High-Tech Show for Show Biz

The stars of ShowBiz Expo 85 may be sophisticated, but they won't be the kind that wear dazzling clothes and flash famous smiles.

The purpose of the entertainment industry trade show beginning Thursday at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium is to showcase computers and other new technologies that are changing the way productions are made and business is done in the entertainment industry.

The three-day affair will present exhibits by more than 80 businesses and services from around the country, including demonstrations by a production company that does three-dimensional laser special effects for film and television and a music studio that uses a Macintosh computer to digitize music and play it through a synthesizer.

Other technologies, such as telecommunications, will also be represented, along with lectures, panel discussions and other gatherings hosted by such groups as the Producers Guild of America, the Directors Guild, the accounting firm Price Waterhouse and others.

The three-day show is expected to attract 3,000 industry professionals, ranging from film and video moguls to writers and set designers, according to Nalini Kouwenhoven, who is producing the event with partner Bob Lasiewicz. The pair, who conduct computer training services for such clients as Columbia Pictures and Walt Disney Productions, mounted an exhibit called the Micro Show last year, which was limited to the use of computers in the entertainment industry.

Unlike other trade shows, Kouwenhoven said, the ShowBiz Expo offers "a combination between business and technology and production. . . . We're looking at every person who works in the television, film and music industries and addressing them as a business person." That means that in addition to demonstrations of advanced computer and video equipment geared to studios, the show is also scaled to the individual entrepreneur: One seminar, for instance, promises to guide the industry's creative types through the intricacies of financial statements.

Other subjects offered range from the specific, such as using securities to raise capital for productions, to the somewhat philosophical, such as the issue of retraining Hollywood's work force in the new technologies.

Kouwenhoven claims that ShowBiz Expo is also the only place where businesses as diverse as cellular radio technology, scriptwriting services, and film completion insurance can meet under one roof with the clients they hope to attract. "You won't find someone with scriptwriting software at a large commercial computer show because the show won't draw scriptwriters," she said.

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World