All posts for category: Ana's Pen: A Letter from the Director

Ellyn Winters-Robinson: Promote Storytelling in Your PR Strategy

CFCML11042014-4 When developing your company’s PR strategy, Ellyn Winters-Robinson says that you first need to establish your goals. What are you trying to achieve? Do these goals align with your overall marketing strategy? Some potential goals can include attracting investors or talent, showcasing your expertise, or managing conflicts or perceptions around your branding. Your PR strategy should be customized based on your goals. CFCML11042014-26 This past Friday, the CFC Media Lab hosted a day-long ideaBOOST Media Training workshop. The day was hosted by Ellyn Winters-Robinson from Ignition PR, a marketing communications and PR firm specializing in the technology sector. Throughout the time we had with her, Ellyn trained ideaBOOST cohort 3 companies on how to develop a well thought-out PR strategy, as well as how to work with media when pitching stories and conducting press interviews. CFCML11042014-131 Here is a taste of what she had to say:

  • In House or PR Agency: When deciding whether to keep PR in-house or outsource it to an external agency, both options have their pros and cons that requires consideration. A pro for keeping PR in-house is that it is often perceived as being more credible than an agency’s PR. However, a con is that in-house PR can have limited reach and resources. On the other hand, a pro for using a PR agency is that it may allow for greater creativity and they generally have a wider reach. A con is the sometimes high cost and agencies can be perceived as being overly aggressive at times.
  • Build a Storyline: Successful PR strategies leverages an enticing story when approaching media for press. When developing your storyline, consider telling the tale of a hero’s journey such as when an underdog achieves success. One can also look at the following for sources of inspiration: Surveys, the news cycle, being newsworthy yourself or talking to your customers.
  • Tactics For Getting Press Attention: To get your company’s story and message to market, you can consider the following tactics: Position yourself as a thought leader, write a news release, ask for a product review, pitch a story directly, find press opportunities on HARO and Twitter, promote a product launch, and offer contributed articles or customer stories. Each tactic experiences varying levels of success, depending on a case-by-case basis.
  •  Create a Positioning Statement: When prepping for an interview, create a positioning statement. This is a general statement which provides context for your main message. It functions as a good starting point for an interview and will help your interviewer hook your story into a larger issue or trend.

CFCML11042014-37 During the workshop, ideaBOOST participants were also put through faux press interviews on camera. This was to test out and improve their on-camera body language and performance. It took a few attempts, but by the end of the exercise our cohort 3 teams were bonafide experts. When the next interview opportunity arises, they will be ready for their close-ups! CFCML11042014-101 Apply for ideaBOOST today!

Are you trying to get your technology start-up off the ground? Have you got a product idea that will revolutionize the digital entertainment space? Then apply for ideaBOOST today!

Founded in partnership with GoogleShaw Media and Corus Entertainment, ideaBOOST is a business accelerator for technology platforms and interactive applications focused on enabling and enhancing the entertainment industry. For more information, please visit www. or contact Leonardo Dell’Anno at








Photo Credit: Aida da Silva

New voices on stabletalk

Hi all,

It’s been a while since I last posted on <stabletalk>. There are, in fact, lots to report; big changes are planned for CFC Media Lab in the next year or so and in terms of productions our dance-card is pretty much full until mid-November. But, today’s post will not elucidate further on these matters. Today’s post is all about new additions to <stabletalk>.

First, I’d like to thank Kimberly Dean for shepherding this blog during her tenure with us at CFC Media Lab. She has come to represent the “voice” of <stabletalk> for many of you and will be missed. Right now, though, she is likely in 30 degree weather in deep Ecuador sizing up the land where she hopes to install a wellness centre. (Some people design their careers properly right from the start!)

But I’m happy to say that Andrea Mallozzi has agreed to be our new IAEP Coordinator and will be one of the new voices on <stabletalk>. Andrea has been with us for the past year as our stellar IAEP Teaching Assistant so she is no stranger to the Media Lab. She will be your go to person for official news, alumni updates and industry events.

Second, next week we will be welcoming <stabletalk>’s first Guest Editor, Trevor Haldenby. Before I introduce Trevor, let me explain what the Guest Editor position means:

  • An appointed, rolling position whose term is four months long (Thus, we shall have 3 Guest Editors a year.)
  • The appointments will come from CFC Media Lab alumni or faculty from all of our programs
  • They will post once a week on any topic of their choosing related to “new media” (sorry to use this antiquated term, old habit)
  • Their posts will not reflect any official position by the CFC Media Lab or the CFC and is made up entirely of the Guest Editor’s own research, ideas and opinions
  • Platforms for the Guest Editor’s voice include <stabletalk>, and other CFC Media Lab social channels such as Facebook and Twitter

And now it’s my pleasure to introduce you to Trevor Haldenby — photographer, thinker, writer, graduate student, social media analyst, emerging foresighter (sp?), and most importantly, a good guy who gives a really, really good read.

I hope you enjoy his posts in the next coming months, and I urge you all to concur, challenge, discuss, and argue with him as much as you can.

All the best,


Musings from the mountains…

September 9, 2010

Dear Friends,

I hope this letter finds everyone well, rested from a glorious summer, eager to embrace fall, and ready to rock n’ roll through to the rest of 2010. This August I was lucky to have spent some time in the mountains of the French High Alps at a place called Les Terraces, above the small alpine village La Grave — that’s The Grave to you. The place feels totally different from Banff, — less wilderness-y, though still wild, and feels more like a portal into the 12th century.

Here’s a picture taken from one of our walks!

Now, given what you see here, you’d think the mountains would keep thoughts of work at bay. But I must admit I would often think of the Lab. Before you groan and mutter “crazyworkaholic” let me explain.


  1. Galen Scorer, former CFC Media Lab Research & Tech Manager is sleeping on my couch as we rush to premiere our new interactive production! Alum, Patrick Dinnen is part of the team building this exciting new work.

    CFC Media Lab in co-production with TIFF, will be launching an installation entitled What’s Your Essential Cinema?on Saturday Sept. 11 at the TIFF Bell Lightbox.

    As you enter TIFF Bell Lightbox, you will encounter an interactive projection above the box office: a dynamic visualization of kinetic images from each of the Essential 100 Films. Text in “your essential cinema” — one film from the Essential 100. The system takes note of it and adds it to every other person’s choice. The projected visualization then changes as the difference between what you think and what TIFF thinks is displayed on the screen. “What’s Your Essential Cinema?” pits the general public against the experts and puts you at the center of the conversation.

    A CFC Media Lab and TIFF Production
    Creative team: Ana Serrano, Galen Scorer and Patrick Dinnen
    September 12 – October 23

  2. Alumni David McCallum, Rose Bianchini, Kathleen Climie, Sharon Switzer, Angella Mackey, & Pearl Chen are currently rocking out (in spirit and in person) in California under the helm of Leonardo Dell’Anno!

    CFC Media Lab launches Project HoodiePlay and Let’s Build Our World Intentionally at 2010 01SJ Biennial.

    The 2010 01SJ (ZER01, San Jose) Biennial is predicated on the notion that as artists, designers, engineers, architects, marketers, corporations and citizens we have the tools to (re)build the world, conceptually and actually, virtually and physically, poorly and better, aesthetically and pragmatically, in both large and small ways.

    Under the theme “Build Your Own World,” the CFC Media Lab will be leading a series of workshops where participants can make their Hoodie “zombie-tag” ready for a widespread, participatory game. There won’t be cut throat competition. And Heidi Klum won’t show up. But you will get to make your own signature “wearable Hoodie” that enables you to play Zombie Tag during the AbsoluteZER0 street festival on Friday, September 17. Project HoodiePlay is based on a wearable game by Rose Bianchini, Kathleen Climie and David McCallum created during their residency at CFC Media Lab’s TELUS Interactive Art & Entertainment Program.

    Special shout out goes to Kate Hartman, CFC Media Lab guest faculty for helping us design the workshop!

    CFC Media Lab and Art for Commuters founder, Sharon Switzer will also present the “Best Of” works from the Art For Commuters library that speak to the theme of conscious creation. Screenings will happen during 01SJ as part of the Future Films program.

  3. Nuit Blanche is almost upon us and we have a launch to prepare for Oct. 2nd! CFC Media Lab IAEP Coordinator Kimberly Dean, while not running stabletalk, is helping fearless leader Jacqueline Nuwame make this happen at our new venue partner InterAccess!

    At this year’s Scotiabank Nuit Blanche the CFC Media Lab will present Close Encounters, an annual exhibition of work by residents of the TELUS Interactive Art & Entertainment Program. These interactive media projects run the gamut from interactive sound pieces to iPhone wearable gaming systems. From those which explore notions of first contact, to others which invite us to reimagine play. Regardless of technology platform or theme, each of these projects makes us look at things a different way. Shaving cream, pillows, mud – they can all become vehicles for our persistent visions. The gallery will be transformed into a space for inquisitive discovery and play. Created by: Dee Balkissoon, Camille Betts, Rose Bianchini, Dawn Buie, Cathy Chen, Kathleen Climie, Justin Ferrato, Liz Gallo, Orla Garriques, David Goorevitch, Conor Holler, David McCallum and featured Alumni Artist, Sharon Switzer.

    Location: InterAccess Gallery (9 Ossington Ave. Toronto)
    VIP Launch (Invite Only): September 30 from 7-10pm
    Open to Public: October 2 from 7pm-7am

  4. Prototype Launch? Hell ya, we can do more!  So, CFC Media Lab Digital Production Manager, Steve Ferguson and our new Research and Technology Manager, Dave Kretz are working alongside our new partners the Royal Conservatory of Music to create a whole new work for Nuit Blanche.

    Commissioned by TELUS, Musical Rumble: Jazz vs Classical, is an interactive experience where larger-than-life musicians are projected onto the TELUS Centre windows while audiences use their smartphones to play a virtual game where jazz and classical musicians battle for your vote. Stop by the Bloor Street courtyard of the TELUS Centre (273 Bloor Street West, Toronto) on October 2nd from 7pm-7am to see, hear and interact with the projected performances!

    and last, but not least,

  5. Jacqueline Nuwame, CFC Media Lab Senior Programs Manager, has redefined multitasking as she helps me keep all of the above running smoothly while ushering a new group of residents for the Fall 2010 TELUS IAEP session!

    The average age of this group is sweet-thirty and boasts the following stellar individuals:

    Ryan Bigge
    is a Toronto-based freelance journalist and content strategist with a focus on technology and cultural trends. His publication credits include the New York Times Magazine and the Toronto Star.

    Edwin Lara
    is a digital artist whose recent work was on display at the Launch Projects art gallery for the “Do Artist Dream of Electric Easels” exhibition. Edwin’s studies include everything from graphic design, marketing to art history.

    Dylan Reibling hails from a small rural community in southwestern Ontario. He makes documentaries, narrratives, and experimental films and organizes events and art installations.

    Vanessa Shaver is an award-winning writer and filmmaker who possesses a passion for story well-told, character well-wrought and concept well-formed. Vanessa has worked with Shaftesbury Films, Henry Less Productions, ImagiNation Film and Television, marblemedia and Big Studios.

    Bobie Taffe is an independent interactive cross platform Producer. Her production company, Taffe Entertainment, produces feature films/documentaries/dramatic series/lifestyle programs that focus on exploring issues of race, sexuality, self-image, multiculturalism and social justice. Bobie has been actively working in the Canadian Film and Television Industry for a little more than a decade.

    Ron Wild worked in traditional Civil / Structural disciplines before earning an MBA from the University of Western Ontario. Ron managed small hi-tech venture companies for over 15 years before transitioning into creating and exhibiting digital art.

    Tsu-Ching Yu with a Bachelor’s degree in computer science and diploma in digital media at the Recording Arts Canada Digital Arts College, is a lyric coloratura soprano. She is also an ACTRA stunt performer for film and television who trains in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

I was thinking of listing my Top 10 Reasons…but got tired after five. (Now I see why I may have needed to climb almost 15,782 ft to get away from it all.) But the reality is that I wasn’t letting thoughts of work destroy my zen mountain moments: I thought about the team of staff, alumni, faculty and former colleagues of CFC Media Lab because I was in awe of how much amazing work they are doing. (Notice I didn’t even mention any of the other work our esteemed community has been building within their own corporations and practice! Way to go Caitlin! Woo hoo Gorbets for the San Jose Airport! Congrats, Martha, on finishing up your comprehensives! Dare I go on?)

And as many of you know, there are another five projects lurking around the corner ready to be announced after we get through the 01SJ/TIFF/NUIT Blanche triage.

So here I am sitting in a dusty hallway of the new Bell Lightbox, high from sleep-deprivation, copying and pasting text into the Max Patch for Galen.  The plug behind me does not work, my black skirt is now drywall white, and sure I miss the mountains. But I’m really excited about this Fall and seeing everyone this weekend for our annual BBQ.

Namaste to all,