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NAB 2018: Journey, Connections, and Life-Changing Takeaways

COW Library : NAB Show : Hannah Byars-Walker : NAB 2018: Journey, Connections, and Life-Changing Takeaways
CreativeCOW presents NAB 2018: Journey, Connections, and Life-Changing Takeaways -- NAB Show


Houston, TX
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Editor's Note: One of the hardest parts about making the transition from early to mid-career is being in a position to say “yes” when an opportunity comes along. Sometimes the only difference between someone who succeeds and someone who doesn't is financial and geographical positioning, and these artificial barriers can keep some of the most talented people from ascending and contributing to our industry.

To remove as many of these barriers as possible and let talent thrive through from all backgrounds and all locations, Blue Collar Post Collective created the Professional Development Accessibility Program, or PDAP, which grants the opportunity to say “yes” to important and potentially life-changing educational events to full-time post production workers who make below the median income of their city of residence.

Hannah spotted an open call for applications to attend NAB Show, and she was selected by a committee to be one of three BCPC attendees who would have their airfare, hotel, and badges covered in 2018. Hannah’s ambition and excitement shined through her application, and her recap of NAB shows that BCPC definitely made a great selection. Hannah’s willingness to learn and be vulnerable has won her knowledge and connections that will pay off for years to come as she continues to build her career and plot her next steps. -- Kylee Peña, President, Blue Collar Post Collective; Managing Editor, Creative COW





Now that NAB is over, and I’ve made it back to work and finished out my week, I have time to sit, reflect and tell what I feel is an awesome story about believing in yourself, taking chances, and how getting uncomfortable can work out to your advantage.

Every part of this is a true story! Not that it’s terribly unbelievable, but at one point, something like this for me was.

A few months ago, I was at work… not working… scrolling through my Twitter feed, literally thinking about how corporate America has basically sucked the soul out of my editing career, when I came across a tweet that promoted an opportunity for low income video editors (or other professions in post-production) to apply to attend NAB show 2018. All travel expenses and conference badge would be paid for by a nonprofit organization called Blue Collar Post Collective (BCPC).

Immediately I was excited. I thought ok, this HAS to be for me. Friends that I’ve gone to college and graduated with were frequent visitors of NAB and I’ve always wanted to experience the level of excitement and the amount of energy they’ve possessed once they’ve return. In my mind, the panels, workshops, networking opportunities, and hands on time with the newest and latest cameras and gear -- this place seemed like a magical land and I needed to be there.

So I took a moment (while still at work lol) and filled out the application and I kept it as real as I could. There was a portion of the rules that I had come across that said they preferred the recipients to be working exclusively in the field of post-production, which I was working for a company that was NOT in production let alone post production. I said F*$! It~! They will either say yes, or no.

THANK GOD, I got a YES. I knew then that I had to have a plan and that I needed to set some goals. This was a chance that I did not want squander by doing the same things that landed me in the position that I was already in.


DO THE RESEARCH, SET THE GOAL
I firmly believe that to execute a plan you must be resourceful and to be resourceful you have to do your research. I needed to know EVERYTHING about NAB Show 2018.

I made a plan and wrote down all of the booths, keynotes, workshops and panels I wanted to see and attend as well as their locations, then I added everything to the mynab app. There were a few sessions I thought were interesting that had speakers whose names I didn’t recognize so I did my homework. I studied them, their body of work and if there were demo/sizzle reels . .. I watched those too.

This was not so I could be a kiss ass, but I wanted to be sure I could properly give respect where respect is due and certain questions that I may have, I know who to direct those questions too.

When it comes to goals, I made just one. My goal was to make at least two genuine connections with people who either have the same career goals that I have or are currently doing what I’d love to be doing. I can say today that those goals were SURELY met.

When BCPC chose me they also chose two other ladies, Natalie Setoute from NYC and Brittany Joyner from LA. It seems our connection was instant! Due to the nature of the contest and application we understood right away that we face some of the same struggles. So naturally we gave ourselves the nickname, The PDAPer’s [Editor's note: see previous editor's note], and we started our 2018 NAB Show Journey.


ARRIVAL
First was the BCPC meet-up. I thought, this where I get to put my new networking skills to the test while utterly thanking those that are directly responsible for me being here. I met so many cool and genuine people.

I’ve been following Kylee Peña and Monica Daniel for a while on Twitter. I respect the work they do in post production and they are always extremely positive and encouraging people.

There is one person I’m missing a photo for and that is a lady I met who was in from Upstate New York, Stacey M. I never saw her again during the conference but she was so helpful and her ambition and hustle was very motivating. I definitely hope we get to collaborate in the future. Another connection made at the BCPC meet up was Hillary Lewis. She’s not photo’d here but definitely later in the post.




DAY 1 NAB SHOW
Hair…check, Makeup…check, Comfy Fit and Shoes, all Check! I’m excited and ready to go.


From Hannah's Instagram

First thing on my list was the Black Panther panel ("Black Panther: Telling A Superhero Story Like No Other") with Editor Michael P. Shawver, Sound Designer Steve Boeddeker, VFX Supervisor Geoffrey Baumann and hosted by USC professor and editor Norman Hollyn.

The film's post breakdown was interesting. Instead of hearing a lot of tech talk, the perspective was their relationship and chemistry with each other and the director. Even though the panel was not diverse, they assured us that the team was. I love the film, and I got the awesome opportunity to speak with the editor Michael Shawver afterwards.

TAKEAWAY
Michael Shawver’s biggest lesson that he learned working on Black Panther: “I could do it, rely on your imagination and just trust yourself!”



The Las Vegas Convention Center is massive, but I made my way to Avid and beyond. My second session of the day was Chris Do’s “Scaling Your Business to $1 Million.” LOTS of key information for Entrepreneurs. He even gave us extra time and told us a few of his personal business stories surrounding his team and he answered everyone’s questions.

TAKEAWAY
Chris Do’s idea of understanding value: “Value, like beauty, art, and fairness is in the eye of the beholder.”



My fellow PDAPer’s and I did attend the Adobe networking event that evening where I made a new friend and expanded on connections made earlier that day. My networking was on 10!! Day 1 was a success!

Tip: Kylee’s NAB survival article was a life saver. NAB Show Guide to Thriving (instead of just surviving) I followed her instructions and was able to fit in everything I had planned.

My tip: Make time for a nap! Your mind and your body will thank you!


DAY 2 NAB SHOW
My body is feeling the effects of day 1. However, I get myself together, visualize my day, take a look at my planner and I head out.

#GALSNGEAR provided an excellent start to my day. Amy DeLouise does an excellent job hosting and interviewing some of the top women in technical fields when it comes to video and film production today.

My plan was to meet Sharon Rossmark, Founder of Women and Drones. When I saw her, I just walked right up and introduced myself. She told me she was happy that I did!!

I think for me that’s one of the greatest aspects of NAB. A lot of the people there have been where you are so they are there happy to share their knowledge and to offer you support. As a licensed drone operator, I cherish and appreciate women like Sharon Rossmark. They are literally CREATING a way for women like me in the drone industry.

Hopefully one day in the near future I could become some sort of representative for women and drones. I’d love to be able to expose this side of video and film to other young girls. Especially young girls that come from disadvantaged areas like myself.



Next up, on the main stage was “From Podcast to Broadcast” with the creators of https://upandvanished.com/ and “Alex, Inc.”

This was pretty cool, and very entertaining. I co host a podcast, Nabish Pancake, with my fellow film making friend Michael Gordon. For us, one of the biggest issues is building an audience. This session answered a lot of questions for us and raised ideas in me that weren’t there before.

TAKEAWAY
“Focus on building your brand while building your audience. Podcasting is a new form of storytelling with new talent. There’s no rules so be open and be creative.” Donald Albright Producer, “Up and Vanished” and “Atlanta Monster”

After this session I checked out more booths. I went over to Adobe’s booth to grab new information, techniques, and tips. I was NOT disappointed.

Early in my career I basically spent everyday watching Andrew Kramer’s tutorials. Seeing him in person was really cool, and still very much entertaining. Adobe seems to always get it right with their presenters, whether it’s online or in person.

Immediately following this session I had the honor of being interviewed as a PDAP recipient from BCPC, by Monica Daniel for her “Going Postal” podcast. This by far was one the most exciting parts of my entire NAB experience. She gave us great advice and introduced us to her mentor, Alan Bell, ACE (The Amazing Spider-Man, Red Sparrow, Hunger Games)!!!! He sat and talked with us, and gave us his words of wisdom.

[Editor's note: Alan E. Bell first joined CreativeCOW.net in 2003. His most recent article for us was a look at his workflow combining editorial with visual effects on a worldwide, around-the-clock schedule for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, A Tale of Two Mockingjays: The Hunger Games Epic Finale(s).]

ALAN BELL TAKEAWAY:
"Work hard, Luck is such a small part of success if it’s involved at all. You have to have patience and be prepared in this industry. Be a good person, and be likable. I hire people that I like."

(That's him with the PDAPer's in the upper left of the photo below.)



My last session for the day was Studio Daily’s panel discussion, "Women in Production and Post: Closing The Gender Gap". Creative COW Contributing Editor Hillary Lewis was on this panel along with Elicia Bessette, Elisabetta Cartoni, Anna Maria Hall, Payton List, and Deena Sheldon. More kick ass women speaking on gender equality in the field.

By this time I am completely exhausted ,and I still have Super Meet to attend later that evening. So yes, I made time for a NAP.

I swear this is literally the most key and crucial detail I can add to this story lol. Everyone kept asking me how I was still so energized -- ummm, I napped!!

Supermeet was awesome, but I can’t lie: we didn’t make it to the end. We received a call that B&H’s party was that evening but you needed a wrist band to get in. It was 7 of us hanging out, we only had two…

Hillary and I had a feeling that if we went we could get everyone in and we were right! It’s a long story but ummm, Hillary found a wrist band, I did some talking and got two more, then Amy DeLouise walked by and the rest was history. We had an AMAZING time!!

Here I met Post Production World speaker, Digital FilmTree's Ramy Katrib. I had no idea who he was at the time but we sparked up a really great conversation on going from corporate post production to TV and cinema.

Thanks to Ramy, I now have two new programs to learn! He told me to learn how to edit with Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve, and to get footing in the gaming software Unity. I had never heard of Unity, and I've always thought as Resolve as more for colorists, but I'm now open to it for editing too.



RAMY KATRIB TAKEAWAY:
“Grow a circle, a network of friends. Build great relationships and be likable. People will hire people they like over skill any day...but also have the skill.”




I told him I had the pleasure of meeting Alan Bell who told me the exact same thing. He said that Alan was a good friend of his and that I was getting great info from good people. After our encounter I learned who he was and can I just say...my night was made and my mind was blown...okay!




DAY 3 NAB SHOW
I had no day 3 lol. I thought I would have time before catching my flight to mayyybeee checkout some missed booths but no way. I slept in, packed up, grabbed some awesome sushi from a local restaurant, and I made my way back to Houston.


CONCLUSION: NETWORKING
What do you have to lose? Nothing. What do you have to gain? Everything, from self respect to your livelihood.

If there is anything to take away from my my time at NAB, it would be how key networking is.

Networking for me used to be excruciating because I didn’t have the right perspective. Instead of looking for something, like a job, or whatever, I looked for genuine connections or maybe just a word of advice. I looked at it as just pure inspiration to talk with people who have worked on projects that I one day hope to work on. Not for the hookup or anything like that, but just to get a feel for the type of person and the mindset that person possesses.

I know my story was pretttyyy lengthy but I experienced a lot in a short amount of time. Thank you for reading to the end!

Please comment and share your thoughts or your experiences with NAB!





Hannah Byars-Walker
Hannah Byars-Walker
Hannah Byars-Walker from Houston, Texas is a filmmaker, video editor, drone operator, podcaster, and videographer who first joined Creative COW in 2012. She has experience as a production assistant, line producer, and first and second assistant camera operator. Her imareelchick blog highlights issues that many filmmakers face internally and externally. We all need encouragement and motivation from time to time to help us stay on the path that will lead us to that next great script or documentary, and we're grateful for her permission to reprint this entry originally posted there.

You can also find Hannah on Twitter, Instagram, and as co-host of the podcast Nabish Pancake.




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