If you get invited to a conference on creativity featuring Vice President Joe Biden, 3D printers, President Fitzgerald Grant from “Scandal” (that’s actor/director Tony Goldwyn), a minion, and a chance to sit on the Iron Throne from “Game of Thrones,” I’m sure you agree with me that the answer is “Yes!” The event was sponsored by the MPAA (the association of the movie studios) in partnership with Microsoft and ABC News. MPAA CEO Chris Dodd told us that movie studios are technology companies that produce content and we got to see some great examples, with glimpses of upcoming films from Warner’s and Disney.
It was tremendously exciting. I got to play with some cool new technology. The throne is more comfortable than it looks. The minion was very cute. The Vice President gave a stirring speech about the way that movies convey a sometimes raw but profound message to us and to the rest of the world. They are “the face of American culture,” and more powerful than diplomacy. He said that America’s unique and unprecedented renewal is due to our “overwhelming and constant stream of immigration” and the optimism and commitment to improving things that is a part of our culture.
The presentation by Avi Reichental of 3D systems was mind-blowing. He told us of the grandfather he never met, a cobbler who died in the Holocaust. He talked about what manufacturing was like in his grandfather’s time, the opportunity for individual creativity and innovation. With his company’s 3D printers, the forces that have made manufacturing large, institutional, and moved overseas will become less important. 3D printing “democratizes” manufacturing and creates opportunities for individuals to create (and sell) anything they can imagine. Reichental’s very colorful shoes and cool-looking watch were both made by 3D printers.
I especially enjoyed a panel discussion moderated by Juju Chang of “Nightline,” featuring Tony Goldwyn (who plays the President on “Scandal”), Kati London of Microsoft, Amy Powell of Paramount, and documentarian Morgan Spurlock (“Super Size Me,” “Inside Man”). Goldwyn, also a producer and director, talked about how Twitter created an exceptionally close connection between “Scandal” and its fans and London told us how a multi-player online game was more effective than traditional PSAs in reaching middle schoolers. It was a lively and illuminating morning and I’m looking forward to next year already.