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26 2016 Jul

FuseFX Applies an Inspired Touch to AMC’s “Preacher”

Visual effects production for the first season of AMC’s drama Preacher is in high gear at FuseFX, Los Angeles, as artists work to enhance the series’ ample servings of supernatural mayhem. The pilot episode alone featured more than 250 VFX shots with a high degree of integration that achieves a seamless marriage between the practical photography and the digital effects.

FuseFX’s Kevin Lingenfelser serves as Production and Facility VFX Supervisor on the series (Paul Linden was Production VFX Supervisor for the pilot), with Casey Conroy as VFX Producer. They lead a compact but focused team of animators, visual effects artists and compositors whose work includes FX simulations, CG animals, blue screen/green screen composites, digital set extensions, fully-realized matte paintings, CG chainsaw blades, muzzle flashes, and elaborate blood and gore, or as Lingenfelser puts it, “everything AND the kitchen sink.”

26 2016 Jul

The Reel Thing

Grover Crisp

Grover Crisp

Grover Crisp (Sony Pictures executive vice president, asset management, film restoration & digital management) and Michael Friend (Sony Pictures director, digital archive, asset management) are creators and co-organizers of The Reel Thing, a symposium on restoration and archiving of moving image and sound, from the beginnings of the late 19th century to the digital present. Debra Kaufman had a chance to ask them some questions about the 38th edition of The Reel Thing, which will take place 18-20 August  at the Academy’s Linwood Dunn Theater in Hollywood.

What are we going to see at The Reel Thing this year?

The Reel Thing will feature presentations on using digital technologies (scanning, color correction, frame rate adjustment, color space and gamut) to present legacy films optimally in digital formats, modern tools for audio restoration, the excavation of a ‘jukebox’ format for presenting band shorts, the complex process of restoring Olympic films, the evolution of modern scanners, and efforts to restore the work of Louis Delluc, a stylish French innovator of the 1920s.

There will also be premiere screenings of several films: John Huston’s Beat the Devil, restored to the original, uncensored version; Marlon Brando’s only directorial effort, One-Eyed Jacks, restored by Universal in collaboration with The Film Foundation, and Robert Altman’s McCabe & Mrs. Miller, recently restored by Criterion Collection.

What is the current state of films that need restoration?

Hundreds of millions of feet of film have been transferred from nitrate to safety film, and many films transferred to high definition digital formats. Today, we are bringing that legacy up to a new, much higher standard of quality at 4K with high dynamic range. In addition to re-visiting preservation work done previously, we are also applying new technologies for restoration (stabilization, dust busting, flicker correction and color restoration) in ways that vastly improve upon what we could do in the 1970-1990s, which was the modern era of film preservation. Many nitrate negatives, even those with damage, are still serviceable. But they are at risk and, whenever we can, we go back to those negatives using modern scanners and other technologies to reveal the quality of the original films. Many films could still benefit from modern preservation techniques.

How do the studios choose which films to restore?

Our core mission is to make sure all the films in the library are preserved and, if necessary, restored. At the studios, our work to restore a film often relates to some market driver, for home entertainment or a unique television sale or theatrical release. But what also comes into play is the condition of the film, if it’s deteriorating, faded, missing something, or has ever been properly preserved. These considerations are always in conjunction with specific modes of exhibition, from theatrical release to 4K streaming. Films need restoration because, as the media of display evolve, the underlying legacy film must be prepared to accurately represent the original achievement of the filmmakers. If you need a film for Blu-ray, but it doesn’t exist on HD, or you want it for 4K UHD but it has never been scanned at 4K, it always comes down to this: you need to go back to the most original film materials and work at whatever the current highest quality format. And the formats change rapidly, of course, and keeping up with it is challenging.

How long does the typical film take to restore?

A restoration can be completed in a month or two if all the film is available and in good shape. More typically, the underlying negatives are not in perfect shape, and so different elements must be compared, methods of extraction may be tested to determine how to derive the best result, and many more hours must be expended in restoring color, removing defects, rebalancing audio and so forth. A difficult or complex restoration can take from six months to a few years, depending on the nature of the problems in the source elements and the resources available for the work.

What happens to the films not owned by a studio?

Films not owned by studios – “orphan films” as they are sometimes called – are often acquired by archives in the public sphere and restored and preserved as a part of our cultural legacy.

Will the Reel Thing be of interest to the Los Angeles post community?

Absolutely. Many people in the post-production community contribute to the work of preservation and archiving, and they are a part of our audience. Many people in the post industry are very interested in these kinds of topics and work with us to develop presentations related to their own work. As we have moved into all-digital workflows, the post community has come to realize how important archiving is to the whole project.

Can anyone go to The Reel Thing? Where should they sign up?

Anyone can come to The Reel Thing. To register, go to There are multiple levels of registration, including discounts for certain industry groups and students. One thing that is important to point out is that this event is a non-profit initiative and all donations and revenue goes to support the programs and services of the Association of Moving Image Archivists. AMIA is the key association for archivists, students, industry individuals who are working in the field of sound and moving image preservation and we are pleased that The Reel Thing symposium has been able to help support them, and they us, for many years. It’s a true service to the archival community.

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26 2016 Jul

HPA Builds for the Future: Recognizing the Next Generation of Media and Entertainment Leaders

BY: Mark Chiolis – HPA Board Member

A multi-tiered approach is underway at HPA to encourage, honor, and mentor our future leaders.

Following my fellow HPA Board member, Loren Nielsen’s great column last month on HPA’s initiative of Building for the Future, I’d like to continue with that theme, a topic of great importance for the HPA and many in our industry today.

My career in media and entertainment began when my parents’ reel to reel tape recorder broke and I decided that at the age of 10 I could take it apart and get it working once again. That way, we could continue to have the magic of recording voice and music within the family. After having enjoyed a number of positions within the industry over the course of almost 5 decades, my career has covered engineering, operations, production and post production, on-air talent, management, sales, business development and much more. I look back and wonder where the next generations of these individuals will come from as there are no longer any reel to reel recorders to break and that need to be fixed.

I had the honor of being invited to join the HPA Board over a decade ago, a time when the major focus of the organization was post production and the main event was the Tech Retreat. The term “post production” has evolved into many areas these days and the business of post-production is all encompassing. Meanwhile, the Tech Retreat continues to grow and is one of the top technical and networking gatherings in all of our industry, something I’m proud to be a part of. Being a “newbie” to the organization I wanted to help “make a difference” but at the time I didn’t quite know how, as the Tech Retreat was -and is – in great hands and running like a well-oiled watch. I approached a couple of other Board members and we kicked around some different ideas over a period of six months or so. I think it may have been during, or after, one of those famous Nola’s “networking” sessions, that fellow Board member Carolyn Giardina and I decided that the time was right for a new major undertaking for the HPA, that the Tech Retreat wasn’t enough work for a small “hands-on” Board of Directors.

Carolyn and I had the bright idea of starting an awards show to honor the creative side of the industry and celebrate those hard working individuals and companies that are the heart and soul of our membership. The dedication and perseverance of these individuals provide us with some of the highest quality commercial, television, and theatrical material the world over. After presenting our idea to the Board, they decided to humor us and provided a little seed funding to get things moving forward. We were off and running. Thanks to the great work of all of those committee members in the first few years and especially to Seth Hallen who stepped in and was able to co-chair the event with Carolyn, year one was very successful.

Over the years the HPA Awards have continued to build and evolve into the powerhouse event that it is today having honored so many, including many legends of our industry. We are looking forward to honoring others as there are so many that need to be recognized for the achievements they have contributed to our industry.

By now you’re wondering what the HPA Awards has to do with helping recognize, advance, and encourage the future leaders of our industry. What better organization and event to help make this a reality then this already established and popular awards gala, where yesterday’s, today’s, and tomorrow’s future leaders celebrate the best in the business. The HPA Awards honor accomplishment, but it’s also about learning and reaching new heights as we move forward into an ever changing, unknown, and sometimes a bit of a scary environment. The Awards is the perfect place to honor the emerging talents of our community.

As we dove into planning how to honor the young members of our community, HPA’s Women in Post were in the midst of launching Young Entertainment Professionals (YEP.) As Loren mentioned in her column last month, YEP will nurture, mentor, and help to advance the next generation of talented young men and women who are interested in the endless challenges presented in today’s world of media and entertainment. The timing was perfect to build a full mentorship presence in the HPA. Women in Post will be unveiling key elements and ways to enter candidates for YEP over the coming weeks, and the HPA Awards honor will be part of their efforts.

Like HPA has always done, we’re working together to build a platform to encourage the next generation of the HPA. As part of the YEP program the HPA Awards will select one or more individuals, 21-29 years old, to receive the HPA Emerging Leader Recognition at the HPA Awards on November 17th. Honorees will have their bio published in the awards program and we will give them a spotlight moment. This is both a great honor and some big expectations to live up to, especially considering those in the room and the accomplishments they have given to our industry.

This is a very challenging time for future generations in any industry, and even more so in Media and Entertainment. It’s never been an easy business, but today, so many great people are chasing their dreams at a time almost defined by its changes, and it is difficult for anyone to reach their dreams. HPA, through YEP and the HPA Awards is dedicated to being a support for these dreamers. We need them!

If you’re reading this Newsline, and you’re in the HPA, you already have an idea about the great industry in which we work together. While the challenges are large, the rewards provide those who are in it for the long haul a lifetime of opportunities unlike any other career choice. The kinship of others who are dedicated to the same goals and the satisfaction of knowing that what you are doing is watched, appreciated, and supported by millions of viewers around the globe on a daily basis. You have the opportunity to be a part of the “established” media, to join one of the newer companies creating pathways to the future or even to go “off-roading” and make a new path and lead the next generation to places not even dreamed of in today’s world.

Over the next few weeks, HPA corporate member companies will be receiving information about how they can encourage the Young Entertainment Professionals that you have been working with and mentoring. I encourage you to support these initiatives. Could it be any better than for you to attend the HPA Awards in November and to stand up and applaud one of your nominees as they walk on stage and accept one of the coveted and very limited HPA Emerging Leaders Recognitions.

21 2016 Jul

HPA Names Michelle Munson Recipient of Charles S. Swartz Award

Honor Will Be Presented to Aspera Co-Founder and CEO

During 2016 HPA Awards

Michelle Munson

Michelle Munson

19 July, 2016 (Los Angeles, CA) The Hollywood Professional Association (HPA) has named Michelle Munson as the recipient of its 2016 Charles S. Swartz Award. Munson, co-founder and CEO of Aspera, an IBM Company, is recognized as one of industry’s most accomplished technology leaders. The HPA Awards recognize creative artistry, innovation and engineering excellence in the professional media content industry and the Charles S. Swartz Award honors the recipient’s significant impact across diverse aspects of the industry. The HPA Awards will be handed out on November 17, 2016, at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, California.

Seth Hallen, President of the HPA, says of the announcement, “The Charles S. Swartz Award has special meaning to the HPA. It is bestowed with thoughtful consideration, and only when the Board and the Awards Committee feel that there is a worthy and undeniable recipient. Michelle Munson is such a person. Her intellect, talent, technical leadership, and entrepreneurial creativity represent the very cornerstone of what the Charles S. Swartz Award is meant to recognize. We are honored to present this award to Michelle.”

Michelle Munson is the co-inventor of Aspera’s Emmy award-winning FASP® transport technology and is responsible for overseeing the company’s direction in collaboration with co-founder, Serban Simu. Munson was a software engineer in research and start-up companies including the IBM Almaden Research center before founding Aspera in 2004. She has dual B.Sc. degrees in Electrical Engineering and in Physics from Kansas State University, was a Goldwater Scholar for achievement in Science and Mathematics, and later was a Fulbright Scholar at Cambridge University where she received a postgraduate Diploma in Computer Science. The youngest recipient ever of the 2006 KSU College of Engineering Alumni Fellow, Munson has also received national achievement awards from Glamour Magazine and USA Today and is a frequent speaker on technologies and trends around big data transport, cloud infrastructure, and mobile.

Munson said of the award, “I am grateful to the HPA and to all our customers and partners in the digital media industry who have supported us since our original humble beginning, and continue to shape and drive the development of our products and technology. I am tremendously honored to have received this award, and will continue to support and promote the technology innovation and entrepreneurial business spirit embodied by this award.”

The Charles S. Swartz Award may be conferred on a person, group, or company that has made a significant artistic, technological, business or educational impact across diverse aspects of the media industry. The award was named in honor of the late Charles S. Swartz, who led the Entertainment Technology Center at the University of Southern California from 2002 until 2006, building it into the industry’s premiere test bed for new digital cinema technologies. In addition to a long and successful career as a producer, educator and consultant, Mr. Swartz served on the Board of Directors of the HPA. Past recipients of the Charles S. Swartz Award include Ben Burtt, Elizabeth Daley, and Ray Dolby.

In addition to the Charles S. Swartz Award, the 11th annual HPA Awards will recognize excellence in 12 craft categories, including color grading, editing, sound and visual effects. Other special awards will be presented to winners of the Engineering Excellence Award, the Judges Award for Creativity and Innovation, and the HPA Lifetime Achievement Award.

Tickets for the HPA Awards are now available, here. For further information about the HPA Awards, visit

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1 2016 Jul

HPA SCRG Moves to New Date and Time! Mark your calendars for August 3rd

Due to the July 4th holiday week, we received a lot of feedback from people who would like to attend our new revitalized SCRG event, but will be out of town on July 7th. So, we are moving the event to August 3rd, still at the fantastic London West Hollywood.

To capitalize on the change, we are going to move back to a lunchtime format. So, mark your calendars for an 11:30 am – 2:30 pm event.

For any of you who have already registered for the July 7th date, we’ll gladly transfer your registration to the new date and time. If you can’t make it, we’ll happily either refund your registration or transfer it to a colleague.

We are looking forward to an excellent session that includes industry experts from Netflix, Sony Pictures, DigitalFilm Tree, Microsoft, AMIA, Media Silo, 5th Kind, Fox, Sfera Studios, Technicolor, Deluxe and Sohonet in an interactive roundtable discussion format. Meet these experts to discuss important topics of the day in an intimate environment. Enjoy lunch and networking as a bonus!

Click here to register for the August 3rd event!

23 2016 Jun

Dave Ginsberg Named Principal Consultant at IMT

June - Dave GinsbergIntegrated Media Technologies Inc. (IMT) has acquired Elegant Workflow Consulting and it’s founder, Dave Ginsberg, has agreed to become a principal consultant to IMT’s roster of media technology industry thought leaders.

Elegant Workflow Consulting, a year old strategic consulting firm, provided IT, business process consulting, design and analysis to companies ranging from startups to major corporations in the media and technology industries. Ginsberg is a senior level technology consultant with over two decades of experience in the design and engineering of advanced digital media workflows for media and entertainment companies. An expert in IT systems, digital asset management and workflow methodologies, Ginsberg has implemented some of the most complex and sophisticated technology systems ever deployed in Hollywood.Before Elegant Workflow Consulting, Ginsberg was the CTO of the Sundance Institute, and prior to his role at Sundance, he was a senior technology executive at Warner Bros.

23 2016 Jun

My Eye Media Launches STORM

June - STORM_Logo_06_20_16My Eye Media has launched its innovative solution, My Eye Media STORM (Storefront Testing & Online Retail Monitoring). It provides content owners with the ability to confirm the accuracy of their avails across a myriad of digital retailers and MVPDs in territories worldwide.

The solution validates key avail information including release date, pricing, episode counts, enhanced content, local ratings and more. It provides time stamped screen captures of the product on each storefront. It also provides merchandising placement information (i.e. carousel, landing page, etc.).

My Eye Media STORM provides unique client logins allowing filters so each user can see only what they need to (i.e. storefront, territory, language, etc.). Data export to a variety of formats including API integration into other systems enable My Eye Media STORM to be very flexible for reporting or analytic needs. Automated email alerts notify clients of serious issues such as products releasing early or other criteria they wish to specify.

My Eye Media Storm is a cloud-based solution developed internally using our dedicated development team. This allows it to be very scalable, reliable and updatable to meet the needs and requirements of our clients and platforms.

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22 2016 Jun

HPA Builds for the Future: Women In Post and Young Entertainment Professionals

By Loren Nielsen

About five years ago, a female colleague and I looked around the room at the Tech Retreat and counted the number of women in the room of 300+ attendees. We were saddened to count seventeen, and to see not one woman on the speaker stand throughout the day. We talked about how many talented, experienced, knowledgeable women we knew in the industry and decided to work toward change, toward creating more opportunity for the women we knew and those we hadn’t yet met.

Shortly after that Tech Retreat, Kari Grubin came forward with the idea of creating Women in Post. The HPA jumped on the idea of a supporting a group to provide leadership and visibility opportunities for women working in content creation.

The first WiP meeting was held at the 2013 Tech Retreat. Since then WiP has garnered over 600 members, held over 20 events. WiP summer luncheons are popular, drawing 60 – 70 women to network on the third Thursday of each June, July and August. The SMPTE/HPA Women in Technology Lunch, held at the SMPTE Fall Conference, has seen exciting speakers, including last year’s Cheryl Boone Isaacs who discussed her diversity initiatives. WiP roundtable events regularly draw a dedicated group to hear from and talk with women leaders. Roundtable events have focused on a broad range of topics, including workflow, personal brand building, work-life balance and career development. Women in Post continues to raise industry awareness of the need to be more assertive and inclusive in the outreach to women.

Now, the WiP is turning our attention to another under-represented group in the HPA – those under 30. We’ve noticed a lack of awareness in college students and in young workers of the many opportunities in our business, outside of traditional careers in directing, editing and cinematography or entry positions in data, customer service and machine rooms. We know that HPA members are an experienced group with knowledge drawn from many years of technical and creative efforts and a desire to share. Our members’ history is an important part of our business, providing context and insight to new problems and opportunities as we drive forward into a largely digital world. We want to bring together our constituents to share and learn from one another and we’re confident that the content creation industry will benefit from the energy and ideas of our youngest members.

To further that cause Women in Post has created a new program for Young Entertainment Professionals (YEP). To kick it off, WiP will host a group of ten YEPs for a full day at the Centennial SMPTE Conference this October in Hollywood. This is an opportunity for young professionals from 21 to 29 years old, to attend a curated day of round tables, the hi-tech exhibition, and to be mentored by business leaders representing all aspects of content creation.

The YEP SMPTE Conference event will include private booth tours with technology providers, a roundtable luncheon with professionals from the motion picture and television industry and mentoring sessions from Women in Post, and HPA Board members. The all day event will include a reception and attendance at the second annual SMPTE/HPA Student Film Festival.

YEPs will need a recommendation from their employer or teacher and must submit a one-page application to qualify for consideration for the YEP day at the SMPTE Centennial Conference. Women in Post will look to HPA and SMPTE member companies to recommend young workers for the program. Applications will be available beginning in July.

Please reach out to me or to any of our Women in Post Committee, if you are interested in participating in the development of the next generation of professionals, or you know a young professional you would like to nominate for the YEP program. We need all of you.


The HPA is committed to fostering the development of the next generation of professionals working in the production, post-production, distribution and related fields. With a focus on these young people, we can be assured a strong future. We are excited to be launching new programs specially focused on young entertainment professionals which will be announced in the coming weeks.

22 2016 Jun

MTI Film Releases Updates of Cortex and DRS™ NOVA

MTI Film continues to add features and improve the user friendliness of its industry-leading dailies and media processing platform, Cortex. A new release, available this month, includes an Edit Tool that streamlines the production of IMF and AS02 packages and other deliverables. The Edit Tool comes with a new user interface that conforms with popular editing software making it simple to use.  “It allows complex functions, like IMF packaging, to be executed in an intuitive and organized manner,” says MTI Film Director of Development Randy Reck. “Users can quickly and easily take care of tasks such as adding head formats and multiple audio and video tracks.”

The latest version of Cortex also includes dead pixel correction (which alerts production when a camera sensor has a fault), Dolby Vision support and 4K up-resing—all of which were first announced at NAB 2016.  MTI Film is also releasing an update to DRS™NOVA, its digital film restoration software. New features include Tracking Offsets, which allows tracking and image stabilization to continue when tracking points travel off screen; and Grain Tool Presets, which allows film grain patterns to be stored and applied during restoration operations.

Improvements have also been made to the Color Breathing Tool, which automatically corrects for color fading or “breathing.” The new DRS™NOVA was recently used in the restoration of the 1928 silent classic The Racket, produced by Howard Hughes. The rarely seen crime drama, an Oscar nominee for Best Picture, is being restored at the behest of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and & Sciences.

21 2016 Jun

Embracing Change

Seth HallenHPA President Seth Hallen recently published an article in the M&E Journal, entitled Embracing Change…

VUCA: Wikipedia definition as it applies to M&E


The nature and dynamics of change, and the nature and speed of change forces and change catalysts. Think about the rate at which new standards and formats are introduced.


The lack of predictability, the prospects for surprise, and the sense of awareness and understanding of issues and events. Not many predicted the impacts of OTT binge-viewing or Multi-Channel Networks.


The multiplex of forces, the confounding of issues and the chaos and confusion that surround an organization. With so many stakeholders, formats, workflows and such a broad spectrum of consumer behaviors, this creates chaos and confusion for M&E professionals and ultimately consumers.


The haziness of reality, the potential for misreads, and the mixed meanings of conditions; cause-and-effect confusion. Think about how many really smart individuals and companies in our industry have misread the market and failed in recent years.

Abstract: The rate at which our industry evolves is accelerating. Building and managing a company in an ever-changing environment such as ours comes with massive challenges. But there are some key principles that business owners and managers can apply that simplify the process of building a business that enables adaptability and agility to meet these challenges.

There are so many metaphors to describe the complexity within our industry. It seems like there are an unlimited number of cloud references, all cleverly comparing remote servers to the weather. Also weather-related, “snowflakes” are used to describe the infinite number of different workflows, unique but all perfect in their own ways. When it comes to formats, we’re in the Wild West, and when it gets real bad, we’re in a “war.” And it seems that a media and entertainment industry event isn’t complete until someone cracks a joke about the over-abundance of acronyms that we use to both simplify and compartmentalize our world.

Here’s another one: VUCA. But this one doesn’t represent a format or a standard or an organization. It represents a perspective. It’s a concept that the military began using in the 1990s when our armed forces were reinventing their strategies to meet the challenges of modern combat. VUCA stands for Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity. I am sure every M&E professional is immediately panged with the strong familiarity of these words.

There is a great deal of information about VUCA on the Web as it applies to many different industries so we won’t cover it in much detail in this article, but here is an overview of how VUCA is defined and how it applies to the M&E industry.

An interesting approach to take when evaluating your market and building your strategy is to think in terms of VUCA. Rather than struggling to fight these realities or hoping they simply vanish one day, it is important instead to modify your organization to accept this environment and create adaptations that enable it to thrive. In the words of Leon Silverman, General Manager of Digital Studio at Walt Disney Studios, “Its time to get comfortable feeling uncomfortable”. It’s time to forget about everything we know about running a company in a predictable market and its time to build adaptability into the DNA of your organization.

So how the heck do we do that? As it pertains to the rapidly evolving M&E industry, how does this method of analyzing our environment help you make decisions, manage risks, forecast, plan and move ahead? How can you foster a culture inside your organization that will be more capable of thriving in a VUCA world?


The overall success of any change management initiative is directly tied to how well the culture of the organization can evolve in line with the desired change.

Organizational leaders tend to think in terms of technical capabilities, infrastructure, P&L performance and market positioning. But while their heads are focused on those areas, many managers tend to forget how vitally important the culture of an organization, and the mindset of the individuals are to impacting their goals. Managing organizational culture is at the very core of managing change and impacting performance in all areas of your business. But the concept of culture, and how to manage it, is a source of confusion and mystification for many business leaders. Culture is such an interesting dichotomy in that it is intangible, subjective and immeasurable but at the same time is directly tied to measurable performance. How can we take an intangible concept like culture and translate that into tangible, measurable results?

Principles to impact cultural change

  • Promote cross-functionality as a mindset

The only way to thrive in an environment where it’s increasingly difficult to predict the future is to ensure that your teams are agile enough to change course and adapt quickly. Having agility is often seen as an infrastructural or procedural capability. Although there are certainly organizational considerations to being agile, it begins with ensuring that employees are empowered to think more creatively about how they can participate in solving the company’s challenges. This has a significant cultural impact in that it enables individuals to have a much greater role in positive change management. The initial mindset of many employees is that they work within a very specific scope of responsibilities per the job description they were given when they were hired. Even though they may have skills to contribute in additional ways, they may not feel empowered to move outside of what they perceive as their specific role. Embolden them with a cross-functional mindset whereby they look for opportunities that might be outside their “scope”. This helps the organization become much better prepared to evolve in step with shifting customer and market demands.

  • Think small

Smaller companies have certain advantages over their larger competitors. We see so many examples of how the nimbleness, agility and the ability to evolve quickly all play leading roles in successful disruption and market share growth. Leaders who work inside large companies often find it more difficult to mobilize and execute their ideas as quickly. But most of the trouble is rooted in the habits and perspectives of some individuals who have worked inside this large corporate environment for a long time. Regardless of your company’s size, anyone can adopt a small business mindset and gain some of the benefits. One effective way to do this is to ask your department heads to imagine their business unit as their own small company. Then encourage them to develop and execute their strategies in that frame of mind. Once you get them thinking this way, you will find the individuals in your organization better able to make decisions and execute more quickly and efficiently.

  • Always be new

It’s mind-boggling when we look back at our industry and recognize how much things have changed in such a short time. At this exponential rate of transformational change, we know that organizations that lack adaptability can quickly find themselves increasingly irrelevant to the current market. So an effective, and sometimes vital, exercise is to pretend you’re starting a new company every 6 months. Look at your current business base (clients, revenues, etc.) and make your best guess at where you’ll be in 6 months. Then decide exactly (and sometimes painfully) what you would ideally need to service your customers and how you would structure your “new” business. The insights gleaned from this exercise will guide your decisions on organizational structure, job descriptions, cost management and future revenue generation. It will help transform the culture and DNA of an organization to ensure that it can adapt and evolve at the same speed as the market.

  • Everyone knows everything

When an executive or employee is navigating a company in our dynamically changing M&E environment, there is great value in consistently ensuring you are aware of these changes through colleagues and peers in realtime. There is no better way to keep your “finger on the pulse” of the industry than by participating in technology communities, trade organizations and industry events. By engaging and interacting with other thought leaders, you will understand the broader shifts that are taking place as well as the nuances of change that may strike specific strategic ideas that you then incorporate into your own initiatives. No single person or company knows everything but the power of collective knowledge and community collaboration can only assist us in making sense of this VUCA world.

Seth Hallen has 16 years of senior leadership experience in the digital media and post production industries. With a proven ability to lead teams toward the successful tactical execution of strategies designed to capitalize on emerging trends and opportunities, he has been building profitable, innovative and market-dominant companies for over 25 years. Hallen is also President of the Hollywood Professional Association (HPA).