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BEAU at Sundance: Transmedia & the Changing Digital Landscape

BEAU, SundanceSundance opened Thursday, Jan. 17, and BEAU kicked it off with a panel discussion at the Indie Filmmakers Lounge, hosted by Power & Industry. The panel, “Transmedia and the Changing Digital Landscape,” discussed the concept of transmedia and how it is affecting the various digital media industries.

Transmedia is a phenomenon sweeping the entertainment industry, allowing storytelling to break away from strictly books or films and be told across multiple media types simultaneously. These multi-platform stories are creating new opportunities for writers and visualists, and challenging our traditional view of narrative.

The panel members included Rando Schmook, Executive Program Chair of Creative Programs for BEAU; Ian Johnston, Co-founder and Vice President of Too Many Legs Animation; Veronica Harper, Senior Character Artist at Electronic Arts (EA); Brian T. Christensen, Head of the FX department for Disney studios; Garrick Dean, Head of Illustration for O.C. Tanner and BEAU’s Comic and Sequential Art Program Chair; and Kyle Mallory, Co-Founder of Motion Picture Association of Utah and longtime filmmaker. 


The discussion started with a question about the value of the creative arts as a career and the importance of students getting the appropriate training to be successful.  Several of the panel members talked about the idea of parents desiring their children to follow more “stable” pursuits, such as business. The panel went on to say that there is a perception of artists not being able to make a good living and always trying to find good employment. 

Garrick Dean commented, “You hear about the ‘starving artist’ and it scares people away from the field. The reality is there is a lot of money in the creative arts and a lot of opportunity is out there.”

Rando Schmook added, “Everything in this room has been touched by a designer.  The art on the walls, the labels on the beverages, the clothes we wear. The creative artists are critical to our society.”

The panel concluded with comments about the future of transmedia and how it will shape the behaviors we exhibit and how our culture evolves.  People want everything right now and technology will continue to attempt to make things faster, easier and more accessible.  Transmedia is an element that gives people several platforms that are connected and that is the future of the technology and creative future.