I'm focusing much of my energy this week on pulling things together for the Futures of Entertainment conference, which is coming up at MIT on Friday, Nov. 21, and Saturday, Nov. 22. Futures of Entertainment 3, an event sponsored by the MIT Convergence Culture Consortium is the third annual conference bringing together media industries professionals and media studies academics to discuss the current state and ongoing trends in media. I'm going to be kept busy this year: opening the conference by laying out some of the core concepts which are animating the Consortium's current research agenda, including Spreadable Media, The Gift Economy, and the Moral Economy; moderating what promises to be a high flying discussion of "value" and "worth" in the new media landscape; trying to hold my own in a conversation with Yochai Benkler; and helping to shape a discussion which uses The Watchman as a case study of the intersection between comics and convergence culture.
Other topics this year will include a strong focus on social media, globalization, franchising, audience building, and the intersection between academia and industry.
If you've attended our other events you know that we bring together cutting edge thinkers from both academia and industry for intense exchanges about trends which will influence the entertainment sector in the coming years. This year's mix is our most diverse yet.
Speakers at the conference include Kim Moses, executive producer of The Ghost Whisperer; Alex McDowell, production designer for Watchmen; Gregg Hale, producer of The Blair Witch Project and Seventh Moon; Lance Weiler, director of The Last Broadcast and Head Trauma; and Tom Casiello, Daytime Emmy award-winning former writer for soap operas including As the World Turns, One Life to Live, Days of Our Lives, and The Young and the Restless; brand guru Anne White, who consulted on the design of advertising for Minority Report; CrunchyRoll's Vu Nguyen; New Content's Mauricio Mota who will share with us news from Brazil's film and music industries; as well as representatives from HBO Online, World Wrestling Entertainment, and other innovative media companies and projects.
The conference will also feature academics such as Yochai Benkler (Harvard Law School, author of The Wealth of Networks), John Caldwell (UCLA, author of Production Culture), Anita Elberse (Harvard Business School, author of "Should You Invest in the Long Tail?"), Nancy Baym (University of Kansas, Personal Connections in a Digital Age), Amanda Lotz (University of Michigan, The Television Will be Revolutionized), Sharon Ross (Columbia College Chicago, Beyond the Box: Television and the Internet) and Grant McCracken (author of Transformations).
Many of these names you will recognize from previous entries on this blog. You won't want to miss these conversations.
More information on the conference, including the program and registration, is available