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Engineering Excellence Award Submission Deadline: June 24

A YEP at the HPA Tech Retreat

By Beatriz Rodriguez
Post Production Coordinator, Warner Bros. TV

This was my first year attending the HPA Tech Retreat with HPA as a YEP. Being semi-new to the industry I knew this was the perfect event to absorb as much knowledge as I could. Working on the show side of the TV industry, tech is not talked about enough. Sure, there are mentions about software and technology, but not how it comes together.
My first day of the retreat I learned about the many different roles that exist and how everyone works together. The industry is large, and yet it felt so small and accessible when I saw speakers who knew one another and the way in which they shared stories about how projects came about. Everyone was so passionate and informative about their roles, their companies, and the business.

As a YEP I had set goals for myself during the retreat: my game plan was to listen, learn and observe what goes on, on the tech side. On my first day I met a VP of a Virtual Production company who mentioned how storytelling and Virtual Production will take time to adapt to the mass industry. It made me wonder how much progress technology has made, yet why hasn’t the industry utilized these new tools? Could it be that not everyone has access to it? Sticking to traditional filmmaking? Or is it that everyone is not trained in the new technologies yet? Throughout the retreat, I got to hear more about different workflows including remote, the cloud, AI impact, audio production, dynamic lighting, cinematographers, and my personal favorite, the Annie Chang story.

Listening to Annie Chang’s personal journey was truly an honor. Oftentimes we get stuck on the idea of wanting to reach success sooner and forget to enjoy the journey. As Annie said, each chapter of her life prepared her for the next step of where she was meant to go in her career and life. She shared a story about the influence her parents had on her tech side. She later discovered that’s where she’d go. The crowd loved her engagement and how personal she got with everyone in the room. Annie is a natural with a crowd! My overall take from her: It’s okay not to know where you’re headed but it’s the journey that teaches us who we are and our work ethic.

Back to the goals I had set for myself earlier during the retreat, I came and conquered the retreat but on my last day, my approach had changed. The retreat made me think and to be more curious about how things work and come together. Education is a never-ending journey and just like technology advances, we must advance too. With all the knowledge I gained during the retreat, the wonderful people I met including the other YEPs, bold conversations are much needed, we have the power to make the industry greater for the next generation.

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