As you skim through this, do you give any thought to how social media sites like Twitter and Facebook are changing the way we read? Probably not.
Nonetheless, with the explosion of social media, storytelling and narrative as we know it is shifting dramatically, and the traditional published story forms are struggling to stay current even as they lose ground.
MacEwan's School of Communications is facing this upheaval head on by gazing into the stars with What Happens Next? The Future of Story Conference , a two-day exploration of the communication landscape that brings together prominent writers, editors, filmmakers, advertisers and software entrepreneurs.
The list of daring forecasters includes former St. Albert resident Mark Haroun, now a writer and senior story editor on CBC's Heartland , and former Morinville resident Marty Chan, a novelist for young adults, a playwright, radio humorist and television writer.
“It's a gathering of creative communications people in a stimulating environment, and who knows what bubbles up. I hope deals are made, stories are told, projects are green-lighted, and hopefully students meet their prospective employers and mentors,” says Sherrell Steele, School of Communications manager.
Hosted Feb. 5 to 6 at the Centre for the Arts and Communications Campus, the conference provides a platform to 45 speakers and moderators in 13 different panel choices. Topics range from book reading in a techno-savvy world and the new journalism, to the future of TV broadcasting and getting the message out through advertising.
The conference has attracted some pretty big guns with Friday night's keynote speaker Hart Hanson, the Canadian writer, producer and creator of the popular Fox Television series Bones. His topic, More Than Boobs and Bad Language – Storytelling for a Mass Audience , spun in his own quirky fashion, is anyone's guess.
“It is pretty special to have Hart Hanson. He's a good friend of Scott Morrison, who teaches here and he'll be speaking to Scott's screenwriting class as well. He also waived his fee. He just wants to make a contribution.”
Other heavyweights are writer Jack Hodgins giving the Saturday keynote address. The Governor-General Award-winning novelist will be reading from a soon-to-be published novel, The Master of Happy Endings.
Other notables sharing their points of view are MÄ‚Â©tis filmmaker Gil Cardinal, Motion FX designer Kim Clegg, political pundit Dave Cournoyer, filmmaker Francis Damberger, children's writer Gail Sidonie Sobat and novelist Rudy Wiebe.
Corus Entertainment made this literary and creative conference possible by providing a $75,000 donation paid over seven years. The Alberta Foundation for the Arts is an additional sponsor.
The conference runs Friday from 4:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The college is located at 10045 – 156 St.
Tickets at the door are $40 for the Friday night mixer, $85 for Saturday discussions or $105 for both days. For more information visit www.macewan.ca/soc and click on the Gaze Into the Stars icon.