Friday, July 13, 2018

Why Creatives Matter: Designing an Impactful Themed Entertainment Guest Experience


More information on Ashlie Anctil can be found here.

Nine people sit around a glass-top conference table displaying colorful dry-erase marker sketches, doodles and notes across its surface. The creative buzz is palpable as one person ignites an idea, and another fans the flame with imagination. It is not long before everyone is contributing to the fire of passion and innovation. This is just a taste of how we jumpstart projects at our themed entertainment company: ITEC Entertainment.

This brainstorming process, which is referred to as “Blue Sky” by most in the industry, is one of our favorite stages. It encourages teamwork, camaraderie, and laughter, as much as imagination, research, and reflection. Throughout this process, each individual team member at ITEC takes the first step toward making a difference in the world.

“Making a difference in the world…” It seems a rather daunting, or even impossible, task from behind the computer screen where a creative often spends eight-plus hours a day. Sometimes, it can be difficult to see beyond the tip of the paintbrush or digital pen when attempting to fix the angle of shadow on a piece of concept art. But in this action, it is imperative to understand the all-encompassing question: “Why?”

Why does it matter whether the shadow cuts right or left across the scenic?
Why agonize over the character’s relationship with her wish-granting genie?
Why ensure the prop’s color is red-orange and not orange-red?
Why does the font need to match on every graphic sign?
Why does it matter if the column has rounded or square corners?
Why coordinate the animatronic’s movement with the musical cue to the millisecond?

Why do what we do, and how does this make a difference in the world?

The answer to every one of these questions is that each detail is instrumental in bringing the narrative to life, and through storytelling, we thrill, inform, and entertain. We evoke emotions and create memories.

That is to say, we create the Guest experience.

At ITEC Entertainment, we are in the business of designing immersive, dynamic, and inimitable Guest experiences. We understand that producing a successful themed attraction is about so much more than calculating theoretical hourly ride capacities or planning the number of restrooms (though those are undoubtedly important, too). An impactful Guest experience is defined by creating a flawless world where anything seems possible, escapism is king, entertainment is outstanding, and the underlying story ties it all together.

When the noise of the outside world fades beneath the architectural dome of fantasy, it becomes easier for our Guests to focus on what is truly important.

This is where the deliberately designed and carefully constructed Guest experience can create life-changing events. Like when…

  • Artistic and immersive experiences inspire the imagination of a new generation of writers, filmmakers and artisans. They should thank the creative research and dynamic narratives of a show writer.
  • Siblings clutch one another in a terrifying haunted house and create a lifelong memory that brings them closer than ever before. That creepy concept was artfully rendered by a team of talented illustrators.
  • Families fragmented by distance or history are reunited in an embrace in the setting of a beautiful hotel lobby. It was designed to be open, warm and welcoming by a 3D modeler and interior designer.
  • A couple’s happily ever after begins with a proposal and kiss in picturesque gardens. They’ll never know how much thought was put into that design by experienced landscape architects.
  • A final wish is granted beneath a sparkling sky of fireworks. It would bring tears to the eyes of the show director, composer and pyrotechnician who orchestrated that experience.
Themed design is not just a construct of artificial reality meant to entertain; it's meaningful world building intended to affect the very minds and hearts of those who share it. All this magic begins with the simple idea in a conference room that becomes something incredibly special thanks to the creatives who bring it to life.

Now that’s what I call making a difference.