This report has been complied by our 2014 Storytelling Fellows.
STUART CANDY (AUS/CAN)
Stuart Candy is a design futurist on a mission to bring foresight to life, producing participatory, guerrilla and experiential futures interventions to pattern a wiser and more vital culture. Often sought out for strategic input on unusual initiatives, Stuart has partnered with Oxford University, Wired magazine, the Sydney Opera House, IDEO, the TED Conference, Canada’s National Film Board, Burning Man Australia, and the Future We Want project for the United Nations Rio+20 Summit. He is currently Director of the Situation Lab and Assistant Professor of Strategic Foresight & Innovation at OCAD University, and Research Fellow of the Long Now Foundation.
BRIAN CLARK (USA)
Brian Clark is the Founder/CEO of GMD Studios, an 18-year-old experience design lab in Orlando & NYC, and a leading voice for innovation in independent media for more than a decade. He mixes a combination of commercial work (including groundbreaking projects in storytelling for brands including Smithsonian, Scholastic, Ford, Audi, Sharp and Microsoft) with a dedication to indie experimental work that pushes the boundaries of audience interaction.
ALEXA CLAY (GER)
I am a writer, economic historian and culture hacker living in Berlin. Much of my time is spent with others building a movement for a new economy. My background is in anthropology and ethnographic methods, creative writing under poet Bob Creeley, and 18th and 19th century moral philosophy and economic theory. I have a fondness for windmills, independent bookstores, and sound art. My first book, The Misfit Economy (forthcoming w/ Simon & Schuster), explores underground and black market innovation. I’m currently working on adapting the story of Henry Ford’s failed Amazon utopia, Fordlandia, into an electronic musical. My alter-ego, the Amish Futurist, is an attempt to bring more Socratic inquiry into the tech scene.
RICHARD DANSKY (USA)
The Central Clancy Writer for Ubisoft, Richard Dansky has worked on acclaimed titles including Splinter Cell: Blacklist, Driver: San Francisco and Rainbow Six: Black Arrow. The author of six novels and a short fiction collection, he also was a major contributor to White Wolf’s World of Darkness franchise, and will be developing the 20th anniversary edition of critically hailed game Wraith: The Oblivion. He lives in North Carolina with his wife and their statistically improbable collections of cats, books, and single malt whiskys. You can follow him on twitter at @rdansky
KEN EKLUND (USA)
I’m a game and experience designer, and I create authentic fiction, “immersive stories that want to write themselves.” I focus on socially relevant games, “what if?” stories exploring real-world issues through collaborative play. It’s a good day if in these games people immerse themselves in exploring the future and have fun collaborating democratically on positive solutions and action. I started as a storyteller, and that was fun, but now I am a storymaker. We Occupy story.
DAVID FONO (CAN)
I’m an interactive designer and developer, proficient across a wide variety of media and technologies. I’ve been building technology for 16 years and designing games for 7 years. My bread and butter are my web projects, which have been viewed by millions, including: Flash games for TV shows, iPhone/iPad apps, social networking websites, advertising microsites, interactive trailers, and more. But my heart is in all forms of play, and finding ways to support it with technological know-how. I’m the co-founder of experiential foresight company The Mission Business, where I helped construct the transmedia project ZED.TO and other smaller productions that blend theatre and games. I also work with pervasive games collective Atmosphere Industries, and my games with them have been featured internationally at Indiecade, Gamercamp, Come Out and Play, Playpublik, and Hide & Seek. Plus, I co-organize Board Game Jam, an annual event held in Toronto.
SARAH FORNACE (USA)
Sarah Fornace is a Chicago-based narrative designer, choreographer, puppeteer, and director. She specializes in staging immersive performance and exploring the possibilities of embodied storytelling. Sarah is a co-artistic director of Manual Cinema, a live animation company. Manual Cinema is currently working on shorts based on Story Corps audio. As a choreographer, Sarah has staged over 30 fight sequences, from blindfolded boxing to all-girl sword battles. As a performer, she has hung from silks, animated Moby Dick puppets made of driftwood, and danced ballet in a giant rabbit suit in front of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. Sarah teaches at Columbia College Chicago.
NICK FORTUGNO (USA)
Nick Fortugno is a game designer of digital and real-world games based in New York City, and a founder of Playmatics. Games by Playmatics include the CableFAX award-winning Breaking Bad: The Interrogation as well as games for clients like Disney Interactive and LEGO. Before Playmatics, Fortugno was the Director of Game Design at gameLab, where he was a designer, writer and project manager on dozens of commercial and serious games, and served as lead designer on the downloadable blockbuster Diner Dash and the award-winning serious game Ayiti: The Cost of Life. Nick teaches game design and interactive narrative design at Parsons The New School of Design, and has participated in the construction of the school’s game design curriculum. Nick is also a co-founder of the annual Come Out and Play street games festival hosted in New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Amsterdam since 2006, and co-creator of the Big Urban Game for Minneapolis/St. Paul in 2003. Nick’s most recent writing about games can be found in the anthology Well-Played 1.0: Video Game, Value, and Meaning, published by ETC-Press.
JAN LIBBY (USA)
Jan Libby balances her innovative work as a Multimedia Storyteller and Experience Designer for Media Companies, Brands and Ad Agencies with her ground-breaking Indie Projects. Levi’s, Toyota’s Scion, 20th Century Fox, Coke, Discovery, ABCFamily, Ford, Wieden+Kennedy and FOX Broadcasting are just some of the clients on her resume. Most recently, Jan partnered with FOX on digital extensions for “Sleepy Hollow”, “Almost Human” and “The Following”.
HEIDI McDONALD (USA)
Heidi McDonald is a Game Designer with Schell Games, specializing in Narrative Design. Having spoken around the world about romance in games, McDonald is the current winner of Women in Gaming’s Rising Star award. Her credited game titles are PlayForward: Elm City Stories, Tunnel Tail, and Lionel Battle Train. Prior to becoming a game writer she was a freelance entertainment and lifestyle writer for print and online media including Yahoo! Movies, BRAVO-TV, and many others.
MICHAEL PREMO (USA)
Michael is an award-winning multidisciplinary artist, producer, media-maker, theater-maker, and activist. Following Hurricane Sandy he helped launch the Occupy Sandy network and co-created Sandy Storyline, a participatory documentary that collects and shares stories about the impact of Hurricane Sandy on individuals and communities. The project was selected for the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival’s inaugural, juried transmedia showcase, Storyscapes, and won the Bombay Sapphire Award for Transmedia. Currently, he’s an impact producer for The Message, a multiplatform documentary project comprised of Naomi Klein’s forthcoming book, film, and interactive website. He is co-creator of Housing is a Human Right (HHR), a creative storytelling project exploring the complex fabric of community and the human right to housing, land, and the dignity of a place to call home. Stories are shared through multiple mediums including photography, radio/audio, interactive installations, and a music album. He has produced over a thousand audio stories with Earsay, Inc. and multiple Peabody award-winning StoryCorps. He has created, produced, and presented original works of performance with theater companies including Hip-Hop Theater Festival, The Foundry Theater, The Civilians, Penny Arcade, and Company One. He serves on the Board of Directors for The Network of Ensemble Theaters, and his photography has appeared in numerous outlets including VillageVoice & NYTimes. Michael is a 2013 A Blade of Grass social practice Fellow.
RACHEL FALCONE (USA)
Rachel is a multimedia producer, educator and storytelling strategist. She is Co-Founder and Executive Producer of the award-winning transmedia storytelling project Sandy Storyline. For the last 6 years she has produced first-person stories about the housing crisis, and housing movement, as part of her multimedia project Housing is a Human Right. The project’s latest release is Home, a global Hip Hop mixtape. Rachel traveled across the US with Peabody award-winning national oral history project StoryCorps, and has worked with EarSay and None On Record. Her independent radio docs and multimedia have been broadcast & shared through interactive installations in everywhere from laundromats to shipping containers. Her most recent exhibition at the Tribeca Film Festival won the inaugural Award for Transmedia. Rachel is a sought after speaker and educator, and has taught oral history and in collaboration with the Museum of the City of New York, PPH, Parsons The New School for Design, and others. Rachel currently consults on storytelling and impact campaigns for nonprofits and media projects. She worked on the Good Pitch supported film Young Lakota (Independent Lens 2013), and a tear gas campaign for the War Resisters League. She is now working in the field of patient advocacy, coordinating communications and a new blog initiative for the Partnership for Palliative Care. Rachel is a 2013 Blade of Grass grantee. She studied philosophy at UCL and Vassar College.
STEVE PETERS (USA)
An Emmy®-winning experience designer, Steve began his career as a roller coaster operator, which probably explains a lot. A pioneering force in Alternate Reality Games and Transmedia Entertainment, he has worked on some of the biggest and most innovative interactive experiences to date. In addition to founding No Mimes Media, Steve was VP of Experience Design at Fourth Wall Studios, where he worked on projects like the interactive web series Dirty Work and 6 Minutes to Midnight (for the feature film Watchmen). Prior to that, he worked at 42 Entertainment on projects including “Why So Serious?” (for the feature film The Dark Knight) for which he was Experience Designer.
Noel Patrick Qualter (UK)
Writer, director, producer and media specialist, Noel Qualter is a graduate/post-graduate of the National University of Ireland. Noel’s first exposure to stories occurred when as a young boy he accompanied his father on the mobile library to remotest parts of western Ireland. After teaching for a year and a badly paid corporate job, Noel jumped at the opportunity to work in the Middle East with a UN agency based in Cairo. He set up a multimedia production team for Andersen Consulting (Accenture) in the Middle East before relocating to London in 1995. He was one of the first creators of high concept multimedia simulations. In 1999, Noel became a filmmaker. Through his company Cineman Films Limited, he a producer of SISTERS (NI Screen and BFI) with director Terry Loane. Currently, living between London and Berlin, Noel is the writer and director of the artcore story THE LAST DAY OF RAIN, produced by Krysanne Katsoolis. Set in Berlin, a story-world is emerging to mark our times.
OSCAR RABY (CHL/AUS)
I am a multimedia designer and visual artist, originally hailing from Santiago de Chile where I studied Architecture, Multimedia Communications and Visual Arts. I began my career working as an advertising creative before founding one of Chile’s most prominent artistic collectives of the 2000s, O-inc. Our work commented on market culture and the manipulation of information in the public space using digital tools and physical performance as our main media. After working as the lead AV Integrator developing the audiovisual / information system for the Memory and Human Rights Museum in Chile, I moved to Australia where I am continuing my practise in digitally informed visual art while also working in the Multimedia Department at the National Gallery of Victoria. In 2013 I finished a Master degree in Animation and Interactive Media at RMIT where the subject of my research was Portraiture in New Media. Within this framework I developed the interactive work Assent, a portrait of the relationship with my father as a military officer during the Chilean dictatorship of the ‘80s.
Gabe Smedresman (USA)
I’m a San Francisco-based designer, coder and storyteller with a passion for games, real-world data, interactive narrative, maps, public space and theater — and the intersections between them. My experience spans the gamut from live-action and installation games to interactive narratives to design tools to data visualization and exploration. I create magical experiences in the liminal space between real and fictional, digital and physical. My latest public work includes the mixed-reality facebook game Crazy Boat: The Curse of the Trash Vortex (New York Times: “enormously compelling”), cartographic art startup Woodcut Maps (SF Chronicle: “new territory for decor”), and art heist installation game The Hearst Collection (Indiecade 2013 Official Selection). I’m currently the Technology Director at The Go Game, building platforms and designs for live-action urban adventure games running every week across the world. I also organize the Adventure Design Group, a San Francisco based free demi-monthly speaker series for live games and immersive theatrical experiences.
Lina Srivastava (USA)
Lina Srivastava is a strategist who combines technology, culture, art, and storytelling for social transformation. As the Founder of a social innovation strategy collaborative in New York City, Lina has created the Transmedia Activism framework and has worked on strategic project design with a group of social impact organizations including Internews, MobileActive, the Safer Mobile Project, 3Generations, Donor Direct Action, UNICEF, the World Bank Institute, and UNESCO. Lina has been involved in social engagement campaigns for several documentaries, including Oscar-winning Born into Brothels, Emmy-nominated The Devil Came on Horseback, Oscar-winning Inocente, and Sundance-award winning Who Is Dayani Cristal?. An intellectual property attorney by training, and the former Executive Director of Kids with Cameras, and the Association of Video and Filmmakers, Lina has taught design and social entrepreneurship at Parsons, The New School of Design, and is on faculty in the Masters of Fine Arts Program in Design and Social Innovation at the School of Visual Arts.
Illya Szilak (USA)
Illya Szilak uses open source media and collaborations forged via the Internet to create multimedia novels. Shaped by her experience as a practicing physician, her artistic practice explores mortality, embodiment, identity,and belief in a media-inundated and increasingly virtual world. Her first novel Reconstructing Mayakovsky(interactive design,Cyril Tsiboulski) was selected for the 2nd Electronic Literature Collection and was a jury pick for the 14th Japan Media Arts Festival, and at Filmwinter in Stuttgart. The animation (with Pelin Kirca) was shown at eight short film festivals including the Melbourne International Animation Festival. Her new novel Queerskins (with Cyril Tsiboulski) about a gay physician who dies of AIDS was officially recognized by the Webby Awards in 2012 in the category of “Net Art”. It was exhibited at the Bibliotéque National, Paris. She has presented her work at Brown University, Princeton, Bard College, L’Université Paris Sorbonne, the University of Colorado and at the Kitchen, NYC. To bring “born digital” literature to a wider audience, she writes a well-regarded series for the Huffington Post in which she situates individual artists within a framework of cultural theory, philosophy and the tradition of the 20th century avant-garde. She maintains a keen interest in visual arts and has served on the Whitney Museum Committee on Film and Video and on the board of PERFORMA, an organization that commissions performance art.
Michael Webster (UK)
I am an Associate Director of Seymourpowell, a London-based design and innovation consultancy. I am an industrial designer with 18 years of experience in product design and innovation and have worked across many different categories, ranging from consumer electronics and healthcare to FMCG and transport. I work with clients designing the ‘next big thing’, whether that be a new product for next year or an innovation pipeline for the next ten. I provide creative and strategic direction throughout the design process, from identifying opportunities at the front-end, the subsequent creation and development of new products and ultimately their implementation at the back-end. Before Seymourpowell, I worked for Conran & Partners for five years after graduating in Industrial Design (majoring in transport) from Coventry University, England.
Paula Zuccotti (AR/UK)
Paula Zuccotti is founder of The Overworld – an innovation, trends forecasting and insight consultancy. Paula specialises in the relationship between people, technology and culture and has a unique eye for spotting emerging behaviours, which she translates into insights and opportunities for product and services for companies such as LG, Nokia and Google. Formerly Director of Futures at Seymourpowell, where she created and developed the company’s renowned Ethnographic Research offer, Paula travelled the world for twelve years directing global trends and consumer-behavior studies for a bandwidth of consumer electronics, transportation, FMCG and luxury clients. She is a regular speaker at international conferences and has published several articles. Paula has also co-created educational design programs for the V&A museum and is currently exploring The Future of Culture with The Royal Academy of Arts. Paula has a First-class Honours degree in Industrial Design from the University of Buenos Aires and a Masters in Design Strategy and Innovation from Brunel University. She lives in London.
Christy Dena (AUS)
Christy Dena is a writer-designer-director who has worked on award-winning pervasive games, film, digital and theatre projects. Clients include Nokia, Cisco/No Mimes Media, ABC, Wieden+Kennedy, Bangarra Dance Theatre, Noah Falstein, Ken Eklund & Agency of Coney, and others. Christy has been granted Australia’s first Digital Writing Residency at The Cube for her project “Robot University,” thanks to the Australia Council for the Arts and QUT. In 2012, she was the “Digital Writing Ambassador” for the Emerging Writers Festival; and a prototype of her web audio adventure for the iPad, AUTHENTIC IN ALL CAPS, was Finalist for “Best Writing in a Game” Award at the Freeplay Independent Gaming Festival. Christy co-wrote “The Writers Guide to Making a Digital Living” for the Australian Literature Board and is a Member of the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
Lance Weiler (USA)
Lance Weiler is a storyteller, entrepreneur and thought leader. An alumni of the Sundance Screenwriting Lab, he is recognized as a pioneer because of the way he mixes storytelling and technology. WIRED magazine named him “one of 25 people helping to re-invent entertainment and change the face of Hollywood.” Always interested in experimenting with new ways to tell stories and engage audiences, Lance has designed experiences that have reached millions of people via theatres, mobile devices and online. In recognition of these storytelling innovations, BUSINESSWEEK named Lance “One of the 18 Who Changed Hollywood.” Lance is recognized as a thought leader in the entertainment space. He sits on a World Economic Forum steering committee for the future of content creation and teaches at Columbia University on the art, craft and business of storytelling in the 21st Century. Lance is currently developing a slate of film, tv and gaming projects.