It's been great having JUMP bring added community involvement to downtown Boise. Their recent Media Expo of Idaho, called MXi, was a solid launch for a new event offering media and technology companies the chance to network and showcase their products or services. MXi brings together a unique blend of traditional media and technology expertise. It's not often that you have a talent agency and acting coaches side by side with AR/VR demonstrations and community technology schools. This blending of broadcast, film and technology worked quite well, perhaps due to the fact that many of the underpinnings of these industries have equipment, skill sets, techniques and other elements that support the others.
For example, creating a product that delivers an immersive and engaging virtual reality environment requires developing a narrative that draws the participant through the experience. That simple description can involve the following individuals all of whom were present at MXi:
- A developer to bring the experience together in code
- A school to teach that developer how to code
- An accelerator or incubator to give that developer work space and support
- A writer to stitch together compelling narrative
- A talent agent to bring in voice actors for dialogue
- A marketing company for brand development and outreach
- A media company to create trailers and publicity assets
- A specialized equipment company to provide tools for the media company
- A spokesperson to be the brand ambassador
- A professional organization to help extend the developers reach into the industry
That diverse listing of talented people all contribute greatly to the success of our brief description for a virtual reality product. The interesting thing is that all those people are not usually in the same room at the same time.
The theme of combining expertise from a variety of media and technology sources was reinforced by the breakout sessions on storytelling, community development, social marketing and technology. Fresh Air Media Entertainment and NXNW talked about various strategies for creating stories that engage its audience. Megan Stoll of Duck Club Presents discussed social media outreach technique. The IVRC's own Ryan DeLuca delivered the inaugural keynote address and focused on rapidly evolving AR/VR technologies and all the industries it will affect. The development of new products and services will be exciting to experience especially since, as Ryan mentioned, "there are no bad seats in VR."
In summary, MXi was a fun day filled with creative insight and technology showcases. Props to Arnel Culum of CGwhat for putting together a great video of the event which you can see here. Jesse Cordtz, AV Manager and Play Studio Coordinator at JUMP remarked that “the energy in the room was palpable on Saturday. Many people were surprised by the depth and diversity of our media community. My hope is, by creating this yearly connection event for Idaho’s media businesses, we will see the continued growth and discovery of the incredible talent in our own backyards.” Several members of the IVRC were showcasing their offerings at MXi including Codeworks Boise, 360 Immersive, Villusion Studios, VYNYL, Citizen Scientific Workshop and VR1 Arcade. We certainly encourage MXi's continued growth and success. Boise does indeed have a lot of talent and continuing to build our community is important as our varied industries become more cross-dependent on each other.