The 2023 Infinity Festival Hollywood is, as any Mets fan would say, “in the books”. The weather was glorious, the lattes were delicious, the pizza was surprisingly fresh and filling, and the opportunities to network with like-minded, passionate creatives both on the content and technical side were ample. It was everything a gathering should be.
And in a week after a movie based on a video game set box office records, even when concurrently being offered on a streaming platform, the timing of a gathering of those at the cross-section of media and tech couldn’t have been more opportunisitic or appropriate. And at the conclusion of a year when Sony’s best theatrical efforts by far were dominated by a breakthrough animated installment of its studio-propping SPIDER-VERSE and the successful expansion of its GRAN TURISMO game into a well-received theatrical release, and, of course, when practically the entire health of the theatrical box office world was propped up by an even more groundbreaking creation of the world that a certain batch of dolls inhabit, to the tune of $1.4 BILLION in global ticket sales (and counting), celebrating these accomplishments by learning a bit more about how and why they happened was educational and timely.
The images you see here capture only some of the highlights. Meeting the likes of Phil Lord and Chris Miller, two of the winners of this year’s Monolith Awards, as well as some other lesser known talents responsible for some truly transformational work, in person, in 3-D, even as virtual and augmented worlds are being created, was a treat. Hearing these people extemporaneously and in detail provided insights and takeaways that no mere article or even livestream could completely convey. For those who were unable to attend for geographic reasons or conflicts, festival founder and CEO Mark Lieber has promised a wrap-up from his own perspective later this week, and if that means you need to follow him on social media to find out when it drops, so be it. That’s called homework, and that goes hand in hand with any gathering.
Because while it’s awesome to meet new people, shake hands, exchange business cards and contact info, and compare career paths, or at least the aspirations for them, limiting them simply to these kinds of gatherings and not following up kind of defeats the whole purpose of them. Particularly as the media world continues to struggle with its own raison d’etre in the wake of multiple strikes, production delays and, yes, many still reluctant to gather publicly despite all rational evidence to the contrary that COVID is simply not something to worry about, it’s all the more necessary for actual follow-up to occur.
If you’re among the many who are reading this who I interacted with and directed here, there’s a way to contact me directly for follow-up as promised. I’d honestly appreciate it if you would actually find a few seconds to do so. I’m frankly sick of getting spam and/or rants from ultra right-wing ramblers in the Middle East as the majority of the interactions. If the sincere confessions of needing work and/or counsel that we shared are real, the only way to do so is to actually follow up. To continue to build upon the foundations and the seeds that were sown last week at the NYA Studios. If you’ve got a need for my skill sets, my schedule is now WIDE OPEN. If you’re looking for some direction toward your own goals, I’m more than happy to help you, and I don’t just mean providing links to job openings where I don’t personally know the folks that are promoting them. We both know that sort of “networking” doesn’t work; in my case, there’s at least 1000 examples (seriously) of exactly how futile that kind of “networking” is.
I’m a veteran of dozens of these kinds of gatherings, and some of the most rewarding experiences and the beginnings and evolution of lifelong friendships occurred at many of them. It’s arguably a generational thing, I know. But if all anyone gets out of something like this is a souvenir and a selfie, in my view it defeats the whole purpose. The dedicated team at Infinity is committed to fostering interaction and discussion. Do note there will be monthly events in the new year as well. If you haven’t already done so, visit this particular part of their site for some descriptions of what they’ve done previously. And as anyone who has been to the Aster Hollywood venue can attest, there are few lovelier venues for such an event anywhere in this city, or many others.
I mean, look how it treated Mark and myself, right?
See you around, I pray.
Until next time…