WESTON COOKLER is a founding member of The Imagined Futures. He is a proponent of events and experiences designed to increase participation and programming related to the future through a fermentation of the imaginative process. Weston established the informal working group that over the past several months has brought together interested parties from all cross sections of Los Angeles to shape and explore the potential of Imagined Futures. He's held numerous creative charrettes to this end, featuring designers, engineers, storytellers and developers from such diverse institutes as Disney Imagineering, Paramount Pictures, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Google, LACMA, Activision, Caltech, USC and UCLA. Ultimately, it is Weston's goal to develop the Imagined Futures Galleries, a physical home for the Imagined Futures in which the public will be invited to celebrate and explore the intersection of creative arts, science and technology. He believes there's no city but Los Angeles in which these forces are more present or important.
SCOTT GILLIES is a long time lover of science and science fiction. This has transferred into working in interactive media for over 10 years and earning an MFA from USC’s acclaimed School of Cinematic Arts Interactive Media program. He has worked for companies of every size - from Electronic Arts, Disney, Microsoft, and Google to grassroots start-ups in the Los Angeles area. He has worked on the design of a broad range of interactive pieces in educational media, video games, social games, interactive theme park attractions, Emmy® Award-winning transmedia storytelling, toys, R&D and Blue Sky projects that are on the cutting edge of entertainment as well as advising on interactivity on the board of start-up companies. He is an expert in second screen entertainment and games in nontraditional spaces. Recently, Scott has been experimenting with Alternate Reality Games (ARGs) and spreading his enthusiasm for game design and analysis through teaching.
RICK LOVERD is the program director of The Science & Entertainment Exchange, a program of the National Academy of Sciences that connects Hollywood professionals with top scientists for consultations on feature films, television shows, and video games. The Exchange has connected consultants to more than 1,300 mainstream media projects and produced over 250 events since its launch in November, 2008. Before starting at The Exchange, Rick worked at the Creative Artists Agency and on network shows including Friday Night Lights and Boston Public. Rick is also a comic book writer who has published multiple books including the new Sci Fi series VENUS in stores now.
BARBARA GROTH is the CEO and Creative Director of Big Buddha Baba, a full service experience design and production studio. Founded in 1997, Big Buddha Baba consists of pioneers in interactive design, the best storytellers in the world of animation and media production and today’s leading innovators of new technologies. Its core expertise is inventing new ways to engage consumers by blending physical environments with seamless interactive technologies. The work is beautiful, playful, timeless and built to last.
CARL CHOI is a producer and entrepreneur, establishing a crapload of entertainment and marketing ventures in both Los Angeles and Hong Kong. He is a graduate of USC’s Marshall School of Business. Carl is the founder of The Great Company, a Los Angeles-based creative studio producing visual, audio and experiential content through adventurous collaborations with forward-driven creators.
JOE GARLINGTON retired as the Vice President and creative lead for interactive projects at Walt Disney Imagineering, responsible for the creative development of interactive attractions for all Disney theme parks. Additionally Joe leads long term visioning for Disney’s Epcot theme park and partners with WDI R&D in the development of new concepts for theme park entertainment. Joe joined Walt Disney Imagineering in1980 working on projects for Epcot, including Spaceship Earth and a prototype for an “arcade of the future.” A few years later he started Art & Technology, Inc., to design interactive attractions for museums, zoos and theme parks, returning to WDI in 1990. Since then, Joe has overseen the creation and development of such attractions as DisneyQuest, an indoor interactive theme park; WDI’s “Living Character” initiative to develop fully interactive digital characters for park experiences including Turtle Talk with Crush, Stitch Encounter, Monsters Inc Laugh Floor; all the interactive elements for Toy Story Midway Mania, Disney’s largest interactive ride; worked up park-wide and ship-wide games, queue line entertainment, post shows for numerous attractions and “edu-tainment” experiences that are part of sponsored shows. He has worked on projects for virtually all Disney theme parks and many resorts and other businesses.
WHAT'S GOING ON NOW?
While this is the first public year for The Imagined Futures, this is a project that we've been working on privately for more than a year. We've spent that time speaking to a variety of people – agents, directors, producers, studio heads, writers, people at JPL, Caltech, USC, UCLA, Boeing, Google, Microsoft, Disney, Disney Imagineering, CAA, National Academy of Sciences, Exxon Mobil, LACMA, Activision, Paul Allen's Experience Music Project – who have participated in shaping our ideas as part of the informal working group behind our project. These working group charrettes have helped define and shape the mission of the Imagined Futures, and that process will continue.
Our conversations have reinforced our belief that there is incredible interest in and momentum behind the creation of a gallery to celebrate art, science and technology in Los Angeles. The progress of the working group has been tremendous, and has positioned us to engage in our next stage of development, which will be to advance and refine our vision for the Imagined Futures Galleries. This effort will take a number of forms, including the engagement of outside professionals to advise on user experience and feasibility studies to determine the project's scope and cost.
To meet the ambitious goals we've set forth, we are focused on building partnerships with individuals and businesses that share our passion to further the Imagined Futures. We are also working to expand our Advisory Board to bring additional resources, leadership and expertise to our efforts.