Publishers of technology books, eBooks, and videos for creative people
Each month we will select one User Group that has been exceptional in their communication with meeting updates, giveaway requests and book reviews and ask them to share some insights and tips with us. This week, we turn the spotlight on AllCreative NY as our UG of the Month!
Peachpit: As a quick intro, give us a quick background history of your user group.
We started as the Avid User group, eventually adding Final Cut Studio to the mix. Since Photoshop is such an integral tool in everyone’s digital tool box, it just made sense to incorporate it along with the rest of the Adobe Creative Suite. We cover production and post, featuring filmmakers and filmmaking tools.
Peachpit: What type of format do you use for your user group meetings?
We usually have one presentation and try to keep it under an hour. Tekserve generously donates their seminar room along with their State-of-the Art projector. Every once in awhile we have a larger event, covering a topic in depth like our Super Summits at Createasphere. Our most recent Super Summit called “How Did They Do That? covered effects, so there were several related presentations.
Peachpit: What have you found works best in terms of hosting an informational and interesting meeting? What are a few tips that your user group has learned that you can share with other groups?
Keep it short. Keep it focused and to the point. I’ve found from my teaching experience at NYU that spending over an hour without a break can become one big snooze fest. Give the audience a taste with the opportunity to talk and/or contact the presenter later. It makes for a better overall event.
Offer door prizes. Members love door prizes. Look at some other groups and see who sponsors them. Contact those potential sponsors. Many even have User Group programs. They want to get their product seen by their target audience be it a book, some software or a computer peripheral. I’ve even had a few sponsors contribute funds for light refreshments.
Peachpit: Let's talk logistics - How many members do you have? How do you communicate? (Weekly emails, newsletters, events, social media pages, forums?)
Right now we have almost 400 members. Except for my co-organizer I’m pretty much a one man band. I utilize Meetup.com. It can be configured to send out reminders, updates, RSVP’s and keep track of just about every aspect associated with a meeting or event. Whether I’m teaching Avid Media Composer or out on location, Meetup.com helps me take care of a lot of the grunt work. Recently, I had 3 events posted simultaneously. Meetup.com made it all manageable. I also maintain a blog to keep members up to date with deals, what’s new, what’s exciting.
Peachpit: Can you share with us any enjoyable or exciting user group experiences that stick out most from this past year? What does your group have planned for 2013? Any special guests or events lined up?
Awhile back filmmaker Jamie Street came to talk about his short film. Aside from the fact that It was well made and interesting, he shot it all by himself in a snowstorm with nothing more than his Canon DSLR. I figured the group would be interested in his creative process. Between the time I contacted him and the day of his presentation Roger Ebert saw his film and said it should win the Academy Award for best live-action short. The film and viral. So we had an internet celebrity in our midst, although Jamie was very modest and down to earth.
Usually right after NAB we line up someone to give us an idea of what's new and exciting from NAB. This year we’ve got Colin Smith from Adobe. He has the popular Adobe TV channel ‘No More Stupid Questions”.
Peachpit: Member appreciation time! Take this space to highlight one extraordinary member of your group and tell us what makes them stand out.
That has to be Victor Ramirez, my co-organizer. He was just another member of the group when he approached me and suggested he could help me get my blog going. He’s my go to web guy and works as a digital strategist. He knows he serves the best interests of the group whether it’s updating the blog or helping me pick up refreshments for a meeting.
Peachpit: And finally, what is one Peachpit title your group can't live without and why?
Anything from the prolific Richard Harrington. He just knows what he’s talking about and even more importantly he knows how to present it in a fashion that makes it accessible to his target audience.