Hey folks – just a heads up that after our February meeting of After Effects New York with guest speaker Andrew Kramer, I am stepping out of a leadership role there.
Over six years ago, I was approached by Dennis Radeke at Adobe about starting a New York After Effects user group. I sorta said “No,” but then fell into making it happen anyway. He was very persistent, and we had a free location, so it was hard to keep to that “no.” Soon after, Jim Geduldick and then Dave Gittleman took on co-leadership with me and together we've had over 50 amazing meetings.
February marks AENY's 6-year anniversary. For me it's a big milestone. I never thought AENY would be as popular as it was. We started with 110 people at our first meeting and have had as many as 350 people at meetings. We've had great sponsors so far – Maxon, Adobe, and GridIron Software helped us to make this group financially viable, and they and many other companies have given us some fantastic prizes as giveaways for each meeting. It gives me a huge amount of pleasure each month to see everyone enjoying the awesome mograph, 3D, VFX, hardware and filmmaking presentations we're able to book.
I started AENY before I had kids and a full time gig, and while I love to be a part of the team running the group, it takes a lot of work to make a user group successful. I don't think most people realize how much hustling goes into it. Given how much my life has changed since we started, I haven't been able to give the group as much love as I've wanted to – just enough to keep it alive (thanks to Jim and Dave's direction and support), but not enough to really help it grow.
It's my hope that by letting my colleagues and some new folks take it from here, they can build it into something even better than it is. Not that it isn't already awesome, and if you're a NY-based AE user and not going – what's wrong with you?! I certainly see a ton of potential, and knowing how devoted Dave and Jim and some the rest of the AENY regulars are, I know AENY will do some amazing things.
Happy 6th Anniversary AENY – it's been awesome. I look forward to sitting in the crowd to enjoy some cool AE presentations in the future.