Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Call for Board candidates - Themed Entertainment Association

You can help shape the future of the 
Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) . . .
Apply for a Board position! 
Sept 5 is the deadline to get onto a ballot

The five TEA Boards
  • International Board
  • Asia Pacific Division 
  • Eastern North America Division 
  • Europe & Middle East Division 
  • Western North America

Terms & Types
  • Board Directors: Serve for 3-year terms. Employees of Standard Member companies are eligible to submit their names to be considered for inclusion on the various ballots for Board Director positions.
  • Associate Member Representatives: Serve for 2-year terms. Employees of Associate member companies, as well as Non-Profit, NextGen, Academic and Individual members, are eligible to be considered for non-voting Associate Member Representative positions on all five of the TEA’s Boards.

Nominations process - Sept 5, 2013 deadline
  • If you would like to submit your name (or perhaps the name of another member you feel would be an excellent Board member), please contact the appropriate person for the Board you have in mind (see below) with a one-page letter of interest no later than Sept. 5, 2013. 
  • For more information about the elections or various roles, please contact TEA executive director Gene Jeffers, Gene@TEAConnect.org

Board contacts
  • International Board: Christine Kerr, Christine@Baamproductions.com
  • Asia Pacific Division: Chris Yoshii, chris.yoshii@aecom.com
  • Eastern North America Division: Traci Polimeni, traci@lucegroup.com
  • Europe & Middle East Division: David Willrich, dwillrich@djwillrich.co.uk
  • Western North America Division: Nancy Emerson, nancye@wyattdesigngroup.com

Deadline to be considered for the ballots is Sept. 5, 2013

TEA's new Asia Pacific Division kicks off Sept 15 with special event in Hong Kong

Go behind the scenes of Ocean Park Hong Kong's new Halloween experience with TEA and HKAAPA, Sept 15. 

RSVP required.
Reservation deadline is August 28 and seating is limited! Sign up now!

The Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) has a new Asia Pacific Division and invites you to celebrate at Ocean Park Hong Kong on Sept 15 in partnership with HKAAPA. From Ocean Park, home of the region’s leading mega Halloween event, comes a brand new Halloween experience for all! Come visit the backstage of this event to learn more about the effort put forth in creating this unique haunted journey. 

Ocean Park's Operations & Entertainment team will present a synopsis of the creativity, development and execution of this world class event. A world-famous artist will join in to give a ‘WOW’ live demonstration too!
  • 15 September 2013 - Sunday
  • Dress Code: Comfortable
  • Seats are VERY limited, RSVP is required, first come, first-served! 
  • Sign up now by email to (pc@hkaapa.org) by 28 August 2013. 
  • For enquiries, please call (852) 82082012.
Each member company can enroll more than one seat. You may invite your colleagues and friends to attend with you.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Marty Sklar's "Dream It! Do It!": Special event at WDI Aug 29 - TEA members only

There are still a few tickets left for: DREAM IT! DO IT! on August 29 in Glendale
A special industry celebration of Marty Sklar’s newly published memoir.* **
This event is open to TEA members only.

*Everyone attending receives an autographed copy of the book!

**There will be a special "thank-you" to Gene Jeffers, who is retiring this year as executive director of the Themed Entertainment Association

Thursday, August 29, 2013, 5:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Hosted at Walt Disney Imagineering
$150 Per Person

  • 5:00 pm – Cocktail Hour open bar by The Edison Downtown and discounted Shopping at Mickey’s of Glendale
  • 6:00 pm – Special Presentation by Craig Russell and Bruce Vaughn
  • 6:45 pm – Buffet Dinner Hosted by The Imagineers
  • 7:30 pm – “Dream It! Do It! My Half-Century Creating Disney’s Magic Kingdoms Presentation by Marty Sklar
Purchase your ticket online at this link 
or call Ryman Arts at 213-629-2787.

Directions and parking information will be sent with ticket confirmation.
All proceeds support Ryman Arts and the TEA Foundation.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Sept 12 TEA behind-the-scenes at Knott's Berry Farm: Members only

For Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) members only!
courtesy of Knott's Berry Farm in association with the TEA Western Division
Knott's Berry Farm Timber Mountain Log Ride special event Sept 12

Panel discussion, Q&A, walk-through, ride and mixer!

Thursday, Sept 12, 2013
5:30 - 10:00 p.m.
RSVP to www.teaconnect.org/westRSVP - deadline Sept 9
Limited space! No late RSVPs will be accepted.
If the event fills up there will be a waitlist.
Further details will be provided via email after you RSVP.
TEA members only - Sorry, no guests.

Special thanks to Knott's Berry Farm for their support!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Orlando, Sept 12: Design & Building Industry Mixer - FREE

Mega-networking event! Free to attend. The Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) is pleased to participate as one of 40 associations involved in this mixer for the design & building industries. More than 300 people are expected. You are encouraged to drop in, socialize, and make some new connections.

Thursday, Sept 12, 2013
5:30 - 7:30 p.m.
Ember, 42 W. Central Blvd.
Orlando, Florida USA 32801

Dinner/drinks Aug 20: TEA summer mixer in Orlando, at the Funky Monkey - open to members and non-members

Themed Entertainment Association (TEA)'s Eastern North America Division invites you to join your TEA colleagues in Orlando, Florida, for a casual, summer evening mixer at the Funky Monkey Wine Company, located in Pointe Orlando on International Drive. 

Open to all members of the attractions industry. No need to RSVP - just show up!
Cash bar, cash parking.

This mixer will provide you the time to relax, unwind, and catch up with your TEA friends in style. The Funky Monkey is a multi-award winning restaurant and wine bar. This locally independently owned restaurant has been described as having "stylish yet unconventional appeal, offering diners an eclectic, fusion style with Asian-American influence."

Tuesday, August 20, 2013
5:30 - 8:00 p.m.

Funky Monkey Wine Company
Pointe Orlando
9101 International Dr.
Orlando, FL 32819

Friday, August 9, 2013

SATE '13 "What's Next" design conference updates from TEA president Christine Kerr, and Pixar Animation Studios

“What's Next” is the theme of TEA's SATE '13 conference presented by Christie®,  convening at Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD), Oct 3-4  -- TEA president Christine Kerr expands on the "What's Next" theme and why it is a perfect fit for SATE at SCAD: "Partnering with an academic institution to present a recognized industry event is a natural next step in the growth of the TEA and the industry." Read more

Liz Gazzano
Liz Gazzano & Roger Gould of Pixar Animation Studios to speak at TEA's SATE '13 conference in Savannah Oct 3-4 -- Says SATE '13 Co-chair Stefan Lawrence: "A big theme with Pixar's talk will be Pixar's culture of collaboration and cross-pollination of ideas, and how to encourage that playful exchange of creativity in the way we work now. This is a big part of "What's Next" as we've been developing our conference content.” Read more
Roger Gould

Learn more about SCAD and its academic programs that are designed to help train the next generation of Experience Designers. "... with its multidisciplinary atmosphere, where students can collaborate with other departments and their peers, SCAD models the culture they will encounter within the very companies and firms that will employ them after they matriculate." Read more

Register for SATE '13 at the TEA Box Office.

From animation and comics to the themed entertainment industry - Marissa Garner's story

"The collaborative spirit told me I had found my industry."

Life is full of paths that lead where you don’t expect. I was asked by Kile Ozier, head of the NextGen Committee of the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA), to tell the story of how I stumbled into the themed entertainment industry. I suppose it is best that we start at the beginning of my convoluted path.

It was a cold, crisp day with clear, cerulean skies early in the morning in Tokyo, Japan 2009. Little did I realize that lovely day in mid-December would send a wind to blow me into a life direction I never expected. That day, along with several of my classmates from Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), I visited Tokyo DisneySea with a former Walt Disney Imagineer to learn about the park. While others were actually enrolled in a class on the subject, I was one of the few who had opted out of taking that class because – irony of ironies - I didn’t think I was interested. I wanted to be a comics artist. I was just there to enjoy the park and the experience, or so I thought.

However, as soon as this gentleman walked us through the park, and explained the thought process and all the detail that went into the storytelling… I was bitten by the bug. I was caught - hook, line and sinker. I had gone to Japan to study animation and comics, and came back wanting to work in the themed entertainment industry.

At that point, my knowledge of Disney parks was minuscule, and I had pretty much no other knowledge of the industry as a whole. To my great good fortune, I found out about the off-campus program that SCAD offered, to go behind the scenes at Walt Disney World. There, I first heard about the TEA and a student competition that TEA was running in connection with its annual SATE conference (SATE stands for Storytelling, Architecture, Technology, Experience). Another great resource was the print copy of TEA's Annual & Directory that my professor gave me. It had all the names and contact details of the TEA member companies, plus some very informative articles, and I used it immediately to learn as much as I could.

"The networking opportunities TEA creates have been invaluable to me in not only forming business connections, but also friendships." 

Marissa Garner dressed for interactive role-play at this year's D23 Expo, a major Disney fan event held annually in Anaheim.
I went on to enter and win the SATE student competition in 2011, and received the privilege to present my work at the conference that fall. And that was where my experience with the TEA – and the industry - really started to take off.

There I was, a nervous whippersnapper who dared think she had any good ideas to contribute. And was scared out of her mind. But when I stepped into the conference room, I was greeted by several friendly faces who immediately made me feel comfortable. I was amazed by how encouraging and open everyone was, and as the conference continued I was also inspired – though at first mystified - by the sense of synergy that existed. I was struck by the fact that while many TEA companies are business competitors with one another, within the context of TEA they were working together - collaborating to improve the industry as a whole.

Want more information about TEA, TEA NextGen and SATE?
Connect with TEA's NextGen initiative on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter
Membership information is at this link
Information about the SATE conference is at this link.

This collaborative spirit told me I had found my industry. I used my time at the SATE conference to absorb as much knowledge and advice as I could from those who were present. It was eye opening, overwhelming and inspiring. And I am 100% certain that it was that experience at SATE that lent some vital component that later helped my team become one of the finalists for Disney ImagiNations 2012. ImagiNations is an annual design competition sponsored by Walt Disney Imagineering to promote diversity in the industry and help cultivate new interns, and that experience led to my own internship with Disney. I had the honor and privilege to work there for a full year before recently converting to contractor status. Coincidentally, I have had the pleasure of working closely with some of the designers who helped create Tokyo DisneySea - the park that inspired me back on that clear, winter day in December.

I've retained my connections to TEA and want to always be involved with the organization as long as I have a career in the industry. The networking opportunities TEA creates have been invaluable to me in not only forming business connections, but also friendships.

I'm particularly interested in doing what I can to help TEA's NextGen initiative grow. Funny enough - the themed entertainment business is still considered a “young industry.” The generations that preceded me in the industry had many fewer formal educational resources than I had. I'm fortunate to have come into the business at a time when there were many educational curricula specifically focused on the attractions business as well as a fully-formed Themed Entertainment Association.

"If you really want to be part of the theme park industry, get yourself to as many conferences, mixers, trade shows and behind the scenes events as you can."

To help those resources grow even more in order to cultivate and recruit even more talented people into the themed entertainment community in future, I've made two short lists based on my experience and observations. The first indicates information for students and aspiring professionals to seek out to learn the industry as thoroughly as possible. (You won't always find such information organized just as you might like it, or all in one place, but you can usually find it. Consider it a research exercise. And who knows who you will meet.) The second list is of some critical things I've learned in my early professional work experience that I wish I had insight into before.

One of the things that I've learned is that themed entertainment is a relationship-based business, and that you can't find everything you need online. My own path as described here shows that – the face-to-face contacts I made and what I learned talking to people have had a huge impact on my career. Networking is one of the most important skills to acquire. Plan to stick your neck out – or more accurately, your hand. If you really want to be part of the theme park industry, get yourself to as many conferences, mixers, trade shows and behind the scenes events as you can. You can learn about all of those as a TEA student member, just like I did.

Information that will help you learn the themed entertainment industry
Good sources include the TEA Directory and TEA website, company websites, industry publications and other industry associations.
  • Historical knowledge about the companies and how they came to be
  • What projects different companies have worked on
  • Who the human resources personnel are within companies
  • Where to get as many technical skills/knowledge as possible
  • Contact information for other people in the industry, or trying to enter the industry: this can help you stay connected and motivated in multiple ways
  • News about pending big projects: this will help you know when companies are likely to have openings available

Things that I have learned since I started working in themed entertainment
  • There will always be some people who don't want an inexperienced hand. While this is frustrating, move on and keep trying until you find an open door. Most people are interested in sharing knowledge and helping if they can.
  • A CLOSE MENTOR IS A MUST. Look for someone to confide in when you are troubled – someone who won't judge you, but is knowledgeable enough in your particular field to give sound advice. Seek out multiple mentors to learn multiple perspectives and niches of the industry .
  • Even when you have all the work you need for the moment, keep your networking strong. It is just as valuable as your projects.
  • Work on as many different projects with as many different people as you can. You learn more with different group dynamics and perspectives.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

SOLD OUT! Sept 4: TEA special industry event at Empire of the Penguin, SeaWorld Orlando

This event is now SOLD OUT and a waitlist has been created.

Enjoy an exclusive visit to Empire of the Penguin at SeaWorld Orlando
Followed by a discussion with the design team
Organized by the Eastern Division of the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA).

Wed., Sept 4, 2013, 6:30-9:30 pm
RSVP required by Aug 28, 2013 to www.teaconnect.org/eastRSVP
TEA association members: FREE admission and parking
Non-members: $60 admission fee
Appetizers included; cash bar

Check-in begins at 6:15 at the SeaWorld Orlando Group Gate
Limited attendance - RSVP now to secure your place!

Many thanks to the event sponsors:
Electrosonic; exp; Wow! Works; PCL Construction Leaders;
The Nassal Company; Oceaneering Entertainment Systems;
PGAV Destinations; SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment; TEA

TEA Western Division Mixer Thurs Aug 8 - all welcome - West Hollywood

Network and socialize with your colleagues in the attractions industry, courtesy TEA's Western Division, on Thursday, Aug 8, 6-9 pm at the Formosa Cafe in West Hollywood.

This event is open to TEA members and non-members alike - no RSVP needed, just show up!

Thursday, August 8th, 2013
6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Formosa CafĂ© – Outside Patio (Reserved for TEA)
7156 Santa Monica Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90046
No-Host Bar
Lynn Allmandinger, TEA Western Division President, says, "Everyone is welcome! No RSVP required."

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

TEA mentoring program for the attractions industry gains traction with July 25 event at Lexington

At the TEA Mentoring event at Lexington, Patti Drum (far left) with NextGen attendees:
Erica McCay, Sara Moore, Amy Poliner, Chris Chien, Peter Veal and Dustin Maberry.
As a part of the ongoing Mentoring Program of the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA), Lexington Design + Fabrication hosted a “Lunch with...” event on July 25th, 2013 led by Patti Drum, VP of Design. This up close and personal gathering was attended by six of the TEA’s NextGen members who had pre-registered as Mentees.

“Overall, the event was very awesome. I really enjoyed getting a tour of Lexington and seeing how Patti radiates passion for her career,” said Erica McCay, Mechanical Engineer & Scenic Designer of The Reel McCay.

“This is the second program this summer,” noted Past President George Wiktor (The GW Group) who has been coordinating the Mentoring startup phase. “A standing-room-only Business Development Workshop, attended by 30 TEA members, was held on June 19th at Thinkwell Group, led by Senior VP bizdev exec’s, Roberta Perry from ETI and Kelly Ryner of Thinkwell.” He added, “We’ll be announcing new “Lunch With…” sessions in the coming weeks. They are limited to qualified TEA NextGen professionals and more than 75 have already pre-registered."

More information is available through TEA at www.teaconnect.org or by phoning +1 818-843-8497.

TEA's Past Presidents’ Committee (PPC) established the Mentoring Program as a key part of their initiatives on the occasion of the organization's 20th Anniversary (TEA was founded in 1991). “We have had an enthusiastic response from seasoned industry professionals offering to serve as Mentors as well as NextGen members relatively new to themed entertainment,” commented PPC Chair, Peter Chernack (The Chernack Group). “Once the program has gained momentum with well-established guidelines, we intend to have the TEA Divisions take the lead in order to engage our global membership in the growth of our industry for the next 20 years,” added Chernack.

About the TEA Mentoring Program
The program includes three components:

“Lunch with…” a “by invitation” program that pairs 6 to 8 registered young professionals with an industry leader for an informal lunch and informal discussions. The focus of the session is on the individual mentor’s particular discipline or area of expertise.

TEA Skills Workshops are planned as internal TEA members’ only Q&A workshops, organized by specialties and topics, targeted at individuals and companies new to the industry. Topics are practical and applicable to starting and building a business or a professional career in themed entertainment. Senior industry leaders will focus on their individual areas of expertise and lead the workshop sessions.

Master Classes and Critique are daylong programs conducted by senior industry leaders and attended by 10 to 12 participants who visit a single attraction, exhibit or experiential show followed by lunch and a peer review. They will conclude with a discussion session with the owner or owner’s representative.

To serve as a program Mentor, please contact George Wiktor george@gwgweb.com. For more information about registering as a NextGen participant, please contact the TEA office.