News, Notes & Commentary on the world of HRTS

The Social Network

Picture if you will a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind, a place where content meets marketing through a door which may be locked by fans and unlocked with the key of ardent desire. There's a signpost up ahead, your next stop: Hollywood on the Beach.

Also known as Comic-Con, each year Hollywood treks down to San Diego to meet up with over 100,000 dedicated fans and spend a few days by the beach. What Cannes is to independent films, the Con is to commercial films and TV shows. The opportunities for marketing, publicity and networking are seemingly limitless since everyone goes, including every major studio and network, managers and agents, talent, advertisers, transmedia companies and the press. Facebook and Twitter are great for building up a list of digital contacts but there’s something to be said for actually showing up, shaking hands and kibitzing with people, the more traditional and enjoyable form of social networking. And if you have tens of thousands of people and you’re right by the ocean, so much the better.

Three HRTS members who made a big impression at this year’s Con were The Hollywood Reporter, The Gotham Group, and Machinima.

The Hollywood Reporter had a prominent daytime presence throughout the Con with their Video Lounge inside a fashionable new venue called the Gang Kitchen (think Manhattan nightclub meets fusion restaurant). The lounge was an intimate venue to sit down with talent, showrunners and other creatives to discuss their projects and their passions. Here are some video highlights:

Parties. After the sun goes down is when some of the best networking opportunities are to be had at the Con since every night features a slew of Hollywood parties. Of all of these invite-only parties, the best ones are on Saturday night since it is the last night, many of the panels are over and so everyone can relax and hang out. And this year, the most exclusive party of them all was thrown by THR in collaboration with A&E. Themed around A&E’s hit BATES MOTEL and with stars Vera Farmiga and Freddie Highmore in attendance, the place was packed with execs and reps, as well as talent from shows such as THE WALKING DEAD, BREAKING BAD and THE BLACKLIST. To take a look inside the event:

The Gotham Group held a bustling Friday lunch at a stylish, intimate place called Rama Thai. The event had the same upbeat, energetic vibe of an HRTS luncheon, with the added bonus of an occasional zombie or Iron Man passing by on the street. I asked Ellen Goldsmith-Vein about the value of Comic-Con to her company and she said “new material, artists. For us it started 20 years ago with the In-n-Out truck at my house in La Jolla and about 25 clients and has grown to over 450 people!” And being a nerd myself, I had to ask Ellen for favorite memories from the Con and she said “two highlights: The Maze Runner Nerd HQ panel and seeing so many clients and friends at our lunch!”

Machinima is both a genre and a company. As a genre, the word machinima is derived from the hybrid of machine and cinema. It began as an emerging art form using real-time video game engines and assets to create computer animated content. Things took off from there, as everyone soon realized that videogame engines are powerful, accessible ways to create original content. With the rise in popularity of gaming as the dominant form of entertainment consumption in the world and of the “machinima”/CG aesthetic, Machinima the company emerged as a video programming network featuring original content oriented towards gamers and the “gamer generation”. Today, Machinima is the dominant video entertainment network for young men worldwide – as evidenced by over 2 billion video views from over 200 million unique viewers per month. With those kinds of numbers, it’s no surprise that Machinima is one of the top entertainment channels and networks on YouTube:

Showcasing their unparalleled ability to reach Males 18-34, Machinima had extensive coverage of the Con through their entertainment channel ETC (Entertainment, Technology, Culture), and two SRO panels (Machinima: Redefining the “Fan Film” and Mortal Kombat: Legacy Season 2). The company also created and hosted the Machinima Entertainment Lounge. Located inside the upscale Fluxx nightclub, the lounge included a massive gaming station and a cosplay photo booth (John-117 always welcome), social media and charging stations, and of course a zombie make-up station. Videogames, costume parties and zombies, all inside of a nightclub – ah, to be in college again.

Comic-Con offers something for everyone and with its enormous size and its concentration of Hollywood types, there are few to no places better suited to building your social network. See you by the shore.

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Since 1947 the HRTS has been the entertainment industry's premier information and networking forum. HRTS events are the only place where leading executives from across the industry gather under one roof, multiple times a year to discuss issues relevant to the ongoing success of our business. HRTS Members and our industry partners represent the best and the brightest in town. Is your company ready to join the ranks of HRTS? There are many ways for individuals and companies to get more involved. To find out how, call (818) 789-1182 or email

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