PromaxBDA: Creative Educator's Forum

Posted By Jeff Boortz on June 13, 2012 09:20 am | Permalink
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