“Be My Guest” Interview and Other News

Imagineering_Pyramid_Cover_Rev1

Yesterday, I did an interview about The Imagineering Pyramid for “Be My Guest”, a cable television interview program on Upton’s cable television station hosted by Jan Lewis.

The interview went well, though I forgot the year that Steamboat Willie came out (1928), which is a little embarrassing. Of course, since that’s fairly outside the scope of the book, I hope it’s a forgivable error.

I should have a video to share in the next couple of weeks.

In other news, earlier this month, I signed a contract for the next book in The Imagineering Toolbox series! My working title is “THE IMAGINEERING PROCESS: Using the Disney Theme Park Design Process to Bring Your Creative Ideas to Life”. I’ll keep you apprised on my progress.

Take care!

Advertisements

Pyramid Pairings #4: It All Begins with a Story / Long, Medium, and Close Shots

16_Pyramid

Pyramid Pairings are specific pairs of Imagineering Pyramid principles and how they work together. The next Pyramid Pairing we’re going to look at is It All Begins with a Story and Long, Medium, and Close Shots.

Let’s start with a refresher on these principles, from The Imagineering Pyramid.

It All Begins with a Story is described on page 25:

…“it all begins with a story” means using your subject matter to inform all decisions about your project.

Long, Medium, and Close Shots is described on page 49:

To be more specific, it’s about organizing your message to lead your audience from general to the specific, and involves organizing your details in such a way as to introduce and then support your subject matter.

The connection between these two principles is simple enough: long / establishing shots introduce your audience to your subject matter and medium and close shots help expand on and support your story.

One of my favorite examples of this from the Disney parks is The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World, which I referenced in The Imagineering Pyramid (page 49):

As you enter Sunset Boulevard at Hollywood Studios, the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror stands at the far end, beckoning you. From a distance, the building stands out as an old, dilapidated tower, a shadow of its former glory. Moving closer, the extent of the damage becomes more clear, as holes in the walls and remnants of missing portions of the building come into view. Finally, as you walk up along the walkways and into the hotel lobby, the full story of this place comes into focus, with its deserted hallways, dusty and cobwebbed furniture. This is not just any hotel. It’s a place that has known tragedy and mystery, and one that invites you to explore its secrets.

As we approach The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, we are introduced to the story and learn more about it as we get closer. The long shot says “something bad happened here,” the medium shot tells us more of the story as we see more of the damage done to the hotel, and the close shots show us that the place has been abandoned for years, and even show us the date on which the tragedy occurred.

This pairing also works well “beyond the berm” too. For example, when designing a training course or classroom lesson, you might create an introductory lesson that introduces the subject matter (long shot), followed by individual lessons on specific topics. Each of these individual lessons might start with a lesson overview (medium shot) before moving into specifics and details of the topic (close shots).

Imagineering Pyramid Checklist Questions

Here are some additional Imagineering Pyramid Checklists questions based on this pairing:

  • How can leading your audience from the general to the specific help you communicate your subject matter?
  • What does your establishing shot tell your audience about your subject matter?
  • How do your medium and close shots help tell your story?

Thoughts? Tell me what you think in the comments!

Pyramid Pairings #3: It All Begins with a Story / Theming

16_Pyramid

Pyramid Pairings are specific pairs of Imagineering Pyramid principles and how they work together. The next Pyramid Pairing I want to look at is It All Begins with a Story and Theming.

Let’s start with a refresher on these principles, from The Imagineering Pyramid.

It All Begins with a Story is described on page 25:

…“it all begins with a story” means using your subject matter to inform all decisions about your project.

Theming is described on page 44:

Theming is all about using appropriate details to strengthen your story and support your creative intent.

Since theming is about strengthening your story, the relationship between these two principles is a natural one. In fact, theming has an especially close relationship with both It All Begins with a Story and Attention to Detail, as the description of it specifically references both story and details. Also, as mentioned in The Imagineering Pyramid, one way to look at theming is as being the combination of It all Begins with a Story and Attention to Detail (we’ll look at the pairing of Attention to Detail and Theming in a future post). Also, like the pairing of It All Begins with a Story and Attention to Detail, the pairing  of It All Begins with a Story and Theming is also reciprocal – the story drives the theming, and the theming in turn helps tell the story.

A great example of story and theming working together in the Disney parks is the “kit-of-parts” technique used in A Bug’s Land in Disney California Adventure, described by Imagineer Alex Wright in the The Imagineering Field Guide to Disney’s Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World:

In kit-of-parts design, a defined set of elements—which can be configured in multiple ways to achieve the intent—is available to the designer. The logic of a kit-of-parts is applicable to the world of the bugs in the film and in our land because the “kit” is defined by the elements that would be available to the characters in order to build the world in which they live. In the case of A Bug’s Life, the environment is comprised only of things that are within the reach of the bugs, either found in their natural environment or left behind by humans.

According to the ‘a bug’s land’ at Disney California Adventure Park Fact Sheet, “Guests shrink down to the size of a bug at Flik’s Fun Fair and enjoy the attractions, which are designed to delight younger children and their parents.” This story is strengthened through the use of the “kit-of-parts” theming that takes the form of human leftovers such as rest rooms housed in an empty and worn-out tissue box, a bench formed of used Popsicle sticks, a circus tent made from an umbrella, light posts made of discarded bendy straws, and other items.

It All Begins with a Story and Theming also work together in fields “beyond the berm”. Again, your subject matter can provide a general idea of the types of theming you might use in your project, and the specific theming you choose can serve to strengthen and reinforce your subject matter.

A good example of story and theming working together is the “corporate theming” used in the original Life is Good apparel (which I elaborated on in a previous post). Life is Good’s mission of “Spreading the power of optimism” is communicated through the consistent use of their unique illustration and lettering style.

Imagineering Pyramid Checklist Questions

To wrap up, here are some additional Imagineering Pyramid Checklists questions based on this pairing:

  • What types of theming does my subject matter suggest?
  • What types of theming can I use to highlight and strengthen my story and subject matter?
  • How can I use theming to strengthen and reinforce my story?

Thoughts? Tell me what you think in the comments!

My Imagineering Library – Jack Blitch, Walt Disney Imagineering

300px-walt_disney_imagineering_thumb

In an earlier post, I mentioned that most of My Imagineering Library is comprised of books, but some of the “items” are in fact online resources, including websites and videos. One of these is a presentation from the NASA Information Technology Summit in 2010 featuring Jack Blitch, Vice President of Walt Disney Imagineering in Orlando.

During his presentation, Blitch describes the process Walt Disney Imagineering (WDI) uses when they design and build attractions, with a specific emphasis on their use of technology and modeling software.

wdi_jack_blitch-everest

Video of the summit is available online here. The portion of the video featuring Jack Blitch starts at the 50:00 minute mark.

This is a great resource to help anyone understand Imagineering and what WDI does. I recommend this video to anyone interested in learning more about Imagineering.

Thoughts? Tell me what you think in the comments!