Wednesday, July 31, 2013

SIGGRAPH 2013: A Strategy for Attending SIGGRAPH

Update Aug 1 2013

This is the second part of my little SIGGRAPH review.  In this post I discuss a "new" procedure for attending SIGGRAPH.   Well, its new for me anyway.

The problem(s) were legion but the big ones were that there was too much to do in the time allowed, the motion picture / entertainment industry stuff was annoying, the technical program could easily be missed if one wasn't careful, and although there were things like the "job fair" there was not in fact much to find in the way of projects or employment.

The "solution", for me, anyway, was to concentrate on the technical program, ignore the Hollywood stuff, and give up on finding a job / work / projects at SIGGRAPH.

So here is the plan that evolved and which I recommend to anyone who attends SIGGRAPH who is interested in the technical program.

1. Register for the Full Conference, but at half price.  There is an "unemployed" special rate at SIGGRAPH but they do not advertise it. It is equivalent in price to the Education rate, which is exactly what I proposed to SIGGRAPH a year ago (perhaps they heard me?). So for $495 you get the full conference, proceedings, receptions and film show. In other words, you can fully participate.

2. Attend the Fast Forward event which is usually on Sunday at 6PM. This means that you must be at SIGGRAPH no later than about Sunday at 4PM to register and find the right hall. The Fast Forward is essential for figuring out which of the papers you want to see.  The titles are often not sufficient to make that choice.

3. Really, seriously try to attend the Technical Papers.  That means getting up early to be at the conference by 9 AM, not going for 4 hour lunches, etc.    Use your program guide to determine which of these sessions you want to attend and which you can miss. Only time spent in the darkened room counts. Since they run these papers simultaneously, you normally have to choose 1 in 3 sessions anyway. I move around. I saw perhaps 1/2 the papers I wanted to see, which is a very good percentage for me.

4. Attend the "Awards Talks" which is a new feature this year.  The Awards have been augmented with "Awards Speeches" which includes an introduction by the head of SIGGRAPH, Jeff Jortner. This was the best of SIGGRAPH for me. All the talks were worthwhile.      

5. Avoid all the Hollywood stuff.  Just pretend it is not there and maybe it will go away.   Dont get me started about what that stuff is really all about, I would have to use bad words.  By ignoring them, I had much more time to see the Technical Program and I was in a far better mood.  

6. Receptions if possible.  Parties if invited.  You have to be considered important enough to be invited to such parties as the Disney R&D Mixer, and this year I was not important enough. Their failure to properly recognize my genius will be their undoing.  Maybe next year.

7. Trade Show during periods when there is no technical paper you want to see.  The tradeshow floor is now concise enough that you can see it in two 4 hour sessions.

8. BOFs or Birds of a Feather if interested and time allows.

9. Electronic Theatre is totally optional.

10. End of conference "non reception" reception if you are available Thursday evening.  At the Conference Hotel. 

So in summary, with this  new approach I really attended the Technical Program, got a copy of the electronic proceedings, saw the awards talks, and blew off the Hollywood crap.  It was a much more productive SIGGRAPH for me.

Now more on what I actually saw and other opinions and issues in Post #3.

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