Tee on Create

The 2009 edition of the CREATE South conference is a wrap! We had right at 100 people come out on a beautiful Saturday in Myrtle Beach to spend the day with like-minded individuals, network, teach and learn. We had some anxieties going into it as this was a bigger conference than last year with twice as many people pre-registered and four separate tracks of programming. It gave more people a chance to be involved in the planning, and also had a lot more moving parts and things to go awry. Speaking only for myself, I didn’t sleep much the night before.

This year we invited an author of young adult fantasy novels, Tiffany Trent, to be one of our two keynote speakers talking on that act of being creative. This was a bit of a risk and one that even Tiffany admitted that she wasn’t quite sure exactly how it fit in until she actually got to the conference. At its core, the talk was a “butt in chair” pep talk, about putting in the time and understanding what you want and being willing to sacrifice to achieve your dreams. All the feedback I’ve seen of her talk has been overwhelmingly positive and well received. This talk was a risk, but it seemed to have paid off.

Tiffany Trent (2)

The second keynote was on “Putting the ‘Social’ Back in Social Media” and it was by my colleague and friend Tee Morris. This was a timely topic coming a week after the whole Kutcher/Oprah realignment of Twitter in their own axis, something that was addressed head on by Tee. This was a slight rework of his talk “Anti-Social Media” which I asked him to change the title of to be a little more positive for our get-together. I much preferred the positive angle, and I think it worked with our soiree very well. Tee refused to accept crowd non-participation and more or less willed the people in the back of the room into action. He was animated and insightful and really worked everyone up. Thanks Tee for a great talk!

CreateSouthRoadTrip2009 020

At this point, I should mention our new partnership with Horry-Georgetown Technical College. We started out renting the space from them but in the planning stage switch to being partners in this conference. A number of students came out and participated all day, and a set of them videotaped all the morning keynotes. They didn’t merely tape them, it was a full three camera setup with video mixer and everything! I still haven’t seen the footage but I’m looking forward to seeing it.

Starting Thursday morning, people started inquiring about whether the North Myrtle Beach wildfires would lead us to cancel the conference. We found that kind of odd, considering that the fire was never closer than 10 miles and on the far side of the intracoastal waterway from our part of town. What we didn’t appreciate was how extreme and possibly counterfactual the news coverage was outside of our area. We ended up having to spend several days reassuring people that the fires represented no danger to any attendees. The only hit we took was that the guy who was going to do the fancy video mixing and putting a CSPAN style crawl across the bottom is also with the Horry County Rescue Squad. I met him on Monday as we talked about the conference, and then Wednesday night I knew we were in trouble when I saw him on the evening news talking about the fires. We tried to make the best of the situation, and the fact that I was seeing things like “Myrtle Beach is on fire!” and “North Myrtle Beach burned to the ground” on Twitter served as the springboard to conversations about the ethics and responsibility users of social media have when spreading information and retweeting and such.

BBQ @ CREATE South 2009

Once again, lunch was cooked by my partner in crime Andre Pope. His father came down and the two of them cooked BBQ for days, and fed 100 people. One of the things I’ve noted around the the post-conference chatter on the internet is that many people cite the quality of the BBQ as one of the details of the day that sticks with people. Because of all the details that needed handling, I got a few bites, had to set it down and came back to it much later when it was cold. It was still downright delicious.

After lunch, we pulled some partitions in the auditorium and created three rooms out of it. We had four tracks going: Creating Community; Making Media; Art and Writing. The art room ended up being across the building. The beautiful part about the afternoon is that all the tracks had participation, and a constituency. I didn’t get to see much of anything as I flitted from room to room and tried to keep the plates spinning. I videotaped some of the sessions of the community track myself. Of all the sessions I thought getting the “Faith and Community” recorded and published would be the most valuable for our region and serve as a pathway to interest some folks in coming out in 2010 by showing them this isn’t all inaccessible techno-jargon but in fact solid discussions about how to achieve things that matter in your lives.

Green Screen

We had a number of interesting and informative talks in the afternoon. These included Tee and Kreg Steppe doing a beginners session on podcasting; Robert Harvey talking about video and lighting; Chuck Boyd talking about meetups and photography; Ava Ann Vrooman talking about using Comicspress to publish webcomics; Marsha Guerard talking about editing your own work and lots of of other great sessions. The one session I attended in full was the one I programmed myself and really wanted to have as part of the conference. That was Warren and Marcia Lynn Walker’s Green Screen session. This is similar to a session we did at the BlogHer makeup day at last year’s ConvergeSouth and both times it was fascinating, informative and hilarious. I put it at the end of the day for a reason, so that we could just leave the screen up for anyone that so desired to play with it. I decided to see if I could get people to talk up CREATE South in front of the green screen so that we can cut it together and do some kind of video promo for the 2010 conference. A number of people – mostly students – stepped up to do some ad libs. It was a whole lot of fun, and everyone seemed to be enjoying it. I sure was.

Finally, the day was over and we tore it all down. Everyone seemed to get something out of it, and a number of people were still there at the end helping to clean up the space before we had to vacate the building at 5 PM. That I think was the part I liked best about the whole day. There was an amazing amount of generosity in evidence, from the presenters to the students to the attendees. Everyone seemed to instinctively get the whole “Bring what you have; Teach what you know; Learn what you need” ethos. It was truly heartwarming to be a part of it.


Judging by the post conference reaction I’ve seen online, many people got a lot out of it. That’s quite gratifying. All the pressure we feel putting this on comes back to making it worth people’s time to come out, to drive from wherever they came from – be it around the corner or Virginia or Minnesota (all of which happened.) In my opening remarks I remarked something to the effect that “this conference is happening in Myrtle Beach instead of Charlotte or Raleigh or Columbia – not because there isn’t a creative technological community in those cities but because a few people in Myrtle Beach sat down and decided to do this. The conference is organized the same way as we are entreating you to handle your creative lives – sit down and do it! Make mistakes, go for it, try things to see what works and make them happen.” That is what we did and we couldn’t be more proud of it.

Community track discussion panel

Thanks to all of the volunteers who helped organize things: Heather Solos, Dan Conover, Robert Harvey, Eve Cornell, and Roger Yale. Thanks to Alan Bunal and Todd Cartner and all their students who videotaped, helped with the logistics and participated all day. Thanks to all the individual donors who gave via Paypal and to our sponsors: Horry-Georgetown Technical College, Grand Strand Technology Council, The Digitel, and A and A Produce.

J Wynia and Heidi

We’re already trying to close on picking the date and booking the space for next year. We’ve always said that if we started this, we were in it for the long game. For those who would have liked to come this year but couldn’t or didn’t find out in time, plan ahead for 2010. Follow the conference Twitter account, subscribe to this blog, and keep watching the main web site. We could do it without you, but we don’t want to. Come join us, please.

Here are some links relating to CREATE South 2009:

If I find more links, I’ll update them here. Thanks again, everyone!

Here is the text of an email I’ll be sending out to the mailing list today:

Hi everyone,

CREATE South is happening in two days! The event will be in Myrtle Beach on Saturday April 25th at the Grand Strand campus of Horry-Georgetown Technical College, a few blocks from Market Commons. A map to the event is here: http://tinyurl.com/dfypzr

Registration will open at 8:45 AM, opening remarks will start at 9:15 AM and our first keynote is at 9:30 AM. A full list of the days events is up on the website and can be used to get a feel for the day. That page is at http://www.createsouth.org/program.php

We’ve created a Twitter account for the conference if you want to get last minute details or track our progress: http://twitter.com/createsouth

Here’s some notes and details for the day of the event:

- Lunch, snacks, coffee and water will be provided. If you have specific drinks you’d like, it would be helpful if you’d bring a six or twelve pack of your favorite beverage. There are so many drink choices nowadays it is mind boggling to plan ahead for them all.

- There will be an informal get-together on Friday night for attendees of the conference who are already in town. It will be 7 PM at the Liberty Steakhouse at Broadway at the Beach. If you’d like to come or need more details, RSVP to dslusher@gmail.com so that we can get an idea of the size of the tables we’ll need.

- For those of you who have creative items to sell, bring them with you. We are going to experiment this year with a vendor table of sorts. Musicians, bring copies of your CDs. Authors with books or artists with prints, bring them. If in doubt, bring your stuff.

- Networking and meeting people is the best part of our conference. Bring business cards if you have them, fliers for things you want to promote. If nothing else, print out your website and email address on a sheet of paper 20 times and cut out little fortune cookie sized slips of paper with your contact information.

- Our conference is designed to be valuable to people of all experience levels from absolute beginners to advanced experts across a wide range of topics. If you come with a clear idea of specific things you want to learn (“I want to start a blog”, “I want to get more use out of social media”, “How can podcasting help my business?”, etc) then it will be that much easier to make a connection with people that can help you.

- Above all else, this should be fun. Be prepared to meet interesting new people, to talk over common interests and to find new ways to be edified.

If you have need any more information about anything, feel free to email info@createsouth.org with questions. We look forward to seeing you on Saturday!

- Dave

CREATE South team

Only a few more day until this year’s CREATE South conference! Our list of programming is now almost completely up to date with all times and sessions. The last minute details are coming together and all is right with our world. Come be a part of it if you can!

Today is the day we have set aside as our “donation day” for the CREATE South conference, our day devoted to educating people about the intersection of new media and creatitvity. It will be held in Myrtle Beach SC this April 25th.

Times are tough, but if you are sympathetic to the cause and have a few dollars to spare, won’t you please consider tossing a few our way? Just click the “Donate” button in the sidebar of any page at our site. Whether or not you can donate today or whether you already had, please take a few moments and post about CREATE South somewhere. You can blog it, post it to your Facebook or Twitter or FriendFeed account or just tell a friend. We are trying to spread the word about it far and wide to get as many people who can benefit to attend.

If you have not already registered but would like to come, please take a few minutes today to register for the conference. Registration itself is free but again, if you can afford a few dollars to help pay the expenses and feed people lunch that would be greatly appreciated. If your company would like to sponsor the event or some portion of it, please drop us an email. Thanks to everyone for all their support!

We are hard at work planning the 2009 CREATE South conference. It will be April 25th, 2009 and will be held at the Grand Strand campus of Horry-Georgetown Technical College. This is the one near Market Commons and Myrtle Beach State Park. For 2009 we will have a strong emphasis on art (the “A” in CREATE) that we wanted to have in 2008 but ran out of time in the planning stage, as well as programming tracks on writing, creating community, and making media. It should be a fun day of exploring the intersection of technology and creativity.

Registration is open and the conference is free. You can also sign up for our low traffic announcement mailing list and get all the scoop about what is happening. It will be a good and productive time.

The CREATE South conference has come and gone at this point. The day felt fantastic to me and the attendees seemed to generally feel the same way. It had logistical problems at points but the problems were survivable. The real power comes from getting people in the same room, talking about what matters from them and then getting out of the way. The magic trick of organizing this sort of thing is that all the programming is bait to get people to show up, but the people that show up are the real value. People met, talked, networked, learned, taught, ate bbq and chicken bog and generally had a good time.

First, let’s welcome the new bloggers minted at the conference. Jo and Roger have officially joined the blog world. This was part of what we wanted to happen, so it makes me happy every time either of them posts.

There is a Flickr photo pool for pictures from the day and you can also search on the tag “createsouth”.

Here’s some of the reactions around the blogosphere:

I’ll keep updating this as I find new posts. Thanks everyone for coming, participating, presenting and making it a wonderful time!

I am proud to announce that we have confirmed as our keynote speaker Mr. Ed Cone. Ed lives in Greensboro NC with his family. He is a senior writer with Ziff Davis Enterprise for CIO Insight magazine, a columnist and a blogger. He has been a staff writer at Forbes and a contributing editor at Wired amongst his many writing gigs.

As one of the founders of the ConvergeSouth conference and a primary instigator of the Greensboro blogging community, Ed will speak about using new media to create and nurse the community in your localities. I personally have had the opportunity to spend some time having conversations with Ed at various conferences and am delighted that he will come to our inaugural conference in Myrtle Beach. He’s a great guy, highly knowledgeable about new media and easy to talk to.

Come to CREATE South on April 19th and you too can hang out with Ed. See you there.

Here is a downloadable audio promo for the Create South conference. It is Creative Commons licensed Attribution, which is more or less impossible to use without attributing it since the promo is its own attribution. For those of you friendly to our project, if you’d throw this in your own podcasts or even just your podcast feed we would be highly appreciative. Play the promo, come to our shindig. It is an infotopia!

Eric Rice rethinks the whole *-Camp thing. His suggestions are goofy and for comedic effect but you know, they aren’t miles away from the thinking behind Create South. From the very first conversation I ever had about it, I knew I wanted it to be more doing things and less talking about doing things. The whole reason it is not “Podcamp Myrtle Beach” is that we want to bring in people beyond the core group of insiders who tend to show up to such things. The idea of having no set agenda before you get there just seems antithetical to getting in the people who most need to learn. This whole conference is our attempt to thread the needle between the boringness of most tech conferences, the energy and chaos of the *-Camps, the “audience is in charge” aspect of the Bloggercons, all with a minimum of dogma and maximum hands on at all points. Do you want to help thread that needle? You can, by showing up my friends.

The CreateSouth blog is open for business. The goal will be to post here at least once every day between now and the conference. Welcome, friends. We hope to put on a good shindig for y’all.