Arts, Media And Entertainment Institute Event Returns With “Shock of the Now”

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

The Arts, Media and Entertainment Institute’s annual gathering, called “Shock of the Now,” was held in Burbank from Monday, June 20 through Thursday, June 23.

The informative meeting saw the participation of over 400 AME teachers, as well as funders, industry professionals and policy makers, who came together for a busy schedule of various visits and local discussions. This included the Warner Bros. Studio Tour, an introductory Flappers Comedy Club class, a panel discussion on Disney storytelling, and a how-to guide to creating compelling professional portfolios with the staff of Nickelodeon Animation.

Allison Frenzel, Peggy Flynn, Dan Dark Warner Bros. Executive Vice President of Worldwide Studio
Jason Maruca Field Operations Deputy for the office of Kathryn Barger and Sally Chan WB Vice President Community Engagement. (Photo by © Ross A Benson)

It is the eighth annual event for the arts, media and entertainment industry sector, an arm of the California Department of Education that cultivates the skills of California high school students who plan to work in the creative industries. The California Department of Education co-hosted the event in partnership with the Burbank Unified School District.

After visiting venues such as the Burbank Animation Studio, Apartment D took place on Monday, the second day of festivities kicked off with a Warner Bros. welcome event. It happened inside the Steven J. Ross Theater on the historic grounds of Warner Bros. A video greeting from Senator Ben Allan was played first, and a Q&A was then led by Warner Bros. Executive Vice President of Global Operations Dan Dark, followed by a Dolby panel discussion. A cocktail reception with networking opportunities then took place at Woodbury University, with representatives from the university, Adobe, Walt Disney Studios, IATSE Local 80, Girls Make Beats, Warner Bros. Discovery, Toon Boom and many more.

Additionally, Warner Bros. Discovery has offered its studio tour tickets to all AMEI visitors at a reduced rate in honor of the gathering. The vice president of community engagement at Warner Bros. Discovery’s Sally Chan said the company is proud to nurture the ambition of up-and-coming artists through enlightening events like this.

“Warner Bros. Discovery has a long history of supporting arts education,” Chan said. “We wanted to partner with the Burbank Unified School District and the California Department of Education for the AME Institute to continue to promote ways to support both teachers and students and provide the tools and resources needed to develop the next generation of storytellers.”

One of the AMEI participants, Julianne Aguilar, is a Vocational Technical Education Film and Drama Instructor at Atwater High School in the Merced Unified School District. She expressed her joy at being able to connect with “incredibly talented and knowledgeable professionals in their natural habitat”, which was particularly appreciated following the circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“A lot of us AME teachers are ‘solo acts’ in our schools…then the pandemic exacerbated the isolation,” Aguilar said. “This conference felt like an amazing four day AME group hug! I met kindred spirits in other educators, industry professionals, people in government – ​​all passionate about educating the next generation young creatives… Everyone!”

In addition to joining like-minded professionals, the convention provided valuable hands-on training for AME educators. Demonstrations of gaming platforms, sound mixing and Adobe products, among others, were given during the event. Burbank Unified School District Technical Arts and Career Education Coordinator Peggy Flynn explained how these presentations ensure high school students across the state receive the strongest curriculum possible as they are pursuing an AME career.

“Partnering with professionals in the field is key to ensuring that what we teach is relevant to the current and future workforce needs of the arts, media and entertainment industry sector,” said Flynn. “Technology is constantly changing, and school districts are working within their budgets — which for the CTE comes largely from grants — to keep pace. So, having hands-on opportunities with the latest technology helps us ensure that we invest wisely. »

Allison Frenzel, AME Arts Officer for the California Department of Education, praised the extensive four-day function teaching system.

Allison Frenzel and Dan Dark Warner Bros Executive Vice President of Worldwide Studio Operations (Photo by © Ross A Benson)

“As someone who loves interactive learning, this year’s institute offered more in-depth, industry-related learning opportunities than the traditional education conference model of the past,” said said Frenzel.

Since Burbank has been dubbed the “Media Capital of the World” and home to a booming AME industry, the city has been seen as the perfect place to host the return of the event. Visit Burbank, DreamWorks and 5D Spectrum are other local groups that have stepped up and contributed to “Shock of the Now”. On behalf of BUSD, Flynn expressed his gratitude to the attendees who made this year’s meeting possible.

“There is so much to do and see here. Burbank Unified is fortunate to have so many generous and supportive partners, and we were thrilled to have the opportunity to share with educators from all corners of California,” Flynn said before adding, “Our attendees were able to attend sessions and still easily explore the charm of each Burbank neighborhood.”

Adhering to COVID-19 safety guidelines has remained a top priority for all supporters, and community partners have spent the past year meticulously collaborating on plans for “Shock of the Now.” The result of this unwavering commitment proved beneficial to the satisfied guests of the gathering.

“I learned more and feel more connected to my industry sector and my teaching community in four days than in the past five years,” Aguilar said.

To learn more about the arts, entertainment and media industry sector, visit their site here.

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