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.
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.
Jeff Boortz is a partner and executive producer with Atlanta-based BE the Creative Source (becreativesource.com).