Students within Cogswell College's innovative MediaWorks program were recently hired by organizers behind two TEDx Conferences to develop and produce original, short animated audiovisual communication projects promoting those two events.
To promote the TEDxVail (Colorado) event on January 8, 2016, MediaWorks students created the conference's official audiovisual trailer. Under the direction of members of Cogswell's faculty, which also included industry professionals, students had the opportunity not only to work with a real-life client but also to follow the production pipeline of an advertising agency. From formulating concepts and creative briefs, through pitching proposals and storyboarding, to production and post-production, MediaWorks students worked through the processes -which included several client meetings and revisions -- systematically and professionally, under strict deadlines.
The TEDxVail project had a unique challenge in store for MediaWorks students, who are well-versed in standard production processes, but were expected to stretch the limits of their creativity for the trailer. These students were charged to produce an audiovisual piece that would not only be trendy and original, but would also organically express TEDxVail's central theme, "Naturally," while tactfully navigating the client's specific preferences.
MediaWorks students working on the TEDx projects learned how "less is more," by taking a minimalist approach while executing a complex production. The two competing teams within MediaWorks had frequent video conferences over Skype with their clients in Colorado and Alaska. They experienced how a fierce - yet friendly - competition offers its own challenges and strategies.
The TEDxVail project was completed on schedule, and culminated in individual client presentations by various MediaWorks team members. According to one of the students, "The most unexpected takeaway from the process was how much a convincing and persuasive presentation can influence a client's final decision." TEDxVail chose their official trailer from two production teams' works and from eight music composers' original scores.

To view the TEDxVail trailer, please see:

TEDxVail CoOrganizers Kat Haber and Corinne Hara worked closely with Cogswell MediaWorks students from January to May 2015 to produce this first ever TEDxVail Trailer. Haber, TEDxVail Founder, CoOrganizer, Curator, said, "The substantial creative effort from Cogswell's skilled MediaWorks students inspired a trailer we are all proud to share, truly an idea worth spreading. Thanks to Cogswell's Julius Dobos and Anthony Dias for their inspiring vision to pair up TEDxVail with Cogswell. Given that Cogswell students are based in Northern California, and the fact that many of them had never visited the Rocky Mountains, they were stretched to dream up imagery and sounds they might find in real life while playing in Vail's ski area, forest, tree tops, and rivers. We appreciated Cogswell students' sincere attention to detail and fresh perspectives. They listened carefully and created wildly. With only photographs to design the adventurous treatment, they produced a trailer of immense imagination, which we will share with our local community and globally. The end result truly sparkles!"
After learning about TEDxVail's satisfaction with the MediaWorks production process, and viewing the completed trailer, the organizers of the TEDxSanFrancisco event also commissioned MediaWorks students to create a trailer promoting their event, which was held on October 29, 2015. The unique challenge for MediaWorks students involved in the TEDxSanFrancisco assignment was to create a trendy audiovisual piece under an extreme deadline of just four weeks from concept to delivery. Given that event's theme of "1 Day 2 Remember," and the character of the TEDx brand amplified by San Francisco's image, the keywords for this project were "Cutting Edge."
The TEDxSanFrancisco MediaWorks team realized early on in the process that the often-used phrase "cutting edge" can be extremely hard to conceptualize and implement in style. While the organizers provided feedback on the concepts to the Art & Animation side of MediaWorks from Vienna, Austria, the Digital Audio Production side of MediaWorks was split up into individual "freelance" producers, thus creating a creatively constructive and challenging environment for these San Jose, CA-based Cogswell students.
In addition to creating an out-of-the-box trailer under a super-tight deadline, MediaWorks students - in the following weeks --also produced two dozen audiovisual speaker introduction pieces - one for each speaker of the TEDxSanFrancisco event. For this, MediaWorks students had to research each speaker's area of specialty, topic of talk, and personality, and then create an energetic 15-second piece that would express these aspects in the style of the overall event's main trailer. This very complex task required lots of analysis, critical thinking, and focused implementation.
The TEDxSanFrancisco promotional trailer and speaker intros were extremely well received at the event, during which several MediaWorks students also worked behind the video mixer, completing the project - and their portfolios - within a live production event setting.

To View the official TEDxSanFrancisco trailer, please see:


To view one of the many TEDxSanFrancisco official speaker videos on YouTube with a short MediaWorks introduction, please see:

Julius Dobos, Distinguished Lecturer, Co-Founder and Audio Director of Cogwell College's MediaWorks program, said, "I cannot name an example other than MediaWorks, neither in the U.S. nor beyond, where college students regularly have to solve non-traditional scenarios that come up in the middle of tight-deadline live projects, and work through them with real-world clients. This requires advanced skills and comes with the kind of takeaways that I have only experienced in the professional world of advertising and media production. Our MediaWorks program is comprised of students who haven't even graduated yet, and already have skills far beyond those one typically obtains in classrooms and labs -- not to mention major brand credits on their portfolios. I believe this approach is the future of education."
About TED, TEDx, TEDxVail & TEDxSanFrancisco
TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less). TED began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged, and today covers almost all topics - from science to business to global issues - in more than 100 languages. Meanwhile, independently run TEDx events help share ideas in communities around the world.
The theme for TEDxVail, in Beaver Creek, Colorado, on January 8, 2016 is "Naturally, Global. Grateful! Sustainable...Xtreme." The event is described as follows: "As a nature lover and idea monger, TEDxVail wants to know how you feel connected to the world around you. Hear from sets of passionate idea sharers. Broaden your impact, it's in your nature to live life purposefully. If it's tech or entertaining or design that grab you and send you into other worlds, we promise you'll connect with your neighbors in ways you had not even before imagined."
The theme of TEDxSanFrancisco, held on October 29th, 2015, was "A Day to Remember." The event was described as follows: "We are shaped by the past, we mold the present, and we seek to predict the future by inventing it. A Day To Remember was presented to honor the past, celebrate the present, and herald the outcome. A Day To Remember was a gathering to showcase today's most prescient ideas from all fields, ranging from the arts and humanities to science and technology. And we ask, what are the big ideas today that will reign relevant in 50 years?"
Uniquely offered by Cogswell College, MediaWorks is a project-based learning Digital Audio Technology initiative, in which Audio and Digital Art & Animation students collaborate on the production of short audiovisual pieces made for various Silicon Valley businesses - and beyond. These impressive, dangerously original audiovisual pieces are created by Cogswell students under the guidance of the Audio- and Visual Directors. The results are industry-quality "media works."
The produced pieces include sound design, original music, animation and live action footage. The projects involve real-life client meetings, creative brief and concept generation, participation in the approval process, project and time management, deadlines and full-scale production by students working individually, in teams and cross-team. The production follows the current industry pipeline and delivery standards.
Designed as a "fiercely collaborative, living laboratory," Cogswell College is located in the heart of the legendary Silicon Valley in San Jose, California. The school is a WASC accredited, four-year institution of higher education with a specialized curriculum that fuses digital arts, audio technology, game design, engineering and entrepreneurship. In 2015, Cogswell was cited by Animation Career Review as "One of the Top 50 Private Game Design Schools and Colleges in the U.S."
Numerous alumni of Cogswell College have secured prominent positions within the entertainment, videogame, technology, computer, animation, and motion graphics industries throughout California and beyond. Several of these alumni have established careers with such high profile companies as Activision, DreamWorks Animation, Disney, Electronic Arts, Pixar, and Microsoft Game Studio. Many other alumni have launched their own creative ventures.
Recent Cogswell alumni were members of the Academy Award-winning production teams that worked on the blockbuster films "Frozen" and "Life of Pi." Some of the other well-known consumer projects to which Cogswell alumni have contributed include the feature films "Big Hero 6" and "The Avengers," and the popular videogames "Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare," "Halo 4" and "Battlefield Hardline."
Cogswell College is located at 191 Baypointe Parkway, San Jose, California, 95134. For more information, please call 1-800-264-7955 or visit