So Many Ways To Go To SIGGRAPH
31 July 2003
Going to SIGGRAPH 2004?
Okay, so you know you're going to go to SIGGRAPH
2004 in Los Angeles. However, now you must make a big decision.
Do you go as an
attendee, student volunteer, student reporter, student volunteer
leader, or do you go for an upper staff position? Well, you’re
in luck because while at the 2003 SIGGRAPH in San Diego, I was
able to interview people from these different volunteer positions
to get the inside scoop on what it's like.
Participant: A Fun Time With A Few Lessons
For the participant's point of view I have an account from John
Macfarlane. John is a computer animator and recent graduate from
“This was my first SIGGRAPH, and
not having been to one before I have been doing my best to feel
my way around. Overall
I have enjoyed my first experience here and I would recommend that
others who are interested in this field attend. Not only is the
action here, but there's a lot more going on around town with parties
and company get-togethers which are great networking opportunities.
I have met a lot of cool people on this trip and I hope to stay
in contact with them between now and next SIGGRAPH. My only gripe
is that I purchased the Conference Select Pass, when I believe
the Exhibits Plus pass would have been sufficient. Maybe I overlooked
some of the activities available to me, but it seems like there
were very few advantages to justify the $190 price difference ($140
if you factor in the $50 Electronic Theater ticket included with
the Conference Select pass.) I know of some classes being held
on Thursday which Conference Select members can attend, but due
to the airlines and money restrictions I have to depart early that
day. I would have preferred these had been held earlier in the
convention. It has been a long and expensive journey, but I got
my money's worth. I look forward to next year.”
Participant: A Game Designer’s View
I have another participant’s point
of view from Nick Dorrough. Nick is game designer and also a
recent graduate from Orlando,
“Being a game programmer, I am fairly
unaware of some of the problems artists encounter when building
assets for games and
movies. This was a great experience because I overlooked new technologies,
artists helping artists, and I even learned a couple things myself.
I would recommend that programmers come to SIGGRAPH at least once
to get a feel of what your art team has to go through to get you
Participant: Short But Sweet
I have one last participant’s point
of view from Kristin Griffin. Kristin is a computer animator
and yet another recent
graduate from Orlando, Florida.
“I came, I saw, I got a free
poster from Pixar. What more could a girl ask for?”
Student Volunteer; The CEO?
For the student volunteer’s point of view I was able to
interview Mark Mikulec. Mark is both a student at Brock University
in St. Catherine’s Ontario, Canada as well as CEO / \ Senior
Programmer at Iron Fusion, Inc. I asked him to tell me a little
bit about his company before he told me about his experience. His
company has around twelve employees. It was formed unofficially
about 5 years ago when he got a bunch of his friends together to
work on a game. In the process of making their game they found
that they had created a really good game engine called Daedalus.
So they decided to put the game on hold and pursue the engine full
We then continued with his account of
the student volunteer program. He says first of all he would
defiantly recommend this program
to a friend. This is because he feels it is a fantastic way to
get to the conference if you are not looking to spend a lot of
money. In exchange for seventeen and a half hours or thirty hours
of volunteer work you can receive a pass to SIGGRAPH. You may also
be able to qualify for free housing and travel grants. Needless
to say it’s a lot cheaper and a huge opportunity. This is
actually Mark’s second time as a student volunteer. I asked
him why he did not return this year as a student leader instead
of a volunteer. He said that he would of liked to and regrets not
going the route of a student leader. However, he did not want the
added responsibility that would be associated with the position.
He finished up by saying that this would be the way to go for anyone
interested in computer graphics at any level and whom does not
mind a little bit of volunteer work in exchange for a lower cost
Student Reporter: The Mooing Of A Cow
For the student reporter’s point of view
I have my own account that I will include. I am also a computer
recent graduate from Orlando, Florida. I was supposed to be student
volunteer, however due to a last minute change I was switched to
a student reporter. A student reporter has one really nice perk.
Media / press pass. This nifty perk lets you pretty much go anywhere
and do anything at SIGGRAPH. The trade off is that you will be
working your tail off by using your pass to the fullest. A typical
reporter’s day will include getting up early in the morning.
Somewhere along the way to the conference you get some breakfast.
Then you get to the conference with the first attendees and volunteers
in order to catch as many courses, lectures, and exhibits. Next,
in the evening everyone starts leaving the conference center and
begin making their way to all the wild parties and receptions.
Well, you’re not going to be left behind. You’ll be
attending as many parties as possible in order to let others know
what they missed when they decided to go back to their hotels to
soak in the hot tub. So now you’ve come, you’ve partied,
and finally time to sleep? Not quite yet. You still will need to
start rough drafts on any of the many days’ events that you
will be reporting on. That way before SIGGRAPH is even over, the
website will be up and going. This means that people will be able
to access the web page while still at the conference! I’m
not going to lie to anyone. Volunteering at SIGGRAPH as a student
reporter is one of the most challenging positions at SIGGRAPH short
of an upper staff position. But it’s more then worth the
work for all the fun and connections you will make. I also would
recommend this position to those that enjoy journalism, are outgoing,
and love computer graphics.
Upper Volunteer Staff Position: Fearless Leader
For the upper staff position’s point
of view I was able to interview Jim Kilmer. Jim is the 2003 Student
as well as a company manager of system development for the OPAL
-photo by Cow Lauterbach
“The Student Volunteers (SV) Program
is both the largest and the most widespread annual program at
the SIGGRAPH Conference.
Our volunteers staff every program within the Conference and provide
support to many of the Administrative offices and behind-the-scenes
groups. As such, it is absolutely vital that the volunteers we
select represent the best and finest that the SIGGRAPH community
can offer. They are the face we offer to the world, and the red
and blue vests have become synonymous for attendees with help and
guidance in a sometimes overwhelming Conference.
I am proud to say that SIGGRAPH 2003's team of Student Volunteers
are the most professional and outgoing group of students I have
had the privilege to work with in my eight-year history with the
SIGGRAPH Conference. These volunteers have given a substantial
portion of their week over to serving the Conference and its attendees,
and I commend them for their service.
As the SIGGRAPH Conference continues to
change, its students represent its single greatest asset and
talent pool for the future. As much
as they serve the Conference each year, the SV Program strives
to provide services to them as well. We run mentoring sessions
where students can interact in small groups with the pioneers of
SIGGRAPH industries. We try to organize students-only programs
and presentations to enhance the Conference week. We hope to use
our resources to help advance our students' future careers by organizing
demo reel and portfolio reviews, Q&As with industry leaders,
and other similar programs.
The students in the Student Volunteers Program go on to be future
Contributors, committee members, program Chairs and representatives
within the ACM SIGGRAPH organization. Each Conference puts a red
vest on tomorrow's Art Gallery Contributor, tomorrow's Emerging
Technologies Chair, and the future President of a Professionals
My job gives me the opportunity to work
with each of the students, find out their plans for the future,
and hopefully have a positive
influence on the realization of those plans. SIGGRAPH is a great
Conference, but it is an even greater Community, and by providing
this opportunity for students to become involved, we ensure that
our community will continue to grow and prosper.”
So whether you go as an attendee, student
volunteer, student reporter, student volunteer leader, or an
upper staff position,
the point is this…make sure that you go.