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See you there: Digital Marketing Workshop

Want to learn how to reach audiences online?

Join for an intensive two-day workshop in Halifax.  You will have the opportunity to strategize and develop marketing plans for your project. Plus, you will get consultation on your project from digital marketing experts Julie Giles, Annelise Larson, Mickey Rogers and Catherine Tait.


DATE: October 23 and 24, 2012, 9:00 am to 6:00 pm
WORKSHOP LOCATION: The Halifax Club, Halifax Nova Scotia

A Program of the Independent Production Fund presented in association with Film Nova Scotia

Who is this workshop for?

  • Professional independent film, TV, interactive, web series and transmedia producers
  • Marketing and communications managers working at mid-size production companies
  • Independent marketing and publicity consultants providing services to production companies
What is this workshop about?
  “Market, Motivate, Mobilize” is a two-day workshop created to help producers and marketing managers to market for today and prepare for tomorrow by adopting a “digital first” approach to finding, building and maintaining an engaged, powerful and profitable audience. “Market, Motivate, Mobilize” will introduce concepts, ideas and best practices and provide you with an introduction to digital marketing and a solid foundation on which to build your own campaigns.
Based on the IPF guide, “How to Build an Audience for your Web Series: Market, Motivate & Mobilize”, the workshop features both instructional and hands-on learning opportunities.
You will:
  • Understand the relationship between audience, content, channels and tactics
  • Discover where people are consuming screen-based content and learn how to apply best practices to marketing your content.  Draw on digital marketing strategies — content, search, social and publicity/pr – that help your audience find you online
  • Increase your reach by utilizing traditional tactics – advertising, promotions, live events and direct marketing
  • Evaluate your results in real time to adjust your market campaigns.
  • Optional one-on-one meetings with Julie Giles on Day 3 (October 25) to review your specific campaign strategies
Each curriculum topic has an exercise that will let you test your knowledge and apply it to the creative and business situations you are facing at your company.
Participants will be selected based on their needs and desire to test drive these strategies against their own ideas and productions and must have a project to work on. Each participant will receive individual attention from the facilitators. The strength and professionalism of the overall application package will be a consideration in selecting participants.  Maximum 25 participants.

Q&A with Ahmed Siddiqui (Startup Weekend)

My name is Tina Santiago, and i’m a hack-a-thon-a-holic.  It’s been 6 weeks since my last hackathon.

Recently, I met up with Ahmed Siddiqui, StartUp Weekend Bay Area Leader by day, kids app developer by night and overall awesome human being all the time.  Here’s a brief Q&A:

Q: What is Startup Weekend?

A: Startup Weekend Bay Area, is an intense 54-hour event, which focuses on building a web or mobile application that could form the basis of a credible business over the course of a weekend. The weekend brings together developers, designers and entrepreneurs to build applications and develop a commercial case around them. With access to Silicon Valley’s best and brightest innovators, SWBAY offers a unique opportunity to connect and learn from leaders in the tech industry and provides an experiential education process for event participants.

Q: Why do you think the hackathon model for generating new ideas is effective?

A: Hackathons are really interesting because they encourage action.  I think a hackathon is the best type of un-conference that you can have because there is less talk, more action.  A traditional Hackathon starts off with an existing product and then challenges developers to come up with unique uses for that product.  I think it is a fantastic model for really observing what types of things come out of it, but rarely are these products commercially viable because there is too much focus on the hack, and not enough time spent on customer development or the business model.

Q: Why are hackathons a valuable sponsorship opportunity for companies?

A: In the Bay Area, we work closely with our partners such as AT&T, Microsoft, Kno, Grockit, TechShop, Autodesk, and Qualcomm, to put together unique experiences.  Every event has its own flavor, and we work closely with our partners to get the most value for them and our attendees.  A fantastic example is Microsoft, our partner for Mega Startup Weekend.  In this event we invite 300 participants to work in three different tracks.  This year, we chose Mobile, Gaming, and Robotics as our three tracks.  This event was unique because we invited the top engineers from Microsoft to mentor and participate.  We ended up having some businesses built on Microsoft Kinect, Microsoft Windows 8, and on the Microsoft EDDIE Robot.  This was an amazing event that gave our attendees access to bleeding edge technology and mentorship, and it gave Microsoft great exposure to our community of developers, designers, and entrepreneurs.

Q: How does Start Up Weekend continue to support the “winners” after the event?

A: We support our winners and any teams moving forward by providing them extended mentorship opportunities and introductions to potential customers and investors.  More recently, we have been having office hours for teams to come into our San Francisco office and work with us.  With almost 1 event a month, we have built a substantial network of entrepreneurs, developers, designers, mentors, and investors that all help each other.  Startup Weekend isn’t just a weekend event, it is a network and community.

Q: Any other thoughts?

A: I think this movement is wonderful, and proves that the costs of building businesses is going down, and these weekend long events are perfect for testing ideas.  Granted, it is too difficult to build an end-to-end business over a weekend with complete strangers, but I do feel that this is the best possible networking that you can do, especially in a learning environment that Startup Weekend provides.  It is okay to fail, just fail fast!


Since I moved to San Francisco, I’ve given up four of my precious weekends to participate in a number of hackathons: Angel Hack at Adobe, Start Up Weekend at the AT&T Foundry, City 2.0 at California College of Arts, and Creative Currency at The Hub SF.

I have only positive things to say about my hackathon experience.  I’ve met some of the most brilliant and creative people in the Bay Area who who share an optimistic, can-do, will-do attitude.  To echo Ahmed, in my experience, hackathons give you a unique opportunity to fail fast, another way to describe accelerated learning. I’ve never learned so much about technology, design and business strategy in such a compressed amount of time. It’s like bootcamp for the brain.

After some reflection, here are a few lessons I took away about from the challenge of working in a boiler room with a group of strangers:

1. Spend time defining the problem.

Framing the problem you’re trying to solve is half the battle. Because each team member has a unique point of view, they may be speaking a different language to interpret the problem at hand.  On top of that, the number of data sets and APIs that are made available can be overwhelming, messy , complex.

This is where the design process becomes so crucial in framing the problem:  unpacking the business goals, the technological constraints and user needs can help to simplify and communicate the complexity.

2. Frame your conversations. 

Often, when friction ensues between team members, it’s because people are speaking in different contexts. It can be very frustrating when one person is generating ideas, while another person is shooting them down like a clay plate. These kinds of conversations can often get heated because of competing agendas, points of view and passions in the room. This is why it’s important to recognize the difference among opinions, ideas and data. In my experience, making collaborative decisions is always best when you can point to data to support the decisions being made.

Establishing the goal of the conversation can really help. For example, if you simply frame your conversations as a ‘brainstorm to generate ideas,’ this can really help to build creative momentum within the group. This is what is called building a divergent context. Of course, at some point, decisions need to be made. Again, it’s important to define this context and frame the conversation as a “convergent” one and point to criteria and data as much as possible to make decisions.

3. Find the right team.

Gathering a multidisciplinary team is key. The best teams are the ones that have a complementary set of skills. Putting a designer, an engineer and an entrepreneur in a cooker can have incredible results.

Needless to say, this can also be very challenging since everyone has an opinion and their own point of view. This is where the art of listening and the virtue of patience comes into play. I’ve been surprised and humbled by the amount of insight emerges when you take the time to listen and try to learn a different point of view.

4. Be prepared to be unprepared.

No matter how much research you do before the event, you’ll never be prepared. That’s because you don’t know what will emerge. The hackathon experience invites serendipity and it’s best to be open to spontaneity and welcome new ideas.

5. Work backwards.

No matter how many sticky notes and white board scribbles you generate, it really means nothing until you have a story you can weave through. Before starting anything, it’s important to imagine the form of your story and output and develop a roadmap on how to get there. This is crucial for a weekend long event when time is of the essence.

I’m proud to say that my partner in crime, Patrick Keenan and I came out winners in two out of the for four. [Insert shameless plug] Thanks the GAFFTA Creative Currency hackathon, we’re continuing on with our project called SQFT, an online platform for pop up shops to find short term leases.

Special thanks to Startup Weekend and all the other amazing hackathon organizers for their amazing work in creating opportunity for new ideas.


Eric Ries at MaRS Commons


We posted the videos from Satish Kanwar’s interview with Eric Ries that we hosted in partnership with Lean Startup Machine at MaRS Commons.  If you weren’t able to be at the event this is a great opportunity to learn even more about lean methodologies.

We’re Heading to NXNEi Soon!

Our alumni and staff will be talking at NXNEi and here’s a snapshot of what they’ll be talking about!  

Mobile Stuff We’d Like To Build and Use More of – No Excuses!

A discussion on technology, design and content and how that applies to mobile going forward.

The Future of Mobile, this panel will identify mobile trends as they relate to publishing, advertising and content distribution. Focusing on technology forward-looking but not far-removed from today’s state, such as casual local social networks, cross-screen environments, less disruptive monetization (if we can make more money, we can do more stuff!). Also discussing notable apps: Highlight (local social network), MLB At Bat (in-app purchase), Draw Something (social mobile gaming) and Instagram. Does building awesome product suffice in gaining user adoption?

Moderator: Jacqueline Nuwame
Panelists: Kerry Morrison, Marlon Rodrigues, Phil Giroux

A Postmodern Vision of Media

Are we beyond media? Have we achieved a “new” era in storytelling where the storyteller must adapt to the audience, a reversal of the audience complying to the technological limitations to engage with the story? At the fireside, the storyteller had to create for the participating audience. With the advent of the printing press, the story became shaped by a more powerful storyteller in one-way direction of communication. Now, the limitations defining traditional media have been overcome by digital pervasiveness and an audience that is empowered to co-create the narrative.

Postmodern media responds or shapes a new social construction: user experience with communication. Acknowledging that to post, to friend, to like, to share and to comment are participatory actions, postmodern media moves past grand narrative into a collaboration between digital and analogue content. With the liquid ability of digital and ubiquity of tools and devices world wide, have we achieved an era where truth emerges from the voice of many storytellers reaching their audience most directly and uninhibited?

Our future media is defined by infinite possibilities of digital and what new limitations societies construct to address issues of ownership, distribution, regulation, curation and value. We invite you to envision the future with a cross disciplinary panel in interactive discussion.

Panelists: Maggie Greyson, Johnny Kalangis, Vong Sundara, Alison Bowsher

Let’s Get PhysiDigital: How to Convert Online Memories into Offline Artifacts

Now that social media has become a black box recorder for countless emotionally significant moments, artists and brands are searching for ways to turn our digital milestones into physical keepsakes. The results include a .poster of your Tumblr followers, a book filled with your favorite Tweets and a unique origami shape built around the content of your favourite text message. But what is driving this newfound interest in physicality? Is it a reaction against the ephemeral nature of digital communication or simply the result of the online world bleeding into the offline? Drawing on my experience as co-creator of txt2hold and tweet2hold, I will explore how fleeting digital communications like texts and tweets can be converted into permanent memory objects. While locating the sometimes fragile intersection between the online and offline world requires careful research, the creative opportunities are numerous for those willing to get PhysiDigital.

Presenter: Ryan Bigge

The Conversation: Pioneering Transmedia Marketing & Audience Building

Anthea Foyer, Creative Director for The Conversation, an interactive companion project for Sarah Polley’s film Take This Waltz, will present a case study of this experimental marketing campaign. Designed to build a community and audience for the film several months prior to its release, this user generated art gallery is a transmedia project that spans several platforms including web, mobile and live events.

After presenting the case study, she will be interviewed by Shelley Simmons, an Interactive Producer, who will dissect the process, business models and impetus behind creating innovative marketing campaigns for film properties.

Presenters: Anthea Foyer, Shelley Simmons

We also have a booth and are showing Heart of Stars, so be sure to pass by and say hi! 


When: June 13 – 16
Where: Hyatt Regency Hotel, 370 King Street West, Toronto, ON

See you there: Doors Open 2012!

Doors Open Toronto is upon us this weekend and we are incredibly excited to be involved at MaRS Discovery District again!

We will be showing three amazing prototypes which include: The Quetzal, Alone Together, and Heart of Stars!

Alone Together (Shawn Kerwin, Laurel MacDonald)
Alone Together is an “art-app” for the Blackberry Playbook tablet that uses poetic wordplay and expressive videos to remind us that we can always reframe our relationships with the Other.

Heart of Stars (Vanessa Shaver, Tsu-Ching Yu)
Using the groundbreaking technology of the Microsoft Kinect and building on the innovation of the Kinect open source community, Heart of Stars lets users become 3D avatars made of points of light and float through space. Combining high-resolution images of deep space with gesture-triggered operatic electronica, Heart of Stars entices all users to defy gravity and try to fly through the cosmos.

The Quetzal (Michael Evask, Mark Thoburn)
The Quetzal is an interactive narrative (story-game) interfaced via EEG biofeedback. Harnessing the latest in consumer-level EEG technology, The Quetzal weaves 2D illustrations and 3D game play into a rich narrative tapestry. Through the power of thought, audience members become actors in The Quetzal. The result is an engaging, emotional experience that is the future of interactive cinema.


Where: CFC Media Lab, Suite 245, MaRS Discovery District, 101 College St, Toronto, ON
When: May 26 & 27, 2012,  10 a.m. – 4 p.m. [Last admittance: 3:45]


Ana Serrano to Give Keynote at Innoversity Creative Summit!

The Innoversity Creative Summit is pleased to announce the world-renowned Canadian Film Centre will be its Development Partner for the 2012 Big Pitch competition.

The Big Pitch Competition will see individuals compete for cash and development opportunities in a range of categories including TV scripted and unscripted, film for theatrical release, digital media storytelling and gaming.

In partnering with Innoversity, the CFC will work with the Big Pitch winners to provide a two-day production and performance mentorship workshop with a series of scheduled meetings with faculty and strategic partners to assist teams with their production goals.

Selected winners will also receive analytical and practical feedback from CFC’s internationally renowned faculty and selected industry representatives. As well, selected teams will receive networking opportunities throughout the year.

“The Canadian Film Centre’s development opportunities are an invaluable addition to THE BIG PITCH competition. Their commitment to Innoversity is a testament to building a sustainable industry where organizations come together and Canadian media creators are supported. The CFC’s prizes are an incredible investment of their renowned instructors, talented staff and important resources,” says Innoversity co-founder Cynthia Reyes.

In addition to the Big Pitch Competition, Innoversity Creative Summit 2012 will feature industry sessions and panel discussions about the future of Canada’s media and how creators from diverse cultural background can play a role in changing the complexion of the country’s media landscape.

The CFC Media Lab is proud to be involved in Innoversity Digital Summit in a variety of talks:

The keynote speaker for Innoversity Creative Summit 2012 will be Ana Serrano, Chief Digital Officer of The CFC.  Also, Technology and Production Manager, Joyce Wong, will be moderating a panel on Movie for Theatrical Release.  Jacqueline Nuwame, Senior Manager of Client Relations, will be judging the Digital Media Storytelling pitching competition.


When: May 8 & 9, 2012
Where: the Appel Salon, Toronto Reference Library


Apply Now: Graduate Diploma in Digital Futures!

You’re already an “out of the box” creative thinker.
But are you ready to fly?

Graduate Diploma in Digital Futures
Digital enterprise in design, technology and art.
For “out of the box” people.

Located in Toronto at OCAD U in partnership with the CFC Media Lab the diploma in digital futures is a kaleidoscopic, multidisciplinary, collaborative program that is ideal for early and mid-career professionals.  Offered on a part-time basis over two years, the program responds to the increasingly important and complex role of technology as a catalyst of societal and economic change in design, media, and the arts.

The Graduate Diploma in Digital Futures for working professionals will take your career to the next level.

For more information:

Apply Now: HOT HACKS with Mozilla!

Hot Docs and Mozilla invite documentary makers to submit projects for participation in a two-day documentary workshop to be held Saturday, April 28, and Sunday, April 29, at Mozilla’s downtown Toronto offices.

Modeled after the “hack day” format of the open source community, this event brings documentary storytellers and technologists together for two days to produce an original web documentary. A tonic for the long timelines of traditional documentary production, hack days allow documentarians the chance to get their hands dirty with technology, try out ideas, and have a finished product at the end which they can continue to iterate.

Hot Hacks is part of the Living Docs project, a series of events, projects and code to bring openness and innovation to documentary. Living Docs is a collaboration between Mozilla, ITVS, the Tribeca Film Institute, BAVC and the Center for Social Media at American University.

Apply online and learn more about the event here:
Applications Due: April 2nd, 2012
When: April 28th – April 29th, 2012
Where: Mozilla’s Toronto Offices

Another Sprout Up is Coming Up!

Sprout Up is a monthly event for forward-thinking entrepreneurs to gather and mind-meld. A great chance for startups around Toronto to get friendly, discuss current trends, and network in a casual, open, and focused setting. Sprout Up events have been held in cities around the world including Toronto, Montreal, NYC and London, and regularly have over 300 attendees.

The next Sprout Up Toronto will take place Tuesday, March 20th at The Courthouse. The guest speaker will be Tony Conrad, founder of and partner at True Ventures. Tony is a serial entrepreneur and investor, and is no stranger to success, having sold his first company to AOL in 2008. But it was his second business that enjoyed almost immediate success – was acquired by AOL a mere four days after it launched. Tony is also an expert on Sprouter – check out his previous Q/A session.


When: Tuesday, March 20th, 2012, 6pm-9pm
Where: The Courthouse, 57 Adelaide St. E (Near King Station)
Cost: $12 per ticket (roughly $10 + HST)
RSVP Here: [You must RSVP, tickets do sell out and cannot be purchased at the door]
For more information contact Jon at jon[at]

6-6:45 – registration
6:45-7:15 – startup demos
7:15-8 – guest speaker & questions
8-10 – networking

Guest Speaker

Tony Conrad, founder,, partner, True Ventures

Tony founded in 2010, which was acquired by AOL only four days after launching. Conrad says the success is due to equipping users with the right product. They gave profile owners a set of tools to curate and manage their identity online, and provided them with data insights. Profile visitors were shown what someone looks like, how they view themselves, and were pointed to their social services online.

His previous startup, Sphere, was founded in 2004 and acquired by AOL in 2008. Tony is also on the Board of Directors for several notable startups, including CatchFree and KISSMetrics.

Participating startups

Flixel, FansFave, and others TBA.

Secret Location Nominated for International Emmy!

Congratulations goes to CFC Media Lab alumnus James Milward and the team at The Secret Location, as well as Shaw Media and Thunderbird Films as they have been nominated for an International Emmy!  They have been nominated for best digital program (fiction) for Endgame Interactive: Facebook Episode.  We wish you all the luck in winning the Emmy!

The awards ceremony will take place during MIPTV’s Opening night festivities on Sunday, April 1, in Cannes at the Martinez Hotel. There are 12 nominees in 3 categories, Digital Program: Children & Young People; Digital Program: Fiction and Digital Program: Non-Fiction. The full list of Nominees from: Australia, Brazil, Canada, Japan, Kenya, Sweden and the United Kingdom have been posted on the International Emmy Awards site.


Check out the interactive episode online here:
Learn more about Endgame here: