Beatboxing and Brain Science: Highlights from PromaxBDA: The Conference Opening Day
| Jun 13, 2012
By Justin W. Sanders
PromaxBDA: The Conference 2012 kicked off yesterday in style... freestyle. In a surprise appearance, British beatbox master Reeps One opened the Conference Welcome with a series of heart-pounding percussion riffs, all made with his mouth and a microphone. The exhilarating performance set the tone for an opening day full of innovation, creativity and excitement.
After a few uplifting opening remarks from PromaxBDA president and CEO Jonathan Block-Verk, author, neuroscientist and "Wired" contributing editor Jonah Lehrer took the stage for an absorbing session on creativity and the origins of inspiration. Weaving stories of airplane designs, Beethoven and the bathrooms at Pixar, Lehrer discussed the perils of brainstorming and the need to relax sometimes to give inspiration the chance to strike. "When we are not relaxed, we are really focused, but that means we are focused on the problem," Lehrer said. "We are hopelessly stuck and stumped and that is when getting away from your desk is so important."
Following Lehrer, the session "Media Leaders' Summit" imparted a fascinating array of insights on the changing role of technology in media marketing and how linear television programming is evolving into a new model. Panelists such as Machinima chairman and CEO Allen DeBevoise, and PBS CEO Paula Kerger answered questions from moderator Joe Flint, staff writer at the "Los Angeles Times."
"We have the same financial challenges that we had when we started, but there are so many more opportunities and platforms now," Kerger said at one point. The rest of the session delved into those opportunities, focusing on new programming and distribution models that address the ever-evolving nature of media consumption.
Then there was Bruce Mau, powerhouse Chicago designer and deep thinker whose Massive Change project seeks to take design beyond material things and into the world around us. Holding his creative keynote audience rapt, Mau's session "24 Hours of Massive Change" covered the role design can play in today's marketing industry and how design can be brought into our workplaces and our lives.
Tuesday's sessions wrapped, fittingly, with "It's a Wrap With Ryan Murphy," a casual onstage conversation between the great TV writer and showrunner and Vulture senior editor Denise Martin. Their talk roamed from Murphy's recent hosting of an Obama fundraiser ("I was struck by how many of my neighbors put out Mitt Romney signs after I screwed up their traffic for two days.") to how his past career as a journalist helps him be a more disciplined writer ("I never have writer's block."), to why he doesn't use Twitter ("Me and two glasses of red wine and Twitter is not a good idea.").
Murphy's wry, witty humor provided a worthy transition into the evening's festivities -- namely, the dazzling Opening Night Party held at Griffith Observatory. With telescopes set up on the lawn, a special presentation from PBS/Nova, and food and drink provided by Wolfgang Puck, the gala was a packed affair, as shuttle after shuttle brought more than 1,000 happy Conference attendees up into the Hollywood Hills to one of Los Angeles's most iconic landmarks.
Check out the PromaxBDA Facebook page for great pics from all these Conference happenings and other updates throughout the week!