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Recent Blog Posts in June 2012

June 21, 2012
  PromaxBDA: Day Tres
Posted By Danixa Diaz
Day Tres was full of great sessions with great titles, such as: Drinking Improves Creativity... This was also the day when Ms. Betty White was recognized with our Lifetime Achievement Award and she was as graceful and funny as always.

Sessions ended with the popular "State of our Art" and it was great to see the stunning Kendrick Reid, SVP & Executive Creative Director for BET, back on stage. We had little time to catch up with email, meet with friends and have a drink or two before the 2012 PromaxBDA Promotion, Marketing and Design Awards Show. I bumped into the host, Jay Mohr in the Lobby Bar and I had a chance to chat with him... and he looked at me like: "Who the hell are you?"

Of course I had to say, "We met last year... don't you remember?" ... and still lost, but hopeful he said, "Of course, you are with Promax." (Like many others forgot the BDA part)... He went on to tell me he had just woken up... he was in fact drinking coffee and having what looked like a muffin. Mind you it was close to 6:30 pm!

Jay was amazing last year and I was really looking forward to see him on stage again this year, and he did not disappoint. It is a really hard job. This not an easy crowd to impress, but he did it again! AMAZING!

Someone had the genius idea to keep the bar open during the awards, not bad! 

Roger Hyde, Chair of the Awards Committee and SVP at DirecTV, has been the man in charge of improving this show and implementing a new two-phase judging process, which certainly reflected a more scrutinized selection of winners this year! 

The main awards went to: 


- FX Network - Marketing Team of the Year - In-house 
- BPG - Creative Agency of the Year - Out of House
- Jeff Pinilla - Ron Scaler Rocket Award 


- FX NETWORK - Design Team of the Year - In-house 
- BPG - Creative Design Team of the Year - Out of House 
- Davor Mihalji - Rocket Award 


- Discovery UK Creative - Marketing Team of the Year - In-house
- BDA Creative - Creative Agency of the Year - Out of House
- Alessandra Menozzi - Rocket Award 


- ProSiebenSat.1 TV Deutschland - Design Team of the Year - In-house
- Monarchy - Creative Design Team of the Year - Out of House 
- Leo Nguyen - Rocket Award 

And I was happy to celebrate awards for two of my clients: 
Prologue Films, for American Horror Story, won a BRONZE in the Open/Titles Category, and Iron Claw for MLB Extra Innings 'Home Run Trot,' won a GOLD in the Art Direction & Design: Image Promo - Sports Category.

It was a long and productive week for me. Call me old fashion, but I really liked the well-printed book we were handed at the end, with all the winners and visual references! 

Thank you POST Magazine for allowing me to have a voice directly from PromaxBDA in Los Angeles... Next on the agenda was our Board Meeting on Friday, where we got together to have a post-mortem and discuss our goals for 2013. It was great!

Danixa Diaz is a partner/executive producer with LA-based collective International Artists. She can be reached at:
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June 21, 2012
  The Death of Film
Posted By Allen Williams
I don't believe it! I don't believe it! But it does seem to be happening. The beauty, the grace and the extreme latitude of film is vanishing forever because of insatiable greed, as well as an abundance of ignorance.... Or is there a conspiracy going on?

One example is Roger Deakins, the man who shot The Assassination of Jesse James - which is arguably the most magnificent piece of pure cinema since Apocalypse Now - who is saying that the Alexa camera outshines film. Now either he's being put up to it as some conspiracy (I'm joking - I hope), or he has had a mental breakdown, or he's doing drugs. Because there's no possible way that this man and all these other cinematographers can't see how much better film looks than video - any kind of video!

Thank goodness for P.T. Anderson, one of the few great American directors. His new film, which comes out in October, was not only shot in 70mm, but he doesn't like a digital intermediate and he uses a complete photochemical process.

Some of the critics that saw a four-minute glimpse of his new film at the Cannes film festival reported that other films being made today can't hold a candle to the texture, the detail and the beauty of his new movie.

The director Christopher Nolen says it's all about economics. That it's a hundred times cheaper to send a hard drive to a theater than it is to make and send a print. So because of the love of money, the physical beauty of film will be lost to our future generations. And lastly, to all you so-called directors out there, please, if you're shooting digitally, you may be making a movie, but you ain't making a film.

Allen Williams is an editor who operates Las Vegas's E.motion Productions. He can be reached at
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June 19, 2012
  Making the switch: Premiere Pro 6
Posted By Allen Williams
I was a beta tester for Premiere Pro for the last seven months or so - and having signed a non-­disclosure agreement, there wasn't a thing I could say. But now that it's out, there's plenty to say.  
For the last nine years or so, my main editing program had been Final Cut Pro.  Then, over a year ago a year ago Apple got us editors very excited with the announcement of Final Cut Pro X. They said it would be "awesome" - but it wasn't awesome - it was down right terrible.   
So we all panicked and started looking for the next great editing program - or at least one we could live with. There was Premiere Pro 5.5 and then there was Avid. I dabbled with PP 5.5 and found it to be okay, at best. I was a very unhappy camper - none of the programs got me excited.  

So I got signed up to be a beta tester for Premiere Pro 6 and with every new build, it just kept getting better and better. Adobe was determined to make Premiere Pro do for editors what Photoshop does for the rest of the publishing and Internet world.  
Premiere Pro 6 is everything we had hoped Final Cut 8 would have been, and then some. It's fast, it's stable, it's sexy and it walks and talks with After Effects, Photoshop, Illustrator, Encore and more.  
But before I made that final decision, I wanted to give Avid 6 a spin around the block. So I downloaded the trial version of 6 and dedicated some time into learning it. After all, I was an Avid editor about 15 years ago - how bad could it be? 
The answer is - it's not terrible. But its also not sexy, it's not sleek, and it's creaking with old age. Avid has some really nice features in it. But compared to Premiere Pro 6, its like using a hammer and a chisel inside a cave wall.  
So is Premiere Pro 6 the perfect program? Not yet - it's still a work in progress. Adobe is determined to make it great. Unlike Apple, whose only concern these days is making toys for consumers, and editing systems for Grandpa. And Avid is simply stuck in the past. And if you purchase Avid for twice the price of Adobe - all you get is Avid. If you purchase CS6, you get After Effects, Photoshop and all those other incredible programs.  
I'm a fast editor. Really fast. I can't stand it when the program gets in my way. Premiere Pro - at least 90% of the time -   doesn't get in my way. And Adobe has promised me that the last 10 percent will be getting out my way in the not too distant future. So for all of you still using Final Cut 7, or contemplating Final Cut X, or Avid 6, give PP 6 a run for its money. You may fall in love.  
The 8-core Mac Tower I'm running all this on has just been updated with an Nvidia 4000 graphics card and some SSD drives, and it's fine for now. But the Mac Towers are really showing their age. And although I love OSX, and dread Windows 7, I may not have long before I have to switch. Yes, Tim Cook just said that next year they've got a surprise for us professionals - and it's going to be "awesome."
Allen Williams operates E.Motion Productions in Las Vegas. He can be reached at:

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June 18, 2012
  PromaxBDA: Risk-Talking vs Risk-Taking
Posted By Joel Pilger
Day three at PromaxBDA 2012 saw many of us attendees conceding we are mere mortals; after several days of non-stop overload, my creative director Brian Eloe here is having a Red Bull alongside his Stella Artois. Yes, a stimulant and a depressant, all in one. Welcome to Promax week.

So looking back on the amazing week that was PromaxBDA 2012, what did we witness? What did we learn? How will we put it to good use?

Innovation or Novelty?

In just about every session you heard the word "innovation." No doubt, there was some amazing, innovative work on display this year. But what separates true "innovation" from its inferior cousin, "novelty"?

As we -- clients or vendors, networks or agencies -- actually taking risks or merely talking risk? When facing a rebrand, or promo campaign, or an upfront, the challenge is often the same: be remarkable, get attention, move the needle, satisfy the brief. 

Going into the process, I've heard countless network execs tell me and my brand-building production company, "We want a big idea!" when all they were really prepared to deal with was an old idea with a twist. After all, old ideas that work are safe. And if we add a little twist, we've all accomplished something "innovative." You see the irony here.

Certainly, beautiful and flashy visuals will catch our eyes. But is trendy design in and of itself innovative? Startling or shocking subject matter that we've never seen before will grab our attention. But is our definition of innovative simply just "new"?

Standing Out. And Standing the Test of Time.

"New" can command attention in the short-term. But only your "why" - your values, what you believe -- can command viewer loyalty in the long-term. Brands that have both, do both: they stand out and they stand the test of time.

Brands that have built empires have not been mere masters at "new" and "fresh" and "trendy." They command our allegiance because while they were busily reinventing themselves, they were also speaking to us about their values -- which almost never change.

My friend, Markus Schmidt of United Senses, likens a brand to a tanker ship. Once you steer it in a specific direction, "It takes time to turn it." As it should.

Let's eschew "new" in exchange for true innovation. And let's never lose touch with the "why" behind our companies and our brands. Commit to never-ending innovation combined with undying devotion to your timeless "why." At the intersection of those two lies our viewers' real relationships with our brands. And our success.

Joel Pilger is President and Founder of Denver-based Impossible (

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June 18, 2012
  PromaxBDA: Fat and Happy
Posted By Jeff Boortz
PromaxBDA 2012 has wrapped but I'm still reeling. It over delivered on its promise to stimulate my mind, get the creative juices flowing, reconnect me with old friends and introduce me to new ones. Jonathan Block-Verk, Jill Lindeman, and their team, including a host of student/interns are deserving of our thanks and congratulations. PromaxBDA is definitely back. Well done and thank you.

Take Away

As I pack up my room and shuffle together the mountain of business cards I've collected I reflect on the amazing strides our industry has made in the last few years. Most people leave their jobs at the end of their careers much as they found them, but the pace of change in media is not only fast, it is accelerating. The pacing and complexity of linear spots, sizzle reels, and graphic intercuts has quickened. The wit is sharper, the action and sexuality is more intense, and layering of messages more nuanced. Graphic storytelling, that used to swing like a pendulum between slick and gritty each year has exploded into a lush garden of styles and production techniques, with hybrids of every conceivable variety in endless bloom.  The 2nd and 3rd screen experiences are becoming as compelling as the giant flatscreen in the living room, and are acting as multipliers of consumer engagement when they are synchronized with it. The blunt instrument of ratings has been honed into a sharp stick and is prodding the art of on-air promo, and network branding back into a true design discipline. I am in awe.
But, as a better man than I once said, "With great power comes great responsibility." What I wish I had heard more of, on the stage, and in the networking breaks, was a discussion of the state of our society. We are on the edge. Media influences behavior. We know that, in fact, we have built our careers on it. Media can amuse and sedate us-- divert our attention, but it can also nudge us toward a better world by encouraging us to be aware of and concerned for the people around us, tolerant of viewpoints that are different from our own, and engaged in the real world institutions that govern our lives. Every one of us at this PromaxBDA has a finger on the steering wheel, and I encourage you to look down the road and do what you can to help keep the bus that is the USA from driving off a cliff.
Signing off.

Jeff Boortz is a partner and executive producer with Atlanta-based BE the Creative Source (
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June 18, 2012
  PromaxBDA: "The Art of Title Design"
Posted By Danixa Diaz
I was very proud to introduce "The Art of Title Design" session... composed by some of the best title designers of our time and hosted by The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.  Salon D was packed, people were sitting on the floor and standing against the walls... but you could have heard a pin drop, as everyone focused on the stories told! 

This session was moderated by two time EMMY winners and PromaxBDA Gold Recipients, Ellen and Lynda Kahn. It was a rare opportunity to see and hear from such an elite group of creators... Each one of them spoke about process, experiences and delighted us with each title... 

First Rob Feng, from Elastic, presented last year's EMMY winner for outstanding title design:  "Game of Thrones." The title's research and preparation, was as intricate as the actual animation. 

Then Imaginary Forces' Director, Michelle Dougherty, took us through a beautiful journey through Mid Century Miami with "Magic City," all under water. 

Followed by Michael Riley, Creative Director of Shine, who reminded us of the melt-down our country suffered only a few years ago, with his title for "Too Big To Fail." 

Then the acclaimed title designer Kyle Cooper from Prologue, who has been credited by many with revitalizing main title design as an art form, introduced us to his process and approach for the titles of Ryan Murphy's darkest, "American Horror Story." 

The session ended with a unique and inspiring title for "New Girl," by John Priday, CD and Veva Burns, Art Director, for Framework LA. 

The session felt short, there were five outstanding titles and six outstanding artists and there was not enough time for a proper Q&A. These are the types of sessions creatives crave for and I hope we keep bringing them back! 

Danixa Diaz is a partner/executive producer with LA-based collective International Artists. She can be reached at:
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June 15, 2012
  Day Two at PromaxBDA 2012
Posted By Joel Pilger
Day  two of PromaxBDA 2012 here in LA was full of sessions, saucy celebs and serendipitous meetings. I've enjoyed innumerable meetings and fly-bys with clients and colleagues.
What caught the attention of Impossible? What keen insights are emerging from this crowd of television marketing wunderkinds?
2nd Screen Theory Becomes Reality

For years the television industry has been talking about the coming of " the 2nd screen," e.g., the iPad sitting in your lap while you watch TV.

No longer a theory, the tipping point is being crossed right now. Multiple speakers in multiple sessions have shared not just opinions, but hard data. And the data backs up what we've all intuitively (there's that word again) known was coming: viewer habits are dramatically shifting.
Now that the data is in, calling the 2nd screen a "game changer" turns out not to be an overstatement.

Many networks are not quite sure what to do about that. And so long as the revenue streams of networks are tied to old-school method of measurement, much of the talk about 2nd screen viewer engagement will remain just that. It won't be long, though, before the shift starts to cause serious disruptions.

As further evidence that a real trend is afoot, specialty digital creative boutiques (my friends at Neo-Pangea come to mind) are helping lead the way into this new frontier. And that is a very good thing.

Without a doubt, exploring the 2nd screen will be an exciting, albeit disruptive, adventure.
Continue reading "Day Two at PromaxBDA 2012" »

June 14, 2012
  PromaxBDA: Day 2's hottest session
Posted By Drew Neujahr
As Stefon from SNL can attest, day two at Promax was all about the hottest session the conference had to offer, Videophonic (in which Roger was a participant/ panelist).  Videophonic brought together 8 studios, doing some of the most compelling work in the biz, in order to create videos for songs that were hits pre- MTV and that don't already have videos. Studios included:

• Roger
• Big Machine
• Radley
• Thirdeye
• Pistolera
• Spacejunk
• Royale
• Wildlife

Everyone brought their A-game and each piece was uniquely beautiful.  The response was overwhelmingly positive.  

The session was followed up by a lavish party on a nearby rooftop lounge where people who where not able to get a seat in the session were able to view the videos and celebrate with the design companies and their teams.  
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June 14, 2012
  PromaxBDA: The Roger Awareness Tour
Posted By Drew Neujahr
Apparently LA cabbies don't want you to charge a fare under $10. We learned that the hard way taking clients to dinner at Mas Malo for Beef and Pickle tacos last night before heading to the conference party at the Griffith Park Observatory.

Thank god the boys from Spike still have a little analog pocket change in their wallets. Fortunately Promax & BDA had the ride to the party well covered with a lively tour bus service that gave goers a glimpse of beautiful Los Feliz on the way up the hill.  

The food and drinks were flowing. Hob-knobbers were Hob-knobbering. Out-of-towners were filling up their instagram feed and a string section serenaded the crowd with unlikely orchestral jams from, the likes of Phoenix and Kelly Clarkson. Overall there was fun to be had and we had it.  

Throughout the night there was a planetarium show that some people said we must see and others warned us to avoid. We opted for casual small talk over contemplating our place in the universe. 

Drew Neujahr is with the LA-based "playground" Roger (, which specializes in bringing creative visions to life. He can be reached at:

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June 14, 2012
  PromaxBDA: Best Practices
Posted By Joel Pilger
The theme of Lee Hunt's annual "Best Practices" session was "Dynamic Branding." Lee gave us a quick overview of a "well-branded hour," courtesy of USA Network. He then began to unpack the ingredients that go into Dynamic Branding.

Lee's overall theory is based upon "The Broken Window Theory" from Malcolm Gladwell: taking care of little details is how you take care of your brand's big picture.

Social TV and Feedback
- TV lends itself to social media multitasking.
- 76 percent of viewers post live. They love being in the moment.
- Social conversation has quadrupled in prime time over the past year.
- Social media "makes TV better" via a "virtuous cycle between the screen on the wall and the one in the hand."
- This is good. But the best feature of social media is FEEDBACK.
- Future is decoding the myriad of social conversations.

- How do we differentiate when so many shows are similar?
- The one hour wheel: 3,600 seconds
- Pre-break Erosion: viewership falloff just before the break
- It's a real problem because of C3 (commercials) ratings
- Billboards: lots of viewership falloff in the A position, not in the Z position
- Be careful how you bump out of a program

Where the Rubber Meets the Road
- Long (over 7-10 sec) opens are problematic, viewers use that time to surf the competition.
- Lose bumps and billboards, they all contribute to viewership falloff!
- Shorten show opens, or better yet, refresh them (ex. The Simpsons)

Lee Hunt, as always, delivers. He is the master at sifting disparate data masses to find patterns, then distill them down into usable best practices for us mere mortals in the television business. His findings always seem to reinforce much of what I know intuitively, but find hard to objectively express to my clients.

Joel Pilger is the President and Founder of Impossible ( in Denver, CO.
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June 14, 2012
  PromaxBDA: The 'Videophonic' session
Posted By Ken Carlson
Enthusiastic crowds greeted the world premiere of nine music videos created by nine  leading design studios today in Downtown Los Angeles as part of the "Videophonic" session at the 2012 Promax/BDA Conference. All Videophonic music videos featured music that had not been previously given a music video treatment. The concept was the genesis of Big Machine's Creative Director Steve Petersen who says he, "just wanted a platform to allow  traditional rivals an opportunity to collaborate and create something  really unique."

LA-based Roger quickly signed on and offered logistical support and help bringing on additional participants. The final list of participants included companies from across the US and one international participant: Big Machine, Roger, Pistolera, Radley, Royale, Space Junk, Wildlife, Third Eye Design and Tennant McKay from South Africa.

Big Machine's Sean Owolo said, "It was exciting to be involved with this many creative minds and see them perfect their craft." All of the participants were free to pursue their creative as they saw fit with the only constraint being that they use a song which  had no existing music video.

Each of the studios approached the assignment with a unique point of view resulting in an eclectic mix of styles and technique:

Studio: Big Machine 
Song: "I Feel Love" by Donna Summer (BMG mix) 
Presenter: Steve Petersen, Creative Director 
This live-action video featured body-painted actors animals evading a hunter in a forest. The director, Steve Petersen, explained how the non-specific lyrics in "I Feel Love" allowed for an open-ended  interpretation of the song. The director described the video as a heroic, survival-driven love story.

Studio: Roger 
Song: "Dancing Machine" by The Jackson Five (Loud N Clear Remix) 
Presenter: Terence Lee, Creative Director 
This live-action video featured cardboard robots dancing at a high school  prom. Terence Lee, Creative Director at Roger, described the video as a  homage to '80s flicks such as "16 Candles" and "The Breakfast Club." Roger collaborated with students at Cypress College to create the cardboard robots.

Studio: Pistolera 
Song: "Black Sabbath" by Black Sabbath 
Presenter:  Ryan Bosworth, Director 
This live-action video featured a  multi-dimensionally dysfunctional couple set in a modern, mostly white  futuristic home. Ryan Bosworth, the director, told the audience he was  looking to create something with beautiful visuals that had a dark story  line.

Studio: Third Eye Design Group 
Song: "Bad Moon Rising" by Creedence Clearwater Revival 
Presenter: Manny Gonzalez, Creative Director 
This  all-CG video was executed in the style of orthographic projections with  clever line-by-line visual interpretations of the song lyrics. Manny  Gonzalez, Creative Director at Third Eye Design Group, said he was  inspired by all of the 2012 end-of-the-world hysteria.

Studio: Tennant McKay 
Song:  "In a Landscape" by John Cage 
This all-CG video used striking landforms  transposed with angular and multi-color design elements in synch with  the music to create a surreal video and audio experience.

Studio: Radley 
Song "Can't Get Next To You" by The Temptations
Presenter: Kurt Spencer, Creative Director 
This  hybrid live-action/CG video combined a contemporary version of The  Temptations in lyric-inspired situations inter-cut with choreographed  dancers. Kurt Spencer, Creative Director at Radley, said his initial interest in The Temptations was formed at an early age when he visited  the Henry Ford Museum in Detroit, which featured a display with The  Temptations dance steps.

Studio: Royale 
Song: "Evil" by Howlin' Wolf 
Presenters: Andy Lyon, CG Supervisor and Jonathan Kim, Art Director 
This all-CG video featured high contrast white on black "scratch board"  imagery set to the lyrics of "Evil" by Howlin' Wolf. Andy Lyon, CG Supervisor at Royale, told the audience that they wanted to create a video that felt more analog than digital.

Studio: Spacejunk 
Song: "Bonnie and Clyde" by Serge Gainsbourg and Brigitte Bardot 
Presenters: Jeff Boddy and Mike Beaumont, Creative Directors 
This live-action video features the final moments of the outlaw couple Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow. Jeff Boddy and Mike Beaumont, Creative  Directors at Spacejunk, explained to the audience that their video was  inspired by a poem written by Bonnie Parker herself before the couple  was shot. The video features ultra high-speed cinematography inter-cut  with the footage of Bonnie & Clyde.

Studio: Wildlife 
Song: "Give Me Danger" by Iggy and The Stooges 
Presenter: Scott Friedman, Creative Director 
This  all-CG video is a psychedelic trip through space and time. Scott  Friedman, Creative Director at Wildlife, told the crowd that video was  influenced by the visceral power of Iggy Pop and explores the power of  memories and the escape from those memories. 

Ken Carlson is the Co-Founder/Creative Director of Big Machine ( in Burbank, CA.
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June 14, 2012
  PromaxBDA: Lots of Challenges, Lots of Ideas
Posted By Joel Pilger
As the television marketing world has descended upon LA Live for PromaxBDA, I'm struck by the incredibly smart and passionate people in this industry. This place is bustling with challenges. And ideas.
Before the conference was even officially underway, I was hearing some recurring themes. At Monday night's PromaxBDA Elite Member Party, peeps were buzzing:
"Build your brand, one spot at a time."
"Drive viewer loyalty, not just tune-in."
"Make a decision and move forward. You can adapt later."
"Go with your gut." 
"New break structures." 
"A rebrand is not a project, it's a process... that doesn't ever really end."
"Ratings are important but so is persistence and staying true to your brand."

A Few Key Notes

Then, as if on cue, Wired contributing editor Jonah Lehrer kicked off the conference with a keynote address that began coalescing a few of these very themes.
On solving creative problems, "Grit (not intelligence or focused thinking) is the biggest single predictor of success."
On collaboration: "The era of the lone genius is over." 
On teams: Diversity of talent and working together (in the same environment) are key. "Human friction is what creates the spark."
Thanks for sharing, Jonah. It's going to be a good week. I'm looking forward to the conversation.

Joel Pilger is the President and Founder of Impossible ( in Denver, CO.
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June 14, 2012
  PromaxBDA: Day Dos
Posted By Danixa Diaz

This session stood out for me at PromaxBDA - Day DOS... 

Videophonic - Where eight studios were asked to create music videos for songs from before the 80's. These guys went all out... from live action, to animation, to hybrid solutions and breakthrough solutions, the passion, creativity and immense effort was felt in the room! Here is a list of the studios, the songs and the artists: 

Big Machine - I Feel Love - Donna Summer

Roger - Dancing Machine - Jackson 5

Pistolera - Black Sabbath - Black Sabbath

Third Eye - Dark Moon Rising

Radley - I Wanna Get Next to You - The Temptations

Royale - Evil - Howlin Wolf

Space Junk - Bonnie and Clyde

Wildlife - Iggy and the Stooges

And I would like to say BRAVO!!!

Danixa Diaz is a partner/executive producer with LA-based collective International Artists. She can be reached at:

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June 14, 2012
  PromaxBDA: Networking
Posted By Danixa Diaz

When Post asked me if I wanted to Blog from PromaxBDA, I said YEAH, let's do it! What's that? Just kidding... I immediately thought: "It will be fun...I've never done it... I love writing," and so many other great reasons ... But reality bites and here I am writing after a long day and  feeling like I am disappointing my readers, because I am so behind. Wow, did I say my readers? 

We were transported by shuttles to the Griffith Observatory and the view could not be more spectacular... Red Carpet, champagne, food and tons of people everywhere... Perhaps we were missing a bit of music, but everything happens for a reason, and I actually had a few very productive conversations during the night. Met Otto from Norway and made some of my friends from BET, Maurice Marable and Kendrick Reid, laugh a little. Back to the hotel and a few more drinks at the Lobby Bar of the Marriott, before hitting the sack was in order.

Continue reading "PromaxBDA: Networking" »

June 13, 2012
  PromaxBDA: Ryan Murphy
Posted By Danixa Diaz

It was a full room for Ryan Murphy at PromaxBDA! He spoke about Glee, American Horror Story and how he deals with stress - which he says he is not very good at!

Ryan Murphy likes Girls... the show TV that is!!! And says the hardest thing to pull-off in TV is good lighting... This is a session worth watching on As expected, he is intense, focused and seriously funny at the same time!

Danixa Diaz is a partner/executive producer with LA-based collective International Artists. She can be reached at:

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June 13, 2012
  PromaxBDA: Creative Educator's Forum
Posted By Jeff Boortz
With one toe firmly in the industry and another in academia, I am sitting right now in the Creative Educator's Forum at Promax. It is the third year for this forum and my second, and it is amazing to see how the meeting has evolved. 

Katerina Zacharia, director of industry development and diversity, Promax, stated eloquently, and I'm paraphrasing, that our industry needs a steady stream of fresh talent, and this meeting is about partnering with you, creative educators from print, motion graphics, marketing, and advertising, to create an awareness of, a bridge to careers in entertainment marketing. The half-day forum brings us closer to that goal by simply putting creative educators and industry veterans in the same room and tasking them with building that bridge.

It isn't all about what "can be," but featured several case studies on industry/academic partnerships that are yielding results. Most interesting for me was Rob Battles, SVP creative services, AMC Networks and Pamela Goodale, associate Ccooperative education
coordinator, College of Arts, Media and Design, Northeastern University, case study on their internship on steroids program at AMC (that's PAID internships, thank you very much). 6 months inside a major network group creative department, and not just fetching coffee, proves the old saw that one learns best by doing. 

One student in the thick of it summed it up well by saying that she encountered countless challenges daily that bubbled up in the course of getting the job done in the real world that would never happen in the classroom.

A fantastic new feature of the forum was a roundtable workshop where educators at each table were joined by industry veterans and luminaries (I saw John Young from Comcast, Justin Cone from Psyop, Chuck Carey from Troika, and Drea Besch formerly of CNN) and tasked with recommending ways of integrating different big ideas into the classroom. Technology, motivating students, storytelling, collaboration, and entrepreneurship were the ask, and each table quickly harnessed the expertise around the table to generate a list of definitions, observations, and tactics that they presented to the group, and will be formatted and consolidated by Promax and sent back to the participants - lots of thought provoking concepts and big ideas.

Got to go, as Andy Merkin, Mirada Studios, is launching into his workshop on Transmedia storytelling.

In the end, the CEF is all about partnering with the entertainment marketing industry to generate big ideas, developing and sharing
proven tactics for putting them into practice in the classroom. Thank you Jonathan Block Verk, and Promax for making this happen.

Jeff Boortz is a partner and executive producer with Atlanta's BE the Creative Source ( He can be reached at

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June 13, 2012
  PromaxBDA: Thinking and Drinking
Posted By Jeff Boortz
So the 2012 PromaxBDA conference has kicked off in earnest, and if Tuesday was any indication, it will be one of the best I've attended. Favorite Color's crisp graphic titles and Reeps One's insane beatbox performance got the blood pumping to my brain, which is good because I needed a greater percentage of it to wrap my head around the concepts laid down by the legendary, Jonah Lehrer.

Through an extended anecdote about the development of stealth bombers, Jonah codified what many of us "creative types" have known all along: if you're stuck, you must get up from your desk, get out of the office, jog, visit a museum, or go have drinks with friends. We are not making widgets, and so our nose shouldn't always be pressed to the grindstone. 

Shortly thereafter, I took the advice and went to an incredible sushi dinner with Amy Troiano, VP creative services, Bravo, and Trez Thomas, VP brand strategy and executive creative director, Bravo, and Joel Pilger and Brian Eloe, creative directors from Denver-based Impossible. I don't really eat sushi, but I did find it interesting how raw fish cleverly arranged on beds of rice makes people smile.

After dinner we boarded the shuttle bus to the Promax Opening Night Party at Griffith Observatory. I used to live in LA, but like most natives never spent much time up there. LA is a stunning site from the hill, and along with hundreds of other industry types I huddled under heat lamps with an icy drink in my hand and took it all in. The conversation was lively, Tripp Dixon, VP creative services NBC Sports, Rick Paiva, VP creative services ESPN discussed, of all things, the finer points of European Soccer with Markus Schmidt, of United Senses, and I had my epiphany, "my job does not suck."

On the shuttle bus back I remembered what Jonah said next. He reminded us that success is 1 part inspiration, 99 parts perspiration. "Grit," as Johan called it, is the hard work and perseverance that transforms a flash of inspiration into a working solution. I resolved to get up early, drink until I feel the caffeine pulsing in my veins, and charge down to Dan Bragg's PromaxBDA HotSpots session. And here I go.

Jeff Boortz is a partner and executive producer with Atlanta's BE the Creative Source ( He can be reached at
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June 13, 2012
  PromaxBDA: Time to raid the mini bar
Posted By Drew Neujahr

After the hang over of last night's Kings Stanley Cup win at the Staples center, next door to this years conference, there were a lot of bleary eyes and a lot less mullets and goatees. 


Terry Lee, Roger's owner and Creative Director described today being as being like "a High School Reunion." I think it's a fitting example as much of day one was spent saying, "I know you!" or thinking "How the fuck do I know them?" 

Terry had a tech rehearsal for tomorrow's Videophonic session that Roger is a part of.  Meanwhile, Janice Walbrink and I spent the day in meetings, catching up with old friends and making new ones.  

Now if you'll excuse us we have a mini bar to raid.  

Drew Neujahr is with the LA-based "playground" Roger (, which specializes in bringing creative visions to life. He can be reached at:

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June 13, 2012
  PromaxBDA: 'Imagine: How Creativity Works'
Posted By Kate Canada Obregon
Jonah Lehrer's keynote, titled "Imagine: How Creativity Works," kicked off the 2012 PromaxBDA Conference and was an inspiring rumination on the process of creativity  and innovation. As we settled into our seats and unpacked our crowded minds, Lehrer reminded us why we do what we do. A collective sigh gently floated across the ballroom... Ahhh. 

Yes, we are the people who do our best to inspire and engage others. How do we do it? What is the best way to bring innovation to the world? More than most, Lehrer knows us. He knows that creatives need equal doses of relaxation (think little or no screen time) away from work and "grit," persistence and determination to achieve great results. But you probably knew that.  

Did you ever get the feeling you're close to a breakthrough working on a problem? That means, says Lehrer, that you better put on the coffee and push through. Meet with others in your team. Find people and engage in dialogue with those who you may not see regularly. Steve Jobs called these "bathroom moments." Relentlessly work for a "moment of knowing," Lehrer suggested, and change your belief that you are a lone genius. This is when your creativity will merge into breakthrough insight. 

Then again, if you don't balance grit with fun outside of work  you will bump against the wall without effect. Fun means relaxation and plenty of alpha waves pulsing through the brain. The interior areas of the frontal cortex of your brain need to refresh, the blood to flow.  As the talk came to an end we got up, refreshed and renewed. We're ready to design, create, inspire and do what we do best.  

Thanks, Jonah Lehrer. 

Kate Canada Obregon is with the full-service design house Oishii Creative in LA.

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June 12, 2012
  PromaxBDA: Day Uno
Posted By Danixa Diaz

By Danixa Diaz

Let the show begin with Reeps One amazing performance, electrifying the audience before we hear from the author of "Imagine" How Creativity Works, Johah Lehrer! 


This all after out Elite Celebration by the pool of the JW Marriott last night until 11pm... Late for LA standards! 

Where we also honored the Kings first Stanley Cup win in 45 years!  And this morning, bright and early, I had the opportunity to welcome our amazing interns... Looking sharp in their red shirts, they help keep the masses on track for the entire week! It was so inspiring to meet these smart, motivated, and eager college students!!!

I then tried to take a nap, but between emails and calls it was impossible... Another meeting, a very smooth registration process, with my pre-printed boarding pass and then the Ambassador's luncheon, where a young group of industry professionals, share time with some of their mentors and board members! 

And now I better pay attention to Jonah! Will report back soon... And all this from my iPhone!!

Danixa Diaz is a partner/executive producer with LA-based collective International Artists. She can be reached at:

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June 12, 2012
  Promax: Monday, June 11
Posted By Jeff Boortz
By Jeff Boortz

What better beginning to Promax this year than a Stanley Cup Final victory for the Kings, and an Elite Member Party at the Marriott ION pool directly above the madness? Victory chants, klieg lights, and circling helicopters, not to mention a 100 ft high luminous Stanley Cup gracing the building behind us lent an air of excitement and possibility to the event.

Every new arrival at the party turned the heads of the crowd. "Oh, there's so and so, and did you know he's now a VP at such at such-and-such." The crowd included the Titans, Lee Hunt, Mike Mischler, Executive Vice President, Marketing at CBS Television Distribution, and our host Jonathan Block-Verk. Mike noted correctly that, "Promax is like a family reunion." 

Kendrick Reid, SVP and Executive Creative Director BET, one never to disappoint on the fashion front, was there and sporting a top hat and a skull adorned ring on every other finger. Joel Pilger, from Denver-based creative production company, Impossible rekindled relationships with Trish Scanlon, VP Brand Creative at Travel Channel, as Brett Ashy, in an "Agusta Green" blazer did so with everyone else. Some, like Markus Schmidt, United Senses, came from the other side of the globe, David Herbruck, from Loyal Kaspar, and Wade Echer and Lou Tumolo from NBC Sports came from the other side of the country, while others I still hope to meet, came from just across town. 

Nobody swam, but everybody seemed to be diving right in.

Jeff Boortz is a Partner and Executive Producer at Be the Creative Source.
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June 12, 2012
  Apple Mac Pro towers get speed upgrade; pro users hope for more
Posted By Sandi Nasseri

By Sandy Nasseri

Apple's Worldwide Developer's Conference yielded some interesting announcements on June 11, however it still left many in the creative community asking, "That's it?"

The entertainment industry has long been an Apple-friendly (if not outright Apple dependent) community, and a big consumer of the Mac Pro product line mainly due to the fact that the ability to install multiple PCIE Cards and multiple processor cores are attractive features in a technology that is a staple in many post houses. However, the Mac Pro line hasn't been updated now for a little over two years, which has caused many professional users to think that Apple is not interested in their market share. And from the writing on the wall, it does looks like Apple's push is more toward portable units rather than towers.

The good news that came out of the Apple WWDC that could allay some of the fears within the industry is that Apple doesn't have plans to completely discontinue the machines and still gave this line some attention. While no new towers have been announced, a speed upgrade will be made available that can potentially boost the unit speed by 1.5X its baseline (according to this Apple graph So this show of good faith indicates that the company isn't abandoning the Pro users yet.

The old adage that "something is better than nothing" comes to mind, especially after two-plus years of radio silence. However, I do share what is surely the community's disappointment that a more robust Mac Pro offering wasn't brought to the table. At least we can get excited that there are finally some tower upgrades, plus new announcements about the MacBook Pro line with the new Retina display and support for new dual Thunderbolt connections on the units to enable easy capture, backup and output. (See ARTICLE on Post's site.) 

Regardless, I am a true believer that Apple will still continue to support the pro community and have faith that there is a new Mac Pro or some other higher-end machine that we'll hear about before the end of 2012.

Sandy Nasseri is owner/founder of MelroseTEC and a member of the Apple Reseller Board ( Melrose Mac, an Apple Authorized sales and service center, has locations in Culver City and Burbank.

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