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28th October 2009

ESAC Releases Video Series on Parental Controls Plus Upcoming Event News

esacThe Entertainment Software Association of Canada (ESAC) has released five new videos which explain step-by-step how to utilize the built-in safety and parental controls for the PC, Wii, PS3 and Xbox 360. Danielle Parr and Marc Saltzman take parents through a quick and easy step-by-step interactive guide on how to use the built-in features to ensure your children enjoy a safe and fun gaming experience. In the Introduction video, Danielle and Marc discuss console placement and choosing appropriate games for your kids and family.

Vancouver Event Reminders For This Week:

ACM SIGGRAPH Vancouver and the National Film Board present an Evening with Chris Landreth tonight (and this afternoon) at the VanCity Theatre. Tickets are free, and there are still some available at the door.

There will also be a Get Animated event this Sunday at the Vancouver Public Library main branch:

NFB Co-presentation with Reel to Real Film Festival
Vancouver Public Library 350 West Georgia Street
Info: 604 331-3663

Sunday · November 1, 2009
1:00 pm: Family Program — Kids & Youth Program
2:00 pm: Kids’ Animation Workshop — Scott Kiborn
3:30 pm: Family Program — Kids & Youth Program

Ghoulash Bash takes place tomorrow night (October 29) at the Metropole Pub on Abbott Street. Come out and enjoy the Halloween fun as the Game Industry Gives Back – dress up as your favourite retro game character and help raise funds for the Vancouver Regional Food Bank Society. Take part in a silent auction, buy tickets to win passes to events such as Game Design Expo 2010, Casual Connect Conferences and Games For Change, plus much more. Admission is by donation – either non-perishable food or cash. See the Ghoulash Bash web site for more information.

The Masters of Digital Media programme is holding an open house at the Great Northern Way Campus, also on October 29th, from 5-7pm. You are invited to mix and mingle with current faculty, students and soon-to-be graduates at the Open House. There will be samples of student work, facility tours and information about the program, scholarships and program admission requirements.

Thursday night is apparently a very busy night in Vancouver. There will be a Drupal meet-up at Appnovation Technologies ( L200-560 Beatty Street) for the Vancouver League of Drupalers beginning at 6:30pm. This month’s feature presentation: Information Architecture for Drupal – A User Based Approach with Vanessa Turke. Implementing a fresh design or new CMS without giving some significant thought to the organization of the actual content of the site can be a costly mistake “ a new look or a new system is not a fix for a poorly-structured website with boring content!” Vanessa discuss hows how some careful planning at the beginning of the process can help. There will also be a case study on the newly relaunched Vancouver Observer by Dave Egan and discussion regarding holding a Vancouver Drupal Camp in 2010.

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27th October 2009

Digital Alberta Presents Basements to Boardrooms

digital albertaCalgary – The Basement to Boardroom Series features two local companies per year, where successful Alberta based companies share with the Digital Alberta membership their success stories. From their embryonic stages, start-up financing to what they would and would not do again.

Join us for a wicked awesome session on Tuesday November 17 with Patrick Lor, President, Fotolia North America. Fotolia.com is one of the world’s leading providers of affordable stock imagery, with a database of over five million images and over one million international members. With web sites in 10 languages, Fotolia, LLC is based in New York and has offices in 11 countries. In 2007, Fotolia became the first independent microstock agency to enter the traditional stock marketplace with the launch of Fotolia Infinite Collections.

Patrick helped pioneer the microstock industry, joining the world’s first microstock agency (iStockphoto) in 2001 as co-founder. Upon his departure, the company was selling over 12 million images annually, and was sold to Getty Images for US$50 million in 2006. He has also held senior marketing and product development roles at Adobe’s Image Club Graphics Division, which produced and marketed fonts, photography, clip art and design applications to professional designers throughout the world. Patrick has extensive experience mentoring startups, and currently sits on the advisory boards of Aviary.com, Benevity.com and Bumptop.com.

This seminar is free for Digital Alberta members and $15.00 for non-members; it takes place at the Seven Restoloung in Calgary, with registration beginning at 5pm.

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21st October 2009

New Trade Association Coming For BC New Media Industry

New Media BCVancouver – Members of New Media BC and winBC have voted to merge the two associations into one. The new association is tentatively named DigiBC, which is short for the Digital Media & Wireless Association of BC. This merger has been in negotiation for several months now, WINBCand was officially accepted at the NMBC annual general meeting, which was hosted by Rainmaker Entertainment. Following the AGM, a brief extraordinary general meeting was held for members of winBC, so that their members could also vote on the merger.

The new organization will have many strategic priorities, including the building of a member-centric, results driven and sustainable industry technology association which will deliver value to its members, sponsors, stakeholders and the community at large. DigiBC will also promote British Columbia as a centre of digital media excellence across the globe, and enable BC digital media companies to excel in that competitive global market through innovative development programmes, strategic initiatives and advocacy.

DigiBC is proposed to have a format consisting of a Board of Directors, an Executive Committee, Association Management & Administration, plus approximately seven Special Interest Groups (SIGs) as well as a Strategic Advisory Group. The SIGs will encompass the many aspects of the digital and interactive media industry, such as Video Games, Animation and VFX, HR and Talent, Capital, Web 2.0 & Social Media, eLearning and Mobile & Wireless.

The web site for the new association is currently in development, but I imagine that as the merger moves forward, there will be more news coming from the existing amalgated Boards of Directors and the administrative staff. This merger promises to be a positive step forward for our industry in BC, and I’m looking foward to many new and exciting events and programmes for the province’s digital media industry.

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20th October 2009

New Book Focuses on Canadian IP

Miltons IPOttawaMiltons IP has joined together with Wiley, the publisher of the popular For Dummies reference book series, to create a Canadian Intellectual Property Lawresource for Canadians that outlines core intellectual property rights, how to make money from IP (whether your own or others), and a series of checklists.

The book contains a primer on the various types of intellectual property assets, from patents and trademarks, to copyrights and industrial designs. Each of the introductory chapters deals with one type of protection, provides definitions, pros and cons and instructs how to protect one’s IP rights. Later chapters discuss how to profit from IP and how to enforce one’s IP rights. A chapter on deriving income from someone else’s IP through licensing follows later in the book, with the final chapter dispelling some common misconceptions about IP. It is a quick read, suitable for individuals in a wide range of occupations and industries.

New Media BCJust a reminder that New Media BC will be holding its Annual General Meeting at Rainmaker (#500 – 2025 West Broadway) in Vancouver tonight, beginning at 5pm. There are some important issues on the table, including the proposed merger with winBC and the formation of aNational Film Board new trade association. It’s imperative that all voting members participate in this process.

Siggraph VancouverTickets are now available for the ACM SIGGRAPH Vancouver and NFB speaker session with animator Chris Landreth. This is a free event being held in conjunction with the National Film Board’s Get Animated cross-Canada tour. An evening with Chris Landreth takes place at the VanCity Theatre in Vancouver on Wednesday October 28th. This event is sponsored in part by vanARTS, Annex|Pro and 3vis.

In other news, Best Buy Canada will be celebrating the grand opening of their new store at Sevenoaks Mall in Abbotsford, BC this weekend. They are planning a full schedule of special events, including:

Grand Opening Weekend Schedule of Events:Best Buy Canada

Friday, October 23, 2009

– Before 9:45 am: Line up for a chance to win a $500 Best Buy gift card
– 9:30 am: Ribbon-cutting ceremony and $5,000 cheque presentation to Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Abbotsford, Mission, Ridge Meadows
– 5 pm: Meet Alexandre Burrows for an autograph session

Saturday, October 24, 2009

– Before 9:45 am: Line up for a chance to win a $500 Best Buy gift card
– 6 pm: Meet Default for an autograph session
– 1 – 3 pm: Meet Dora the Explorer™

Sunday, October 25, 2009

– Before 10:45 am: Line up for a chance to win a $500 Best Buy gift card
– 2 – 4 pm: Meet Spider-Man™
– 11am – 6pm: Play in the PlayStation Big Rig

The grand opening specials and $500 daily Gift Card giveaways are also included at all Lower Mainland Best Buy locations!

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3rd October 2009

Business Development, Events, Hearings and Awards

Digital Alberta has put a call out to its members for submissions for the MEDIAfresh 2010 Awards which aredigital alberta dedicated to the recognition of those Alberta Digital Media Professionals and Post-Secondary students who have created outstanding projects and programs between September 2008 and November 2009. There are 13 categories and two divisions (post-secondary and professional) for you to submit to. Nominations are also open for the people’s choice Award: Innovation and Leadership in Industry or the Best Entrepreneur – Creative/Business/Technology. Submissions are open until November 30 2009, with the finalists to be announced on February 5 2010. The MEDIAfresh awards ceremony will take place February 26, 2010 in the Glen Ross Hall at Mount Royal University. The Awards will include a VIP reception, Awards Gala and After Party.

igdaThe IGDA has announced the dates for the second Global Game Jam 2010. The three day game development competition will take place January 29 – 31 in a massive number of locations around the world. 2009’s inaugural event saw 370 games developed in 23 countries by over 1600 participants. Registration is now being accepted for GGJ locations, please see the GGJ Wiki for further information on participating in the Jam. So far the only registered GGJ locations for Canada are Ottawa, Calgary and Hamilton.

Young Women In Business presents Leadership Lessons from Influential Women in Business. Join Business Young Women In Businessin Vancouver, Professional Women’s Network and Young Women in Business for this unique half-day event. Talk candidly in roundtable sessions led by 15 senior business women and learn about their own personal lessons in leadership. Stay for a panel discussion with three influential business women who are helping shape the future of the local business community, followed by a networking luncheon.

YWIB is also presenting Beyond P!nk, a 2-day conference taking place November 13 & 14 in Vancouver. The conference will host 350 energetic young women over an action-packed weekend. This unique, high-impact and eco-friendly conference will create a space for young women to engage in intimate workshops, partake in interactive roundtable discussions, engage with industry professionals, build lasting personal connections, and celebrate inspirational women in busbeyond pinkiness. Beyond P!nk inspires through action, enriches through connection, and empowers through ideation.

This year, the conference features an interactive workshop series with extraordinary speakers, an All-Men’s Panel Lunch, the Connect! Women in Business Tradeshow, a break-out luncheon with cross-industry mentors, and a celebratory Gala dinner and Silent Auction. The goal of Beyond Pink is for delegates to walk away having been inspired with knowledge, enriched with ideas and resources, and empowered with new-found connections and friendships.

The British Columbia Technology Industry Association (BCTIA) has launched the 2010 Business Outreach Program to successfully introduce, promote and connect our industry to the world through a focused BCTIAB2B matching program, supported by the 2010 Pitch Book.

The Pitch Book serves as instant promotional material that includes technological overview, key markets, benefits and corporate contact information for each participating company. Being part of the ‘who’s who’ guide to BC Tech companies means:Pitch Book Sample

* Broad promotion of your technology, product or solution’s expertise and ingenuity
* Benefiting from a large-scale promotion campaign to business and media
* Access to BCTIA 2010 Business Outreach Programs including business matching and corporate hosting programs
* Potential one-on-one meetings with new customers, partners and investors

If you are interested in the 2010 Business Outreach Program and in order to help the BCTIA coordinate and support promotional activities capitalizing on the 2010 Olympic Games, please take 2-3 minutes to complete the following questionnaire. Questionnaire input deadline is Friday October 9 2009.

Telefilm Canada and the Canadian Film and Television Production Association (CFTPA) are proud to announce their latest collaboration in the form of an innovative training program that focuses on CFTPAproviding guidance to up and coming new media producers engaged in content creation for multi-platform delivery.

Telefilm CanadaThe CFTPA’s National Mentorship Program (NMP) is Canada’s launching pad for the next generation of film, television and interactive media production talent. Our five chosen interns train with the best independent producers in Canada in every facet of production – from development to post, drama to documentary. Through its diverse slate of mentorship programs, the NMP provides CFTPA members with enthusiastic and cost-effective production personnel. In return, our mentors provide one-on-one training to a dazzling new crop of emerging producers and filmmakers. The deadline for applications is set for November 2, 2009.

CRTCThe CRTC is asking for public input in regards to televised programmes, carriage fees and digital media. The general public are invited to submit comments and concerns up until November 2, with the CRTC hearing scheduled for December 7 in Gatineau. Canadians can participate by filling in an online form, writing or faxing the CRTC, or by presenting at the hearings themselves. It is believed that consumer concerns regarding package choices, particularly the ability to select pay and specialty services on a stand-alone basis will be an important side issue for this session.

“We are examining various facets of the Canadian broadcasting system as it adapts to an environment that is rapidly changing,” said Konrad von Finckenstein, Q.C., Chairman of the CRTC. “We are discussing a number of regulatory changes with the industry to ensure the system’s future health. It is important that consumers make their voices heard on the issues that affect them the most.”

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28th September 2009

ESAC launches the 2009 Essential Facts about the Canadian Computer and Video Game Industry

esacToronto – The Entertainment Software Association of Canada (ESAC) today released their annual Essential Facts book about the Canadian computer and video game industry. As part of the ESAC’s ongoing efforts to better understand Canadian gamers, the 2009 survey reveals interesting demographic facts about today’s gamers and their gaming habits. New to the 2009 edition, the survey also has a special section on the emergence of wellness gaming and the continued success of entertainment software titles designed in part to challenge the user’s mental or physical abilities.

“Canadians across all demographics are embracing entertainment software,” said Danielle LaBossiere Parr, Executive Director of the ESAC. “A wider variety of genres and titles are continuing to broaden the traditional definition of ‘a gamer’. Gamers are also using video games in new ways – to stay sharp, to socialize with their friends and even to help stay active.”

The 2009 Essential Facts about the Canadian Computer and Video Game Industry reveals:

– 35.8 is the average age of a Canadian gamer;
– 90% of kids aged 6-12 have played a video game in the past 4 weeks;
– 84% of parent gamers aged 18-34 play video games with their child;
– 48% of Canadian households have at least one video game console such as an Xbox 360, Wii or Playstation
– 96% of Canadian households own a computer
– Widening the video game market: 33% of all wellness gamers said a wellness entertainment software title such as Wii Fit or Nintendo DS Brain Age was the first video game they ever bought

Additional information in the report includes the use of ESRB ratings, how families play games together , year-to-date charts of the top selling video and PC games, as well as brand new statistics on the emergence of wellness gaming and its popularity among Canadian gamers. This genre of gaming has not only been embraced by Canadian households, but also by educational institutions, retirement communities, and in the health sector as well.

The research was collected through a comprehensive Internet survey using NPD Group’s Online Consumer Panel. Data was obtained from over 3,500 Canadians nation-wide who were identified as having played a video game at least once in the past 4 weeks.

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22nd September 2009

Fusion Forum Puts Out Call For Entries

Fusion ForumVancouver – Via NMBC – Twenty top Canadian Digital Media companies will present their latest ventures at the Fusion Venture Forum 2009 before Google and other top Silicon Valley investors, the only Western Canadian financing forum dedicated to digital media content and technology. The annual event will showcase early and growth stage companies that are original games, mobile & Web 2.0 and new platforms & applications ventures, on November 12, 2009 at Robson Square in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Register today for the Nov 5th Fusion Entrepreneur Boot Camp and the opportunity to be one of the 20 selected to pitch before top tier investors at the Forum including Google Ventures, Google Inc and SoftTech VC, one of the most active Angels in the Digital Media Space. If you have a new digital media venture seeking financing, please sign up early, as places are limited.

Fusion ’09 is organized by New Media BC and is designed to bring Canada’s hottest digital media ventures to the attention of local and international investors, provide valuable insights into key issues in the industry and become a premium networking opportunity for digital media investors and entrepreneurs alike. For more information, please visit the event’s web site or contact Fusion’09’s Director Christine Lim-Labossiere.

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10th September 2009

News From Wired Woman

Wired WomanVancouverWired Woman is pleased to present a series of four Professional Development Workshops featuring Heather White. These seminars are designed to assist you with such areas as assigning action steps to goals, defining the skills that will set you apart, gain a clear vision about your professional reputation and understand the power of a professional network. Tickets to the entire series are currently available for the special rate of $50.00 each for members and $65.00 for non-members. Members can also save even more with a four-for-three package at a cost of $150.00.  The seminars will be held at Campo Verde, 1600 Cypress Street in Vancouver.  Seating is limited, so register soon.

Seminar Topics:

Personal Professional Goal Setting – Tuesday, October 6th 2009 6:00 pm
Building a Powerful Professional Network – Tuesday, October 20th, 2009 6:00 pm
Developing a Specialized Skill Set – Tuesday, November 10th, 2009 6:00 pm
Developing a Bullet Proof Reputation – Tuesday, December 1st, 2009, 6:00 pm

Wired Woman also held its Annual General Meeting on August 31, and the Network is pleased to announce the addition of five new directors to our National Board:

– Maureen McKinnon
– Doneen Swart
– Mojgan Fay
– Dina Grskovich
– Karen Olsson

Membership for Wired Woman is free, and with so many great events such as the Professional Development Series, it makes sense to join the network and meet some really great women while having fun, socializing and learning. To learn more about Wired Woman, please visit their web site.

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31st August 2009

Digital Alberta Hosts Pre-GDC Austin Workshop

digital albertaCalgary Digital Alberta is hosting a pre-conference workshop led by Dante Anderson, an industry veteran, former GDC presenter and currently VP of Product Development at Kuma Reality Games, and Ken Bautista, an experienced entrepreneur and interactive creative director who has led and organized several digital media industry missions to Shanghai, Austin, Washington D.C., Hong Kong,

Ken Bautista

Ken Bautista

Austin and San Francisco. Together, Dante and Ken will share their insights and experiences in successfully navigating an international conference like GDC Austin. From identifying key industry players, building a game plan for the conference, and networking effectively, we’ll show you how to stand out, be memorable, and get the most out of being at GDC Austin.

Austin newsfeed from Dante… “this is the year of social networking…GDC is on it…the third keynote for Austin is Sebastian de Halleux, co-founder of Playfish, one of the most successful social gaming companies. They consistently have 5 of the top 10 most popular Facebook games…This is a must-see talk… In other news the website says that hotel deals are still available: the Marriott is close and a good deal. Note it is not clear on the website but you must actually call Marriott and mention the convention by name and that they have a promotion running–(sheesh)…finally attending Austin Gdc can be a good way to meet the sxsw folks if you are thinking of attending/presenting/speaking…Austin is a good show, lots of people to meet and the city claims (rightly imo) to be the Live Music Capital of the World so it is a fun and interesting place…details to follow.

Dante Anderson

Dante Anderson

As it is the new age social networking I will discuss social gaming and media At the prep talk. I will review the general trends and more specifically discuss how social media can be used to network an event like Austin. To that end I would recommend that attendees set up a Twitter and Facebook account if they don’t yet have them. I will mention a few good meeting places (Austin doesn’t have something as central as the W at the main SF GDC), some must see lectures, things to do at night (Austin really is the LIVE music capital of the USA as they claim) and some other networky stuff like trick I learned from some IBM guys. I mentioned this last time I was there but now I have found the article in question. See it at the prep talk!”

This is a mandatory session for subsidized delegates but we encourage and invite anyone in the industry to attend. AND THEN…come out for drinks with Ken and Dante and the Digital Alberta team afterward at Jameson’s!!

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29th August 2009

Saturday Snapshots

Fair Copyright CanadaVancouver – The next Fair Copyright for Canada – Vancouver Chapter meeting will take place on September 2 at SFU Harbour Centre Room 2245 at 6:30pm. The Federal Government’s consultation process will be coming to an end on September 13, and if you haven’t had your say, please make sure your opinions are heard.

Michael Geist’s report on the latest Toronto consultation meeting doesn’t show a heavy involvement from the interactive media industry. He states that “Tonight the government held its second copyright town hall.  Only it wasn’t really a copyright townhall in the sense of bringing the community together to talk copyright in an open and balanced manner.  Instead, the music industry stacked the room to such a degree that little else was discussed.  There was the odd intervention from ACTRA, the Writers Guild, the education community, and software developers (and a self-professed pirate who may have worn a fair copyright shirt but did not discuss anything that resembled fair copyright), but the repeated music industry representation was the dominant theme of the night…”  You can read the rest of Michael’s report on his site.

Eidos MontrealMontrealEidos Montréal’s General Manager Stéphane D’Astous has put out the call for a new PR agency who can handle a national campaign for their upcoming titles Deux Es 3, Thief 4 and beyond. It is at a time like this that I wished I still worked in the industry, because I’ve found the creativity and originality required in the PR fields to have contributed to the best job positions I’ve ever held. The Montréal studio is also looking for people to fill a few job openings, including those of Senior Special Effects Artist and Programmers for Thief 4.

VancouverWired Woman Network has partnered with Kontent Creative Group for a session on Wired WomanCreating Interactive Brand Stories this September 1. Wired Woman members will received a 20% discount on register for the seminar, which will look at examples of brand storytelling, identify what others stories are and how they are using the online space and social media to tell their brand’s story and engage with their audience. Just like the stories online, this workshop will be interactive and we will be doing some story building of our own. Please see the Wired Woman event page for further event and registration information.

CalgaryAutodesk has joined WorldSkills Calgary 2009 as a Platinum Sponsor and the Presenting Sponsor of the Mechanical Engineering Design (MED) competition. Autodesk’s sponsorship of WorldSkills World Skills CalgaryCalgary 2009 compliments its status as a Global Industry Partner of WorldSkills International and further cements its ongoing support of the WorldSkills Movement since 2007.

“Autodesk is proud to be a sponsor of this very important educational undertaking,” said Joe Astroth, PhD, Autodesk Vice President, Learning and Education. “Being an integral part of WorldSkills Calgary 2009 represents a significant opportunity for Autodesk to inspire the next generation of architects, engineers and digital artists. We are confident the knowledge and experiences students gain using our software will prepare them to meet the demands they will encounter in the workplace.”

Autodesk’s role as a Presenting Sponsor of the MED competition also includes participation as a sponsor of the Polymechanics/Automation, CNC Milling competitions, Plumbing/Heating, Electrical Installations, Industrial Control and Joinery Competitions. As part of its sponsorship, Autodesk will provide its Inventor®, Maya® and AutoCAD® software for use by Competitors. It is through these seven competitions covering multiple disciplines that Autodesk is hoping to inspire students to develop their skill sets. Autodesk’s software used in the 40th WorldSkills Competition will be donated to Alberta schools, benefiting students across the province. For more information on Autodesk products, please visit our local premier Autodesk representatives and local event supporters at Annex Pro.

Washington Interactive NetworkSeattle – For those interested in what’s happening across the border, enterpriseSeattle’s Washington Interactive Network will convene its 3rd annual Power of Play Economic Update Lunch. A panel of industry executives will explore the state of Washington state’s $4.2 billion Interactive Media Industry, the economy, and the Pacific Northwest region’s competitiveness compared with others in the US and Canada.

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