SXSW: Day 4 Recap

(Day 4: Monday March 10,2014): The day consisted of a panel on psychology and technology in mobile applications, The Golden Age of Drama on TV panel and a taco party hosted by a Texas State mass communication professor.

Nicolas Cage was at SXSW Interactive for day four for a conversation moderated by David Gordon Green. I decided to skip it for something more educational (Yes I know it’s Nicolas Cage, but I wanted to learn stuff at SXSW). The panels I chose involved what I wanted to know more about.

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The first panel, Can You Feel Me Now?, discussing the convergence of psychology and technology in mobile applications was a bit of a bust. The speakers included Cameron Clayton, president of Digital Vision; Gary Klassen, principal architect at Blackberry; Giorgos Zacharia, chief scientist at Kayak. The panel didn’t really discuss much about the psychological techniques used in created better mobile apps. The main thing repeated throughout the panel was how more people are becoming digital natives and wanting something that is easy to use. It turned out to be an okay panel.

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The Golden Age of Drama on TV was a panel on the increased quality of drama TV. Drama series have started to produce quality material that is comparable to theatrical films. Budgets for drama TV has increased, script quality has increased and character development has become way more in depth.

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Alex Cary, executive producer of TNT’s Legends; Hank Steinberg, executive producer of TNT’s The Last Ship; Rob Moynihan, LA correspondent of TV Guide Magazine; and Stephen Kane, executive producer at Turner Broadcasting were speakers for the panel on The Golden Age of Drama on TV.

The new nature of character development and scripts was talked about.

“There used to be a lot of resistance to character development of TV characters” Steinberg said, “with DVR, serialized shows like Lost started to get popular”

Steinberg mentioned that studios have for the most part abandoned mid-level movies. They have opted to focus on shorter, smaller movies and $200 million dollar high packed movies. He said people and studio executives have been looking to TV in the past few years to fill the empty mid-level movie void absent from film.

Steinberg said shooting 10 or 12 episodes of TV provides great efficiency and opportunity for character development. He said it is more optimal to do rather than doing 22 episodes a season without all the scripts ready.

“I’ve never had this before where we have all the scripts ready before shooting. It was great efficiency” Steinberg said.

The last event of the day was a taco party hosted by Cindy Royal, a Texas State mass comm professor who is currently a Knight Fellow at Stanford University. The event was great. I got to talk with a lot of graduates from the graduate program at Texas State. One of them works at NPR now and recently did a panel at SXSW. Another one works at a food bank in Austin. Also there were free tacos and chips at the party so that made it all the more awesome.

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The greatest thing of the day was getting to meet Burt Herman, co-founder of the social media storytelling service Storify. He was pretty awesome and even asked for my website URL.

Feeling accomplished. Day four was a success. Whenever a day includes free tacos (or any food for that matter) you know it’s going to be great.

 

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