Hollywood Hack Day draws dozens of developers, winner gets $2,000

Developers work on their projects during Hollywood Hack Day on Sunday.
(Andrea Chang / Los Angeles Times)

For participants in Hollywood Hack Day, it was a weekend loaded with coffee, Red Bull, Chipotle burritos and round-the-clock hacking.

It wasn’t quite the frenzy shown during hacking scenes in “The Social Network,” but the event did draw about 90 developers and designers who were tasked with creating projects that bridged the technology and entertainment industries.

During the two-day event, which was held at co-working space io/LA, the hackers produced 24 projects that were presented Sunday evening to a panel of judges that included StartEngine’s Howard Marks and Amplify’s Jeff Solomon. The top three projects received prizes of $2,000, $1,000 and $500, respectively.


First place went to Typing Karaoke, a program that helps people learn and improve their typing by having them type synced lyrics to their favorite songs. The faster the lyrics, the harder the song.

Second place went to Social Jukebox, an SMS- and email-controlled jukebox. Video List took third place; users can import all of their, and their friends’, Facebook videos and watch them all on a simple scrolling webpage that works on several devices.

Hollywood Hack Day was organized by Rahim Sonawalla, product manager at Rovi; Ryan Chisholm, a music manager at Bill Silva Entertainment; and Abe Burns, who works in digital operations for Madonna manager and Ashton Kutcher investing partner Guy Oseary. The trio said they hoped to make Hollywood Hack Day, which began last year, an annual event.

Josh Ziering traveled from Chandler, Ariz., with some friends to participate. The group’s project was called Tune Clash, a competitive music trivia program using video chat.

“No greater industry needs to be disrupted than that of the entertainment industry,” Ziering said. “They’re really backwards and far behind as far as technology goes...So when we heard we had a chance to hack Hollywood, we wanted to jump on it.”


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