Using Creative Cloud to Bring Theme Parks to Life
This post is part of our ongoing Unexpected Creative Careers series. Click here to view all posts in this series.
Becoming a Disney Imagineer or a theme park designer is every kid’s dream career. For the team at BRC Imagination Arts, it’s a reality. BRC is an experience design and production agency that creates theme park rides, museum exhibits, cultural attractions and brand destinations for clients around the world. Their projects range from The Mystery Lodge at Knott’s Berry Farm to the Heineken Experience.
We had the opportunity to sit down with Christian Lachel, Executive Creative Director, and Carmel Lewis, Executive Producer, to learn more about their work and ask their advice for aspiring designers.
How do you describe BRC and its unique focus?
Carmel Lewis: BRC creates experiences that spark emotions – a smile, a laugh, a lump in the throat. When you can reach the heart of an audience, it’s possible to trigger curiosity that extends far beyond the experience itself. We are the creative producer and director of every discipline that comprises the experience – the story as told with physical sets and graphics, integrated technology, multi-media elements, original music, lighting, live scripting. We create and tell stories in physical space where there is little or no separation between the story and the audience.
What inspired you to focus on experience design and theme parks?
Christian Lachel: Our team creates “brand homes” for clients like Ford and Heineken. My passion is all about using the new tools of immersive storytelling and engagement to make people feel what Joseph Campbell called “the rapture of being alive.”
What are the biggest industry trends in experience design?
Christian Lachel: The first trend is immersion: using the new storytelling tools to put guests at the center of the experience, engage them from the first instant and transport them to someplace new and unexpected. The second is personalization. How can we create an experience that welcomes each guest by name, acknowledges personal preferences and creates a journey unique to that guest?
What tools do you use in your work?
Christian Lachel: Talking to our creative team about Adobe products is like talking to fish about water: we use so many of them so much of the time they’re literally the creative world we live in. Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, AfterEffects, Dreamweaver, Bridge, Acrobat Pro.
What do you look for in the people you hire?
Carmel Lewis: A spark. A natural and insatiable curiosity. Variety of skills and solid instincts. Some of our work calls for specialists with deep-seeded specific skills, but much of what we need as a studio requires maker-doer people with passion for solving creative and technical puzzles in service of great story.
What advice do you have for people thinking about a creative career in experience design?
Carmel Lewis: Ask for opportunities and say “yes” to as much as you think you can handle, even if it doesn’t present a direct path to where you think you want to end up. Take the risk and be willing to figure things out on the job. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, and when you do, OWN THEM. That’s how you grow. Suppress that voice in your head that makes you worried you’ll be found a ‘fraud’ and just keep rolling forward. Because the secret is: EVERYBODY who is good at what they do has similar feelings of inadequacy. I worry more about the ones who don’t.
If you’re interested in learning more about careers in theme park or attractions design, visit the Themed Entertainment Association. Their NextGen events and seminars offer an inside look at getting started in the attractions industry.