TEA News

10 October 2017

400 attend successful TEA SATE 2017 LA conference at CalArts

Burbank, CA - Hailed as a resounding success, TEA SATE 2017 LA, held Oct 5-6, stoked the dialog on Experience Design with leading voices from entertainment, business, tech, theater and academia. SATE is the signature conference of the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA).

SATE 17 LA co-chairs Christian Kubsch (WDI), Dina Benadon (Super 78)
and Chris Conte (Electrosonic)

The theme was "Beyond the Screen: The Future of Immersive Realities" and the venue was the California Institute of the Arts. With 400 attending, the conference was at capacity, with every ticket sold and every seat filled in the Walt Disney Modular Theater at CalArts.

People came from all over the world to be part of SATE 17 LA, and the TEA was well represented. Los Angeles remains an epicenter of the themed entertainment industry as well as television and cinema.

Conference co-chairs for SATE 17 LA were Chris Conte of Electrosonic (reprising his role from SATE 16 NYC), Dina Benadon of Super 78, and Christian Kubsch of Walt Disney Imagineering.

The SATE acronym refers to Storytelling + Architecture + Technology = Experience, and the program is structured around that, with segment chairs

Around the faux campfire: Corey Rosen (Tippett Studio),
Daren Ulmer (Mousetrappe), Jon Baker (Jon Baker Productions),
Lisa Passamonte-Green (Visual Terrain)

focused on each component. SATE 17 LA segment chairs were Paul Osterhout of Universal Creative (Storytelling; reprising his role from SATE 16 NYC), Louis Allen of Adirondack Studios (Architecture) and Corey Rosen of Tippett Studio (Technology).

A very special pre-SATE event at Six Flags Magic Mountain, sponsored by Sally Corporation, made the most of the Valencia location and got everyone in the mood for the conference to come. Attendees were able to enjoy the park and ride the latest installation of JUSTICE LEAGUE: Battle

Michael Jung (Walt Disney Imagineering) and 
Travis Preston (CalArts) 

for Metropolis - a project showcase for Sally Corp. and several other TEA member companies that worked on the project. 

The SATE 17 LA keynote speaker was Michael Jung, VP Theatrical Development, Walt Disney Imagineering, in a curated conversation with Travis Preston, Dean of the CalArts School of Theater.

The dialog with CalArts was open and friendly. CalArts was founded in the 1960s by Walt Disney with the express purpose of helping to prepare creatives to work in entertainment.

Storytelling segment chair Paul Osterhout (Universal Creative)
digs into his bag of magic tricks and comes up with 
the conference theme.

Numerous figures within the TEA community studied and/or teach at CalArts, and the school recently announced a new curriculum specificially targeted to themed entertainment. TEA and the academic community continue to discuss and explore possibilities as more and more colleges and universities around the world offer curricula in themed entertainment.

SATE has been been hosted in many different locations and venues, including colleges (Savannah College of Art & Design, Florida State University, Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh) and theme parks (SeaWorld,

TEA President David Willrich (DJ Willrich Ltd.) and
TEA COO Jennie Nevin

Disneyland Paris) as well as hotels in prestigious city centers (New York, Beijing). The location and venue bring a different flavor to the conference each time.

On closing night, following a reception at CalArts, TEA continued its tradition of ending the conference on a vocal note, with SATEoke - a karaoke gathering at a local watering hole. It's not surprising that there would be so much singing and musical talent within an industry that has its roots in theater.

The day after the conference, CalArts was the venue for TEA GibGab, a "speed interviewing" forum bringing together TEA member companies with TEA NextGen members, who are students and recent graduates seeking careers in the industry. 

Want to know more? See the links below, and watch for comprehensive multimedia documentation of SATE 17 LA that will be published in coming weeks and months. This will include official TEA video covering all sessions and presentations (on TEA TV, our YouTube channel), interviews with speakers done on-site by The Season Pass Podcast, and articles in trade publications such as Park World and Attractions Management. Also check out social media, where many delegates posted photos, quotes and impressions during and after the conference on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Hashtag: #TEAsate

At this writing, another SATE conference was just a few days from commencing in Beijing: TEA SATE 17 Asia, Nov 3-5, co-chaired by TEA International Board President David Willrich of DJ Willrich Ltd. and TEA Past President Christine Kerr of BaAM Productions. 

More on SATE 17 LA, and SATE in general:


SATE segment sponsors










Posted by Judy Rubin



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