The Shape of Water, won the top prize for Best Picture at the 2018 Academy Awards.

SXSW is arguably the highest profile event of the month, encompassing three major topic areas: music, film and interactive tech, and stretching for 10 days from March 9. SXSW Music generally fields more than 2,200 official performers and bands playing in more than 100 venues throughout the Austin city limits. SXSW Film focuses on new directing talent. SXSW Interactive is focused on emerging technology, and the festival includes a trade show, speakers, parties and a startup accelerator. There are also official Welcome Events to get things started at SXSW. Attendees can open their SXSW (#SXSW) experience by enjoying food, drink and networking. South by Southwest is run by the company SXSW, Inc. which plans and executes conferences, trade shows, festivals, and other events. The SXSW Music Opening Party sponsored by Greater Fort Lauderdale’s Underground will happen March 13. Complimentary beverages are part of the party favors, and there are two stages for live music entertainment. This year’s lineup includes iconic indie band Superchunk, Spanish reggaeton/dancehall rapper Bad Gyal, Russian performance art collective Pussy Riot, German electronic pop act Lali Puna, raucous glam rockers Starcrawler, and sleek darkwave duo Boy Harsher.

SXSW 2018 in AustinSXSW 2018 Keynotes will take place from March 9-17, and feature speakers from the Interactive, Film, Music, and Convergence Tracks. Keynote speakers lined up for SXSW 2018 include, virtual and augmented reality pioneer Nonny de la Peña as a Convergence Keynote speaker, on March 13. Other featured speakers will include, POLITICO chief Washington correspondent Edward-Isaac Dovere; bestselling author and Together Rising founder and president Glennon Doyle; actress Dakota Fanning, CBS This Morning co-host Gayle King; President of Paramount TV and Digital Entertainment Amy Powell; music legend Nile Rodgers; Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders; actor and former Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger; CNN anchor and chief Washington correspondent Jake Tapper, and many others. Exhibits remains a focal point at SXSW, and this year planned exhibitions such as Job Market, Flatstock, SXSW Marketplace, SXSW Wellness Expo, and SouthBites are free and open to the public with a SXSW Guest Pass, in addition to the SXSW Trade Show, Spotlights, and Gaming Expo.

SXSW exhibiting artists also join the numerous speakers, sessions, and events across the full SXSW program. The art showcase features innovation, diversity, and creativity in visual and media arts. Organizations and participants doing special events to spotlight conceptual and new media art at SXSW include Meow Wolf, Artprize, and the Contemporary Austin. In particular, This year, SXSW unveils the UNESCO Media Arts Exhibition highlighting Austin’s designation as the only UNESCO Media Arts City in the US, in collaboration with the City of Austin’s Cultural Arts Division. Hosted March 12-13 as the official art program of the Cities Summit at SXSW, the showcase comprises a mini-exhibition of media art installations and a companion panel discussion highlighting the global initiatives of the UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) Creative Cities Network.

SXSW 2018 in AustinSomewhat novel for the level of technology and innovation event that SXSW has come to be known for, the first time ever, SXSW will host a night of professional boxing and music on March 17 at Austin City Limits Live at the Moody Theatre. SXSW and Underwood Promotions will present SXSW SLUGFEST featuring the following boxers affiliated with the NABF, WBC and WBB. The boxing events will also include live performances from up and coming musical talent consistent with what has been showcased at SXSW over the years..

This year’s music festival will take place March 12-18 and audiences can enjoy a variety of musical styles at SXSW. To preview the 1000+ acts slated for SXSW 2018, stream their Spotify Playlists, surf the YouTube Music Video playlist, and/or tune into SXSWfm.
Musically, SXSWfm streams online 24/7 and plays all kinds of music from all over the globe. Anyone can tune in weekly for the SXSW specialty show, This Week @ SXSW, which features some recently announced artists that will be showcased at SXSW 2018. Another show, SXSWfm Spotlight Show, features tracks from some of our favorite Latin artists who will be performing at the 2018 SXSW Music Festival. The playlist includes artists like Derian, El Freaky, MNKYBSNSS, 1982 (Diecinueve Ochenta y dos) and others. Music showcases are curated by record labels, booking agencies, management, and PR firms, export offices, publishers, media outlets, lifestyle brands, festivals, drawing on a pool of artists looking for exposure and a way to reach new audiences.

Presently, virtual reality and augmented reality technologies are finding new ways to enhance an ability to perceive the world. At SXSW 2018, visitors can see some of the leaders of the industry speak on how they are integrating VR with their art forms. On March 13, the session Making It Real: Tangible Worlds of Storytelling, features Vince Kadlubek, Co-Founder and CEO of Meow Wolf, Delaney Martin, Co-Founder and Artistic Director of New Orleans Airlift, Ted Schilowitz, Futurist for Paramount Pictures and Brandon Oldenburg, the Chief Creative Officer of Flight School, speaking on how they are using virtual reality today. Other VR/AR session highlights will include: How VR/AR/MR Changes Aviation and Space Operations, Brave New World: The Future of Theatre and Tech, Making it Real: Tangible Worlds of Storytelling.

This year, SXSW holds its 19th annual SXSW Interactive Innovation Awards on March 15, emceed by comic, actress, writer and life-hacker Brooke Van Poppelen, along with special guest Julian Velard. The SXSW Interactive Innovation Awards celebrates inspiring and creative innovations in the connected world. This event is open to all SXSW Interactive, Gold and Platinum badge holders. The Showcase offers the badge holders a first look at new tech developments, including achievements in digital design, health technology, privacy and security, 3D printing, virtual and augmented reality. Then, there is a chance to place their votes for the People’s Choice Award.

Game Developer Conference in San FranciscoGame Developer Conference (#GDC18) in San Francisco opens March 19 to offer game designers, programmers, artists, producers, and business professionals five days of activity focused on the global game development community. Attendees can learn from game industry experts in sessions, tutorials, and roundtable discussions. The GDC Conference program will offer nine key game development topics (conference tracks), in addition to the popular Classic Game Postmortem series. They will be, Design, Programming, Business and Marketing, Production and Team Management, Visual Arts, Audio, Vision, Advocacy, Monetization. GDC will present Summits and Tutorials covering a comprehensive range of game development disciplines from March 19-20. GDC Summits include AI Summit, Community Management Summit, Educators Summit, Game Narrative Summit, GDC Mobile Summit, Independent Games Summit, and UX Summit. GDC Tutorials will include Visual Effects Bootcamp, Producer Bootcamp, Math for Game Programmers, Board Game Design Day, Audio Bootcamp XVII, Storytelling Fundamentals in a Day, Art Direction Bootcamp, Animation Bootcamp, Game Design Workshop and other topics.

Since Gaming is about fun, fun can also mean parties and other participatory activities and interactive areas to take part in. Attendees are able to mingle with industry brass at events and parties throughout the week, including the GDC Educators Summit Mixer, GDC Mobile Summit Mixer, VRDC@GDC Mixer, and Xbox Lobby Lounge. And at planned interactive spaces, attendees can relax, play games, and meet new people in themed areas for indie games, board games, alternative controllers, retro games, and more. At least two award ceremonies are held on March 21: the IGF Awards Ceremony, and the Games Developers Choice Awards. The First Annual GDC Film Festival will be screened showing documentaries, world premieres and a selection of work-in-progress presentations. Divided up into three themed days, March 19 is an International Spotlight with opening night gala screening of the premiere of Heting Chen’s Indie Games In China. March 20 is the Webseries Spotlight featuring the premiere of a feature-length version of The Checkpoints series and a work-in-progress screening from Area 5’s Outerlands. March 21 is the Arcade Spotlight, with the closing night gala presentation, the premiere of Josh Tsui’s Insert Coin: Inside Midway’s 90’s Revolution.

China Content Broadcasting Network in Beijing features a combination of an exhibition with technical and business conferences. The Keynote Speech Conference and the CCBN-Broadcasting Development Forum (CCBN-BDF) allow industry leaders to offer guidance of the latest trends and showcase cutting-edge broadcast technologies. It is a primary platform for SAPPRFT to announce their latest industry policy decisions and development strategies. SAPPRFT leadership will give a keynote address, and then the senior leadership figures from Chinese and international enterprises will give platform speeches. The convention’s lead organizer, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT), is in charge of Chinese newspaper-periodical publishing, radio, film and television. Its primary responsibility is the formulation of policy and the management of ministerial-level units. The Academy of Broadcasting Science (ABS), a division of SAPPRFT, is China’s highest research institution in the broadcast arena. ABS plays a leading role in developing policy and in making strategic technology decisions and is the main base for both R&D and personnel training in the Chinese broadcasting sector.

On the unofficial first day of March 21 of the four day CCBN convention, presentations include, The Fourth International Conference on Cable Digital TV Operators, AR/VR Innovation Forum, Future TV Development Forum, and Ultra High Definition, Guo Xiaoqiang, TV Technology Research Institute of Academy of Broadcasting Science are leading topic areas for presentation. On March 22, there are presentations from Information Security Forum, Smart Broadcast Forum, The Fourth CCBN International Summit of Digital Cable TV Operators, and the Wired Network Office, the Academy of Broadcasting Science, SAPPRFT. On March 23, expect presentations from Cloud and Big Data Forum, Media Convergence Forum, and Public Service Forum. On final convention day, March 24, presentations come from Cloud and Big Data Forum, IP Ecology and Entertainment Summit, Next Generation Broadband Development Forum, and Enterprise renting.

European Summit on Immersive ComputingEuropean Summit on Immersive Computing (#EICS) programs two days of conferences on XR technologies, innovation and creativity. Venice has long been a source of inspiration for authors, playwrights, poets, printing and publishing, and is certainly renowned for its rich and diverse architectural style, the most prominent of which is the Gothic style combining the use of the Gothic lancet arch with Byzantine and Moorish influences. But it was also a major center of art and developed a unique style known as the Venetian School, especially during the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and Baroque periods. EICS Summit in 2018 is the inaugural event of what will henceforth be an annual reference point in the XR industry, illustrating this recent technology frontier and its application area, and where participants can develop technical competences.

Planned conferences will cover four different subject matter: “Architecture, Art and Design”, “Entertainment”, “Healthcare” and “Industry 4.0,” and each category has four different talks for a total of 16 speeches. A brief directory of the invited speakers include, Luca Prasso, Creative Technologist at GOOGLE; Ethan Shaftel, Video Maker 360°/VR; Daan ‘Kip’ Doornink, Founding Partner of XR Basefund and VRBase Founder; Alessandro Terenzi, co-founder of Inglobe Technologies; Mike Cadoux, Kabaq 3D Food Technologies; Fabio Cristi, Vae Victis; Giacomo Zanghi, Untold Games Founder; Marco Mortillaro, Forge Reply game design; Sam Watts, Make Real; Andrey Drobitko, Founder of SketchAR; Mauro Rubin, JoinPad; Pier Mattia Avesani, Co-Founder of Uqido; Sophia De Séguin, Actimage Academy; Giovanni Caturano, Founder of SpinVector; Patricio Navarro, Co-founder of ArX Solutions; Gianpaolo Greco, Uqido; Leandro Agrò. Design Group Italia; Paola Di Paolo, Milc Foundation.

Other outstanding features of the EICS Summit will include EICS Ventures, a networking facilitator with meeting rooms assigned to companies to show their products and be part of a great chance to meet companies and professionals working on new technologies and marked by a strongly innovative mind. Next, EICS Club offers a twist of networking and learning, where each EICS attendee will have a unique opportunity to be inspired and shaken by a personal 15 minutes talk with companies and professionals that interest him. Through EICS Startups, EICS is looking for startups working in the Immersive Technology field to let them introduce themselves during the event and show what they do. Hyper Reality Lab, Uqido srl specializing in multi-sensorial experiences, is the organizer of EICS 2018. European Summit on Immersive Computing concludes its two-day summit with a cocktail reception.

WonderCon in AnaheimWonderCon was started in 1987 in Oakland, California, as “The Wonderful World of Comics Convention.” The original show included all the classic comics convention features: an Exhibit Hall with dealers selling old and new comics and other items, programming, anime screenings, and games. From 2002, San Diego Comic Convention — the corporate name of the non-profit organization behind Comic-Con International: San Diego — became the new custodian of WonderCon (#WCA2018) brand. Comic-Con International took over the show and moved it from Oakland to downtown San Francisco in 2003. WonderCon was forced to move to Anaheim in 2012, due to construction at its San Francisco home, the Moscone Center. Since 2012, the event — now called Comic-Con International Presents WonderCon Anaheim — has been held in southern California, and will happen over the entire weekend starting March 23. There will, of course, be the 2018 WonderCon Anaheim Masquerade on March 24 for originally crafted costumes where each entry is allotted their own time on stage, and a giant high-definition video screen and multiple cameras are used to display great close-up views to the audience. Another strongly anticipated show feature, WonderCon will conduct a portfolio review, and interested individuals should check the website for further details.

WonderCon is comparably a sister show to Comic-Con International, embracing all the main aspects of that show, including comics, movies, TV, animation, the Masquerade, and more. In 2018, a new aspect to the show is the Gaming Creator Connection, an opportunity for game developers, at all levels, to receive advice, insights, and mentoring from seasoned veterans of the game industry. Organized and run by professional game developers including a former executive director of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA), the GCC is a way to get expert guidance in one of three core areas: Art/Design – artists of all kinds (general, character, environment, UI, etc.); Narrative – writers, narrative designers, editors, world builders, etc.; Business – a range of topics pertaining to indie startups, funding, marketing, pitching skills, etc. Application information can be sent to programs@comic-con.org for individuals who would like to participate in the GCC. Also new for this year is the Game Pitch Review. Participants will have the opportunity to pitch a game for three minutes and then receive constructive criticism on how it went.

One of the very anticipated aspects of comic conventions such as WonderCon and Comic-Con are special guests from favorite comics, animation, movies, and TV, that are slated to attend. For WonderCon Anaheim 2018, special guests that have been announced include, Michael Dante DiMartino (Co-creator, director, exec. prod., Avatar: The Last Airbender), Jason Fabok (Artist, Batman, Justice League, Suicide Squad), Kevin Grevioux (Writer, I, Frankenstein, Spider-Man, Cyborg), Larry Hama (Writer, artist, GI Joe, Deathstroke), Jody Houser (Writer, Mother Panic, Faith, Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows), John Jennings (Professor, Author, The Blacker the Ink, Octavia Butler’s Kindred graphic novel), Dan Jurgens (Writer, artist, Superman, Action Comics, Batman Beyond), Jim Lee (Publisher, DC Comics, artist, Batman: Hush, Immortal Men), Gail Simone (Writer, Crosswind, Wonder Woman, Clean Room), Cat Staggs (Artist, Crosswind, Smallville Season 11, Wonder Woman ’77), Mariko Tamaki (Writer, She-Hulk, Tomb Raider, Supergirl, Lumberjanes), Mark Waid (Writer, Archie, Avengers, Kingdom Come), and so many others.

The above events are only a sample of what is fully listed. Complete details are on the “Calendar of Global Media and Showbiz Industry Social Networking Events” page. If you like this report and other content found on The Actor’s Checklist, like the Facebook page at this link. In this month’s photo placement (starting at the very top), Guillermo del Toro’s, The Shape of Water, won the top prize for Best Picture at the 2018 Academy Awards. Next, SXSW in Austin, Game Developer Conference in San Francisco, EICS in Venice, Italy, WonderCon 2018 in Anaheim. With March ushering in the spring season nearing and warmer temperatures close at hand, here are dates to know about that will be coming in April. VR&AR Fair 2018 is in Guangzhou, annual NAB Show returns to Las Vegas, Coachella Music Festival happens over two weekends in Indio, Billboard Latin Music Conference and Awards is in Las Vegas, MIPTV will be in Cannes, Musikmesse will be in Frankfurt, HotDocs International Documentary Festival opens in Toronto, the National Association of Theatre Owners CinemaCon convention comes to Las Vegas.

SXSW, Game Developer Conference, European Summit on Immersive Computing, WonderCon, are calendar highlights in March’s media and showbiz industry events

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