2012 NAB Show Creative Master Series Preview
It’s April in Las Vegas and that means that once again it’s time for the NAB Show, which this year will be held from the 14 through the 19th. NAB, the world’s largest electronic media show covering filmed entertainment and the development, management and delivery of content across all mediums, attracts over 90,000 attendees and 1,500+ exhibitors. NAB stands for The National Association of Broadcasters and is the premier advocacy association for people in that field. Included as part of their annual show are events designed to attract those interested in filmmaking, which are the ones I find of particular interest. Indeed, currently creative professionals make up 25% of the Show’s attendees including Animation/VFX/Motion Graphics Artists, Camera Operators, Colorists, Creative/Content Managers, DPs, Directors, Producers, Editors, Production Designers/Art Directors/Crew, Programming/Content Developers, Sound Design and Mixing Professionals and Visual Effects/DI/Post-Production Supervisors and Producers. In fact, in terms of industry representation making up total attendance, those working in Film and Motion Pictures make up 12%, Content Owners/Aggregators 3%, Production/Post-Production 20% and Television/Cable/Internet professionals 23%.
In view of these stats it should come as no surprise that I was delighted to read about The Creative Master Series, which will be bringing together key players in the motion picture, TV, advertising and online communities and focus on the craftsmanship of content. Award-winning directors, producers and showrunners, who are the key creative crew and artists and studio and network production and post-production executives, will be on hand to examine the creative process from story through post talking about the latest trends and challenges facing filmmakers today as they try to learn new tools and techniques and keep up with producing innovative entertainment.
For many attendees I’m sure the most anticipated session will be on Tuesday 4/17 when Gary Ross (Seabiscuit, Pleasantville), Director of the nation’s number one movie “The Hunger Games”, which had the third-highest domestic film opening ever will join Sound Designer/Supervisor Lon Bender (Drive, Braveheart) and Sound Designer Bill Dean (Abduction) for a look into the film’s unusual collaborative process. In order to tell the story of Katniss’ transformation from pawn to sacrificing heroine during the lethal televised contest, sound and picture teams worked in tandem with director Ross from previs through production and the final mix. In fact, Ross and other key department heads moved their offices into the same building where Soundelux is housed during post-production. Using this collaborative process the artists were able to realize Ross’s retro-futuristic vision and immerse the audience in the heroine’s intimate point of view creating a believable high-tech, apocalyptic, glitzy, and primal world that serves as a telltale mirror of our own. The panel is produced in partnership with MPSE (Motion Picture Sound Editors) and Todd-AO sound teams.
Also being held on Tuesday is a session that I’m sure will delight Television fans – “The Walking Dead”; Creating A Thinking Person’s Zombie Drama. For the past few years NAB has offered an intimate look into the making of some of the most intriguing shows on television including “Mad Men” and “Sons of Anarchy” and I have no doubt this panel will offer the same types of insights with “The Walking Dead”, which is the most successful adult series in the 18-49 age demographic.. Frightening, fun and dramatic, “The Walking Dead” is a melding of horror, pop and high drama. The audience will be able to see how the filmmakers satisfy fans who are seeking a weekly jolt of intensity while sustaining a thrill ride throughout the season. They’ll find out how the comic books are transformed into narratives with cinematic character arcs and use cinematography, practical and visual effects and music and editing to build tension and produce maximum payoffs. Moderator Brian Lowry from Variety hosts Executive Producers Dave Alpert, Gale Anne Hurd and Robert Kirkman and showrunner and writer Glen Mazzara from the show. Last year Hurd was on a very informative NAB panel about transmedia explaining how she’d been using it for “The Walking Dead”.
Another Tuesday session is Producing Live Event TV with ABC, which will offer an inside look at the intricacies of producing live event television. Moderated by New York Magazine’s Joe Adalian, ABC Executive Producers and Creative Executives Mark Bracco, ABC Entertainment Group; Robert Deaton, CMA Awards and CMA Music Festival; Michael Gelman, “Live! With Kelly,” “Hollywood Squares”; James Goldston, Senior Executive Producer, “Good Morning America”; and Larry Klein, ABC Entertainment Group. Attendees will learn how appointment television is developed by working with department heads to design a distinctive look and sound and by shaping the vision with the presenters and talent. They will discuss the challenges of orchestrating multiple set changes every hour, of maximizing footage captured with more than 20 cameras, and of delivering broadcast-ready footage to scores of countries and of solving last minute guest cancellations, questionable gestures and wardrobe malfunctions.
Finally, the day before on Monday, April 16 is The Brave New World of Filmmaking with Digital Technologies with Production Designer Rick Carter (Avatar, War Horse), Caleb Deschanel, ASC, (Spiderwick Chronicles, National Treasure) and Visual Effects Supervisor Scott Farrar (Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon, Minority Report). From 4k and high frame rate acquisition, to production design with 3D software, from virtual shot choreography and compositing, to fully functional, immersive CG sets, new digital techniques are transforming the art and craft of filmmaking. This is opening doors to new forms of storytelling, upending historical ways of doing things and altering how department heads collaborate. This panel will examine the benefits and challenges of creating motion pictures with new digital technologies, showing clips and citing their work on some of Hollywood’s most honored and revolutionary projects. This session is being produced in partnership with AMPAS.
I’ll have more info and updates about this year’s NAB Show before the event and stories about the particular sessions I attend so stay tuned. In the meantime you can find more information on their site at www.nabshow.com.