SALT LAKE CITY — In a world that's scrambling to keep up with the digitization of, well everything, few areas have been more disrupted than the realm of entertainment.
Where once the lines were pretty clear between the creators and distributors of music, film, video games and television, now those borders have been erased. Video games are movies, movies are virtual reality play areas, everyone is a content creator and our phones are fast becoming the conduit through which we consume all of the traditional media products, and a whole slew of new digital delights that have only been around for a few years, or a few minutes.
On Friday and Saturday, Utah's Lightspark Foundation will convene a media summit in Salt Lake City aiming to bring local digital media creators together to explore how this landscape is continuing to change, and how local experts from various disciplines can co-create, and find success, in the tumult.
"The summit is bringing people from film and television, music, social media, gaming, augmented and virtual reality industries together under one roof," said Lightspark co-founder Jared Ruga. "We're working to draw parallels between and among these emerging industries."
Ruga said Utah has been building its own homegrown ecosystem of professionals in these areas and has also played host to production facilities for out-of-town animation and gaming heavyweights like Disney Studios and Electronic Arts.
Utah Digital Entertainment Network co-founder Jeff Peters said the summit, now in its second year, is a perfect venue for community building and cross-pollination. He also noted that the talent, and digital business ventures, coming out of Utah are on a healthy growth arc, but are still working to earn wider recognition.
"We have fantastic talent in this state and more being developed through great programs like the U.'s EAE (Entertainment Arts and Engineering) program and BYU's film and animation," Peters said. "And we have some amazing companies doing cutting-edge work. … But we need to keep building the business side of the equation. Right now, we're losing a lot of this homegrown talent just due to lack of local opportunities."
Peters said the world of digital arts is continuing to evolve at a breakneck pace. He noted it's become even more critical for creators in the various categories to be aware of, and collaborate with, their colleagues in other disciplines.
A recent report that made an attempt to unpack the current blur of old-meets-new entertainment media, assembled by the Center for a Competitive Workforce on behalf of the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation, described it this way:Comment on this story
"This fast-growing digital media and entertainment industry is characterized by a diverse array of technology and content firms and includes sectors as assorted as digital advertising, web gaming, interactive media, augmented reality, virtual reality and animation," the report says. "This blended digital media and entertainment ecosystem combines the creative product with data to drive adoption and respond to shifts in consumer behavior, focusing on branded content and experiences with a cross-platform, multidimensional approach."
Featured speakers and presenters scheduled for the Lightspark Media Summitinclude Emmy-winning director and Fork Films President/CEO Abigail Disney, actor-producer-singer Keke Palmer, director of USC's Center for the Digital Future, Jeff Cole, UCLA law professor Doug Lichtman and more. The event also features musical performances by Vada Wave and Neon Trees frontman Tyler Glenn.