Themed Experience Challenge - ETCentric

ETC@USC student Challenge: The Future of Themed Experiences

On October 22, 2022 the ETC@USC began a one week student challenge on “The Future of Themed Experiences.” Leveraging the tools, techniques, and resources of today and those that could emerge and dominate in the next few years, the students were asked to come up with an original unique idea for an experience that 1) has a specific location-based experience and 2) extends the experience out into the real and virtual worlds before and after the person has the location-based experience.

Location-based experiences are not just theme parks; they can be tied to supermarkets, schools, hospitals, parks, and any other venue that could potentially be themed.

The students were asked to prepare a 3-minute pitch video and be prepared to answer questions from the judges.  Their pitch should address what the experience is, how the location-specific and non-location-specific pieces work together, what are memorable moments or hooks in the experience, what the experience is trying to achieve, what is different and unique about it, and why will the intended audience love it.

The judges would be looking for interesting storytelling or audience-engagement ideas that use the relationship between a physical location and scalable ‘anywhere’ (i.e. not location-specific) elements in engaging and creative ways. The judging criteria would be 1) how engaging it is, 2) originality and 3) repeatability.

A week later, on Saturday October 29th, the students presented 18 pitch videos to an esteemed panel of judges (listed below), and the judges selected five winners (Bold font). Click on a title below to watch each of the 18 3-minute videos and their follow-up Q&A discussion.

Brief intro by event producer and moderator Philip Lelyveld, ETC@USC

Don’t Throw Away Your Vote

            Shanna Finnigan, Junior, Iovine and Young Academy

            Anna Shaposhnik, Junior, Iovine and Young Academy

            Memphis Grace MacPherson, Junior, Iovine and Young Academy

Prism

            Sophie Shack, Junior, Iovine and Young Academy

World Prism AR

            Aleksandre Lomadze-Gabiani, Junior, Viterbi School of Engineering

Echo Mind

            Matthew Salaway, Sophomore, Viterbi School of Engineering

            Zoe Foumier-Swire, Sophomore, Marshall School of Business

            Frederic Perera, Sophomore, School of Cinematic Arts

Flat Circle

            William Clark, Graduate Student, Marshall School of Business

            Kye Zarriello, Graduate Student, Marshall School of Business

ConnexUS (Augmented Reality nametag overlay)

            Jonathan Wavell, Graduate Student, Iovine and Young Academy

Using virtual pets as training wheels

            Carlos Barcelo, Sophomore, Viterbi School of Engineering

Pop Up Park

            Kimisha Renee Davis, Junior, School of Cinematic Arts

            Jaden Kirshner, Sophomore, Marshall School of Business

Somersault

            Brandon Walsh, Graduate Student, School of Cinematic Arts

The Universal ID

            Ramon Lyons, Graduate Student, School of Cinematic Arts

Eat Your Fantasy

            Zitong Xu, Senior, School of Cinematic Arts

“Today I Will Take the Road Less Traveled”

            Powen Yao, Graduate Student, Viterbi School of Engineering

How to Train Your Human

            Christy Ye, Graduate Student, School of Cinematic Arts

Pop-Up Shop

            Dylan Phung, Junior, Marshall School of Business and School of Cinematic Arts

Branching Narrative: History Pre-Lesson

            Zane Swift, Graduate Student, School of Cinematic Arts

My Concert Pal

            Christina Ingraldi, Graduate Student, Marshall School of Business

Urban Shadows

            Nathan Huh, Sophomore, Viterbi School of Engineering

            Tiffany Yoon, Senior, Viterbi School of Engineering

Trivia Fanatix

            Scotch Wilson, Junior, Marshall School of Business and School of Cinematic Arts

Galaxy Groceries (late submission)

.           Olivia Siu, Interactive Media M.A., Aerospace Physiology B.S.

The students who developed the selected ideas will participate in a one-hour Zoom discussion with senior industry executives on the future of the metaverse and experience in general.

Our panel of judges who generously gave up their Saturday afternoon to listen to the pitches and interact with the students were;

  • Marty Sixkiller, Principal Product Manager, Technical, Prime Video & Amazon Studios
  • Chris Bennett, CTO, Dolby Laboratories
  • Connie Kennedy, Director, Los Angeles Lab, Epic Games
  • Denis LeConte, VP Technology, Iron Mountain Entertainment Services
  • Lucas Gansmoe, Manager, Emerging Tech, Paramount Pictures
  • Ted Schilowitz, Futurist, Paramount Pictures
  • Katie Hinsen, Director, Production Technology, Marvel, The Walt Disney Studios
  • Nathan Casillas, Software Engineer, App Developer, Emerging Tech, Warner Bros Discovery
  • Brian Wellner, Director, Technology Products and Platforms, Warner Bros Discovery

The ETC@USC student Challenge is an ongoing program that encourages the next generation of creators to develop and pitch possible futures for emerging entertainment technology-related topics.  It also gives USC students and senior industry executives a chance to interact in a casual yet structured environment.  Please watch www.ETCentric.Org for announcements of future challenges for USC students and recent graduates.