Local economic developers announce “Green Screen” initiative

Editor’s note: Jon Gregory emailed this press release to me tonight. Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality are considered a “next big thing” for venture capitalists. Whether our community can be an incubator is an open question, but they’re going to give it the “old college try.” To me, our “50s-style” political culture remains a major impediment for attracting millennials — and creative progressives:

“The Green Screen Institute today announced a collaborative initiative to spur innovation in the emerging VR and AR markets, incorporating an accelerator and investment program for startups, a co-working space for established corporations, and planned programs including vocational training.

“’We believe extraordinary creativity occurs in peaceful, natural environments outside the hustle & bustle of major urban centers,’ said Jon Gregory, managing partner of the Green Screen Institute and executive director of the Nevada County Economic Resource Council. ‘Green Screen provides a nurturing environment for creators and technologists to push the envelope of today’s most exciting communication and entertainment medium.’

“Green Screen boasts an advisory board of industry professionals who bring diverse expertise to Institute stakeholders. Scott Lenet, president of Touchdown Ventures and advisory board chairman, noted, ‘We’re excited to assemble VR and AR authorities from venture capital firms, accelerators, media companies, hardware platform manufacturers, and other relevant ecosystem leaders who all see something special happening in this sector.’

“The Green Screen Institute today announced the following executives have joined the organization’s advisory board:

  • Susan Amat, CEO of VentureHive;
  • Gail Becker, President of Partnerships at Edelman;
  • Melinda Booth, Executive Director of the Wild & Scenic Film Festival;
  • Dan Castles, CEO of Telestream;
  • Adam Draper, Founder and Managing Director of Boost VC;
  • David Fields, Head of Acquisitions & Investments at Tornante Company (Michael Eisner’s investment fund);
  • Richard Hilleman, Chief Creative Director of Electronic Arts;
  • Adam Rockmore, SVP of Marketing at Fandango;
  • Robyn Ward, Head of New Media Ventures at United Talent Agency; and
  • Hamet Watt of Upfront Ventures.

Additional advisory board members will be announced at the Nevada County Economic Development Summit on April 7, 2016.

“Green Screen brings together VR/AR startups and stakeholders with a local community of skilled technical professionals who have deep expertise in broadcast video and a vibrant artistic community of film and music creators and curators.

“Nevada County is home to some of the world’s leading artistic festivals. ‘We have the Nevada City Film Festival, with its focus on independent films; California WorldFest, a leading stage for world music; and the Wild & Scenic Film Festival, the world’s top environmental and adventure film festival,’ said Melinda Booth.  ‘These festivals provide a natural venue and test bed for creators developing virtual and augmented reality content and technology.’

“The accelerator provides technical, educational, and financial support in a three-month summer program for creators exploring VR and AR. The program includes:

  • Access to VR & AR platform equipment and production facilities;
  • Private and community workspaces with access to co-working lab tenants;
  • Proven accelerator curriculum leading to a demo day with investors;
  • Startup legal and accounting services; and
  • Housing provided for teams of up to three.

“The Green Screen Institute’s co-working lab is a shared facility for established companies and universities with an interest in the development of the VR and AR ecosystem. These established groups will share space with Green Screen’s accelerator class, enabling participants to forge relationships with each other and with cutting edge content developers.

“Applications for the Green Screen Institute Accelerator will be accepted beginning on April 29, 2016.”

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website SierraCulture.com. Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for years, was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News, and was Editor of The Union, a 145-year-old newspaper in Grass Valley. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing and trout fishing.

11 thoughts on “Local economic developers announce “Green Screen” initiative”

  1. While I’m encouraging Jon and friends much success with their next big thing, as a software industry veteran, I’ve seen many “next big things” come and go. However, as a resident of Nevada County, for me, the next “big thing” is focused on how more of our local citizens can make the shift to the digital economy even if they are not the math wizards that are required for writing VR/AR software , “techies” or similar to better secure & improve their incomes. Those needing encore careers (age 50+), the digitally displaced worker (automated out of a career), or those lacking college credentials need good options in our area. The bulk of the “tech” innovation driving silicon valley fortunes is really business model innovation fueled by information technology. This angle is not nearly as sexy; but is the reality of the startup scene in the Bay Area for which I’m a participant is that jobs changed the nature of their appearance but the traditional roles are very similar. Über. for example. is basically a temp agency or cab company that’s just used information in a better way; but very little technological innovation was created. I encourage our local citizens to check out the April 5th TechTonic, at the Golden Era Lounge at 6pm, as we have a special focus on the shift to the cloud-based economy and its impacts and opportunity for the citizens of Nevada County.

    I certainly wish Jon and his Green Screen Institute partners serious success! May it become a great niche to follow-on to the success of the local digital video companies legacy. It’ll be a great addition to the local tech scene for sure.

  2. While the cultural aspects of Nevada Count are important, I think the various physical/recreational aspects are equally important for the high tech worker bees.

    Being able to ski/hike/swim/sail/kayak/bicycle are equally important.

    I am sorely disappointed that the area’s coal rolling yahoos have turned our roadways into a blood sport, and I am frankly puzzled by Strawser’s acceptance of the Tea Party, which is a strong proponent of the, ” We own the roadways and get your sorry spandex arses off of it,” cognitive constellation. He owns a bike shop, and at this point I consider him to be the Milo Minderbinder of the trade, and will no longer do business there. If I could vote against him, I would. In the meantime, dash cameras are better and cheaper than ever, 1080p, 30 fps, and 9 hours on a 64 gig chip, for under $150.

    At that price, one for front, one for rear, Transend 220 on Amazon (which also helps enable country living, until we have a bus/jitney hitech pre-ordered and pre-paid to/from the Ridge, I have no qualms about using Amazon, buy local, only when I happen to be in town for other purposes) two are quite feasable. The merchants are too cheap to push the BOS to subsidize mass transit, then piffffff, why should I or any newbie show allegiance? San Francisco has custom in town bus service.

    I would also say that being able to own more than 1/2 acre, and to live off the grid, with lots of room for lots of projects counts too. And parking, being able to invite friends over, and friends friends over, and still have room to burn, OMG! And views. All of these fit together to make Nevada County a perfect hone pot for high tech creatives.

    Staying just the way I am, never changing, cheers!

  3. “The bulk of the “tech” innovation driving silicon valley fortunes is really business model innovation fueled by information technology.”

    I think this is an INCREDIBLY important point and I thank jlorance for making it. It is the application of technology to improving existing and creating new business models that is the ‘revolution’.

    I wish Jon and the ERC well on their endeavor.

  4. George Rebane — once the planning commissioner to one the biggest political extremists in our community, Drew Bedwell — (see link below) is a hoot! He finally got around to writing about this plan:

    •First, he wonders why Nevada County would not contact a startup in Auburn (Riskalyze) in Placer County about the Nevada County Economic Resource Council Summit? I don’t think you have to be a PhD. to figure that one out.

    (George should also note that Riskalyze is hiring a bunch of people in Atlanta, though “based” in Auburn).

    •Then Rebane writes: “The problem with trying to ‘accelerate’ such start-ups in Nevada County is threefold – money, talented workforce, critical mass – who will invest how much in these woods.”

    No George the problem is that the millennials needed for this kind of workforce don’t want to live here because of our kooky right-wing politics! Those smart students who graduate from high school here leave.

    We have distinguished ourselves as a retirement community for kooky right-wing politics — and failed to adequately promote the lifestyle that would attract the needed workforce — smart STEM students from urban universities. How many of those youths are coming here or staying here? Very few to none.

    Just read George’s blog and ask yourself if he is part of the solution — or part of the problem?

    For example, here’s George’s putting down millennials (again): http://rebaneruminations.typepad.com/rebanes_ruminations/2016/02/march-of-the-mini-minded-millennials.html

    And here’s Drew Bedwell:

    What a joke!

  5. I think one reason not to contact Riskalyze is that it is not relevant to the key initiative that Jon is attempting to advance, the Green Screen Institute.

    I do find it humorous though that George is touting his professional credentials and aptitude in his ego driven pique at not being asked to play a role in the western “Nevada County Economic Development Summit.”

    The answer to me is clear: when you are a racist, homophobic, bigoted, conspiracy theory driven, enabler of the politics of personal destruction who does not even have the character to be consistent in your own political views when it affects something you have an ideological objection to (marijuana cultivation) you are a friggin’ joke.

    The reality is you reap what you sow and no one who matters gives a flying *#@% what George, Todd, Russ, Walt, Gregory, Scott, Bill or any of the other idiots who post there think anymore because they have so marginalized them selves with their extreme views that sidling up to them is a combination of the third rail and hugging barbed wire.

    1. I couldn’t agree more. They are not part of the “conversation.” It’s a shame that the “Tech Test” is tainted by George’s involvement too.

  6. “This highlights some of the real factors that contribute headwinds to the economic growth of our county. Meanwhile the local socialists have concluded that our economic development problems are all due to the county’s conservatives and high retiree population. These people demonstrate again and again that they literally have no idea what is necessary to make an economy work. Perhaps it really is as someone observed, ‘It’s not that liberals don’t think, it’s just that they have such bad luck when they make the attempt.’”–George Rebane

    I am convinced that we give reactionaries like George Rebane too much attention when it comes to their opinions about economic development. The reality is their opinions are so out of touch with reality that they are less than inconsequential in the discussion, they are diversionary and derivative.

    But then again as one who studied at the feet of masters George knows that the derivative is valuable, it’s how you keep people from focusing on the real issues.

    But if they (the denizens of ‘black money’) are going to comment let’s be clear about their worth.

    George succeeded, according to his take on his history, in one of the most heavily subsidized and least accountable industries in the history of the USA, the defense industry.

    From George’s bio posted at his web site, he was ” a computer systems engineer with a large aerospace firm, designing and developing manned combat and weapon control systems for the U.S Navy. During the seventies he served as Technical Director then CEO of a systems research think tank and ‘black studies’ company in Santa Monica doing classified weapon and sensor systems R&D for the military and large defense industry customers.”

    Note he does not tell us what aerospace firm, nor can he talk about what combat systems he designed, or what classified weapons he worked on, how much they cost, how effective they were, and whether they are still in service.

    Must be convenient being a specialist in “black studies” while living in Simi Valley and feeding at the federal tough.

    No industry has benefited more from secrecy, subsidy and a lack of accountability than the US defense industry. Yet George presumes to tell others that they don’t know how an economy works.

    Well yes we do know how an economy works George; we know that many of the very people who deride others for crony capitalism have been the prime beneficiaries of just such a system, and their objection to other peoples subsidies, even if providing a proven public benefit, is that they challenge the ones they have grown fat, stupid and lazy sucking up.

    Let’s put advice from this 19th century black box where it belongs, in the closet with all the fears and anxieties they trot out every night to sow fear instead of working on actual solutions to real world problems like valued citizens.

  7. Identifying the challenge is the first order of economics 101 and the huge experimenters by the green sleeve gang has left the basic housing lack totally out of the build it and they will come technical industry equation. Invite them to stay where? Employees of move in industries, much less the millennials you seek, can’t find affordable housing close to work.The housing inventory cycle is out of reach. Affordable housing development including triplexes should have been the first order of business development at the start of this Media planning.. I suggest that
    the City voters who will benefit from new payroll taxes invest in the Bus companies, as transportation is key to any Media center development.. That is City Branding 101.Finally, who missed the need for a new housing subdivisions first order of planning this black hole feasibility study of County finance that has no way of supporting itself other than taxation and promises of a regal future? Too much bureaucrats and not enough big business minds support as usual leaves this comedy of errors Way out of balance. The Prat fall comes last week when the false front ERC Greensleeves announced it is unknown how to pay for all of this. Build it and they will come was a mythical movie title. Wasting this space on political invective is so grade school defeating.The main subject has always been access to capital from the private sector, not public dreaming and scheming with no exit strategy built in up front.. Venture that to the bank.

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