Digital media enthusiasts and professionals wanting to find out more about creating interactive games and new media will soon have the opportunity to ask developers themselves, following the announcement of the inaugural X|Media|Labs conference in Sydney on June 11.
Doom 3 game author, Mark Costello, is one of several high-profile international and local industry spokespeople slated to participate in the conference, designed as a forum for discussing the creation of digital media content.
The conference is one of the first events held by X|Media|Labs since its formation under the Australian Academy of Digital Arts and Science three years ago. The conference, which coincides with the Sydney International Film Festival and Sydney Writers’ Festival, will be held at Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art.
Other international speakers include director of creative development at the BBC London, Frank Boyd; co-creator of VRML and author of The Playful Work, Mark Pesce; and founder of Internet services company Spike Networks, Chris O’Hanlon.
Australian speakers include director of the Interactive Television Research Centre, Duane Varan; Tom Kennedy, head of Brainwaave Interactive, producers of content for Telstra’s BigPond broadband services; and Chris Winter, ABC New Media and AIMIA award winner for Long Way to the Top. Additional speakers are expected to be announced at a later date.
Although the one-day conference will provide an outlet for discussing the new media industry as a whole, the main focus of X|Media|Labs is on its first production workshop, to take place between June 7-10.
X|Media|Lab director, Brendan Harkin, said the four-day workshop was a way of fostering new locally-produced media content from people working in film, interactive media, games, entertainment, arts, publishing, music, communications and IT. "The event is to try to link independent media producers to people that can help them, as well as linking them to resources; not just technical but also to relationships," he said.
Harkin said eight to 10 projects would be selected by the organisation to be workshopped at the lab. These would be selected from those nominated and submitted by the group’s industry partners, including the Internet Industry Association (IIA), the Australian Interactive Multimedia Industry Association (AIMIA) and the Screen Producers Association of Australia (SPAA). Although nominations only opened this week, the organisation had already received 10 submissions, with 12 more on the way, he said.
Applications for the development workshop close May 16.
Industry representatives speaking at the June 11 conference will act as mentors to the teams, discussing individual projects and suggesting ways of improving them.
"We want to help organisations at the creative and conceptual level," he said.
One example of a project that could be discussed is using rich streaming media to promote content on a Web site and "to retake it as a communications device on the Internet", he said. "This could lead to (the development of) broadband content," Harkin said the organisation expected that 35-40 developers from all over Australia would attend the workshop.
Depending on the success of the June event, X|Media|Labs hoped to hold biannual workshops over the long weekends in June and January each year, Harkin said.
Both development workshops would be loosely tied to the context of the annual Sydney Film Festival or Sydney Festival and the Big Day Out; events which represent convergent media interests, he said.
Separately, the group was also holding a one-day event for anyone wanting to learn about streaming media. The Streaming|Media|Lab event will be held at Sydney’s Fox Studios on June 5 and guided by former Real Networks MediaLab manager and author of the Streaming Media Bible, Steve Mack.
The cost of attending the one-day conference or the Streaming Media event is $295 ($US186) for individuals, or $195 ($US123) for members of any of the organization's industry partners.
More information on all of the above events is available on the X|Media|Lab Web site: http://xmedialab.org.