InPark Magazine Co-Editor Judy Rubin has been selected to receive the 2013 Distinguished Service Award from the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA).
Soon after the TEA was founded in 1991, Judy began writing articles about the fledgling Association and in the mid-1990’s, she set out on her own as a freelancer. She contributed a monthly column to IAAPA’s Funworld, and wrote for At-the-Park and Film Journal International. She was the themed entertainment editor for Entertainment Design magazine for several years. Eventually Judy teamed up with Marty Palicki, publisher of InPark Magazine, where she continues to work today as co-editor and continues to write for other trade magazines such as Lighting&Sound America and Sound & Communications.
In addition to her editorial work, Judy is a publicist, and over the years has worked directly with many companies, including TEA members SimEx-Iwerks, Mad Systems, Entertainment Design Corp., Cinnabar, JRA, Thorburn Associates and FUNA, among others.
InPark’s News Editor Joe Kleiman asked her five questions upon news of her selection for the award. Here’s what she had to say:
1. You’ve been a formative player in associations involving creativity and out-of-home experiences, such as the Large Format Cinema Association, IMERSA, and the TEA. Why are you attracted to this field?
Being an artist myself, I like to hang out with creative people. And I like to spread appreciation around. Associations often form because there’s something important going unappreciated or overlooked in a certain sector – that was certainly the case with each of the groups you mentioned. LFCA strengthened the voice of the producers and vendors in the special venue cinema industry; IMERSA focuses attention on the rapidly growing digital dome market and the power of immersive media in the digital age; TEA defined the Experience Design industry, created the industry’s first project credits (with the Thea Awards) and reinforced the role of the designers and creatives.
2. Has there ever been a themed entertainment concept that made you say, “This CANNOT be good for the industry?”
I suppose the first round of theme park development in Dubai. The crash came earlier than expected, but it seemed inevitable. I understand that this second round is proceeding with a lot more reality checks in place. Before that, I’d have to say VR – it was ahead-of-its-time hype and didn’t understand women.
3. Was there someone you consider a mentor who guided you through this industry when you first entered it?
First off there was Alf Heller, editor and publisher of World’s Fair magazine, which was my point of entry. I learned a lot from him about writing, editing and public relations and how to stay on the high road. He threw me in the deep end of the pool regarding ad sales – I had to just go out there and find a way, and I did, and it was probably the best possible way to do it.
Many of the relationships I formed in those 8 years at World’s Fair are still among my strongest professional ties. Within the industry itself, others who have been enormously helpful along the way in sharing information and perspective, with the occasional lick of professional grooming include Bob Rogers, Jody Van Meter, Jonathan Katz, Gene Jeffers, Brian Paiva, Chris Reyna, George Wiktor, Dan Neafus, David Barbour, Bill Stevenson, Roberta Perry, Nick Winslow and the late Buzz Price and Ted Allan.
4. Conceptually, everything in the universe has a “theme,” determined by a myriad of criteria, including design, purpose, and aesthetics. A certain make and model of a car has a theme. A grocery store has a theme, and then sub-themes within. When we speak about themed entertainment, what parameters do we use to define “theme?”
Dammit Joe, I’m a journalist, not a master planner!
5. Is there a closed attraction, show, spectacle, park, museum, or event that you miss immensely?
Bird and the Robot.