innovation Conference was one of the most impressive industry conferences I've attended,” said Trevor O’Donnell, arts marketing guru and author of Marketing the Arts to Death: How Lazy Language is Killing Culture. “The emphasis on innovation was inspiring; and the close, personal interaction between young artists, technicians and managers and some of the top professionals in the industry was truly impressive. I was honored to have been invited, and I can't wait to come back.”
Attendees came from as far away as Oregon, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Florida to work side-by-side with award-winning designers and leaders in the fields of global entertainment, Broadway, Walt Disney, and theatrical design. The conference was sponsored by the United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT) and featured workshops with Cirque du Soleil®, their technical partners and some of the most respected professionals in the entertainment industry.
“Cirque du Soleil is proud to be a partner in the Entertainment Innovation Conference,” said Kim Scott, director of Show Support-Resident Shows Division at Cirque du Soleil. “With the support of our Technical Partners such as Meyer Sound, Stage Technologies and M.A.C., we are able to enhance the programming offered at this conference. Both Cirque du Soleil and the Technical Partners support the continued educational outreach of anyone interested in knowing more about these opportunities within the entertainment industry.”
During more than 60 workshops, presentations and interactive sessions, attendees received hands-on training in production, lighting, sound, automation, projections, wig and makeup, costuming, and more. “The facility, the faculty, the guest speakers coming to this conference – it seems like the best-kept secret (in our industry),” said Victor Cembellin, senior makeup artist with M.A.C. Cosmetics. “Winston-Salem should be really proud to have something of this magnitude coming through their city.” Sessions included:
- Cirque du Soleil staff and technical partners presented information on topics ranging from theatrical safety, lighting and stage management to costume management on the Michael Jackson THE IMMORTAL World Tour.
- Members of Tectonic Theatre Project, the award-winning theater company (The Laramie Project; I Am My Own Wife) showcased innovative processes for the creation of theatrical events in collaboration with writers, designers, and actors to develop work that focuses on all theatrical elements
- Meyer Sound, the world’s leading manufacturer of products and systems for high-fidelity sound reinforcement, and Tony Meola, award-winning Broadway sound designer (The Lion King) worked with professionals and students to fine-tune sound techniques using the sound bed from Wicked
- Trevor O’Donnell, author, “Marketing the Arts to Death: How Lazy Language is Killing Culture,” worked with arts marketers to brainstorm new ways to communicate with audiences
- Ken Davenport, famed producer (Godspell, Chinglish, Oleanna), offered insights behind successful Broadway shows.
- Michael J. Kelley, senior producer and art director at Walt Disney Imagineering, reviewed the design phases involved in themed entertainment
- PRG, the world's leading supplier of entertainment and event technology, did a deep-dive into the evolving business of stage technologies and the world of commercial shop operations on Broadway
- ZFX Flying Effects demonstrated manual and automated technologies for performer flying
- Stage Technologies, world leaders in entertainment automation, discussed entertainment automation on cruise ships
- Vari*Lite demonstrated new technologies for automated lighting, allowing attendees to experiment with the latest equipment
- Victor Cembellin, senior makeup artist with M.A.C Cosmetics (the Official Global Makeup Supplier to Cirque du Soleil Touring Shows) talked about makeup inspiration and offered demonstrations on bringing characters to life with makeup.
- Roscocreated a series of workshops to demonstrate innovations in paint and coating technologies for costuming.
“This conference was a true demonstration of the power of arts and innovation. It was a world-class experience where innovative ideas were shared in all areas of entertainment, from the management to the performance,” said Joe Tilford, dean of the UNCSA School of Design and Production and one of the co-founders of the Conference. “We’ve set the foundation for this conference to become the future go-to event for hands-on training for anyone working in the entertainment industries.”
“I had a great time,” said Ken Davenport of Davenport Theatrical Enterprises. “I was impressed with the conference, the school and the people.”
Visit eic.uncsa.edu for the latest news, photos and updates about the next Entertainment Innovation Conference.