Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Come to Byte Me! Fest - only a few days remaining...

Attendances have been really low for Byte Me! Fest events - which is kinda sad for the speakers that we've dragged all the way out here to talk to the Perth Digital Content community.

So, deal is - for remaining events, if you pre-buy a ticket through BOCS, I'll give you a free beer or wine or arrival. Yep, bribery. The only way to get Perth geeks away from their screens!

See for details and booking, or pop into the Perth Town Hall to talk to me - that's where all the events are.

The remaining events are:

Tonight (Thurs) 6-9pm - From Far Far Away - Sue Erokan from Dreamworks (US), Martin Davidson from FinnCragg. Animation Show n Tell. $19/$9.50

Tonight (Thurs) 9pm-midnight - Plug n Play International. VJs from around Australia and around the world - best chance you'll ever get in Perth to see what VJing is in it's many varied forms. Hands on, you get to play. $8/$5 (or free to stick around if you come to the earlier talk)

Saturday 1-4pm FREE Unravelling the New Media DNA. Megan Elliott from X|Media|Lab, our popular Keynote Speaker returns to expand on her talk about the US Wirters strike and other issues for digital content developers. Joined by Raphe Patmore and Jinnan Cai from award-winning Perth web 2.0 startup Buzka. Please RSVP.

Saturday 6-9pm From Dubai to Skull Island - Paul Van Ommen from Weta Workshop (NZ), head of Miniatures on King Kong is joined by locally-based but internationally acclaimed architectural animation company Last Pixel. $19/$9.50

Saturday 9pm-midnight FREE Closing Party - Audio Cephlon, DJ Jim from Loungerama and a whole bunch of VJs from Plug n Play will be playing. Please RSVP.

Sunday 1-4pm BarCampNano - FREE - AWIA, the Australian Web Industry Association, will be running an Unconference showing some of the great web stuff going on here in Perth. Please Register online.

Sunday 6-9pm She Got Game - Robin Hunicke of EA Games (US) and Stephen Grant from the animated TV series Dogstar (just started on the Nine Network). $19/$9.50

During the day, we have Nullarbor games to be played in the Interface, the cool bluetooth-game Ghost Town and the Get Reel on loop in the foyer, showcasing a wide range of world-class WA-made animation from many different fields. That's all FREE.

So PLEASE get off your bum and come on down to a session. If you're reading this, it's highly likely you're eligible for concession (eg your cousin's wife's neighbour is a member of WAnimate or whatever) and remember, if you pre-buy through BOCS I'll give you a FREE DRINK. Yes, a FREE DRINK. *sigh*

meow & ciao,

kat black =^..^=
~ a festival of digital creativity ~
1-9 December 2007, Perth Town Hall

PO Box 565, North Perth 6906, Western AUSTRALIA
Landline: (61 8) 93285727 Mobile: 0402 786 353 Skype: katblack66

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Showbags Get Stuffed!

Thanks to the hard work of our wonderful bag-stuffin' volunteers - Justin, Madeline, Adelaide, Lisette and Fiona, over 1000 Digital Careers Showbags have been filled with course brochures from various universities and colleges. Thanks to Plaza Imaging for letting us use their training room - the air-con sure was appreciated in the 4 hour stuffin' session :)

And my, my - aren't the bags stylish! They'll be given out to people attending the Get Reel screenings and other events as appropriate (ie, if you're interested in a career in digital content, ask for one).

If we have any leftovers after BM!F, they will be distributed to interested Secondary Schools - so let us know if you'd like some sent out. A few country schools have already said they're very interested in the Festival but can't make it to Perth due to the expense/distance - so this is at least something to show students some of the study and career options available in this field.

Thanks to Clayton's Bags for doing such a great job so quickly - and printed in Australia too, woo hoo!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Byte Me! Festival Monster Press Release

The inaugural Byte Me! Festival, a celebration of geek creativity and digital content, commences in just over a week at the Perth Town Hall.

If you're interested in animation, games development, visual FX for film and TV, 3D modelling, social networking and other web 2.0 applications, digital art and media, VJing or pretty much any way digital technology can be used to create, visualise, entertain, simulate... then this is for you.

You can download the full Program and buy tickets at but here's a summary of what will be on:

Friday 30th Nov - Perth Town Hall
9pm A Fairlight Fetish - vintage audiovisual showcase featuring Chrism and Fenris making music on Commodore 64s, MoRph and VJzoo with their collection of Fairlight CVI video synthesisers from the 80's and 90's, and other surprise very special guests. $19/$9.50

Saturday 1st Dec - Secret CBD location
8.30pm Live Cinema - VJing grew up, went to school and this is what it became. Using the same tools and techniques developed in nightclubs, live video performance has now become a recognised artform. Some of the very best in the world will be in Perth to collaborate on this event - a large-scale outdoor video projection performance unlike anything you've seen here before. Solu (Finland/Barcelona), (Turkey), Jean Poole (Melbourne) and local practitioners VJzoo will be performing at a secret CBD location to be announced on the website on the day. Bring your own chair, beanbag or cushion, and the performance will start at dusk (about 8.30pm). This is a family friendly event - bring a picnic supper, but NO ALCOHOL. Free.

Sunday 2nd Dec - Perth Town Hall
11am Business Models for a Digital Landscape - the serious side of the digital content revolution - how can digital content creators make a living in this new world? What are the challenges and the opportunities? Presented by the AFTRS Centre for Screen Business. $19/$9.50

Sunday 2nd Dec - Perth Town Hall
3.30pm An Animated Life - Melanie Beisswenger (Germany) will share her experiences as an animator on a wide range of projects, from animating on TV commercials in smaller studios to work on large feature film productions such as Happy Feet. Randall Lynton from Liquid Amber Design (Perth) will discuss his work as the award-winning animator of Ransis and Alee and Suicidal Balloon. $19/$9.50

Sunday 2nd Dec - Perth Town Hall
6pm Official Opening - by Invitation only, for Industry VIPs and Media. The Festival will be officially opened by The Right Honourable The Lord Mayor, Lisa Scaffidi and The Honourable Francis M Logan BA (Hons) MLA Minister for Energy, Resources, Industry and Enterprise. Keynote Speech of the Festival will be delivered by Posie Graeme-Evans, producer of McLeod's Daughters, co-creator of Hi-5, best-selling novellist, lyricist and all round dynamo. There will be a screening of the Get Reel to show you the great digital content being created here in WA.

Monday 3rd Dec - Perth Town Hall
6pm Figwit - Lord of the Rings Fan Doco - Australian Premiere Screening and Director Q+A. How did a non-speaking extra in Lord of the Rings become a cult star in his own right? If you've heard the story of Figwit (Frodo is Great... Who Is That?), now you can see the documentary and hear from the film-maker Stan Alley (NZ) in this tongue-in-cheek exploration of online fandom featuring Bret McKenzie from Flight of the Conchords .
LOTR costumery encouraged for this Green Carpet screening! $19/$9.50

Weds 5th Dec - Perth Town Hall
Music Video Art Panel and Show n Tell. With the Perth music scene getting so much attention, it's time for the film and art scene to step into the same limelight. 'Music Video Art' will be a night of screenings and discussion into the collaboration between Perth artists from different fields, and creating large scale projects that break new ground. Hosted by WA film-maker Mat de Koning. $8/$5

Thurs 6th Dec - Perth Town Hall
6pm From Far Far Away
First in the Byte Me! big-screen Show 'n Tells by people in the Industry. Some of these talks will be a bit technical, but they'll all be aimed at a non-geek audience. Think of it like the 'Making Of' extras on a DVD, except - you get to ask questions! This session's speakers are Sue Erokan from Dreamworks Animation (USA) who worked on the Shrek movies and Martin Davidson from animatED publishing company FinnCragg (Perth) $19/$9.50

Thurs 6th Dec - Perth Town Hall
9pm Plug n Play is a regular, hands-on audiovisual jam session where VJ's, electronic musicians, AV acts and other audiovisual geeks come along and show off their skills, style and equipment to each other. If you've ever been interested in VJing, this is the night to come along. Newbies are VERY welcome! Mix with local, interstate and international VJs, talk to them, have a play with their equipment. $8/$5

Saturday 8th Dec - Perth Town Hall
6pm From Dubai to Skull Island - Visual FX Revealed. Creating Fantasy Worlds, from Digital to Analogue. Perth-based 3D graphics studio Last Pixel will take you behind the scenes on some recent international projects, then Paul van Ommen (NZ) will discuss his role with Weta Workshop, and with The Miniatures Unit that created and filmed the models for King Kong and The Lord Of The Rings trilogy.

9pm Closing Party (Invitation Only) International and local festival guests will perform for the entertainment of volunteers, sponsors and other Byte Me! buddies. Get involved to get invited! Volunteers are still needed for both day and evening shifts during the Festival.

Sunday 9th Dec - Perth Town Hall
1-4pm BarCampNano - Perth is rapidly becoming known as a hotspot for great web 2.0 startups and the most active blogging community in Australia. BarCamp will feature short talks by some of the most exciting web-based businesses in a casual, fun Show n Tell style. Free, but online Registration required

Sunday 9th Dec - Perth Town Hall
6pm She Got Game (He Got TV) - Robin Hunicke is the Lead Game Designer on MySims at EA's Sims Division. In her copious spare time, she's finishing a PhD in Computer Science at Northwestern University, studying Artificial Intelligence and Video Games. Robin will be joined by Perth animator Stephen Grant who will talk about his work on the animated TV series Dogstar, shortly to commence airing on the Nine Network, and a range of other Australian and international projects $19/$9.50

Daily 2-9 Dec - Perth Town Hall
Various Times Get Reel
is a collection of Western Australian digital content that covers a wide spectrum - from animation to ads, from 3D fly-throughs to games development, from engineering to education, from virtual safety training to visual FX for film and television. We're aiming to show you the variety of work being done, the rich diversity of jobs and the international opportunities that skills in digital content development can open up. $8/$5 (includes free Byte Me! Bag with info about digital careers).

Daily 2-9 Dec - Throughout CBD, start at Perth Town Hall
10am - 5pm Registration, play any time. Ghost Town.
Giant Dice's new innovative game of urban exploration played with the help of your mobile phone, is being unleashed on the streets of Perth for one week, starting December 2nd, 2007. The game uses a mashup of technology (bluetooth, SMS and VOIP) and the physical world. Free.

Daily 2-9 Dec - Perth Town Hall
10am - 5pm The Interface. Talk to people about the Festival and digital careers. Play some WA-made computer games, get some free content for your mobile phone. Free.

Daily 2-7 Dec - Kurb Gallery, Northbridge
Sun-Thu: 1-6pm, Fri: 1-8pm Heartlands What are the photographs you have taken that are close to your heart? This was the question asked for Photographers In Perth's showcase event for the Festival. Free.

Thanks so much to our wonderful sponsors for keeping these events affordable, or even free - City of Perth, BHP Billiton, Department of Industry and Resources, Central TAFE, Murdoch University, Curtin University, SAE Institute, the ICT Industry Collaboration Centre, Women are I.T., FORM, Giant Dice, Big Thinker Films, the Australia Business Arts Foundation and many more organisations and individuals who have helped to make this crazy hare-brained scheme actually happen.

Staff, students and members of all sponsors and participating organisation are eligible for concession price on tickets, as are all teachers and careers advisers.

The daytime events are ideal for school groups; evening events are licenced to serve alcohol, so minors must be accompanied by a guardian (although the events are still appropriate for all ages).

More information regarding each event, as well as high resolution images available for use by the media are available at the website

Given that the Festival starts very soon and we are VERY late in finalising the Program and starting to get word out, we'd really appreciate you passing this on to your networks!

meow & ciao,

kat black =^..^=
~ a festival of digital creativity ~
1-9 December 2007, Perth Town Hall

PO Box 565, North Perth 6906, Western AUSTRALIA
Mobile: 0402 786 353 Skype: katblack66

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Tickets on sale...

The first couple of events are now listed with BOCS Ticketing. Other events will be added in the next week as details for each are finalised.

One of the first to be ticketed is the Australian Premiere of Figwit, a LOTR-fan doco. My guess is that will sell out pretty quickly, since there are only 240 seats - so get in quick if you fancy donning an elf-costume and walking down the Green Carpet for that one.

(hint: even if you're not into Lord of the Rings, if you're a Flight of the Conchords fan, you won't want to miss it...)

Also happening at the moment - the Get Reel is open for submissions of WA Digital Content:

Our main target audience for that is secondary school students, teachers and parents, to show the variety of careers available in the 'Digital Content' field. Ticket sales for that are already available too. The screenings are in the daytime, mostly through the week 2-9th Dec.

Also, for the same reason, I've increased the number of 'Expo to Go' Byte Me! Showbags to 1500, so if your business or institution would like to give me materials to stuff them with, drop me an email. Schwag, info about courses and careers... the idea is to give them a bag of stuff that they *would* take home from a Digital Careers Expo - but without the noise and expense of the Convention Centre ;)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Perth Massive - sign up now

Not part of Byte Me! Festival, but an 'affiliated event' that we encourage BM!F visitors to get along to. It's free, so why wouldn't you go?:

MASSIVE 2007 : 6pm, December 4th

The 6th Annual Digital Content Industry End of year Celebration

Be MASSIVE! Free Entry! Register Now!
MASSIVE is an annual end of year celebration for the hard working people in the Creative, Digital and Computing related fields. At it's heart, MASSIVE is a reflective social event which salutes you, your work, your colleagues and your industry.

Designers, architects, web developers, film and television, gamers, academics, photographers, animators, authors, programmers, scientists, researchers, musicians, marketing, advertisers, artists are all welcome.

Be part of this year's celebration by registering your name on the entry door. Register here:

Your name will be put into the draw for prizes on the night and the first 100 people to register are eligible to receive a MASSIVE t-shirt. (t-shirt offer is subject to sponsorship funding). In keeping with MASSIVE tradition, food and drink will be served on the night thanks to our sponsors.

Sponsorship : Want to be really MASSIVE?
If you are interested in sponsoring MASSIVE 2007, view the Sponsorship Packages here and contact the MASSIVE committee on All contributions
must be in by Friday the 23rd of November.

Industry groups represented at MASSIVE
MASSIVE welcomes industry groups

* ACM SIGGRAPH : Professional Chapter : Perth
* AWIA : Australian Web Industry Association
* Australian In Front
* DCIRG : Digital Content Industry Reference Group
* DLF : Digital Labourers Federation
* IGDA : International Game Developers Association : Perth Chapter
* One Twenty : Perth researchers, developers, gamers Group
* Orange Zucchini : Perth Design Student Community
* PIGMI : Perth Independent Game Maker's Initiative
* PIP : Photographers in Perth
* Sumea : Australian & New Zealand Game Developers
* WAnimate : West Australian Animation Association

MASSIVE also welcomes delegates from the GRAPHITE 2007 international conference
, Byte Me! international festival and Nullarbor 2008 Mixer.


MASSIVE 2007 :
MASSIVE 2007 is organised by ACM SIGGRAPH Perth

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Volunteers wanted... must be willing to give up having a Life for next 6 weeks

Wanted: Committed volunteers to do specific tasks for BM!F. And I don't mean people who decide to go out partying on the weekend instead of doing a task they promised to do - this means 6 weeks of sustained, directed effort. The reward is being part of getting this awesome event off the ground, and also making a network of contacts that would usually take you years to accumulate.

So, would you be interested in taking responsibility for collecting content for the Get Reel? - would really suit someone wanting to get a foot in the animation/3D door...

Or, doing the Program Layout (all you graphic designers - this could be a great project for your folio)...

Or, marketing and events management-type tasks...

Or, schools liaison (any teachers on the list?).

And so it goes on. Your committed help would be hugely appreciated and I'm sure it will be very rewarding. I'm talking six insane weeks ahead of us though, so the half-baked need not apply :P

PS - the callout for less-committed volunteers (eg for hanging out in the Interface talking to people, or doing door-bitch duty at events etc) will come later.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

It's not that nothing's happening... it's that too much is!

We (VJzoo) had been planning our tour long before BM!F exploded into a big international event and cheap fares aren't refundable so we decided to stick with the tour despite the baaaaaad timing. I figured I could do most of what had to be done online, and all our hotels promised wireless internet. As it turned out though, things are never that easy.

To complicate matters even further, we had a project selected for the legendary X|Media|Lab in Singapore - which was an opportunity too good to miss, so we're away now until the end of September.

Big ups to the people who have been helping out behind the scenes while we've been gone, we've managed to get some sponsorships and so I'm now able to confirm some of the international guests. Full details will be posted as they come to hand at - those now confirmed include:
Thanks very much to the generous employers, governments, film distributors and also BM!F's own wonderful sponsors for making it happen. Our official sponsors so far include:

Gold: City of Perth, Department of Industry and Resources, Central TAFE

Silver: ICTICC, Curtin University Careers

Bronze: MediaWorld, Scouta, Resolume

We are still looking for more sponsors and also donations to get the remaining guest speakers to Perth, so if you'd like to talk about it, get in touch :)

If you want to hear Kate Raynes-Goldie and me talking about web 2.0, you might like to come to our seminar The Social Web is Serious Business on 13th October. There are some other great talks by the Silicon Beach people, David Fono and others - it's definitely worth checking out the ICTWA 2007 Conference. My one beef? I HATE concurrent workshops. Remind me to avoid that as much as possible at BM!F. I want to be at all six of the ICTWA workshops, but only get to attend one before rushing to get to my own. Grrr. Concurrency sucks.

I promise proper updates when I get back to Perth, but at least that's a summary of the recent progress regarding BM!F. More great reasons to come along....

Monday, August 27, 2007

Silicon Beach House - the quiet revolutionaries

I've been hearing a lot about the new Silicon Beach House, the shared tech-space in the heart of Perth's up-and-coming West End.

While the name is based on what Perth is probably most famous for - our wide, white beaches - the actual SBH is more inner-city urban chic. Despite the outback image overseas, Australia is one of the most urbanised countries in the world - although we LOVE our beaches, and most of the population lives within an hour's drive of the ocean. Hence the name, like Silicon Valley... but with an Aussie lifestyle.

So what IS Silicon Beach House? It's a shared working space where a bunch of very promising web 2.0 startups have banded together to share overheads and develop a creative hothouse of ideas, energy and technical know-how. In a beautifully restored old building in King St, Perth's trendy West End, Silicon Beach House isn't your average poky office. It's light and airy, with high ceilings, wooden floors and a converted-warehouse feel.

I'd met most of the Silicon Beach Housemates (sounds like a geeky reality-TV show....) online and at digital content community events. I've been really impressed by each of their projects, and meeting with each of them individually over the past few months while I've been developing BM!F has been really inspiring. Each one of them is a vibrant individual with commitment and vision - an overused word, I know, but in this case it's really true.

Some of the SBH projects: - a UGC (user generated content) ratings site that covers both video and podcasts. Already has a strong following in the US. - another UGC, this one being a news-site where citizen-journalists (CitJ's) write articles, post links and comment on local and world events. - Perth's IT Blogger community. Seriously nerdy tech-speak that makes me realise I'm really just a geek-wannabe. - a time tracking system that can be installed as a widget, easily keeping track of billable hours etc, even when you're on the road.

More about the Silicon Beach House and other projects based there (many of the residents have blogs that are worth subscribing to) can be seen at:

Silicon Beach House is just the sort of thing that Byte Me! Festival is about... the cool stuff that's going on in Perth that the average Perth person doesn't know about.

Some of the Silicon Beach Residents will be doing a Seminar at the ICT Week Conference in October. Did you know about that? Definitely worth checking out too. Funnily enough, I'll also be running a Seminar at that Conference :)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Kat begs; still working on 'fetch' and 'rollover'...

The Byte Me! Festival is seeking your support. I'm sure you have some idea how much work and expense it takes to put on a Festival, and as you're probably aware, it's all being developed from the ground up. We've been lucky enough to be offered some incredible national and international guests that will really raise the profile of the Festival and help to position Perth as a hub for Digital Content in the Asia-Pacific Region.

But we need to pay for it all, and I'm asking for your help.

Donations will go towards the cost of flights and accommodation for guest speakers and performers, and allow us to keep the ticket prices affordable (some events will even be free!). Donations also encourage us to keep working towards building the first Digital Content Festival in Perth by showing your commitment to personally supporting BM!F and putting your money where your proverbial mouth is.

For the 2007 Festival, I'm very pleased to be working with the Australia Business Arts Foundation (AbaF) to enable BM!F supporters to make tax deductible donations under the Australia Cultural Fund:

If you'd like to be a donor please complete the donation form (Word or pdf version) and post it directly to AbaF with your payment or credit card details. They'll provide you with a receipt and take your preference into consideration when allocating grants. Please do not make donations payable to the Festival or me personally, or you'll miss out on the tax deduction - a tragedy.

All donations nomatter how small are appreciated. And just think, you can tell all your friends you're a "Patron of the Arts". Wow, fancy!

Then, you can pop this funky little badge on your site, just like the tin-rattlers give out. It's an honour system, we'll trust you to send in the money. Link back to here and spread the love...

Byte Me! Festival Supporter

for dark background

Byte Me! Festival Supporter

for light background

To embed on your Facebook, MySpace, Blog etc, see

Thanks a bunch for your support :)

kat black, festival director

Friday, August 10, 2007

Four Eyed Monsters, Girl Friday and other DIY Revolutionaries

Seems a lot of people are suddely taking this web 2.0/social networking stuff seriously in a business sense. Which is great news for digital creatives of all types, but it's a scary frontier and things are developing at a crazy pace.

AFTRS Centre for Screen Business did a seminar recently at the Revelation Film Festival that was the best roundup of these evolving new business models I've yet seen. So much of the info that they covered has relevance to creatives way beyond the Film + TV audience that was targeted, so I'm really pleased that they've agreed to come back and reprise the seminar (no doubt with updated content, since this stuff is changing constantly) for BM!F. See Events for details as they get confirmed.

I think AFTRS CSB are doing an amazing amount for the Australian Screen Industry - an example of what a small number of committed, switched on visionaries can do with pretty limited resources. eg, their 'the Knowledge' vodcast interviews where experienced Industry professionals talk openly about the Industry is an invaluable resource. Keep up the great work, guys - and I recommend anyone interested in the Screen Industry subscribe to their blog and get to their seminars whenever you can.

Some of the really interesting models that they featured in the 'Business Models for Digital Delivery' Seminar included:

The Secret - in a content-neutral way, the business model is clearly a huge success regardless of what you think of the content.

Girl Friday - an awesome cross-media project, one of the most well-conceived and executed examples I've seen. Tip: click on the zipper to get into Girl Friday's handbag, which will feature all manner of interactive content as the project develops.

3eep - perfect example of a user-content web 2.0 business model. Aimed at those who play in local sporting teams and their families throughout Australia, you can upload the scores and fixtures for your local club, photos and video you took of little Timmy in the under-9's footy match at your local oval, discuss the games, etc. This site really shows how the demographic of the web's changed in the past few years. Sites like this must really be making the traditional media nervous. Considering that more Aussies participate or spectate in sport at a local level than watch 'big' sports on TV, is this where advertising revenues will move to in the near future?

Four Eyed Monsters - the ultimate example of a social-networking project.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

City of Perth - Gold Sponsor of Byte Me!

I'm very happy to announce that the City of Perth have given us generous support by providing the wonderful Perth Town Hall venue for the duration of the Byte Me! Festival, and as such are our first Gold Sponsor.

If you're ever looking for a stunning, well-appointed and very centrally-located venue for your corporate function, wedding reception, exhibition, or community function please consider hiring the Perth Town Hall. There's a great virtual tour of the building and it's facilities online. Yeah, it's a plug and they gave us some sponsorship - but I really mean it. The refurbished Town Hall really is an amazing venue.

We're very grateful to the City of Perth for providing this support. Since I first started researching potential venues for the Festival, the Town Hall quickly became THE venue that I wanted to be home of Byte Me! The co-operation and depth of practical knowledge of the facilities manager there, Colleen Dixon, has made me even more convinced what a great venue it is. I am sooo happy to have it locked in (do a little dance).

Coincidentally, Jasper and I went to a City of Perth Public Forum this week, which was really interesting. I wish these public forums were better attended, it's an opportunity to get to know the Elected Members (aka Councillors) and what they're doing. There was some fascinating discussion about the big projects the City has been working on, and we got to hear their perspective on the delays with the Northbridge Link project and also their plans for the James St piazza. We were especially thrilled to hear that their plans for that site (currently an open, grassy area that replaced a run-down food hall) include a huge LED screen similar to that in Melbourne's Federation Square.

Having a large screen available for public arts projects is BIG news for those of us involved in digital arts. The Digital Fringe Festival in Melbourne is just one of the many festivals in Melbourne that utilise the Federation Square screen and once Perth has a similar screen, perhaps it will be the tipping point to get public interest in digital art to the level where we can have a multi-format community screen-based events like the fabulous Digital Fringe. Perhaps that could even be part of Byte Me! Festival in future years?

These things take time, and it's not likely to happen before 2009, but in the meantime, I'm personally enjoying the open space on the corner of Lake and James. And those big, plain walls around it... hmmmm... just perfect for some guerrilla-style projection perhaps? ;)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Prizes for Byte Me! Subscribers

To promote the Byte Me! Festival and our favourite digital content books, some featuring and/or authored by some of our guest speakers/performers, we're running a competition for subscribers to this Blog.

If you're subscribed as an RSS feed reader you'll need to subscribe by email as well, so that we can find you to put you in the draw.

We will draw a prize a month between now and the Festival in December, so by joining and staying on the list you'll get at least five chances to win a prize. We'll give each winner a choice of remaining prizes from the list so that they get something of personal interest to them. Some of the prizes may be signed by the authors and/or people featured in the books :)

Up for grabs:

or the amazing capsule of Aussie AV history Severed Heads Paleolithic DVD

If you don't win, all of the above are worth buying anyway (plug, plug!)

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Perth - Who are we, what do we want to be?

For those of you not from Perth (or those of you who are, but have been hiding under a rock lately) there's a huge groundswell of support for changing the face of Perth from a decorative Receptionist for the Mining Industry to a vibrant, intelligent, creative community that can attract the best and brightest to call this city home.

Last night, we went to a public forum organised by Form where two international experts on creating liveable cities debated (well, agreed on) what Perth needs to change.

From :

"Perth: Great place to bring up kids, great place to retire. But what happens in between? How can we make sure Perth entices and keeps the talented ‘young and restless' demographic?"

While it was all pretty much 'yeah, tell us something we don't know - those with any get-up-and-go, get up and go!', it was great to see people in suits telling other people in suits that the people in the audience NOT in suits (hands up 25-35yo's - about half of the audience that probably numbered over 1000) were the ones who really counted in this equation. So, that was a promising sign.

It's been a problem for a long time. I left Perth in my late teens for Sydney, moved around, lived overseas and interstate for most of my 20's and 30's. I'm back now, and not being the breeding type and having a 20-something husband, realise that Perth is still pretty dull. It's a lot bigger and shinier than when I first abandoned it in the 80's, and it's come huge leaps and bounds in terms of restaurants and the arts, but it's still missing something.

As VJ's, we tour a fair bit, and the some of places we visit - Melbourne, Barcelona, Singapore - have a vibrancy that you can really feel. You walk through lanes and see video projection on a wall, pulling you into some funky little bar that feels like a friend's lounge room. Funnily enough, we expected to find that sort of vibe in San Francisco and New York, but didn't really. We had to leave Manhattan Island and go to Brooklyn to get any sense of a real grass-roots urban culture (eg through street-art and funky little bars). We've certainly had more luck 'stumbling on the fun' in Melbourne and Barcelona - and even Sevilla, where hardly anyone spoke English but we felt more at-home, welcomed and part of an urban culture than we did in New York or San Francisco. Gesticulation and our VJ showreel was all we needed to make new friends.. people who are like us.. in Spain.

We've been doing our best to try to make Perth the kind of place that people like us - "digerati" I guess, or "geek-creatives" - would find interesting enough to stay in. We've been running our Plug n Play for a year now, although since there are no video-art bars in Perth along the lines of Melbourne's Loop, Horse Bazaar etc, we have to provide everything ourselves, lug equipment and furniture to set it up each time. It's a lot of effort compared to the Melbourne one, where 5 organisers take turns to host it, and the majority of the gear is on-site at the Kent St venue. The Small Bar Licence has now been introduced in Western Australia, so technically it's now possible for arty little bars like that to spring up here, so here's hoping.

It's nice to see that some people have noticed the effort, even if they're overseas:

There are a lot of people in Perth doing these sorts of things within their own community groups. WAnimate for animation, SIGGRAPH for computer graphics, IGDA and PIGMI for games-dev, PIP for photography.

Byte Me! Festival is our attempt to bring the work being done by all these somewhat low-profile groups into a more public arena, so that more people can see all the things that ARE already going on in Perth, and hopefully get involved themselves. Perth's already got a lot more cool stuff going on than the average person would realise.

I couldn't agree more with last night's speakers Charles Landry and Carol Coletta though - we need places for these groups to meet in. It probably sounds like a small thing to people who don't live here, but we REALLY need small, funky venues to hang out in, to perform in, to pull out our laptops and play Show n Tell in.

The other big advantage of small bars is that there's less binge drinking and less violence when large crowds of people are spread apart. We often drive home from performances at 2am, and Northbridge and the club-end of the CBD are not a pretty sight. Last week, driving home late from a gig, we saw so many young, drunk, stranded girls standing on the streets in the freezing cold in their skimpy clubbing clothes - one stood in the middle of the road waving her arms to try to get (full) taxis to stop, some were sitting in the gutter trying to ring a cab on their mobile... it was very depressing to see, and I wondered how they were possibly all going to get home safely. It was a complete alternate-reality to the same streets in the daytime and early evening. I'm sure that the obvious lack of cabs is partially to blame, but also the fact that there are so few small venues and so many big ones means that it's inevitable that people just don't get looked after properly and so manage to get out-of-their-minds drunk on fizzy alco-pop.

For all that though, Perth is a beautiful city. It's booming thanks to the Mining sector, and there are a lot of very cool things happening if you know where to look. There is so much potential here.

If you're from Perth, or perhaps a Perthite who's living elsewhere... please participate in the debate to make this a better city, a city that people like you WANT to live in.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Guest Speakers and Performers so far...

Even though it's the inaugural Byte Me! Festival, luckily we know people. And it seems that a lot of them are very happy about the opportunity to come to Perth and share their skills.

You can see more detail about the guests at:

So far, we have Keynote Speaker Posie Graeme-Evans - TV Producer, Lyricist and Novelist. Posie created and produces 'McLeod's Daughters' which is shown in over 200 territories worldwide, so she knows a thing or two about creating niche content for an international audience. She also co-created Hi-5, and on Sundays, she writes novels - which are bestsellers. I have to say, I don't know if or when this woman sleeps, her accomplishments seem almost impossible - so we're incredibly honoured that she's willing to make the time to come over and talk at our Festival.

Still on the Film and TV theme, we have Gen Bailey - guerilla film-maker extraordinaire. Gen is only in her mid 20's and yet has made over 25 short films and music videos that have won numerous awards around the world. Gen's pragmatic 'just do it' attitude is very refreshing, and has enabled her to be incredibly prolific. She's a great example of 'it's about the story' - her docos are extremely low-budget but very successful.

Mo Selle, aka Murni Mastan, is based in Singapore. She's a film-maker and also works in television, but is best known as one of the highest profile female VJs through her residency at Ministry of Sound, Singapore. The list of people she's performed with reads like a Who's Who of the international clubbing scene. She is also involved with Edirol-Roland in developing VJ hardware and software, and so is on the cutting edge of this new and rapidly evolving Industry.

DOTHY, aka Dorothee Sorbier, is a motion graphic designer and VJ from Toulouse, France. Her slick, vector-based content is just the type of digital content that adapts well to any platform - film, tv, web, mobile. DOTHY recently performed at the Mapping VJ Festival in Switzerland to great reviews.

Sue Erokan from Dreamworks Animation has spoken in Perth before at a WAnimate event. For those of you who missed that talk or who want to hear about her more recent work on Shrek the Third, no doubt you'll be looking forward to this one. Also, Sue is an acclaimed teacher of ATS Bellydance, so if you're interested in bellydancing there's a good chance that she'll be doing something in that field as well while she's in Perth for Byte Me! Festival.

Kate Rothschild is a digital content producer whose previous work has included being a senior producer at Nickelodeon in New York. She is currently developing cross-media content and consulting in the digital media field, based in Perth.

Solu, aka Mia Makela, is a Finnish Live Cinema artist, activist and educator based in Barcelona. Her recently completed thesis on Live Cinema is general regarded as the best resource available in this field, and although she claims to have little interest in commercial VJing she is widely credited by many high-profile VJ's as one of the best in the world. She's often called 'the VJ's VJ'. Solu has run practical workshops to demonstrate the usefulness of VJ tools for a wide variety of professions, such as architects.

Tom Ellard is an audio-visual artist and educator who performs as Severed Heads. Severed Heads were an Australian act that achieved international fame in the 80's with hits such as 'Dead Eyes Opened'. We're keen to gain more recognition for the significance of Severed Heads in the history of audio-visual performance. While they gain a brief mention in the handful of books so far published on VJing, there has yet to be a detailed analysis of their role and influence in the international VJ scene.

VJ MoRpH, aka Grant Muir, is one of the longest-established and most respected VJ's in Australia. He has performed at most of the big music festivals on the East Coast. Like VJzoo, he collects vintage Fairlight CVIs - the Australian-made video synthesiser that revolutionised both television and live video performance in the 80's by being the first widely-available device capable of luma-keying. The CVI was also responsible for those awful gimmicky, flourescent effects in many 80's music videos that defined the early look of MTV.

CasioNova also has a thing for vintage equipment. He will be performing using vintage Casio keyboards with visuals made on an early Commodore computer. Should be much fun.

Local acts and speakers are still being organised, although check out the site for more details about those already involved, including DXU:555, Audio Cephlon, Chrism + Fenris, ChiKiTroniX, VJ Trixee, VJzoo and Tomas Ford.

We're also still working on securing more Visual FX and animation speakers, so don't think we've forgotten about those...

Hope there's something amongst all of the above that will get you away from your keyboard for a few evenings in December...


kat black =^..^=

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Welcome to Byte Me! Festival News

Byte Me! is a Festival of digital content, to be held in Perth, Western Australia 1-9 December 2007.

Developing a new Festival is a leap into the unknown. If you're interested in coming along for the ride, check that cord is firmly attached to your ankle and take our hand.

Details will be updated on the website as the Festival develops, but we've started this blog for you to keep up to date as the Festival develops and evolves in the six months leading up to the event itself.

News so far - we've had a competition to develop a 'look' for the Festival.
It was a difficult decision, and in the end it was split between two designers - Tristan Groves for the logotype and Tom Williamson for the colours and toothy character.

A number of international and Australian speakers and performers have already agreed to come - we'll feature some of them over these blog posts and let you know as more people confirm.