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Where Are All My Ladies at NAB?

When I was in Vegas a couple weeks ago for the NAB Show, I went to the Hofbräuhaus, the traditionally crazy German restaurant based on the brewery of the same name in Munich which is loaded up with a menu of Deutschland beers and meats.

The south lower hall at the convention center had more sausage than this place.

And that's my crude and unladylike way of asking: where all the women at?

Video post-production has been male-dominated for a long time. I don't need to be reminded of the big time Hollywood editors that have made their mark on the industry: Sally Menke, Thelma Schoonmaker, plenty of ladies in television doing great stuff. Or that there are a lot more women coming about now than there have been in the last few decades. I also don't need to be reminded that editing started with women. None of us do. It's common knowledge. They're out there, working and being really good and probably being better than you.

So where ARE all of these women hiding at NAB? I spent a day walking around the lower south hall. The ONLY time a female spoke to me was to scan my badge. If I had questions, I talked to a guy. I didn't participate in Post Production World this year, but I glanced at their speaker list: three ladies, two of which talked about social media and producing/directing. Christine Steele is the only one on the roster actually talking about post production. Really?

I spent another couple days working in a booth. I remember seeing a few women workers, but they were mostly around for the performance side of things. Or to scan badges and collect forms. Hell, even IN the booth, I talked to very few women.

But I'm going to be honest here and say that part of me sees the distinct abundance of Y chromosomes on the show floor, while the other part of me says "yeah, so?" Big deal, right? We're all equal, so if there's mostly guys, that's just the way it shook out and maybe there will be more girls next year. No reason to force it if there's just no girls available, to work at NAB or to send from your company to attend.

But then I go back to the part of me swimming in dudes, and I wonder if I should be asking "why" a little louder. I doubt intentional malice here. I don't think most guys are overtly sexist about including knowledgable women on their NAB teams, and I REALLY don't think the organizers of Post Production World are smoking in a back room, laughing maniacally over their old boy's club, plotting on how they can get rid of Christine once and for all. I can't speak for employers choosing to send male employees to NAB over women because I can totally see that happening, though I hope it doesn't…much.

I just wonder if I should be asking "why" a little louder in case nobody really thought about it.

Correct me if I'm wrong (really), but I've heard the NAB Show of maybe 10+ years ago described as a very male-dominated and bigwig-only type experience. Decision-makers were the most plentiful attendees, so lower ranked employees weren't around so much and certainly weren't so included in anything of importance. And most decision-makers were guys because that's just how the industry is or was then. That's how a lot of industries are, in fact, so it's not like I'm accusing the video industry of being some crazy backwards place. There have been several gigantic companies only recently naming their first female CEO. So you know, whatevs. But what if the lack of gals on the show floor is just a remnant of that time? Just invite back the same people, send the guys because they'll get more out of it, do the usual thing we do every year, just go about our business as we always have.

Or you could try some fresh meat, you guys. Not just women, but in general. If the best choice for your business is to bring an 18-35 year old white male to man your booth or teach your class or represent your company, then I'm not going to argue with you or say you're a male chauvinist pig and burn my bra in protest. I'm just asking: why?

Have you thought about it?

Posted by: Kylee Peña on Apr 22, 2013 at 12:34:57 pmComments (9) nab show, women

My Not-So-Secret Diary: NAB 2013

I'm not sure how many times you have to go to NAB before the old(er) people stop pinching your cheeks, but it turns out two isn't the number of times. Not that it bothers me in the least because I'll be the first to tell you I know nothing. I really don't. There are a lot of ways to experience an event of this magnitude, and in many ways this year was just like number one all over again. This was the first year I had an exhibitor badge, and the first year I had a press badge. These both unlock whole new sections of NAB, like leveling up in an awesome video game. know..some of this stuff seems sacred. Like maybe not just anyone should know about it. Just the few thousand people each year that exhibit and/or cover the show. So forgive me, but I've kept the gritty details to myself, between me and the pages of my private diary.

It'd be an awful shame if those pages ever got out and plastered all over the Internet...


Saturday, April 6th - 8 AM EST

Dear Diary,

Next time I go to NAB, for the love of god, remind me to start packing earlier. I can't believe I have to spend 4 hours in Texas with less sleep than that.

XOXO - me

Saturday, April 6th - 11:30 PM PST

Dear Diary

The flight was lovely. Thanks for asking. Did you know there's a buffet in Caesar's where you can get unlimited piles of crab legs? It's perverse.

Another thing that's perverse is how often it's discussed that my room at the Riviera last year smelled like balls. And it's rarely ever ME that brings it up. This time, it was our (meaning me and my husband) good friend and fellow hotel-dweller Ben Barden that made the observation over late drinks in the Tempo Bar. He said that he found it very funny that the origin of our friendship was a tweet about a smell. He tweeted back about his room's misgivings, we ended up meeting at Post Production World, and then we hung out the rest of the week. Paraphrasing him here: "If your room hadn't smelled like balls, we probably wouldn't know each other!"

Ponder that one, diary. I've got sleep to catch up on.

Hugs-n-cuddles, me

Monday, April 8th - 12:35 AM PST

My dear diary,

Today was one of those days that feels like 5 days.

You see, this year I have two badges. One is a news media badge, and the other is an exhibitor badge. You can guess where the news media badge is from, but the exhibitor I'll tell you more about. I'll be spending Tuesday and Wednesday inside the Small Tree Communications booth talking about Ethernet shared storage as a creative individual rather than an engineer. I'm very much looking forward to this. But one day at a time here, let's recount what happened today.

Diary, I know you aren't sentient (I don't think..) but remember how I declared the lower south hall to be Disneyland last year? Well, turns out with an exhibitor badge, I can enter the south hall before the show opens. Duh, right? How else does all the stuff get set up? How, indeed. Small Tree told me to stop by the booth if I had time and check it out, so I did. You know what it's like to go in the south hall on Sunday morning?


Which isn't as traumatic as it sounds. Every kid (hopefully) goes through the rite of passage where they jump from one side to the other and then have the opportunity to share in the fun of keeping the mystery alive. It's like the circle of life, except not like the Lion King version where Mufasa dies because that SUCKS.

If you haven't seen the south hall in progress, let me describe it (at least for 2013): very hot, a lot of men swearing at each other, plastic tarps, fork lifts with no regard for my safety, plywood, boxes of stuff, and general chaos. Other than the heat, really not entirely unpleasant at all. You can tell that a lot of (if not most of) these people know each other, and this has become part of the yearly ritual of NAB for them. As many competitors share the floor, there remains a sense of community. Except for the dudes that hate each other no matter what. Awkward.

Walking from LVH to the south hall and back, stopping for a quick lunch, we ran into no less than ten people I knew. Already! This doesn't happen to me in Indiana.

Back to the news media badge, I met up with my friend and fellow news media badge-holder Jason Konoza and dashed to the Mirage for Sony's press event. Unsurprisingly, it was all about 4K this and that. As beautiful as the new TVs and other things they had were, I was distracted by the large mass of suit-adorned business men (some on phones) who had stationed themselves at the back of the room when there were loads of perfectly good seats available for them.

I guess I should probably mention that I've never actually been to a press conference before, so I may not be very good at reporting things that were actually said (and to my defense, I'm not sure anything of value was really said anyway). No, it was WAY more interesting to watch these guys. For every new item pushed on the stage, a surge rose in the flood of business-dudes rushing the side of the stage. Thirty seconds of taking photos with any device available to them, then they receded to the back until the next thing. By the end, the guys could barely contain themselves, launching onto the stage at a bunch of unexplained cameras and camera related items.

I like to think that at least one of them is responsible for all Sony news in the entire country of Kazakstan or something. Then I can understand the dire responsibility. If he doesn't get that blurry overhead shot of that thing, nobody in the whole country will know about it!

I wonder what happens when Sony has groundbreaking stuff to announce. Complete pandemonium, I'm sure.

So what traditionally happens next, I'm told, is that Avid ushers the press off on a bus to wherever they're displaying all their new things. And to their credit, it IS what happened. But not without a great amount of confusion. Following Jason and a bunch of guys who look like they've been around the block a few dozen times, we found that Avid seemed to have forgotten about us. After bonding with some of these lovely press guys over our apparent abandonment, a young lady in a red dress and heels carrying an Avid sign rushed at us like a flustered Bo Peep who just found her sheep. Because I totally felt like sheep. We got to the press event at the Aria a bit late, but didn't miss anything, not that there was much to miss. Some nice Media Composer 7 updates, but what's really worth mentioning is the food: it was awesome. Well done, Avid. Four stars at NAB 2013. NLE makers, I don't care about waveform caching. I just want snacks. I met Dylan Reeve here, who was also all about the snacks. We may be from opposite ends of the Earth, but snacks can unite us.

Hey, did you know Vince Neal has a Mexican restaurant in LVH? Yeah, me neither.

From Motley Crue to KISS, we went on to the second annual KISS Monster Mini Golf sponsored by Independent Filmmakers of the Inland Empire.

I was a little worried about this event. I knew Eric Harnden would do a fabulous job putting it on, but I've seriously talked this thing up to people for basically an entire year and wasn't sure it could ever live up to expectations. What a silly concern. I mean, look at this place. It blasts KISS all day every day. It has black lights and neons and lasers. It has the fake band and smoke and a wedding chapel. Time stands still inside it. How can anyone who isn't dead inside step in here and say "nah, this isn't for me"??

Diary, I still really suck at mini-golf.

There are few things weirder than playing mini-golf with a bunch of friends you see every day as avatars while disembodied KISS band member heads float tauntingly around you.

Sweet dreams, me

Monday, April 8th - 11:45 PM PST

Dear Diary,

Remember how I said yesterday was like 5 days? Today was like 5 months.

OH! I met Bob Zelin! No wait, chronological order or this is all gonna go bananas. Okay, first thing's first. It was raining and HELLA WINDY today. My hair is supposed to be fabulous in Vegas! Not wind blown!

Donning a shirt promoting my podcast (duh, my chest is prime ad space) I meandered to the convention center a little earlier than recommended. My news media badge got me into a special magical realm called the "news room" which is a room with slightly fewer people in it than most, and slightly more coffee. Also WIFI and - gasp -- places to sit.

I heard they serve food, but I never saw any of that. That's fine with me, because I had Origin India inside the lower south hall which served better lamb than I get at my favorite Indian place in Indiana. Yeah, for real, convention center food that beats "real food." Vegas, you crazy.

I wasn't around for the first hour of the south hall being open last year on account of learnin', but I poked my head in this year at about ten after nine and it was much less crowded than I had always heard. I guess once all the weirdos crowding at the gate spread out, it's not that many people as it seems. Got a good look at Blackmagic's adorable new camera and headed upstairs to Avid's booth for maniacal interview by the #postchat team (consisting of Jesse Averna, Gordon Burkell, and Tej Babra). I legitimately don't remember a single question they asked me (and believe me, I've tried to remember so I can brace myself for when this thing is posted online) but they told me it was okay. So..okay.

I saw a lot of stuff on the show floor, some of which I mentioned when I did my daily bloggin' but most of which was mentioned in other recaps about stuff. But you know what stuck with me the most? The live models in Blackmagic's booth. They just sit there all day with 20 cameras pointed in their faces while sweaty nerds zoom as far into their pores as they possibly can, removing and replacing their eyewear to get a better look at the little screens and viewfinders on these devices, taking blurry iPhone shots of what they discover to share with their 12 Twitter followers. This guy and girl just sit there and pretend to enjoy each others' company in a fake yard, reading fake books, swinging on a fake swing. For four days! What are they reading? What do they talk about? Do you think they'll recede into each others' company and forge the greatest love story never told? Will they get married on Thursday at 2:01PM in the KISS mini golf chapel and flee to Europe together?

Plot twist: or are they brother and sister?!

Ok, THEN I met the legendary Bob Zelin, one of the nicest people I think I've ever met. Seriously, if he shames you on a COW forum, you should print it out and frame that sh-t because you're not worthy.

Later on, a brief #postchat meet up happened in the elusive social media lounge. It was fun to see loads of familiar faces, and loads of new ones too. This is where having your actual face as your avatar is a helpful ice breaker. Diary, I wish I could tell those new to meet ups to make sure everyone knows who they are. I saw people tweeting they were there, but I had no idea who they were. Bizarre.

Yes, Diary, we're still on Monday. Stay with me.

To almost conclude the day was the Media Motion Ball. Besides the giant plate of real food and bottles of wine (thanks Maxon! C4D forevs!), the true high point of the MMB is to have a couple hundred people you probably want to talk to all in one room for a couple hours instead of scattered all over Vegas. Of course, the downside to this is a higher level of frustration when you miss the same people yet again KNOWING they were in that very room with you (I'll get you next year, Chris and Trish Meyer, if it's the last thing I do). I did end up meeting quite a few nice people I wasn't previously aware of, which was really nice. You know what's weird though? I was on camera for like the third time today (thanks to Walter's #wallycam), which is about three more times than I ever have been on camera. Unless you count that short film in college where I had to play a rich old cat lady. Pft, I was typecast so early.

Know what else is weird? Cab strikes during NAB. Makes it hard to find a cab. Say, to the Hard Rock. For festivities. Meh. I try to give people on strike the benefit of the doubt, and I sorta did while I grumbled back to the monorail.

Another thing I learned today, Diary: a lot of the cards in Cards Against Humanity have to be explained to non-Americans.

Nighty-night Diary, me.

Tuesday, April 9th - 7:30 AM PST

Heading off to be a booth worker, Diary. I wonder if anyone will notice my Small Tree green nails?

Tuesday, April 9th - 9:10 AM PST

Surreptitiously googling Cat6.

Tuesday, April 9th - 11:30 PM PST

Hold Me, Diary, I've had a day.

A few people did notice my Small Tree green nails.

I headed to the convention center too early, so I swapped my exhibitor badge for my news media badge and got coffee from the news room. I don't actually know if that's…allowed..or if I should be documenting it. But I suppose if it's just a secret between you and me, Diary, what's the harm? Besides, I'm reporting about reporting about exhibiting. Crossing the streams a little, but it makes for fresh content. And also, I really wanted coffee.

The vibe on the show floor before it's open is similar to the vibe on Sunday, but with less yelling and fewer sweaty men. I shared booth duties with Walter Biscardi, who quickly whisked me away to Flanders Scientific for one of the best donuts I've ever had. It was allegedly vegan, but I don't see how that's possible. I think I missed the air quotes. Maybe it's a running gag.

Alright, so, Small Tree. I know shared storage. I mean, I know how it works. I know how ethernet storage works. When I say I know how it works, I mean I know when I plug my stuff in, it works awesome. And that's all I was meant to really know. It turns out that a lot of people that come to a booth to ask about shared storage want to know some pretty intense technical details.

So I learned a lot about ethernet storage today. Specifically, how to talk about ethernet storage.

The first way I learned was to eavesdrop on Walter's interaction with his first visitor. He claims not to know much of anything about this stuff, but don't listen to him because he knows more than enough -- certainly enough to make me look bad! The second way I learned was to eavesdrop on the guys who engineer the stuff. The trick here is to know when to stop listening. Diminishing returns. You know how it be. Once latency starts getting brought up, I'm out.

The booth got busy in the afternoon, and I found my place somewhere in between directing traffic and answering ease of use questions. There was also some discussion of hair care, but it was rather blurry. The Small Tree guys were great with visitors, and extremely helpful to me as I learned the finer points of…what people wanted me to know. I met so many people, and I was kind of amazed at how many of them came to say hi specifically to me. It was great to put so many names to faces, and learn brand new names altogether.

I also met the COW's Debra Kaufman!

While many headed to the Supermeet, we met up with more Internet friends for dinner. It's nice to be able to put out an instant beacon to let people know where to find you. The downside is that they know where you are, and you end up with 8 people smashed around a table meant for 5. I love them all, but less so when they're in my bubble.

Still preferable to most of my family. But you know alllll about that, Diary.

A problem with NAB in general that I discerned last year: there's too much damn stuff to do. I killed myself trying to do it all before, but this year? Time to be choosy. Real food, actual conversation, an alcoholic milkshake, and off into the night somewhere away from the strip for a Pinball Party.

That somewhere is the Pinball Hall of Fame, and they aren't messing around on that one. Machines from every era of gaming and not just pinball. Which is awesome because like mini-golf, I also suck at pinball. In a tremendous display of knowing exactly what I want out of any party, Red Giant and Maxon provided an open bar and ice cream truck.

This should be the part where I recount shenanigans from the famous AJA Party but as you can tell from the timestamp, laying in bed sounded way better than pounding club music. I gave my wristbands away and crawled to our room.

How boring. This is not what diaries were meant to record. I'll try to do better tomorrow.

XOXO <3 - me

Wednesday, April 10th - 7 PM PST

Dearest of Diaries,

I'm heading off shortly to drink wine with people from the Internet, so I thought it would be wise to tell you about my day before that.

I was back in the Small Tree Communications booth today, but my voice was not. I didn't lose it, but it definitely decided to show up a little late. Maybe it went to the AJA Party? Booth traffic was much lighter today so I ended up talking with a lot more people about a lot more things. Even more old friends and new friends showed up to say hello, and it was exciting to meet them all.

It seemed that people started trying to use Small Tree as a point of reference within the lower south hall (or maybe I just start noticing them), because a lot of confused people ended up staring at a map in front of the booth. Look at map, look at Small Tree's giant sign, look at map, sign, map, sign, repeat until I ask them if I can help them out. Oddly enough, about 95% of these confused NAB attendees were looking for RED's booth. Not sure what that says about any of us, and I don't really care to think about it further.

Looking at other booths with a critical eye yesterday (hey, I earned the right dammit), I declare that there's a lack of positive body language up in there. Ya'll need to SMILE MORE. Not just the people you hire to stand around and look pretty, either. Engineers, designers, editors -- smile! Act like you want to be there. A little enthusiasm goes a long way, especially if the booth is small. What became entertaining to me was standing on the edge of the booth wishing people a good afternoon. Some people enjoyed the interaction while a few, desperate not to be sold to, avoided eye contact and scuttled away. I wonder what would have happened if I'd made a FREE HUGS* sign? (*With purchase of Titanium Z storage system).

I'll tell you who doesn't need anymore enthusiasm: Steve Modica. If this dude had anymore enthusiasm, they could harness it as fuel and use it in the first manned mission to Mars -- and get there tomorrow. The ability to be excited about highly technical products while articulating them clearly is not widespread enough throughout the convention center, so it became a learning experience in itself.

You know what else? There really aren't many women in the booths. I mean, there are women, if you know what I mean. But man, I know there are women working in this industry. I've worked with them. I'm friends with a lot of them. This may come as a shock, but I am one. Not that there HAS to be a woman for every so many dudes. It's just an observation. It's likely that all the ladies are back home working on gigs. SOMEbody's got to.

Also, my feet hurt. A lot. I should trade you for a foot bath, Diary.

Oh, I would never.

Maybe for a pedicure.

Hugs-N-Kisses, me

Thursday, April 11th - 2:30 AM PST

Yeah, definitely a good idea to recount the day before wine.

I just realized I didn't tell you about the wine. I know you're jealous of Twitter, Diary -- I would be too if I were you, it getting all my short sweet nothings instead of you -- but this is a good social media story. I have to record it for posterity.

A few months ago, I had a conversation on Twitter between some editing friends -- some I met at NAB in 2012, some I knew before then. From that conversation, we made a sort of standing promise that we'd each bring a bottle of wine from our homeland to Vegas for tasting.

That promise came to fruition, and last night I sat around a coffee table in an empty bar where the Star Trek Experience used to be as a half dozen people drank a half dozen bottles of wine that had a half dozen thousand miles on them, and talked about editing and everything but until the wee hours. Or whatever 2AM is considered. Not that wee in Vegas, but I do what I can.

They say Twitter is what you make of it. They're pretty much right on that one.

Must sleep, me

Thursday, April 11th - 9:30 AM PST


Thursday, April 11th - 10:30 PM PST

Mi Diario,

Last full day in Vegas, last day of NAB. As enriching, educational, and experiential NAB is, the end becomes a necessity if you want to live to see another year.

While Monday was spent mainly looking around the back half of the lower south hall, I spent this morning in the bigger booths in the front half. Adobe and Autodesk, which have been crammed all week, actually had seating for the last few presentations. I relished in sitting. I don't think it's any secret that the show floor is much easier to navigate on Wednesday and Thursday, though I almost don't understand why more people don't opt for these days over Monday and Tuesday.

I guess I wouldn't really want to either. It's like going to a parade after the floats have already passed.

Against my better judgement, I did end up in the central hall briefly. I just don't get camera people. So heavy, so expensive. All that money and hard labor, just so I can mock them in my edit suite for missing a shot. It's really too bad.

Later, the remaining NAB survivors headed to the nearest IN-N-Out Burger for an animal style book-end to the week. We decompressed, drank milkshakes, and I forced everyone to record a segment for my podcast. Ryan Salazar even found the time to show up. I told him I scooped him -- I had already blogged about being there. HA. However, the photo is borrowed from his Twitter feed.

Upon the suggestion of someone much smarter than I regarding food in Vegas, Nathan and I went to a small french restaurant called Pamplemousse for dessert - a soufflé. This is inconsequential other than the fact it elevated us both to a new plane of dessert-eating-existence, so I mention it to you cruelly Diary, as you can never taste what I taste, for you have no taste buds on your naive pages.

After a short excursion to Fremont Street, we were in for the evening like old women. To my defense, I think I'm starting to get sick. I have a disgusting cough and general sense of malaise, but NAB'll do that, it seems. Only time will tell how badly the NAB Plague has got me this year.

I think I'll take a couple extra hits off the ol' inhaler tonight just to be safe.

G'night, bedbugs, etc - me

Friday, April 12th - 3:30 PM PST

Yo Diary,

Yep, I'm sick. I'm not sure if the massive pile of starch I ate at the Peppermill this morning helped, but I'm kind of concerned I ate a world wonder by accident.

All afternoon, I've been getting texts from my various friends, old and new, as they get ready to depart from Vegas. Flight times, well-wishes for safe journeys, thanks for another great week of memories, those sorts of things. Most of us talk every week, if not every day, in some form online. Sometimes we happen to be in each other's cities. For a week, we're all in one overwhelming place at the same time. Between all the friends I saw at night and all the people I met on the show floor all day, I can't imagine attending NAB without these conversations. This is where I really learn what I come to learn from NAB: between friends. Including those I haven't met yet.

And I guess the new and innovative products and junk are the catalyst or whatever, yeah yeah.

Diary, if you had told me that friends who originated online would not only not be weirdos (mostly), but would end up enriching my life in many ways and teaching me so many things, I would have called you crazy. In fact, I'll still call you crazy. Are you crazy? Those people are from the INTERNET. I've seen what goes on there!

Being around these friends and having the perspective of news media AND exhibitor? Well...keep this really secret, Diary, but I wondered how it would ever be possible to top my first year at NAB. This year just obliterated it into tiny pieces.

Yep, definitely sick. Wearing it as a badge of honor. I was at NAB, I shook a bunch of hands that were attached to a lot of great people, and now I'm ill and wouldn't have it any other way!

I wonder if the fake couple from the fake yard in the Blackmagic booth have fled the border in lust together yet? Hm. I hope so, Diary. I hope so.

It's been real Diary. Oh, do you think it's normal I'm having a recurring nightmare that I can't escape the Avid booth? I'll keep you posted. Might be the cough syrup.

Please let it be the cough syrup.

XXOO - me

(Photo stolen from Matt Penn)

Posted by: Kylee Peña on Apr 16, 2013 at 9:14:12 pmComments (7) nab show 2013

Deep Thoughts from Vegas: Day Four

Day Four, but really day six. Day six of four. Whatever. Last day of NAB. Day negative one seems like a week and a half ago at least.


When I read NAB suggestions and tips and wrap-ups from people who have been coming to the show a long time, I rarely hear anything about communication. This is mind-boggling. How did you meet people? Did you just know where they are? Randomly bump into people and become life-long friends? Call on the PHONE? NAB is such a frenzy, how did you really take advantage of all these great people being in town without being able to communicate instantly?

I'm really asking you guys, if you care to enlighten me.

Twitter is amazing. I've met a lot of great friends through chatting on Twitter. But you know what really made this NAB great? SMS. Yeah, THAT old junk!

A couple of weeks ago, Liam (@editorliam) suggested that some of us download an app called GroupMe, which serves as a group messaging service. His thought was that we could communicate with each other as needed without having to rely on Twitter for finding people. It clogs the feed, and it's hard to keep tagging everyone because you can run out of characters. So a handful of us downloaded GroupMe.

I found that you could forward GroupMe messages to text instead of using the battery-burning app, so I did that. And it works phenomenally well, especially when my LTE connection was struggling. Over the course of the week, we kept adding people to the thread. We could quickly send a text to ask if anyone was in the south hall, or if people wanted to find lunch. The app (and SMS service) also allows for picture messaging, so it devolved into silliness at times, seeing who could get closest to whom and snap a picture without them realizing.

It's made finding friends during the show much easier than last year. It's allowed all of us to spend a lot more time together instead of trying to coordinate and keep missing each other. Yesterday, part of the group decided at the last minute to take off into the desert to shoot the sunset -- something that couldn't happen in an event of this scale without coordination ahead of time unless you can text 20 people at once. And those 20 people bring along new people they've met and introduce them into the group.

Right now, my phone is buzzing as plans are set to go to In-N-Out Burger as a bookend to NAB before the last of us leave. When we tried to coordinate this last year, it was difficult to tell everyone where and when things were happening. This year, if my text messages are any indication, we'll have a group of something like 10 or 15 editors. Might make seating a little difficult, eh?

I suppose that's a good last deep thought from the heart of Vegas: SMS and burgers. The staples of life. As you can see, one leads directly to the other.

AND NOW? Double double animal style with an extra toasted bun, with well done cheese fries thankyouverymuch. Ah, I love the west.

Posted by: Kylee Peña on Apr 11, 2013 at 3:42:54 pmComments (2) nab show

Deep Thoughts from Vegas: Day Three

Hooray for borrowed wifi. The gift that keeps on giving, whether it wants to or not.

DEEP THOUGHT: cave dwellers.

Working in the fabulous Small Tree Communications booth again today, I had more opportunity to ask booth visitors what they were looking for and what they saw in the lower south hall. Other than the cute widdle Bwack Magic itty bitty camera, most people were talking less about things and more about ideas for new workflows.

The commonly mentioned things were collaboration tools like Adobe Anywhere, Axle Video, and Digital Rebellion's Kollaborate. Everyone was trying to get a handle on "that whole cloud thing." I watched an Adobe demo where screens were shared and media was swapped and traded during a Skype call a state away. Of course it worked pretty flawlessly with one end rooted at Adobe's headquarters, but still – pretty nifty.

Like I've mentioned, I'm editing an indie. Over the last 6 months, I think I've seen the director three times. We live an hour apart, so I send cuts on Screenlight (which is awesome) and have dropped DVD screeners but otherwise I'm on my own. I get a lot of feedback on Facebook chat. So this cloud stuff? I'm kind of wondering if maybe it would be a little better for my workflow. Less searching Facebook chat logs and cross referencing Excel worksheets, more uh, editing. Habits to break, for certain.

On the other side of this, I wonder if we'll hit a point where we don't really ever see each other in post. Not because we don't have to – I think we all know a project needs some face to face time – but because actually being in a room together will become an unnecessary expense to the powers that be. So after a while, the dark "edit cave" will literally become a fortress of solitude. Stalagmites and stalagtites and bats and drippy water and everything. We'll all look like the things in The Descent, and instead of coming to NAB and meeting each other, we'll form complex underground colonies and eat producers that enter our sacred space.

Quote of the day from a stranger behind me as I walked from the north hall to LVH: "AUGH! SUNLIGHT!"


Had loads of fun meeting loads of people today as well. Nice to meet and be silly:

Posted by: Kylee Peña on Apr 11, 2013 at 2:35:40 pmComments (1) Nab show

Deep Thoughts from Vegas: Day Two

Blah blah written on day two posted on day three because INTERNETS SUCK.

DEEP THOUGHT: "saving steps".

In high school and college, I worked as a waitress. In the world of serving tables, we have a concept called "saving steps." That is, you're on your feet every shift, so you try your best to think about each trip around the dining room. You address the needs of multiple tables at once so you don't end up running back and forth and wearing yourself out unnecessarily. Servers who don't save their steps are referred to as noobs, and thusly looked down upon.

I half-liked and half-hated serving tables, but like many irrelevant jobs I had along the way, it taught me a lot of stuff with practical application into professional life. I kind of resent that, but it's ingrained now so I can't do anything about it. I think those of us who had hospitality jobs where we were on our feet for 8-12 hours at a time really benefit from this probably-kinda-traumatic experience at events like NAB.

Today was my first day ever working in a booth for NAB. I was in Small Tree Communications' booth (more about that another time), which was positioned right beside the walkway to the central hall. Everyone tells you the cliche advice to wear comfortable shoes, and informs you just how hugemongous each hall is, right? Other people tell you to have a plan. That stuff is so very correct. Watching people entering the lower south hall in between helping interested NAB attendees with their storage needs, you can place the repeat attendees -- or ex-servers in the crowd. Walking with purpose, and not back and forth in front of me over and over!

Save steps, walk strategically, see more stuff! Advice for all areas of life, really.

And those ladies in heels? They're either professionals, or they're insane. Ain't NO savin' steps in heels.

Posted by: Kylee Peña on Apr 10, 2013 at 6:29:30 pm nab show

Deep Thoughts from Vegas: Day One

Day one is two days and mumblemumble dollars short. Vegas, man. What can I say? I DID write it on day one.

DEEP THOUGHT: connections.

Wandering around the south hall today shortly after it opened, I found myself bouncing from person to person, many I knew and some I didn't. This has become somewhat expected by now -- you're in one room with a couple hundred people from a relatively small community (of which the Internet sub-community is even smaller), of course you're going to run into each other. That's part of the fun. However, today I had a bit of a different experience with making connections.

I've blogged a bit about working on an independent film called The Impersonators. At the end of May, we'll be doing a significant chunk of pick-ups to enhance some story points. Because of reasons, I won't be around for the shoot much so I've been looking for a DIT to manage the on set media and make sure I get what I need. I was fretting a bit about this: twelve days of shooting, unpaid, prefer if you have any idea what you're doing.

I asked a friend of mine who works for Ball State University if he could pass on my needs to the telecommunications department the day before I left for Vegas. This morning, Monday, I got an email back: there's a student who is very interested in the gig. He's worked with RED material as a DIT before. He even developed the workflow.

And the student saw on my blog that I'm at NAB this week. He is too.

I called him from the show floor and we met up in the lobby of the lower south hall and talked for a while about the film and his experience. Don't tell anyone, but I think he knows more about this than I do. Kids these days.

It's funny, I expect to go to NAB and meet creatives from all over the world. And I do. But I also found and hired the DIT I never thought I'd find.

Posted by: Kylee Peña on Apr 10, 2013 at 6:14:17 pmComments (2) nab show

Deep Thoughts from Vegas: Day Zero

Today's deep thought is brought to you by free wifi a day late. It's hard to post a daily blog from a wifi-only iPad.

ANYWAY. Today's actual deep thought is about what lies behind the curtain. The man back there we're not supposed to pay attention to until the little dog comes and bittes his leg.

Vegas is all about the facade. It makes you feel loved, desired, wanted. Vegas lusts for you. Come here, give us a hug. It's okay to spend your paycheck. We'll make sure you don't know how many hours you've spent wandering around with your head in the clouds. There there, Vegas says. Here are some pretty girls who care about you!

In this way, it's the perfect venue for NAB.

Literally looking behind the curtain today, I walked the lower south hall as an exhibitor for the first time. Last year I saw the shiny show floor. My first impression this year? Shambles. Fork lifts, tarps, people yelling at each other. I wondered how the hell they'll get it together for the next day. Like I said on Twitter, it's like learning the truth about Santa. A big fat man doesn't break into my house? These booths don't just appear in the night?

Then looking behind the curtain even more, I attended my first press conferences with Sony and Avid. They're very slick, and very polished. But I noticed when I looked around the room and focused on what was behind me instead of on the stage (in 4K, of course), it was nothing but men in suits looking very worried.

Preparing for what new items might be released today, I noticed again how secretive some companies are about their products. So much so that when it appears this secret has been breached, it obviously becomes the talk of the dinner table. Tweets retweeted, blurry pictures shared on iPhone screens in Vegas dives. You start to wonder if this is a glitch behind the curtain, or a strategic move leveraging the instant nature of Twitter. As a professional conspiracy theorist, I almost always assume the latter.

And of course, behind the curtain of products themselves. Companies adding a lot of features that aren't new and haven't been new in a million years. And being revered for it. Don't get me wrong, I'm always happy to see updates and feature requests fulfilled. But thinking as a person from the other side of things, more critically than accepting, I can't help but see how this isn't the same as those frilly Vegas showgirls. We love you, give us your money and we'll dance around a little bit and make you feel good.

It's very interesting at NAB this time around. Last year was all about bright lights and loud noises. Now you start to pay attention a little closer and see some things you don't normally see, and you can start to see the seams.

Off to day one! I'm going to go bite some legs and see what kind of trouble I can get in to.

Posted by: Kylee Peña on Apr 8, 2013 at 12:55:54 pmComments (1) nab show

Come see me in the Small Tree Communications booth, y'all.

South Lower Hall, 6005. Find Orad from the main aisle and turn left. It's looking pretty freakin' sweet right now. Lots of great stuff to show you...or just stay for the huge circular screen.

I'll be there Tuesday and Wednesday. Walter Biscardi will be there Monday and Tuesday. No matter when you come, you'll see some COW friends.

Not gonna lie. This is pretty fun already.

Posted by: Kylee Peña on Apr 7, 2013 at 12:54:59 pm Nab show, Small tree communications

Deep Thoughts from Vegas: Day Negative One

Yeah, so, NAB, am I right?

Alright, look. This is my first year seeing NAB from the other side in many ways. I'm very much an observer. I will tweet a lot of strange pictures and probably a lot of nonsensical thoughts over the next week, but I felt like I should at least attempt to contribute something worthwhile during this thing.

There's a deluge of coverage from the show floor. People who have been around a lot longer and actually have strong opinions will be covering everything anyone could possibly want to know about new products. That's not really my calling anyway.

So I present to you: Deep Thoughts from Vegas.

I call today day negative one. Day 1 has to be Monday and Day Negative Two sounds stupid so today is negative one, tomorrow is zero. Though it seems that stuff starts to get interesting tomorrow, which gives today a sort of Christmas Eve vibe. Soon all the post pros will be nestled snug in their expensive suite king sized beds while thoughts of Resolve 10 dance in their heads. In between the less savory things; it is Vegas after all.

"Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray to Adobe my soul to keep."

Which leads me to today's deep thought: absurdity.

If you take a half step back, this is all just a little bit incredibly absurd. People furiously tweeting, speculation and rumors out the wazoo, press releases practically being tossed out into the streets like ticker tape. It's absurd that I'm writing this on my iPad while crammed in a middle seat between two dudes I don't know while my husband is in another middle seat crammed between two ladies he doesn't know.

It's just barely skating the surface of sanity, this week. The frenzy, the freebies, the things we do to our bodies. And that's perfectly fine. This is what we do for a living. The NAB Show defines the rest of the year for a lot of us.

But come on, I'm right, right? It's all rather lavish. Over the top. Decadent. Absurd.

This isn't a thing that says we're going overboard and need to reign it in, because I think it's pretty much amazing. Because what's not absurd in the least are the relationships forged or renewed at this thing. Friends, contacts, employers, employees. Listening and learning is the take-away, along with the free t-shirts.

If you're here, count yourself lucky. You shined up your comfy shoes, snapped your badge onto a fresh lanyard, and you're heading out into the night to drink with like-minded nerds and talk about 4K. If you aren't here, count yourself lucky too: you aren't crammed into a middle seat.

I'm just saying an ounce of gratitude this week will do your body good.

Also, probably 20 ounces of water before bed each night.

That's my thought. Absurdity and gratitude. I promise some of these may even be funny and not at all preachy.

Posted by: Kylee Peña on Apr 6, 2013 at 5:20:03 pmComments (1) Nab show

Reminder: Give Credit To Your Mentors

Last week I found myself in Urban Outfitters for some unknown reason, and started looking through their mostly novelty book collection. Recipes for hemp, something about beards, veganized Betty Crocker, even the classic Tumblr Feminist Ryan Gosling is now a coffee table book. In the piles of hipster literature and cat pictures, I found a book called "Damn Good Advice (for people with talent!)" by George Lois. The book is, as you'd guess, a list of advice largely aimed at young professionals, arranged with one point per page with a succinct paragraph explaining it.
I glanced through a few pages and landed on one that basically said this: don't forget to honor your mentors when you're successful. Give credit to those that helped you in some way.

I thought, really? People need to be told to do this? Why wouldn't you share your success?

But then I remembered a time when I used to keep my gratefulness to myself. Introverts tend to think a lot of things, and a lot of us in post are introverts by nature. We appreciate what people do for us and would always give them credit for helping us along the way if someone asked, but do we ever tell them? Honestly, all this junk gets way too close to having feelings and emotions, and most of us just aren't down with that kind of stuff.

I've been lucky to have a few mentors along the way so far, but there was one person I saw recently, and I realized I had never told him the impact he had on me. We only worked together a couple of days a long time ago.

In 2006, I accidentally found out that there happened to be a small independent film community in Indianapolis. I say accidentally because I was eavesdropping on a conversation at work. A girl mentioned her dad was an actor, and it snowballed from there until I was walking up the driveway to a stranger's house while people I don't know assembled a dolly outside. The film was an independent feature drama about a pioneer woman who got lost in time, and they were shooting two scenes outside the house that day. I had volunteered to be a production assistant. I'd never been a PA before, so I had no idea what I was getting myself in to with it.

I spent the day doing everything you'd expect a brand new PA to do. Moving stuff, getting people drinks, moving stuff, moving stuff. Around evening, some people had to leave, and the assistant director asked me if I knew how to script supervise. Nope, but I can learn. So he showed me. A couple more people left, so I had to script supervise and do the slates. And it was night, so I had to shine a flashlight on the slate. And then grab my script notes. He worked with me, showing me how to number and letter the takes, what to say, where to hold things. He was incredibly kind and patient for a dude on a film set dealing with a mostly clueless 19 year old, heavy on the positive reinforcement. After we wrapped, I helped wrap cable and we spoke for a while about my career and schooling, and he wished me luck.

Having been on a lot of sets since then, I know that they're usually at least a little tense. I was lucky to have a first experience with an AD that wasn't screamy and stressed out. If my first experience on set had been negative, I'm not sure what would have happened next. But the AD's kindness showed me that there are a lot of good people in film, so I continued to volunteer and pursue more experiences with indies. Over the years, I've been able to work my way through crew jobs and meet dozens and dozens of great people. And of course, this eventually led to me editing a feature myself.

I figured I should probably tell him, right? So I did, via a quick note online. He was happy to hear, and he told me this: please do the same for someone you just met. Which is also great advice, and something I've always aspired to do.

This will undoubtedly get buried under the sea of NAB news about to flood the feeds, but if you're heading off to Vegas or getting your RSS feeds ready to see the latest gear and "game changers", remember the people. Give credit where it's due. Honor your mentors (or those that were kind to you in some way) when you have any kind of success. Remember that nobody gets there alone. It works out great for everyone. Your mentor is encouraged to keep it up. You get some much needed humbling. And you might even get another dose of good advice from the experience. It's win-win-win, ya'll.

Now everyone hug.

Posted by: Kylee Peña on Apr 5, 2013 at 9:08:20 am post production, mentors

Focusing on post-production, from editing and motion graphics to personal experiences and the psychology of being an editor.


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