Fast-Forward Papers Preview
24 July 2002
On Monday night, SIGGRAPH attendees packed the house to get an
abbreviated preview of what the week would bring. And I mean abbreviated.
In the first "Special Session" of the week, appropriately labelled
the "Fast-Forward Papers Preview," this year's paper authors were
sent to the stage one-by-one, equipped with just a mic, their notes,
some Powerpoint expertise and 50 seconds to plead their case. I
guess you could call it "Marketing 101: Come to Our Paper Session."
The hour proved to be an entertaining and concise overview of the
papers' sessions that were to begin the following morning and last
throughout the week.
It was a truly effective way to both entertain and inform the audience.
The whole SIGGRAPH essence was captured, as each author tried his
or her own technique of getting your attention.
The moderator, John Hughes, stole the show, when at one point,
he filled in (flawlessly, I must add) for not one presenter, but
two in a row. Reading the slides like the back of his hand, he had
the audience rolling with his improv act, and he made the time cut
on both occasions.
Most presenters did, in fact, make the time limit, but for those
who were long-winded or distracted by the involved crowd, they were
rudely cut off by a brash alarmlike sound and their slides were
interrupted by a comical image of an alarm clock. For the bold few
who insisted on continuing, their mic was simply turned off.
One such presenter was New York University's Ken Perlin, who had
perhaps the most unique approach of the evening. Wearing large black
sunglasses, Perlin effectively rapped - yes, he performed a little
rap song - his way through 50 seconds of audience laughter. I'm
sure that his paper session, as scientific as it may be, will be
presented to a packed house of SIGGRAPHites, who are hoping to hear
how his rap will end.
Presenters did just about anything to be unique, including morphing
cows, speaking at 95 miles per hour and graciously pleading for
attendees to come and support their well-deserved work.
In the essence of SIGGRAPH, the session was both fun and educational
- albeit brief.