The Newsletter of RTA School of Media | April 2014

Message from the Chair
I have just returned from the NAB convention in Las Vegas where over twenty students represented RTA, and seven foreign universities from four continents, joined us specifically to brainstorm about the Global Campus Network. We truly have a dynamic forward thinking school. This year has been filled with wonderful additions and growth: the New Media program, the opening of the Transmedia Zone, the Maker Space, the new deal with Sportsnet in preparation for next year’s launch of our sport media program, the professional quality practicum productions, and one of the best Tara Awards ever produced. We have had so many accomplishments and received so much recognition that I cannot possibly mention it all in this brief note. Needless to say, you did it again! Students, faculty, and staff…congratulations!

To those of you who are graduating, we will miss you; but remember, like the proud alumni before you, you will always be part of RTA and a reason we continue to shine. To all, have a wonderful summer and thanks again.

Charles Falzon
Chair, RTA School of Media

Transmedia Zone: A hub of Innovation
The Transmedia Zone supports new ideas and practical prototyping on the future of content. With a focus on emerging platforms and true innovation, the Zone incubates projects from students or industry members through mentorship, equipment, and co-working facilities. We put a priority on collaborative cross-disciplinary work, with teams sharing expertise and experience as they take their projects from concept to prototype and beyond. Read more…
Sportsnet gifts RTA Sport Media with $750,000
On March 19th, Sportsnet announced a $750,000 gift to the RTA Sport Media program, which will enable the school to realize its goal of building a state-of-the art media production centre in the Mattamy Athletic Centre (formerly Maple Leaf Gardens). The Sportsnet RTA Production Centre will house industry-standard technologies, including a video switcher, a digital audio console, a 3D graphics system, a replay system and multiple video cameras to link to nearly twenty points throughout the building. The open-concept, hybrid classroom / control room / soundstage will be open to students for classes this fall. Read more…
Radio in a Digital Age Leadership Panel
In March RTA hosted a special panel discussion on Radio in a Digital Age. RTA Professor and Associate Chair Lori Beckstead moderated the discussion with RTA alumni Dan Misener (Producer & Technology Columnist, CBC Radio), Raina Douris (Host & Music Director, Indie88), and Steve "Dangle" Glynn (producer & host of the Steve Dangle Sports Podcast). The event, attended by approximately 50 students & members of the community at large, can be viewed online here.
RTA a Top Selection for Applicants
The RTA School of Media continues to be a top selection for students interested in the media field. This year was especially competitive, as the number of applicants surpassed 2000 across all three RTA programs. RTA`s new Sport Media program received 600 applications alone, for 60 available spots. Read more…
Story Hackathon
On March 7th and 8th, students from across the university gathered in the Transmedia Zone and RTA studios to collaborate and prototype towards a focused goal. The Story Hackathon combined the act of hacking–taking apart and putting back together in new and innovative ways–with the world of books. Director of the Transmedia Zone Richard Lachman explains: “Digital culture is having a huge effect on the world of books; from what and how we read, to how the business of publishing and sales works. We think the time is ripe for a new set of ideas; and since we all have relationships with books, those ideas can come from anyone.” Read more…
Sold-Out TARA Awards

This past Friday, the 36th Annual TARA Awards took place at the CBC Glenn Gould Studio. The gala event was a great success, selling out the theatre. Congratulations to all TARA Award winners for their outstanding projects and hard work, and special thanks to the show’s co-executive producers, Sachil Patel and Alanna O’Connor (3rd year RTA) and faculty advisors Brian Withers and Lori Beckstead.


Fireside Chats Open up Communication

Communication is key! CURTAS, in partnership with the RTA School of Media, hosted its first two Fireside Chats with Charles Falzon. Students from all years of media production and new media were welcomed to the Transmedia Zone to share their insights and ask questions directly to the Chair. The informal conversation was held in the Transmedia Zone over lunch and dessert. Thank you to all students who attended and stay tuned to more fireside chats in the new school year! 

Upfront Returns June 3rd
RTA`s annual showcase of the best fourth-year Media Production practicum projects returns on Tuesday, June 3rd. The event will be held in the brand new Transmedia Zone, a hub of innovation and a perfect fit for the creative, first-rate projects that emerged from this year`s graduating students.

“RTA Upfront gives the media industry a chance to see the best-of-the-best of our fourth year media projects and interact with their student creators”, highlights Upfront Producer Steven Ehrlick. RTA looks forward to welcoming alumni and other industry back for the showcase this spring.

Ryerson Super Course Showcase
The Ryerson Super Course Showcase, co-led by RTA Professors Hossein Rahnama and Richard Lachman, is an exhibition of 17 functional mixed-reality and mobile prototypes. Students from Media Production, New Media, Digital Media and Computer Science collaborated in this interdisciplinary course to develop, design, and create the projects that exhibited on April 10th.

Assistant Professor Richard Lachman emphasizes: “As collaboration between the RTA School of Media and Computer Science, this class has led to amazing projects produced by interdisciplinary teams. The design, media, and development partnerships show how creative our students can be, and how they can apply their skills towards innovative solutions to real-world opportunities.”

RTA Faculty Updates

Several RTA professors were given outstanding honours this winter. For her dedication in the classroom as well as taking learning outside the classroom in the form of development work in Ghana, Lori Beckstead was awarded the Dean’s Teaching Award. James Nadler received the Dean’s Service Award for his hard work in support of curricular and administrative endeavours in RTA. Finally, at the university-wide level, Marion Coomey won the Provost’s Experiential Teaching Award for her pioneering work in international student collaborations such as Global City and student-centered, hands-on learning.

RTA New Media Professor Steve Daniels is currently exhibiting his work Sessile at an exhibit in Brazil. Sessile is comprised of small robotic pods reminiscent of organisms or insects. Steve has also installed one of the creatures more locally, at TIFF digiPlaySpace. It can be experienced at TIFF until Monday, April 21st.

This year, faculty members strongly represented RTA at the Broadcast Education Association’s annual convention in Las Vegas, Nevada. Professors Michael Coutanche and Charles Davis discussed the results of their research on diversity in the screenwriting industry. Professors Marion Coomey, Rick Grunberg, and Charles Falzon spearheaded a panel on The Global Campus Network & Global City. Lastly, Professor Dana Lee moderated and presented on a panel entitled: Use of Emerging Technologies in Large and Small Classrooms.

Alumni Updates

Recent graduate Talia Schlanger, class of 2013, has been named the new host of CBC Radio 2 Weekend Morning. Tune in to her show on Saturday and Sunday mornings from 6 AM to 9 AM.

Sue Chun, class of 2012, has been awarded the YWCA’s Young Woman of Distinction award. A true activist, Sue’s films have put the spotlight on newcomers, racialized women, and girls from priority neighbourhoods. Congratulations Sue for this honour.

Kevin Shaw, RTA ’03 and Masters in Media Production ‘10, has won the DMZ’s startup award for his product Zazemo, which has been called “Netflix for the blind”. Shaw, president and founder of Zagga Entertainment, lost his eyesight at age 19 and began creating his product as a Masters student at RTA. Read more… Read more…

Chris Hau, class of 2013, uploaded a Youtube video for Christmas that utilized household items to create a song. His track was then picked up by The Today Show and aired for its creativity.

Student Updates

Max Cotter, a third year student in Media Production, co-authored a research paper which has been accepted to the Audio Engineering Society conference in Berlin, this month. RTA is extremely proud of this important achievement. Congratulations Max!

Students in Business of Music II held a showcase of the bands they’ve been working with all semester long at the Rivoli on April 1st. April Foos Ball was the culmination of marketing strategies undertaken in class that saw students busy shooting videos, writing bios and coordinating photo shoots for the bands.

RiOT! 2014′s It Came From The Peanut Gallery marked the 65th anniversary of the RiOT! annual sketch show. The performance, once again hosted at The Second City, featured sketches written, produced and performed by RTA students, as well as a very special look at RiOT! over the years. The video captured alumni from RiOT’s past, including members from 2007, 1993 and even 1961! Over two nights, the laughs were big and the audience was once again reminded of the true talent of RTA students.
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Producer: Jessica Howsam | Editor: Lori Beckstead
| Web: Joanna Lau

Contributors: Marie Crosta, Sachil Patel, Ashley Lewis

To view previous issues of the RTA Spotlight:
April 2014 | November2013 | March 2013 | Sept 2012