Date: Wednesday September 4, 2013
Time: 8pm
Location: High Noon Saloon (map)

The Argument For Tragedy: or, How I stopped worrying and learned to love Star Wars Episodes I-III

Summary: Writers frequently say comedy is harder to do than tragedy. This talk will set out to prove the opposite using the Star Wars films as case studies. We will look at what George Lucas could have done differently to make the prequel films as critically successful as the originals. It will also illuminate some of the basic elements of drama and how to write successful stories.

Bio: Ross Shenker is a writer, actor, and director from Madison, WI. He earned his B.A. from Wesleyan University in Theater and Jewish Studies. While there, he won the Howard Needler Prize for his research on Jewish-American playwrights. He has worked in motion picture and television development for Weed Road Pictures on the Warner Brothers lot and at Sargent Hall Productions. While in Los Angeles, he helped direct “A Bright New Boise” at Rogue Machine Theatre, which was nominated for several LA Weekly awards. He currently teaches acting and voice in Madison and has worked on shows with Four Seasons Theater, Children’s Theater of Madison, and Clear Plastic Theater. He plans to move to New York City very soon to pursue playwriting professionally. He also enjoys starving for his art and writing pretentious bios that make him sound way more important and expert than he actually is.


How NOT to Make Your Indie Game!

Summary: Making an indie game is tough work, and if you want to be successful enough to support yourself it’s important to be realistic about what you can reasonably accomplish in a finite amount of time. In this talk, I’ll go over some of the mistakes I made as a developer, in order to give a better chance to anyone else out there thinking of going indie. I’ll go over topics such as keeping the scope of a project realistic, and starting with a well defined goal. In addition, I will talk about some pitfalls to avoid, when to make decisions about a game’s direction and story, and how best to utilize your team. Join me for an exciting look into the trials and tribulations of an indie developer!

Presenter bio: Brandon Smith is originally from Urbana, Illinois. For 2 years he worked as a game developer making custom 3D indie games, including a free flying space combat game, and metroidvania style action platformer involving a jumping tank. He currently works as a game programmer for Filament Games, making educational flash games.


Groupthink and Brainstorming: Bogus Business Buzzwords

Summary: A lot of jargon gets thrown around haphazardly. Groupthink and brainstorming are two of the most serious offenders. Feel free to blame the 1980’s. This travesty needs to stop. Period. Come learn what’s really going on, why these buzzwords are total bogus, and how to score with the ladies. Disclaimer: the latter may or may not actually happen.

Presenter bio: Miranda Kolb is a second year grad student in the Communication Science program at UW-Madison. She studies group processes, focusing on information sharing, decision making and ostracism. In her spare time she enjoys reading non-fiction books about serial killers, college football, and spending too much time and money on the Internet. Oh, and GO GREEN!!