Currently working as an experiential designer, project lead, and creative director for Walt Disney Imagineering's Research & Development Studio. As an R&D Imagineer, I'm constantly challenged to learn new techniques and incorporate the latest technology into my designs. In my 10+ years, I've worked on projects ranging from A.I. conversational design, to robotics, to autonomous vehicles, to mixed reality. And while most projects remain under NDA, I'm pleased to share a few released samples below:
Led a team of writers, artists, and game developers to create Disney’s first Intelligent Character Personality: D3-O9. Installed in every cabin on board the Star Wars Galactic Starcruiser, D3-O9 is an A.I.-powered droid character that converses with passengers, reacts to the events occurring during the 2-night adventure, and creates a personalized relationship with each cabin. Guests can ask D3-O9 questions or learn the latest rumors on board, but passengers may also find themselves suddenly negotiating with space pirates, standing up to stormtroopers, or even tricking D3 herself in the name of the sinister First Order!
Our overall goal was to harness emerging technologies like speech recognition and natural language understanding to create not just an “in-cabin assistant,” but a true character—someone you could befriend, betray, or fall in love with. Classic character building, but done in a personalized and generative fashion. Something that was both indicative of this new technological power, but also something familiar and frankly, fun! Response from press and social media was incredibly positive for such an experimental form of entertainment. Forbes Magazine called D3-O9 “One of the real technological wonders on the Halcyon…” and I was even able to speak at length with ComicBook.com about the potential for this type of character in the future.
Overall, the project serves to launch Disney’s Intelligent Character Personality Platform. The technology, tools, and creative methodology that I had the privilege to develop alongside a hugely talented team will ideally define an amazing future where characters talk, feel, and react alongside their audience for truly immersive, two-way storytelling!
Worked with a small team of developers and engineers to define and develop the future of free-ranging ride vehicles for Disney Parks. Leveraged my background in game design and UX design to conceptualize new types of theme park attractions focused around group interactivity, gaming, and play. Built and operated full-scale prototypes for testing with internal teams.
One experiment was about creating an intuitive (and fun) method for letting a group of riders control and drive their own ride vehicle. To prove this out, we combined projection mapping, interactive set pieces, a game engine, and our prototype ride vehicles to build a life-size video game attraction. Our proof-of-concept was not intended for a specific Park application and featured a variety of interactive game modes. It was a great tool for understanding many aspects of what is possible with free-ranging vehicles.
We also used this system to develop a virtual reality tool used by other internal Imagineering teams to pre-experience attractions in development, most recently Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. Our tool allows Imagineers to literally experience a working 3D model in virtual reality with the 1:1 vehicle motion in perfect sync. It's pre-visualization with real movement so we call it "pre-visceralization." This empowers the artists and designers to understand a much more complete version of their attractions earlier in the process than ever before (often years before even a foundation is laid). By streamlining this into a custom, easy-to-use toolkit for Imagineering, we enable rapid iteration and instant collaboration for attraction teams across Imagineering.
The Ghost Post is a THEA Award winning subscription story experience for fans of the Haunted Mansion. In this proof-of-concept, we explored how Imagineering could extend and expand the stories of our attractions beyond the borders of our parks. We created three subscribtion boxes featuring custom designed collectables that interacted with a companion iOS app. The experience combined physical clues, audio narration, and object recognition to allow fans to unlock the chapters in the story.
One of my main roles on the project was to help conceive and develop additional interactive experiences that took place back inside the theme park. Using the companion app, Ghost Post subscribers could unlock a secret scavenger hunt that sent them across Disneyland to rescue various lost spirits. I worked on the story concepts and programmed the initial prototypes. The interactive experiences ranged from rescuing a ship captain with this cursed compass or a composer with this haunted orchestreon..
In collaboration with Khan Academy: Imagineering in a Box is an online video series that teaches kids (and kids at heart) how Walt Disney Imagineering designs and builds immersive experiences. The courses cover everything from building worlds, to creating characters, to designing attractions.
In addition to being asked to host the intro/outro segments for each lesson, I also worked with the production team to pitch and develop the series. The project was a collaboration across Imagineering and was developed with the same team that produced Pixar in a Box. The aim of the content was to distill the extremely broad scope of Imagineering into something simple and clear while also ensuring it would be relevant for all ages.
Check out the first video below: