WHAT’S THE POINT — I’m a tradeshow junkie. I’d go to a tradeshow for just about any industry you can think of. You life really isn’t complete until you’ve been to a gold miner’s convention and met a real life Yosemite Sam ‚Äì we did that last year. I hear the funeral directors convention is supposed to be fun, but I might skip that one.

This past Wednesday I attended an expo and conference in Pasadena on the future of video technology, production and delivery. The conference had some amazing teachers from all over the country come in to train production professionals. There were famous teachers like Robbie Carman, who I’ve been watching years onLynda.com. He taught me how to use my Canon T3i for the divorce and child custody educational videos I put up on my MensFamilyLaw YouTube channel.

Robbie and his training partner Rich Harrington took my love of photography and raised it up a notch or three with their educational videos, so when the opportunity presented itself for me to go to the NextVideo Conference and Expo I had to jump on it. I figured I’d get to see the latest and greatest new photography equipment and I wasn’t let down.

As I walked in to the Expo there was a giant Canon display with their high end equipment. New lenses and cameras are the kind of thing that a gear junkie could spend many paychecks on, but I was able to avoid the spell of the very charming salesman and made a clean getaway without breaking into my wallet.

There were various trade groups drumming up membership and announcing meetings. Newfilmmakers LA (www.nfmla.org) is a networking organization at heart, their card says to “find new talent, and let others find yours.” I chatted with a young filmmaker named Kyle about the NFMLA monthly screenings and how he had his movie shown. As a hobbyist filmmaker it sounded like a great way to get critiqued and feedback from enthusiasts.

As I made my way around the expo floor, past the lighting companies and the computer companies, I found a long table filled with postcards advertising everything from HP products to new independent movies. The organization was the Los Angeles Post Production Group. It’s a community group that holds monthly meetings in Santa Monica and they bring together 100-200 people for a night of educational lectures, networking and raffles.

LAPPG is run by Wendy and Woody Woodhall. He is a sound recording engineer. On the second Wednesday of the month they host a meeting where for $5 you can listen to industry experts discuss some aspect of the movie business, network and maybe win a prize. Wendy said they give away about $2 – 4,000 worth of products and services each month.

Membership in the LAPPG may be the best deal in town for entertainment professionals, membership is free and gets you access to discounts on a variety of services and filmmaking tools. If you want to learn new software or keep up to date by watching video trainings onLynda.com, LAPPG has a promo code to help make that more affordable.

Tomorrow is the second Wednesday of the month and at 7 p.m. LAPPG is meeting at the Crossroads School Community Room at 1634 18th Street. If you come and join, you might walk away with a new HP Dream Color monitor that is being given away. The topic this week is Post Production workflow for the movie Gone Girl.

The value of tradeshows to a community is certainly the financial impact, just look at how much money the AFM brings to us each year, and in bringing people and opportunities together. I met Wendy Woodhall and she’s looking for a permanent home for the LAPPG, I suggested the AERO Theatre on Montana and because I knew someone who worked there, I made an introduction. Hopefully they’ll work something out.

I’d like to see more conventions and expos in Santa Monica. These are the types of events that bring real money to our community, and real community to our city. Maybe the Santa Monica Convention and Visitors Bureau can reach out to the NextVideoExpo and lure them in for next year’s convention. After all, we have a large movie making population here, and it keeps growing.


David Pisarra is a Los Angeles Divorce and Child Custody Lawyer specializing in Father’s and Men’s Rights with the Santa Monica firm of Pisarra & Grist. He welcomes your questions and comments. He can be reached atdpisarra@pisarra.comor 310/664-9969.You can follow him on Twitter @davidpisarra

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