If you’re in the business of creating themed attractions, then consider setting a few days aside next month to learn, debate and network with your industry colleagues at the latest SATE conference from the TEA (Themed Entertainment Association). Here’s a taste of what to expect.
“SATE would be extremely beneficial to anyone working in a creative industry,” highlights TEA president Christine Kerr. “This year in particular, however, I would like to see our themed entertainment companies send more mid-level managers to attend alongside the senior executives. The money invested to send a second person from any company would be well worth it. I also think we should all invite our clients. Imagine the positive ways a shared understanding of the principles of SATE could impact the projects we are working on right now.”
Focusing on four elements key to most great attractions – Storytelling, Architecture, Technology and Experience (SATE) – the two-day event (2/3 October) will be hosted by Florida State University at the John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art (The Ringling) in Sarasota. According to Kerr, the venue is almost an attraction in itself.
“As TEA serves the makers of compelling experiences and places, the location for SATE needs to be interesting and inspiring in its own right,” notes the TEA president. “The Ringling certainly has this, with an estimable art collection and circus museum, and splendid grounds and facilities. The historical connections between circus, live entertainment and themed entertainment make it all the more appropriate. Partnering with an educational institution also reinforces TEA’s NextGen initiative and dialog with academics and students.”
For 2014, SATE welcomes back the same team that made last year’s event so enjoyable for delegates in Savannah, Georgia. Reprising their roll as co-chairs will be Aram Ebben (TEA international board member and principal at exp) and Stefan Lawrence (Rethink Leisure Entertainment). Each segment of the conference then gets its own chair.
Already announced as headline speaker, Kenneth Feld of Feld Entertainment will share enlightening anecdotes about branded entertainment experiences such as Disney On Ice and Marvel Universe LIVE!! in an on-stage interview with Phil Hettema of The Hettema Group.
Phil will also oversee the segment on Storytelling, where confirmed speakers include Denise Weston of WhiteWater West, ex-Disney Imagineer Joe Garlington and Raul Fernandez of Brainwave ThoughtProducts. Chairing the Architecture segment will be of Al Cross of PGAV Destinations. Confirmed speakers include architect, historian, theorist and philosopher Dr Timothy Parker, Abbey Rosen Holmes (Light & Felling) and Jeff M Sugar from ITEC Entertainment.
Walt Disney Imagineering’’s Mk Haley will chair the segment on Technology, with contributions from Professor Mark Francis (UCLA Anderson School of Management), Johnny Miller (BambooEngine), Tommy Bridges (ATI), Stephan Villet (Smart Monkeys) and Eric Cantrell (Medialon). Chairing the segment on Experience will be Adam Bezark of The Bezark Company, more details to follow.
“SATE goes beyond case studies – although it is filled with real-world examples – to take creative ideas and connect them to practical applications,” concludes Kerr. “Ultimately, SATE inspires its participants to new levels of creativity and new approaches to their work. The dialogue continues beyond the formal sessions.“
SATE ’14 takes place at the John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, Florida, on Thursday 2 and Friday 3 October. For the full programme, speaker biographies, networking events, hotel deals and more, visit the official SATE blog. To book tickets, click here. Park World is proud to be an official media partner, and will feature an exclusive interview with Joe Garlington soon. To read a full Q&A with Christine Kerr, click here. You can also keep up to date with the TEA on Twitter.