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October 2014
Issue: April 1, 2006

GETTING ROASTED AT NAB

By: Randi Altman

Nineteen years ago when Herb Dow, then a VP at nonlinear editing manufacturer Ediflex, organized a dinner with some post production studio heads during NAB, he had no idea what he was starting. For him is was just an opportunity for colleagues as well as competitors to talk about technology and day-to-day business issues away from the craziness of the show floor… and to bust each other’s chops a little.

From a small steakhouse 20 miles outside of Las Vegas to its current location that they’d prefer not to mention due to space constraints, this Tuesday-night event is now stuff legends are made of. And yes, the bit about passing bottles of tequila around during the bus ride to the restaurant
is true.

“It’s grown so big and, of course, Bob Taylor’s Ranch House [the original restaurant] is now
inside of town. It was a dirt road when we started,” says Dow, who is now VP of sales at Teresis, which makes media management tools for reality programming.

This year’s guest of honor/roastee is Ted Gagliano, president of feature post production at Twentieth Century Fox Studios.

What’s the nomination process like? “I just think about who is due,” laughs Dow. “I tell them all it’s a committee, but it’s not.” And what about the roasters? “I just ask his friends and cohorts in the industry to get up and talk. Actually it’s a pretty gentle roast, especially with Ted it will be. Everybody likes Ted.”

Dow thinks the popularity of the event is tied to the fact that this is one of the few non-sales events during NAB. “No one is trying to sell anything,” he reports. “It’s also the only time that all the facilities and all the heads of post are in one room together. It’s just a party.”
A “big” party, which is why they have to keep moving it. “Every year it gets bigger,” reports Dow. “I just pick a place that’s at least a half-hour bus ride so we can pass the tequila bottles around.”

And it’s international, with attendees from the US, Canada, England and Australia. “It’s the high end of the industry,” says Dow.

The Herb Dow Roast is sponsored by companies with ties to post production, including Post Magazine, and any proceeds in excess of the cost of the dinner are donated to a charity selected by the roastee.