All posts for category: Interactive Industry > News & Events

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

ideaBOOST Launch Pad Introduces 6 Start-Ups

SS2_0621 A standing-room only event at the Steam Whistle Brewery in Toronto, Wednesday’s ideaBOOST Launch Pad event was an exciting night for Canadian entrepreneurs and investors to rub shoulders and wrap up months of intensive work. SS1_8450 Hosted by Jian Ghomeshi, host of Q on CBC Radio One and CBC TV, ideaBOOST participants from the Spring 2013 cohort took to the stage to make their pitch for investment and to entertain questions from the audience. SS1_8373 “ideaBOOST is the only niche accelerator for digital entertainment and I’m thrilled to say is growing from strength to strength since its launch last year,“ Ana Serrano, the CFC’s Chief Digital Officer said. “Tonight, we are here to view the six companies who have each participated in an intensive bootcamp helping prepare them to navigate the entertainment ecosystem and to build sustainable digital entertainment properties.” SS2_0774 In no particular order, here is a rundown of ideaBOOST’s Spring 2013 cohort:

  • Wondereuran app that brings storytelling to e-tailing, beginning with contemporary artists
  • BeMused Networka community-based discovery service for entertainment and events
  • Motion Panels+ – an authoring tool that animates graphic novels, cartoon strips and story books for mobile devices
  • ALERT-TV+an online system that enables producers to target and engage audiences using multi-platform strategies to measure success
  • Lightning Platform – a cloud-based platform that tracks and targets user actions to aid product and service development
  • Instaradio – a simple and powerful way to live stream and record audio that can be listened to on any device.

SS1_8661 “The IdeaBOOST program has been an amazing journey that provided Motion Panels with opportunities which was previously beyond our reach. Last night’s Launch Pad was a milestone for us that signifies the start of our new adventure as we move forward with the launch of our exciting products. We thank the CFC for their valued support and hope that ideaBOOST continues to live on to help out other start-ups with their endeavours.” Melch Valimento, Motion Panels+  SS1_8819 “ideaBOOST program is a fantastic way to introduce your business to the Canadian creative community. The network is not only resourceful but also responsive and willing to get behind your idea.” Kevin Kilman, Instaradio SS1_8583 “Participating in the ideaBOOST program gave us access to mentors and resources that accelerated the development of BeMused Network’s beta service. The assistance we received at the early stage of our knowledge network development will go a long way in allowing us to reach our next goal. Turning an idea into reality truly takes a village. The amazing team running the program gave us the support we needed, and advocated for us wherever we went. The colleagues and supporters that we worked and continue to work with will no doubt be the most valuable thing from this experience.” Margaret Lam, BeMused Network SS2_0810 ideaBOOST’s third Cohort was also officially announced at Wednesday’s event. This cohort includes:

  • Bublcam – a consumer ready camera that captures everything through spherical photos and videos.
  • L.A.R.G.E.  - a tool kit for the creation of location-based and augmented reality experiences.
  • RadioMogul – a platform to create, customize & curate your own monetizable Internet radio station.
  • ThinkDirty – a mobile app that makes reading beauty and body care product labels simple, easy and fun.
  • uMentioned - a location app that allows you to anonymously flirt and make new friends with people nearby.
  • WeirdWood Manor – a unique storytelling experience—a novel brought to life through interaction and animation.

Be sure to stay tuned for updates on these new companies, and on the ideaBOOST program as a whole. SS2_0381

ASTOUND Summit: The Business of Audience Engagement


Now is a great time to be an artist and entrepreneur, but one thing’s for sure: you have to do your research, understand the landscape and be creative with your engagement efforts. Otherwise, you could get lost in the mix.

That was the message that attendees heard from a number of different presentations and workshops geared towards content producers and investors at the very first ASTOUND Summit, which took place Saturday, October 19 at OCADU in Toronto.

Consumer intelligence, data and analytics, the business model canvas, social media strategies and the art of pitching were some of the main presentation topics addressed at the event.


“It’s been an excellent event,” Kevin Naismith, founder and CEO of digital media start-up OnePape said. “The speakers have been great and the content has covered everything. This is the stuff you need to know.”

Naismith is one of many entrepreneurs and producers that attended the summit this weekend and is part of a huge contingency of creative young people looking to disrupt a space and start their own business.

“ASTOUND has been really great, and it’s addressing a big gap that exists,” Shari Cohen, a program consultant at Ontario Media Development Corporation said. “This is a great initiative.”


A few key takeaways from the summit:

  • “Your audience is not on all platforms – you need to understand where they are and how they’re accessing it,” digital media strategist Eric Leo Blais said during his presentation on social media strategies. “Every time you ask your audience to leave one platform for another, you will likely lose them.”
  • “It’s not enough just to use social, you need to have a plan,” Blais said. “How do you know if your campaign has been successful? You need to use metrics.”
  • “How do we understand the value of experience?” Todd Cherkasky from SapientNitro asks, pointing to a slide showing brand and marketing ROI, return on media channels and experience optimization. “We need to reframe what we measure.”


  • “Your film, your project, your product – it’s got a million things to it and you love it. You’d like to share everything possible with the person who’s going to invest their money, but they’re not actually interested in it,” business coach Warren Coughlin said during his presentation on the art of pitching. “You’ve got to distill it down to the salient points in the timeframe you have in order to convince them to take the action that you want.”
  • “People forget facts, but they remember stories,” Coughlin said. “You need to build that into your presentation. What you’re trying to do is bypass the logical critic that the investor has so you can tap into their emotion. Stories will do that, but you need to think strategically about what story is important. Is it your story? Is it the investor’s story? Is it the story of the potential customer? Is it the story of the marketplace? You need to tell some kind of narrative that brings me along with you.”


The ASTOUND Initiative is led by CFC Media Lab in partnership with Hot Docs, and OCADU. ASTOUND is made possible through The Entertainment and Creative Cluster Partnerships Fund administered by the Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC) on behalf of the Ministry of Tourism, Culture, and Sport.

For more information on the ASTOUND Initiative, or the ASTOUND Summit, visit

CFC Media Lab at 3D Flic Conference

This past weekend, the CFC Media Lab attended the 3D Flic: Toronto International Stereoscopic 3D Conference, which was held at the TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto.

On the Sunday, we hosted a Q&A with stereographer, Demetri Portelli, 3D Engineer Ben Gervais and Amelie (2001) Director, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, who Skyped in live from Paris. A twelve-minute preview from Jeunet’s next film, The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet (2013), was shown to conference attendees to much fanfare. This panel was moderated by 3d Flic lead keynote filmmaker, Ali Kazimi.


The following Monday, our very own Doug Naylor moderated a master class with Hugo (2011) and 47 Ronin (2013) stereographer, Demetri Portelli. The event was well-attended by Toronto area filmmakers and up-and-coming student filmmakers from schools across Ontario.

Congratulations Digi Award Winners!

Yesterday was a great evening for our alumni.  We are extremely proud to congratulate the following alumni for their wins at the Digi Awards


ZED.TO, The Mission Business, Alumni - Trevor Haldenby.


Guidestones, Smiley Guy Studios, Alumni – Jonas Diamond.


My Babysitter’s a Vampire: Humans Vs. Vampires, The Secret Location, Alumni – James Milward.


D-day to Victory Interactive, The Secret Location, Alumni – James Milward.


Totally Amp’d, Smokebomb Entertainment, ideaBOOST Participant, Jay Bennett  

And of course – a big congratulations goes all to all those who were nominated and the full list of winners!

See you at nextMEDIA!

nextMEDIA connects you to business opportunities in the digital media industry.

With the rise of multi-screen behavior comes pressure on media publishers and advertisers to connect with customers anytime and anywhere they want to consume content. This pressure is causing unprecedented industry convergence within the advertising, media and technology industries.

nextMEDIA offers a series of conferences, programs and publication to help executives navigate the changes digital technologies are causing within the media industry in order to capitalize on the business opportunites presented.

Register online here:

The CFC Media Lab is proud to present a keynote with Cory Doctorow and a panel with several leading executives.  See the details below!

Known for his progressive publishing and content strategies, signature analogies and unmatched storytelling style, Cory Doctorow will sit down one-on-one with the Chief Digital Officer of the Canadian Film Centre, Ana Serrano, to discuss how the Internet has changed commerce, culture and content.

  • Get a better understanding of the deep implications the internet has on current copyright laws and how this will affect the future development of the media industry.
  • Get a deeper understanding of how the internet has and will continue to affect how businesses are structured.
  •  Re-imagine a future that leverages the collaborative potential the internet offers and better understand where we are heading as a global society.
Ana Serrano, Chief Digital Officer, Canadian Film Centre (CFC)

Cory Doctorow, Author, CorDoc-Co, Ltd

For hundreds of thousands of years humans have sat around the campfire and told stories. These stories have been the bedrock of civilizations creating and reflecting the cultural beliefs of any given society. The 20th century saw the rise of television as the modern campfire where billions of people can sit around and absorb stories that are told. Now, at the beginning of the 21st century as we enter into a more digital, connected and globalized world, we are seeing different types of storytelling emerge. Listen as expert digital storytellers from around the world answer the following questions;

  • How have digital technologies changed the fundamental nature and process of modern day storytelling?
  • What are the new skills that you need to thrive and survive in the age of digital storytelling?
  • Are linear and interactive storytelling compatible? How can they co-exist to complement each other from a creative and business perspective?
Nick DeMartino, Principal, Nick DeMartino Consulting
Jay Bennett, VP, Creative Director, Smokebomb Entertainment
Esther Lim, CEO, The Estuary
Christopher Sandberg, Chief Creative Officer, Founder, The Company P
Suzanne Stefanac, StoryCubed

Register Now: Content is King!

At nextMEDIA Toronto, Content is Still King. In the ever changing, multi-screen, social and branded world that is digital, Content still remains king. It is fundamental to both the critical and business success of any digital initiative. That is why at nextMEDIA we have created a comprehensive program for content creators looking to harness the opportunities in the digital media space.

The Content Creators Program at nextMEDIA includes:

Face-to-Faces with Digital Digital Executives 

Book a breakfast with content executives from Microsoft, Yahoo!, Blue Ant Media, CBC, Bell, Astral and Media Experts

Transmedia Storytelling with ideaBOOST

Hear from leading international Transmedia storytellers about how they are pushing the boundaries in interactive storytelling

Online Entertainment

Watch as Yahoo, Google and Rogers roll out their original online video strategies

Audience Development through the Social Web

Learn from leading social media experts how to build your online audience through the web

Commerce, Culture And Content

Learn from Boing Boing creator and internet visionary Cory Doctorow and Chief Digital Officer of the CFC, Ana Serrano how the digital medium is fundamentally changing the rules that we play by.

*Register to attend nextMEDIA’s Content Day and Digi Awards gala on Dec. 4 only, for just $350 with our nextMEDIA Toronto Content Day pass

*Register for an All Access Pass to nextMEDIA and network with Canada’s top digital publishers, media buyers, advertisers and technology companies, for just $645

*Register to attend the Digi Awards on the evening of Dec 4th for just $50

For more information visit

Bring It! Windows 8 – Pure Imagination


NOVEMBER 24 & 25, 2012

Windows 8: Pure Imagination is a premier event in Canada for Windows 8 app builders & designers from students to startups to you! It starts out on Saturday morning with a keynote from Canada’s own Grant Skinner. You may know him from his amazing interactive Flash work in the past, but today he is building amazing HTML5-based apps along with fun Windows 8 games. The keynote will also have a special surprise at the end. If you can make it, you absolutely need to be there.

In less than 40 hours you’ll get everything you need to make your vision into the next great Canadian app, including on-site presentations, brainstorming sessions, hands-on labs and access to industry experts for guidance and treated to spontaneous moments of fun to keep your energy up.

There is a special session exclusive to the startups in attendance. BizSpark Canada presents Ask a VC, your chance to have 10 minutes of one on one time with a top Canadian VC. Think of it like speed dating, but without the awkwardness and guilt after. It will be a FIFO queue so be sure to check the schedule, be early and be prepared!

Can’t wait to just code? We understand that hacking away on an idea is the best way to learn and explore. That’s why there will also be a 24 hour hackathon starting Saturday at 4:00pm with prizes for best student app, best UX, best app that uses Windows Azure and overall best app to be judged by our panel of experts. Not sure where to start? We’ve invited local rockstars like Shopify to pimp their API and help make the hackathon a blast.

Go register now, it’s free, and all the cool kids will be there! Don’t forget to think about an epic idea for the hackathon and of course sign up for all those awesome benefits mentioned above!

For more information and general awesomeness check out Woot Studio.

See you there: High Frame Rate 3D Cinema Workshop

Want to learn more about High Frame Rate Stereoscopic 3D Cinema?

Join us for a one day workshop with key industry and academic leaders in HFR research. HFR will be discussed in terms of scientific, technical, artistic and production/delivery pipeline issues with particular attention to practical issues in production, post-production and delivery of content. The workshop features talks with industry and academic leaders in HFR research, development and practice as well as practical demonstrations.


DEADLINE FOR REGISTRATION: October 29, 2012  November 19, 2012.
DATE: October 30, 2012, 8:30 am to 4:20 pm. Date has changed to November 20, 2012.
WORKSHOP LOCATION: Pinewood Toronto Studios

Supported by the Ontario Media Development Corporation through the 3D Flic project, the workshop is designed to identify, promote and develop Ontario strengths in HFR S3D technology and production, postproduction, VFX, and other aspects of S3D filmmaking. The workshop should be of interest to a broad range of professionals interested in the impact of HFR technologies on their work and the industry as a whole.

Merging Media 2012: We Will Be There!

MM2012 attracts Media professionals from all disciplines! Film/Television Producers, Advertisers, Interactive Content creators, Storytellers, Digital Media Consultants, Mobile + Web Developers, Social Activists, Broadcasters, Transmedia content creators, Innovation Start-ups, Writers, Publishers, Gamers, Academics, Technologists, Financiers, Media Students and anyone who wants to be a 360 GAME CHANGER! MM2012 : 3rd Annual Merging Media Conference Thursday – Friday, October 25-26, 2012 | 9:00am-5:30pm

MM2012 Pre-Conference : Industry Events – Masterclass+Roundtables Wednesday, October 24, 2012 | 9:00am-5:30pm

Conference: SFU Woodwards Goldcorp Centre for the Arts

Pre-Conference Events: SFU, World Arts Centre (Masterclass), National Film Board(Pitch 360 Mentoring), CMPA BC Producers’ Branch (Roundtables)

Register online:

The CFC Media Lab is incredibly proud to be involved in several amazing sessions at Merging Media 2012 – here are some of them:

Wed, Oct. 24, 2012. 9-12pm

MM2012 Exclusive Masterclass by the Canadian Film Centre and presented by Merging Media Productions and CMPA-BC – This business modeling workshop introduces successful tech start-up business tools to traditional film/television business models. A very practical workshop with hands on tools to take away. Conducted by Ana Serrano Director of the CFC Media Lab and Guest Speakers Tina Santiago and Patrick Keenan.


Wed, Oct. 24, 2012. 12pm-12.30pm

FREE PUBLIC SESSION: The Masterclass will be followed by a free half hour briefing session from 12 noon to 12.30pm on CFC’s ideaBOOST program at the World Arts Centre, SFU Woodwards. This public session will be conducted by Leonardo Dell’Anno, Manager of Operations & Special Projects at the CFC Media Lab.

Convergent Canada: Are we there yet?
Thurs. Oct. 25, 2012 - 10:00am – 11:00am. 

The Canada Media Fund made a bold and progressive move in 2010 by introducing the Convergence Funding Stream to Television Producers in Canada, spring-boarding a whole new breed of cross-media producers, collaborations and ground breaking programming on multiple screens. Three years on, our panel discusses the challenges faced by the funders, producers and creatives alike, and examines if CMF and Canadian production has achieved the targets and objectives that were initially introduced from the onset, or have the guideposts altered and are we still finding our way? What is needed for us to become a truly convergent creative community? Moderater Canadian Film Centre’s Ana Serrano asks panelists Valerie Creighton, President and CEO, Canada Media Fund, Alan Sawyer (Two Solitudes/Changing Channels), Alex Raffe, Thunderbirds Films (Digital Emmy Award winner for EndGame), J Joly (Overinteractive Media/CineCoup) and Michael Hennessy (President and CEO of the Canadian Media Production Association) what it takes.