Batman comics, lost teeth and driverless cars were some of the subjects discussed at a recent TEDx event in Ogden on June 16. Over 200 people gathered at Peery’s Egyptian Theatre for TEDxOgden, which featured several speakers from different professional backgrounds retelling stories from their lives under the theme “untamed.”

“In my business, the highs are very high and the lows are very low,” said Michael Uslan, Batman franchise owner and executive producer of each Batman movie developed since 1989. “My story is my journey. I try to have an impact on people and inspire a couple of people and say, ‘Listen, I’m no different than you.’ What I did is I followed my passion, and I got up off the couch.”

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Michael Uslan, executive producer of the Dark Knight trilogy, speaks at Ogden's June 16 TEDx event about his life and the experiences that led him to producing some of the highest grossing movies of all time. (Joshua Wineholt / The Signpost)

Uslan spoke to the crowd about the risky paths he took to be where he is now. This included becoming the first person to teach a college course on comic books, working to become a writer for DC Comics, purchasing the rights to Batman and evolving the franchise into the success that it has become.

The “untamed” theme was present as Uslan used his life story as an example for believing in oneself. He says that his successes did not come to him while he was sitting idly but while he was making efforts to pursue his goals.

“If I can make my dreams come true, so can you,” Uslan said. “Is it easy? No. Is it fast? No. But if you want it badly enough, it’s possible.”

Other speakers used their attempts and failures as analogies for their versions of success.

Snapchat and YouTube sensation Shaun McBride, also known as Shonduras, spoke on what he believes personal success is compared to the conventional definition of success.

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YouTube and Snapchat celebrity Shaun McBride, also known as "Shonduras," speaks at the June 16 TEDx event in Ogden. (Joshua Wineholt / The Signpost)

“Everyone is trying to find personal success,” McBride said. “Everyone has different ideas of what success is, but, ultimately, they have something deep inside that is important to them and they need to reach it.”

McBride related his definition of personal success to an experience where he lost one of his front teeth in a fountain in Spain. After weeks of continual effort in searching, he finally found the missing tooth. He used this analogy as a lesson to discuss perseverance and motivation.

In defining how an individual reaches personal success, McBride mentioned it has nothing to do with status but with inner satisfaction.

“It’s not how many followers you have, how much money you make, what position you have,” McBride said. “It’s that you are personally happy with what you have accomplished, and it’s a goal you set when you did it.”

Other speakers gave talks on developing efficient farming methods, peace of mind within the world of corporate greed, helping others believe in themselves and the future of driverless cars.

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Amir Jackson, Ogden local and founder of the Nutrure the Creative Mind Foundation, speaks about the experiences that led him to teach a poetry class as a way to help troubled teens. (Joshua Wineholt / The Signpost)

Attendees felt TEDxOgden was a unique local opportunity to uplift and inspire those attending.

“I think whenever you have people in the community that get to hear from other people in the community, who are actually doing things to change our world,” attendee Carol Robinson said, “it gives you the opportunity to participate or at least know what’s going on, so you can share that with other people.”

The TEDxOgden event was different than a standard TED event. The ‘x’ in TEDxOgden stands for “independently organized events.” The speakers, performers and volunteers were put together by community members to benefit Ogden residents.

Being “untamed” meant something different to each person who spoke, but McBride pointed out that attempting to achieve dreams was what the evening was all about.

“You need to find what you’re passionate about and get after it.”

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