03 June 2011

Tom Tait talks about technical design for themed entertainment

After 13 years developing and building museum, theme park and visitor attractions as Show Systems Manager with BRC imagination Arts, technical designer Tom Tait is now independent and looking for his next challenge. I interviewed him for InPark Magazine. Here's an excerpt:

Tom Tait: "If you are able to make a design at the beginning of design development and produce it all the way through without reexamining it, in my opinion you probably got lazy. The reality is that along with your financial budget and schedule for the development process, you need to have an emotional budget as well.

"Some tech designers will take a hard stance and say, “These are the compromises you must make.” That forces storytellers into a defensive position. It’s a much more successful process if everyone can come to table to explore and make the most of things together, without politics. It should be the tech designer’s goal to come to each and every meeting and say “Yes, if,” while clearly explaining at each step what the realities are going to be in terms of schedule, manpower or aesthetic. That may be quickly followed by a “No, because...” by the project producer if those conditions can’t be sustained within the rest of the project, but at the very least the opportunities and the obstacles are all out on the table."

...Read the full interview here.

30 May 2011

Craig Hanna talks about Thinkwell Group's design for Monkey Kingdom theme park opening 2014 near Beijing

Monkey King Co. Ltd, a subsidiary of the real estate, financial and cultural industry investment enterprise Zhonghong Real Estate announced on May 28 that Thinkwell Group would design the park, which will form the first phase of a planned, major mixed-use complex and total investment of 10billion RMB ($1.53billion USD). I interviewed Craig Hanna about the project, for InPark Magazine. Here's an excerpt:

Craig Hanna: "The Monkey King exists in a series of fables and stories with 100% penetration in China. The closest you could liken it to in the US is Santa Claus. Every man, woman and child in China, from the oldest to the youngest, knows what the Monkey King looks like, about his adventures and the ancillary characters. That is an incredible breadth and depth of storytelling to tap into.

"The challenge to us as a Western firm is knowing how to tap into the zeitgeist of China – to know and fulfill their expectations in telling these stories. It’s not unlike the challenge Peter Jackson had with the Lord of the Rings movies: there was an existing impression in fans’ minds of what these characters looked like based on Tolkien’s original books, and he had to get it right. Jackson went to Lord of the Rings fans, and what he learned informed his filmmaking; Thinkwell brought in a world-renowned specialist on Monkey King, and that specialist’s insight and guidance inform the design of this project."