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Letter from HPA President Seth Hallen

Hello and warm wishes for a wonderful holiday season!

As we round the corner into 2017, I want to take a moment to look back at a very eventful year for the HPA.  Our outstanding year of accomplishments offers a glimpse into many great things to come.  To start it off, last February during the 2016 HPA Tech Retreat, we unveiled a new name and a new logo. The Hollywood Professional Association was chosen to reflect and encompass the varied and changing pieces of the world in which our members operate. It gives us an expanded launch pad, and encircles that elusive and changing activity of “post” rather than being defined by it.  It was also an important time for me, personally, because I was honored to have had the baton passed to me from Leon Silverman (literally, he actually passed me a baton).   Leon has been the cornerstone of the vision, strength and growth of the HPA and I am so proud and humbled to take the reins from the Great Mentor.

Craig German, Jenni McCormick, Chuck Parker, and Bill Roberts were elected as new members of the HPA Board, bringing fresh ideas and new energy.  They have immediately provided valuable contributions to an already incredible team of leaders, and Chuck was elected our new VP later in the year.  We also announced the global expansion of the HPA Tech Retreat brand with the HPA Tech Retreat UK.  The event was a smash, and we will return to Oxfordshire in July of 2017.  In partnership with SMPTE UK Chapter and with the great leadership of Richard Welsh, those two days in Oxfordshire showed us that the very special character of the Tech Retreat can evolve and expand to a global setting.

The HPA committee chairs, HPA Executive Director Barbara Lange and the HPA Board have been laying the groundwork for expanded activities and engagement.  The events formerly known as SCRG luncheons will soon relaunch under the auspices of HPA NET (Networking, Education, Technology).  Over the past few years, the roundtable “speed-dating” lunch format met great success and we have had lots of enthusiastic requests from the community to organize more of these events.  The first HPA NET event is currently in the works and will be announced in the upcoming weeks.

HPA’s Women In Post also had an amazing year.  Their Women In Technology luncheon, held jointly with SMPTE during the Annual Conference, featured an intriguing conversation with one of the industry’s most influential women, Victoria Alonso, executive vice president of physical production at Marvel. Attendees benefitted greatly from Ms. Alonso’s candid sharing of her experiences and insights.  Under the tutelage of Kari Grubin, Loren Nielsen, Belinda Merritt and Laura Thommen, Women In Post helped launch one of its most––and one of the HPA’s most––important endeavors, the Young Entertainment Professionals.  Building a vibrant community of young people is a core goal for the organization, encircling those who will benefit from our experiences while giving us the benefit of their perspectives. Our activities in this arena are vitally important to the future of the HPA. In June, a call for submissions yielded a truly outstanding class of talented young people, two of whom, Jesse Korosi and Jennifer Zeidan, were named Emerging Leaders during the HPA Awards.  That first class of 25 will be mentored and supported by the HPA over the coming years.  YEP is just the first concrete step in our initiatives focused on engaging the next generation.

Finally, in November we celebrated the community of creative talent and innovation at the 11th annual HPA Awards, honoring our own Herb Dow, ACE and Michelle Munson, CEO of Aspera.  The 2016 HPA Awards were a sold-out affair, attracting more awards submissions and ticket sales than ever before.  Some big plans are in the works for the next HPA Awards show, which is slated to return to the Skirball Center on November 16, 2017.

Although we have achieved all of this amazing progress in the past year, foremost on my mind is how grateful I feel to have the opportunity to work with such a devoted and passionate group of industry leaders.  Engaging, debating, collaborating and evolving with all of my fellow board members, committee members, and all of the other volunteer members of our community has been my greatest pleasure.  I so look forward to 2017 and all of the remarkable things we will enable HPA to bring to our industry and community in the coming year.

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