On Saturday, June 20th, members of the LA/OC Chapter of MCAI held the first-ever MediaProCamp. It was so popular that RSVPs were closed at 105! The crowd loved the event's... 'open-grid' format for its intensity, interaction and self-directed content. Santa Ana College's Digital Media Center was bustling with pros from all areas of media and at the end of the day, reaction was overwhelmingly positive.
About 50 percent of attendees (considered an excellent response) filled out evaluation forms. Most contained both positive comments and ideas for improvement. The general reaction included these comments: "Tons of information...liked the openness...sharing real-world knowledge...great people...everyone was helpful...made great connections...important networking, information and resources!...liked exchanging business ideas in non-threatening environment...liked people with knowledge to share...casual and friendly...loved the flexibility of discussions and groups."
While the goal of MediaProCamp was not to make money, at first glance it looks like the event will be a break-even for the chapter. "That's due to the generosity of our sponsors-all local media companies and professionals," said John Coleman, the event chairman and a member of the MCAI board. "They deserve a lot of thanks from the whole community." There's no doubt that having an Adobe CS4 production suite (retail value about $1700) to give away as a doorprize was a big draw for many people. And Kelly Herrin offered a free day (worth $1,000) with his new All-In-One Camera Truck!
Coleman also thanked Dean Sylvia Turner and Gus Chamorro, director of Santa Ana College's Digital Media Center, for making the venue available. "Besides being a most appropriate place. it is also a showcase state-of-the-art media facility and centrally located." Some of the DMC's media incubator tenants joined the event as well.
The chapter used its Orange County New Media Meetup Group to take reservations as well as to reach a wide variety of professionals. In less than 18 months their Meetup Group has grown to 427 people. Promoting the event was done through the chapter's regular internet outreach plus forging alliances with other local media organizations, OCMMA, PVN and MAOC, to help spread the word. While there were some no-shows, the attending crowd was one of the biggest of the year.
Being the first such event in the media industry makes this a prototype for other chapters to build upon. In the coming weeks the LA/OC chapter will be analyzing the event as well as doing some outreach to all attendees for more detailed feedback. That information will be available for other MCAI chapters who want to organize a MediaProCamp in their region-and to make the next OC MediaProCamp even better!