JWR Articles: Commentary - Canada 3.0 2013 (Featured speaker: Peter Lyman, Christina Jennings, Jonas Diamond) - May 18, 2013

Canada 3.0 2013

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The devil is in the digital details

To be sure of having the most up-to-date schedule (Canada 3.0 has far more presentations than anyone could ever attend: fortunately, the on-line planning tool allows one and all to map their way through the two-day event and then save their schedule for easy access/update), I printed out my personalized event planner just prior to getting on the GO (the Greater Toronto Area’s commuter train) and jumping into the fray.

The 3:00 p.m. item, “Canadian Film Centre as an Economic Success Story (25th anniversary),” for me as a film critic was most certainly a must-see event. Uncertain as to which room it was to take place (my printed schedule—beyond the “Main Plenary”—offered no hints as to location; the breakout sessions (of which this was one of six) seen on the posted listings on the message board had no title that remotely matched my printout. Undaunted, I approached the CDMN registration desk to fill in the geographical blank.

Sadly, no one had any answer but suggested that CDMN’s “sister” conference (Graphic Animation and New Media) might—in fact—be hosting the event (this tied in nicely with the morning’s many references to collaboration). Alas, no one there could find hide nor hair of the CFC celebration but suggested I approach “the blonde lady” who knew all about everything taking place in Toronto’s cavernous Metro Convention Centre.

The very helpful security agent had nothing further to add but managed to corral a bilingual CDMN staff member who, surely/bien sûr, would put me on course in both official languages.

After moving along with her to the third floor (most of the breakout sessions were on the second) she, in turn, lassoed another CDMN employee (blonde as well: belying the usual jokes) who suggested that perhaps the “Lights, Camera Action: Building Human Capital to Fuel Screen-based Industry Growth,” (Room 202 – CD) might well be the reborn session. Hilariously (do read on) I assured her that that couldn’t be it: “The CFC is all about ‘movies in the dark,’ not second-screen cinematic hijinks.”

Running out of alternatives, I scurried back down the escalator to Room 202, got redirected from 202 AB (“I Went to Y Combinator and came back to Canada to grow my business and here’s why”—how could I have overlooked that compelling topic?) to 202 CD and enquired of the sentry if this venue housed “Lights, Camera Action: Building Human Capital to Fuel Screen-based Industry Growth.”

“Oh no,” she offered with authority: “It’s been renamed ‘Nordicity.’” Once inside (the session now more than half over), instead of, expectantly, sipping champagne to celebrate CFC’s historic anniversary, I settled in to a panel that was led by Peter Lyman (Nordicity Senior Partner) and struggled to stay on course. Lyman was explaining why human capital is the key ingredient to producing such original digital content as Shaftesbury’s (represented by Christiana Jennings) Totally Amp’d (an original sitcom only available on the Internet) and Smiley Guy Studios’ (represented by Jonas Diamond) animated Odd Job Jack (also Net exclusive).

As interesting as all of this finally was (and the perfect set-up for the coming Netflix presentation by CEO Reed Hastings), a little voice in the back of my weary mind wondered how the CMDN’s “moonshot” could be achieved if the “Tale of Three Titles” couldn’t be fixed first.

Hearing later in the day that the 2014 Canada 3.0 for the first time ever would move out of Ontario—to Calgary (“Digital Innovation Enabling the Energy Economy” hosted by TR Tech), I could only hope that the mission statement of the Western enterprise (“To grow industry through [ICT] innovation”) might include the addition of a quality (see previous article) show guide that would be foolproof for writers who have never played a video game. JWR

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