Guest post by Kyle Bylin of Live Nation Labs.
Developers united at Hollywood Hack Day for a weekend to create the next wave of music and video applications. Strangers became friends and ideas quickly converged into hacking sessions. Founded in 2011, the event took inspiration from Music Hack Day, a music industry focused gathering, but expanded its scope to include video and encompass the entire entertainment sector.
Over one-hundred developers poured into io/LA, a location that duals as a co-work space and startup incubator, to geek out and contend for a first place prize of $2,000 and bragging rights.
For two days, this group worked and programmed fiercely on their projects, constrained by time and API’s, but free from everyday constraints and commercial pressure to create businesses.
On demo night, 25 teams presented their projects to a panel of judges and a packed room of music and technology luminaries, many of which received several rounds of applause and cheers.
The 8-bit game challenged players to type out the lyrics to popular songs—such as “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen or “Creep” by Radiohead—as the world behind the pixelated character blossomed to life.
“These are the most exciting weekends for me, because I just like making stuff,” says Chen about his Hollywood Hack Day experience. “It’s a great chance to be innovative and not have to care.”
Social Jukebox, a music service that enables users to send in song requests to a player via text messages and imaginably make their nightlife at the bar more fun, received the second place prize.
Reminiscent of existing platforms like Roqbot and Anthm, Social Jukebox differentiated itself by making it so users could still participate in the experience without having to install a mobile app.
Next up, Video List took third place by developing a browser plugin that let users save videos for later and import all of the videos they’ve shared on Facebook into a Pinterest-like website layout.
TuneClash, a hack that promised to combine live video with bar trivia, delighted the judges enough to bestow the team behind it a forth place slot and honorable mention, but no prize money.
“I'm really excited about the projects, because they show what amazing things can be built in a weekend," says Rahim Sonawalla co-founder of Hollywood Hack Day and product manager at Rovi. "It empowers people to ask, 'If we did this in a weekend, what could we build in a week or a month?'"
Other notable demos included Popify (Pop-Up Video), Autotune (Songza meets Twitter), and Mixxy (music playlist aggregator), but there were several interesting entries in other categories too.
Hollywood Hack Day—which also counts Ryan Chisholm of Bill Silva Entertainment and Abe Burns, who handles digital operations for Guy Oseary, as co-founders—seeks to position itself at the epicenter of the Los Angles area developer circle and catalyze deeper bonds to form in the community.
“There’s no question that something special is brewing in Los Angeles in regards to the local tech scene,” says Chisholm. “We want to bring everyone together, and Hollywood Hack Day is a great excuse to house everyone under one roof for a weekend with the intention of just building cool stuff.”
Inevitably, the ethos of the event and projects it fostered will carry on long after the pizza boxes and red bull cans hit the trashcan and the bodies settle back into their office space and daily routines.
"This year’s event exceeded all of our expectations,” says Burns. “It's inspiring to see everyone in the community come together and work hard. The bar is set pretty high the for the next one.”
Freedom isn’t free, but the cost of entry and time spent is worth a badge, piles of business cards, and for Chen: bragging rights.
For a list of all the Hollywood Hack Day projects, visit this website.