Filmmaker David Glass has recently completed work on Orlando Rising, a documentary project detailing the explosion of the city’s creative technology industry. Orlando as a whole has seen increased diversity in terms of both cultural and business opportunities, and this peek behind the scenes of the digital production community is an insightful look at some of the innovative work been done in Central Florida.
David has selected Full Sail’s Live Venue for the premiere of the film later this month, being held at 6:00 p.m. on February 18. Speaking about the event, he explained what compelled him to devote his efforts to highlighting the evolution of Orlando’s digital industry.
“Nobody had really been telling this story, and it’s a huge business – bringing close to $14 billion to Orlando,” he says. “A lot of people don’t know the diversity of things going on here. Sometimes the first thing you think of are the big names like Universal or Disney or EA Tiburon. Those brands are really important to Orlando, but then you have this other side. These smaller companies working on huge projects with huge brands across the world, and I wanted to show people the places you don’t see.”
Putting that growth into historical context, Orlando Rising poses three central questions: Where did this industry start? What point is it at now? Where is it going in the future? David explains that the real boom has only come in the last few years, as those working at companies both big and small have made efforts to develop a greater sense of community. This includes the development of clubs and other monthly events catering to specific fields.
“I feel like there’s been more activity in the past two years than the previous 25 combined, which is a result of people taking the lead and coming up with new ideas,” he says. “The activity level is really inspiring, and one of the key organizations we highlight in this film is Indienomicon, the gaming group. They started a year ago with maybe 25 people – now they’re getting 150 people each month, and just held an expo in December that had close to 300. It’s people from companies and individual developers who wanted a way to meet each other, and I think we’re going to see a lot more things like that happening.”
Orlando Rising isn’t just a portrait of where this industry is and where it’s headed, the film is also an inspiring tool for upcoming college graduates. Viewers are offered a compelling showcase for the diverse opportunities available in the field of emerging technology, in areas you might not even expect – from military and medical simulations to the range of options for digital entrepreneurs wanting to start their own company.
“Orlando being this hub for innovation, you’re finding a cluster of likeminded people, which is great for those who are about to enter our community as professionals,” David says. “Add to that the technology, and this is such a great time to be a part of this industry. All you need today is a laptop, some software, and you can start a company out of your house with basically no capital. I think with more entrepreneurs, you’re only going to see things continue to grow. That’s inspiring to me.”