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ARGFest-o-Con » Special Guests

Special Guests


Keynote Speaker: Jordan Weisman

CEO and Founder, Smith & Tinker

Jordan WeismanJordan has been the creative and motivating force behind the founding and success of a number of entertainment companies, including his newest venture, Smith & Tinker (connected toys), FASA Corporation (roleplaying games), Virtual World Entertainment (the world’s first public networked virtual reality entertainment centers) acquired by the Disney Family in 1992, FASA Interactive (PC games, including the MechWarrior franchise) acquired by Microsoft in 1999, WizKids (collectible games, including HeroClix) acquired by Topps Inc. in 2003, and 42 Entertainment (alternate reality gaming).

At Microsoft, Jordan was the Creative Director for the entire entertainment business unit which included all PC and Xbox titles. While there, he conceived of the pioneering transmedia non-linear storytelling experience for Steven Spielberg’s movie, A.I. Artificial Intelligence, which has spawned a whole new genre of interactive entertainment called Alternate Reality Games. Jordan and the 42 Entertainment team have remained in the forefront of ARGs with such experiences as “I Love Bees,” “Year Zero,” the campaign for The Dark Knight, and many others to their credit.

His latest experimentation with transmedia storytelling combines elements of alternate reality games with novels. His first transmedia novel, Cathy’s Book, co-written with Sean Stewart, became a New York Times bestselling young adult novel, and has recently gone on to become a best seller in the UK, Germany, Sweden and Italy. Cathy’s Book was released in seventeen languages before the end of 2008. The third book in the series, Cathy’s Ring, was released in Summer 2009, along with an adult transmedia mystery novel, Personal Effects: Dark Art.

During his career, Jordan has created some of the largest and longest-lasting franchises in the gaming industry, including BattleTech / MechWarrior, Shadowrun and Crimson Skies. He has won more than one hundred awards, including election to the game designer’s hall of fame by the Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts & Design, and in 2003 was selected as the Pacific Northwest Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young. Jordan also serves as an adjunct professor at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts.

With Smith & Tinker, Jordan is reinventing play for today’s children by creating toys and games that combine the endless expandability of online content and the power of neighborhood social dynamics to create a truly connected play experience that moves seamlessly between kids’ online and offline worlds. Smith & Tinker’s first game is Nanovor, which will combine an online multiplayer game with a handheld gaming device, and be set in a rich fictional world revealed through novels, comic books, animated episodes and transmedia-rich websites. Nanovor will be released in late summer 2009.
 

Showcase Speaker: Jason Jakubiak

Associate Creative Director, Doner

Jason JakubiakJason Jakubiak masterminds content across every platform for all the clients on Doner’s roster. A 10-year advertising veteran, he has spent the last several years committed to the future of the Digital/New Media practice at Doner for client work from The UPS Stores to Del Taco to Serta. In his words, “It’s all about branded content and entertainment, alternate reality games, immersive marketing… living campaigns that involve, evolve and maybe turn on a dime at a moment’s notice-all to make brands more relevant and inviting.”
 

Showcase Speaker: Stéphane Raymond

1976 Productions

Stéphane RaymondIn the past 10 years, Stéphane Raymond’s work has revolved around two main areas of traditional production: fiction and advertising. He has made more than 250 music videos, 65 commercials, 12 short films. and 2 feature films in co-production with France.

Two years ago he discovered the new media world and saw the potential of mixing the advertising world with transmedia possibilities in brand experience, immersive and interactive environment, architectural projection enhancement and immersive fiction projects. His recent projects, among many others, have been produced for Le Cirque du Soleil, Bell, Mazda, Volkswagen, JTS interest, Moment Factory, Palace Resort, Spring Preserve, L’Oréal.

Basically, he can easily combine both traditional and new- or trans-media (for lack of better terms!) and he believes that the future will be found in a mix of both. Real transmedia branded content!
 

Grand Inquisitor: Brian Clark

Partner / CEO, GMD Studios

Brian ClarkBrian Clark is one of the leading voices in the world of experience design, someone you might know as one of the team members behind such alternate reality games as The Art of the Heist, Who Is Benjamin Stove and Eldritch Errors. Brian is stepping into the role of Grand Inquisitor at this year’s conference, which means that he will be delivering tough, thought-provoking questions to our panelists, perhaps while wearing a fake goatee.
 

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