CreativeCOW.net. All rights reserved.
The NAB Show again approaches and the various survival guides are being recycled into the Internet. I wasn't going to post one this year just because there are so many other completely comprehensive fully illustrated and hypertext marked up guides out there a Google search away. But I've gotten a number of requests to share my experience with newcomers again so I thought about it a bit, and I guess I do have something more to add to the conversation beyond just comfortable shoes and protein bars.
Sure, it's obviously important to be physically prepared for the show. If you showed up to the convention center without ever having been briefed on what to expect, you'd burn out quickly and miss the good stuff anyway. So go and find those NAB survival guides and have a plan of attack. Consider that the 101 class. When you're ready, this is the 200 level: being mentally prepared for this mob of video geeks. You'll learn basic etiquette, humility, and coming away from the whole mess with maybe a friend or two.
Ronn (@rovino) knows me from Twitter and found me in the south hall!
1. Don't be intimidated.
Okay, try not to be intimidated. Okay, don't let any intimidation get in the way of your enjoyment. Last year, there were over 93,000 registrants from 156 countries, all packed into one of the weirdest cities in the United States. That's a lot of people.
Some people are intimidated by crowds, some by the idea of having to talk to so many people, some by the sheer number of bright blinking lights. Remember that a lot of those people are probably feeling just like you are about the whole thing. Ain't nobody judging you.
If anything, you might find some common ground on your newfound appreciation for sardines. Plus, you won't even see a lot of them unless you're into some heavy duty radio or broadcasting stuff. If you're in a class, say hello to people around you. Sitting down for lunch, say hello to people around you. See a pattern? I know it sucks and it's difficult to talk to strangers, but try it once and see how it goes.
2. Aim to meet people.
Kes (@nle_ninja) & I "met" on Twitter, met at NAB 2012, and spent 2013's show dressed alike to promote our podcast!
Unless you're going to NAB specifically to buy things for your company and come home, I don't see the point in attending without aiming to meet people. You're in Vegas with perhaps thousands of the most like-minded people you'll ever find. It's like OKCupid, but instead of searching for your soul mate, you're looking for that person who will debate the pros and cons of various archival systems until the wee hours...who may also be your soul mate, but hey, take it slow okay?
How d'ya meet people? Find people you know online or people whose blogs or articles or books you've read, and introduce yourself. Go to some of the evening events like my Cards Against Humanity casual hangout fun (Monday, 9, LVH!) or the #postchat meetup (Sunday, 8, O'Sheas!) You'll find all kinds of tweet-ups, parties, hang-outs, events, and get-togethers listed online.
3. That said, plan your evenings wisely.
Once you see all the stuff that's going on at night
, you'll be tempted to stretch yourself thin. Remember that Vegas is big. You can't go everywhere and do everything. If you do, you might not be able to scrape yourself off your dirty casino hotel bathroom floor the next morning to go back out to your classes or exhibit hall for more education and scavenging.
Pick the things that seem like they'll have the best reward -- somewhere you know some friends will be, or where you know you'll be able to network with the right people. If it doesn't work out, you can always move on, but trying to get to 5 parties in one night?
Well, just remember how all those Redbulls are going to feel tomorrow.
4. It's okay to be alone.
Bright lights, tons of people. It's okay to be alone for a while if you've had your share of the whole thing. If you can find the careful balance between too many people and being a lone wolf, you should feel pretty capable of pulling this whole thing off and getting home in one piece, only lightly traumatized. A couple hours in your hotel room or even a solo walk along the strip is often a sufficient reset button for short bursts of social interaction.
5. Don't be a jerkface.
I spent this post reminding you to put yourself out there and be kind to your brain and body and meet people and be alone. Now I'm reminding you: don't be a frigging' jerkface to anyone. If you're a little tentative on social interaction and meeting new people, you should treat everyone else how YOU would like to be treated. Someone introduce themselves? Be kind and courteous and make an effort to get to know them a bit. If they're a weirdo, obviously you can bail, but in a NICE WAY.
If you're at NAB, a large part of your experience should be spent networking because you don't have the opportunity to meet so many people from so many different aspects of video life at any other event all year. If you're arrogant or dismissive, you've blown it.
There are so many guides and stuff about the NAB show, you'd think it were some kind of grand adventure to the moon. But in a way it kind of is, isn't it? But that doesn't mean you need to overthink the whole thing. NAB is crazy, but it's still just a bunch of broadcast geekery filled with awkward humans like you and me. So get your comfy shoes and socks, meet some people, learn some new things, and have fun. And if you see me around, please stop me and say hello. I don't usually
|Related Articles / Tutorials:|
Pure Mission: NAB 2018 Highlights for Video Creatives
Everyone who attended NAB this year was on a mission. A mission to create the best content, a mission to deliver content to the right audience, a mission to produce great films for device and theatre viewing. We'll start by discussing some of the best solutions for some of the creative people we know - shooters, production/post folks. And there was plenty of new products, new services, new features announced at the show to get a filmmakers motor running this year. And again SuperMeet was fun, insane and informative. Shoot it, produce it, store it. Then? Sell it. It's all good and getting better!
NAB 2018: Journey, Connections, and Life-Changing Takeaways
Many people say that the best thing about the NAB Show is the people, but then their NAB conversations are mostly about products. Thanks to a grant from the Blue Collar Post Collective, longtime Creative COW member, editor, licensed drone operator, podcaster and videographer Hannah Byars-Walker set out to build an NAB experience not around this year's gear, but around the people she'd meet who could change the course of her career, if not her life. This is her inspiring story of what happened next.
The Introvert's Guide to the NAB Show, by Kylee Peña
If you're like most people in video production, you're a bit of an introvert, which can make trade shows a challenge. Shyness is real, and social anxiety is its own thing to be managed carefully, but are you selling yourself short before you give yourself a chance to achieve your goals? Creative COW Managing Editor Kylee Peña offers practical steps to help even the shyest creatives make the most of NAB.
Editorial, Feature, People / Interview
Bob Zelin's NAB Show, Take 2017
Longtime broadcast engineer, facilities designer, and workflow consultant Bob Zelin has been attending the NAB Show for years, and his legendary write-ups have gone to unparalleled lengths to bring you hidden gems from every corner of the floor. Bob is taking a slightly different approach this time, as he views the specifics through the lens of trends that have been emerging for quite some time, now bearing fruit in 2017. Sit back and enjoy another real-world, hype-free, anything-but-objective ride through the industry's biggest week of the year.
NAB Show New York 2016: Growing, Yet Still Intimate
Calling April's NAB Show "overwhelming" is an understatement. The expo that fills the rapidly expanding Las Vegas Convention Center every April topped 103,000 attendees and 1700+ exhibitors in 2 million square feet of exhibit space. The Big Apple's edition of the NAB Show is more bite sized: taking place this week at the Javitz Convention Center, 7000 visitors will be able to engage with 300 exhibitors, along with a variety of new opportunities for in-depth workshops on cutting-edge technologies. Here's a preview of the week's festivities.
NAB NLEs 2016: The Revolution? No Revolutions!
While the emphasis on "revolutionary" product releases at the annual NAB Show makes for splashy demos, they can sometimes get in the way of what customers really want: improvements to the product that they already have, just making them work better. Lo and behold, that's what we got in 2016! Rock-solid releases long on increased performance, stability, and interoperability. Useful releases? THAT's revolutionary! Join Creative COW's Tim Wilson for a closer look at NLE software in particular, and the ways in which developers are delivering on the promise of truly meaningful releases.
Bob Zelin's NAB 2016 Review: Everything You Own is Obsolete
Zelin Nation rejoices as the legendary Bob Zelin's legendary NAB wrap-up returns, featuring the unique insights of this industry-leading broadcast engineer into the stories that matter most. You won't find a better overview of shared storage, IO devices, converters, studio cameras, and Thunderbolt 3, because there aren't any. Check it out. Legendary.
Editorial, Feature, People / Interview
Kylee Peña's NAB 2016 Review: It's The Little Things
This was not an exciting year for the National Association of Broadcasters conference in Las Vegas, says Creative COW Associate Editor Kylee Peña, but that doesn't mean it wasn't important. The “exciting” stuff isn’t what affects post production workflow the most, at least not immediately. Kylee notes that we may not even know NAB 2016's most important announcements for a few more years. After all, it might have been a long time after the introduction of 4K or even HD at NABs past before those mattered to YOU. So as important as NAB is, that's why it's important not to lose sight of the things that matter the other 51 weeks of the year.
Creative COW NAB Show 2016 News: Wednesday Edition
Welcome to Wednesday's edition of the the industry's most comprehensive coverage of the 2016 NAB Show. Some of the companies with especially wide-ranging presentations including AJA, ARRI, and Blackmagic Design, with the latest news from hundreds of other companies in cameras and support gear, storage, archiving, broadcast, 4K, and much much more.
Creative COW 2016 NAB Show News: Tuesday Edition, April 19
Welcome to Tuesday's edition of the the industry's most comprehensive coverage of the 2016 NAB Show. Some of the companies with especially wide-ranging presentations including AJA, ARRI, and Blackmagic Design, with the latest news from hundreds of other companies in cameras and support gear, storage, archiving, broadcast, 4K, and much much more.