Forays into Themed Entertainment...

After months of going straight from production into workshop into reading into assisting gig and back again, I am finally taking a little theatrical break to explore the wonderful world of themed entertainment.

When I tell people that I'm working in themed entertainment or "location based entertainment," they inevitably ask me, "What is that?" And then I fumble through an explanation. So here, I will work to refine that explanation. Working in LBE (location based entertainment) is a different sort of storytelling mechanism. It takes my theatrical directing skills and applies them in a different sort of setting. LBE entails working with an existing intellectual property (be it book or film or video game, etc) and finding a way of turning it into a sort of experience that engages the guest so that they aren't just an audience member, but are an active participant in some way. It's experiential.

Sometimes, this takes the shape of a theme park ride--like a rollercoaster or dark ride. Sometimes, it manifests itself in a different sort of way--a themed bar where characters from your favorite film serve you drinks, an overnight camp out or adventure where you become the protagonist and work toward an end goal. There are an infinite number of ways to rethink a story, and each one demands its own sort of attention and lends itself to a different interpretation. (Think about the Walking Dead zombie runs, Harry Potter world in Universal Studios Florida.)

As I prepare to graduate with yet another arts degree (I will be a Master!), I find myself in that wonderful space of trying to figure out where I will land. While I would love to be hired by a theater right away and find myself with a string of gigs to set me up for the next year or so, I have found in the past that this is actually a really difficult thing to do...this is part of why I ended up at CalArts, because it was an institution that seemed determined to help me figure out how to be a WORKING EMPLOYED ARTIST. Someone who gets paid to do creative things. Someone whose work is valued by employers. Someone who doesn't have to bartend two nights a week to pay the rent.

So, over the course of the next month I will work with Walt Disney Imagineering under the mentorship of a creative director on the therotical reimagining of a classic Walt Disney attraction. And I am stoked.


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