by Katrina Diamond
Before you show up for SIGGRAPH 2012, you may want to brush up on conference preparations and finalize your schedule. Whether you are a first-timer or long-time attendee, the show can be over-stimulating if you aren’t ready to make the most of every minute.
Now in its 39th year, the SIGGRAPH conference is the premier international event on computer graphics and interactive techniques. Taking place Aug. 5-9, SIGGRAPH 2012 is expected to draw more than 20,000 professionals from five continents to the Los Angeles Convention Center.
Shows to see during the Conference
Get your tickets to the Computer Animation Festival as soon as possible, as they sell out insanely quick.
When you hit up the Electronic Theater to see this year’s beautiful works of 3D art, get there at least half an hour early, as seats fill up FAST.
Jumpstart the Job Hunt
If you are trying your luck at the CreativeHeads Job Fair, bring an exorbitant amount of copies of your resume. If you think you packed enough, think again. Same goes for business cards.
Whether or not you intend to, you’ll end up meeting inspiring exhibitors and speakers who may want to interview you (before you even get to the Job Fair). Also, this should go without saying but obviously have your portfolio on you as well, whether it’s in a fancy leather piece or just visuals on your tablet or phone.
Sessions, Courses, Talks & Panels
Make sure to incorporate these specific hash tags Siggraph wants attendees to use when tweeting during show!
NEW: #siggraph #mobile
Parties & Receptions
Events Taking Place at Siggraph’s Expo Hall
View Siggraph’s Exhibitor List to help with a show floor plan of attack:
o If you need an afternoon brewsky, pond5 typically has beer flowing at the booth. (A cool company to check out either way.)
o For collectible swag, don’t forget to swing by the Pixar booth for their annual giveaway.
o Emerging Technologies
Always my fave part of the expo; kind of reminds me of a big kid’s version of the EPCOT “imagination land.” Except all this stuff is actually already being invented: adventurous robotic experiments, protoypes of glasses-free 3D displays, speculative plant-based interfaces, force-feedback haptic displays, and other futuristic systems, all available for hands-on interaction.
* Get there early, pick up registration & buy any tickets you still need.
* Check out the Art Gallery since the Expo is not open yet
Chief Creative Officer for SuperBetter Labs
Jane McGonigal’s Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make us Better and How They Can Change the World (2011) is in digital and analog bookstores everywhere.
She is a game researcher, developer, player, theorist, and evangelist:
“My #1 goal in life is to see a game designer nominated for a Nobel
Peace Prize. I’ve forecast that this will happen by the year 2023.
Of course, it’s not enough to just forecast the future- I’m also
11am-3pm: Watch the ACM SIGGRAPH awards. No Kanye or Taylor, but you may get to applaud (and shake hands with) some of your animation idols.
SIGGRAPH Reception: The international SIGGRAPH community’s highest-energy, best-attended social event of the year. Drink a toast to your colleagues’ achievements, and your own. Share dessert and a convivial evening with people you haven’t seen since SIGGRAPH 2011. And meet the people you need to know for another year of professional success and adventure.
Good day to explore the expo and Emerging Technologies. If you think you’re missing a good session, feel free to catch the streaming version in the Geek Bar.
Also a great day for the Job Fair- the employers are settled in and less likely to be frazzled, but not exhausted at the very end of the show.
Try the speed-networking version of tech papers with “SIGGRAPH Dailies!” and see if you can keep up.
Break up the week a little bit by visiting the Electronic Theater, especially because “Real-Time Live!” is afterwards.
Visit the SIGGRAPH Mobile sessions and demonstrations to learn what’s next in the evolution of mobile technology.
See what the students are unveiling in the Research Competition Final Presentation.
Collaborate with peers at a Birds of a Feather meeting and informally discuss what you’ve been seeing and learning all week.
* SIGGRAPH Shortcuts:
You are What You Eat (and What you Wear on Your Feet)
Leave your trendy heels and shoes at home. Everything is incredibly spread out and you’ll want to save your feet for the evening events.
Pockets are your best friend. Even if you are an exhibitor with lead scanners, and think you will never see a business card again - trust me, you will. And, more importantly, you’ll want your important belongings on you at all times. Ladies, leave the Chihuahua-sized purses in the room (it will get unbearably heavy and you will end up leaving it with co-worker at the booth anyway, and you may even miss your one opportunity to refuel on caffeine on the way back from a session).
When attending the expo, roll bags and backpacks are the way to go you will get so much “stuff” thrown at you, so make sure you have somewhere reliable and comfortable to store it so you have time to peruse through everything later.
Don’t Load up on Empty Calories
The days are long and you will need every nutritional advantage to stay alert and energized. Stay hydrated, keep trail mix or banana handy and to stay away from the heavy lunches so you aren’t dragging to your afternoon meeting.
Obviously there will be no shortage of fine dining to choose from at night, but here’s a helpful link in case you need help sorting through the massive list of restaurants. Of course your concierge can also help figure out the best places based on your budget and taste. Just make sure you make reservations early!
Also, while it may seem every hour is happy hour between the parties and the show floor, try not to stay out all night or drink too much. Your future self (from the next day) will thank you.
Connect with Clients (Old & New)
Show your advertisers or clients some love, whether that means taking them to a show, doing a group dinner or even staying an extra day before or after the show to unwind. If they are having an event, do your best to try and stop by to support.
These face-to-face opportunities to connect with clients come by less and less often with today’s meeting technologies you may get more relationship building done in one laid-back social setting than you would via email and conference call all year long.
Prepare Yourself to Talk to Lots of People
This means not only mentally preparing yourself, but finding the perfect balancing act between the need for early morning coffee and the inevitable outcome of coffee breath. Bring mints!
If you are an attendee, you will probably get so many business cards, you will need to dump out your bag / badge holder and start fresh the next day. To keep your favorite leads together, perhaps let everybody scan your badge and only keep paper copies of ones you need to write follow up notes on - or better yet, keep your post-show action items running in one of the many phone task apps.
Also, get familiar with the lay of the land before the floor show floodgate opens. When people ask you where the restrooms are or where certain key events / major neighbors are, you never want to say, “I don’t know.”
Always ask questions and find out what they do and why they came to the show. They may not even need your services now, but they may know a few people who do, and are more likely to pass on info to people that are friendly, genuine and interested. Stay open-minded and in the networking mind-set the entire time - sometimes the most valuable contacts are unplanned, like in line at the cafeteria or even in the business center waiting for copies.