[PAST] Elan Lee, Chief Design Officer at Xbox Studios, Drops by the Transmedia Zone

On Monday January 20th the Transmedia Zone was a buzz of anticipation as a packed room eagerly awaiting their guest lecturer. This pop-up event moved staff and students alike to clear their schedule to make space for what was surely to be a memorable and compelling afternoon. The Transmedia Zone enthusiastically welcomed Elan Lee, Chief Design Officer at Xbox Studios in LA, who came by to speak with Ramona Pringle’s Interactive Narrative classes and Transmedia Zone teams.

Lee is credited as being one of the pioneers of Alternate Reality Games (ARGs) and conceived and produced projects including The Beast for Steven Spielberg’s AI, and I Love Bees for the Halo Franchise, as well as Year Zero for Nine Inch Nails. In addition, Lee and his team won the interactive Emmy last year for his series Dirty Jobs.

The room of students listened with bated breath and unprecedented engagement as Lee recounted stories of accomplishments and struggles, speaking with ease and comfort, as if he had known the full room for years. He discussed the importance of pushing the boundaries of social engagement, making reference to the thousands of people who took to the streets in the name of Harvey Dent as part of Lee’s viral marketing campaign during the promotional weeks leading up to the release of Batman the Dark Knight.

He spoke about his many projects, including concealing details to deciphering a story, printed in heat sensitive ink on an album, revealed only after the disk had been warmed by the CD player.

Lee ignited the imaginations of the room, opening their eyes to the global spectrum of storytelling through unconventional means. The Q&A revealed the impact that Lee’s discussion had made. Students, excited about their future, asked for advice on their projects, inquired about strategies that kept Lee innovative and even asked for tips about how to choose a reliable team.

The lecture ended with a rupture of applause, followed promptly by a line up of students, eager to thank him for the inspiration or ask him one last question. Since the lecture, our space has been a hub of discussion, analyzing and dissecting pathways to success. It just goes to show that you never know who might drop by the Transmedia Zone!