The 3ds Max London User Group meets on the first Wednesday of every month at Truckles, opposite the British Museum. Started in 2007, the group enjoys a great number of professional members from London's advertising, architectural and animation industries. We meet to discuss ideas, methods and projects in a friendly, relaxed setting.

Tuesday 2 December 2014

3ds London

Just a quick reminder, there's no 3ds London tomorrow, Wed 3rd December (tricky arranging a free space in office-party season) or January (too early in the year)... So the next 3ds London will be on Wednesday 4th February at Truckles. Ages away I know, but it gives me a chance to arrange things properly for next year. I was left a bit deflated after a conversation at last month's event bemoaning the quality of speakers "we" have organized this year. A quick scroll through the event listings on suggests to me this opinion was unfair / slightly drunk. However, in the interest of ensuring the continued success of 3ds London, it's not something I felt I could ignore or get complacent about. I have asked a bunch of you recently what you think, and it's raised a number of points I'd like to address. So please reply and let me know what you think about the following, the more honestly the better!

1. The Venue. This has always been a massive hassle to get right. I think Truckles works pretty well, it's centrally located, free and more comfortably sized than previous venues. Our first night there at the beginning of the year was a bit of a disaster acoustically, but the space is generally exclusive now and they sorted a PA for the rest of the year. My only issue is the early closing time, but decamping to the Museum Tavern round the corner seems easy enough for anyone wishing to continue discussing 3ds Max (OK, drinking) late into the evening. An alternative suggested was finding somewhere better and charging on the door / securing sponsorship, neither which I'm personally keen on doing- see point 3 below. In 2013 we were hosted by a number of companies at their offices. Should I arrange more of these / would your company like to host one? Whilst I really enjoyed them, I have some reservations about 3ds London not having an easy to remember "home", and there are issues securing venues like Truckles for free if it's not a regular thing. Also, would 3ds London work better bi-monthly? What do you think?

2. A/V Equipment. As mentioned above, Truckles have a PA. I will get some speakers for next year. Our projector is a bit of a potato- any suggestions how we could steal / raise funds for a better one? Is the HDTV at Truckles a reasonable alternative or is it too small?

3.The Presenters. 3ds London has a deserved reputation (benefiting greatly from a highly accomplished membership) and attracts well known presenters and companies, literally, from around the world. It's also open to everybody regardless of their level. If someone has made the effort to prepare a talk and they're willing to stand up in front of everyone to give it, then they're very welcome and I'm very grateful. This isn't something I'm going to change. I'd feel uncomfortable deciding who gets to talk at an evening with an anyone welcome policy. There are plenty of amazing opportunities to hear industry leaders with our skill-set give high level talks annually. We're lucky to enjoy a lot of these at 3ds London, but it's important to remember it's a free, regular community event throughout the year. Also, some speakers don't welcome the pressure of being officially announced as presenting beforehand, but these are often the best ones... I guess you have to be there to hear them. The scheduled presentations aren't the only benefit of attendance: job / networking / beer drinking opportunities also contribute to the ethos of the evenings don't forget. But who do you want to see present in 2015? I haven't directly invited many presenters this year, relying on them to approach me. This is easy to change next year, and I'm very happy to do so. If you reply to nothing else in this email, give me some pointers at least!

4. Event Notification. Yeah... You should have got this last week. My feeling is every month is worth attending regardless of scheduled presenters, and everyone knows where and when it is. But I attend every one anyway... Next year I will make a big effort to post event details at least a week in advance. This year was particularly bad for late cancellations in regards to presenters. Deadlines happen and it's not something you can reasonably make someone feel guilty about (presentations do take time to prepare after all). There's often a lot of last minute scrambling around. If this happens next year I will be more transparent about the situation when it comes to posting details in a timely fashion. I must mention Sol who's organized a lot of 3ds London's social media presence, thank you chap. Does anyone have experience with Meetup, would it be a good alternative / addition to the email list?

6. Event Leadership. Larry Kleinkemper handed over principal responsibility for organizing 3ds London to me at the beginning of 2007 when he returned to the States. Is it time for a change, fresh blood? I'm very happy to keep organizing the evenings, but it's not "my" event by any means. Are you interested in getting more involved somehow?

Again, if nothing else, who do you want to see present in 2015? Apologies for the long email, I hope I've judged the tone correctly. For me, 3ds London should be a great balance between being professionally relevant and socially enjoyable, and I'd really like to see it flourish in 2015 and beyond. I hope you do too, so I'm looking forward to hearing your feedback to help it stay that way.

Have a great Christmas break! See you in the new year, kind regards, Simon

Check,, the LinkedIn group, follow @3dslondon or email to get on the distribution list.

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