For SCAD Mouseketeers’ fourth meeting of the Winter Quarter, the club met in the Oglethorpe Ballroom at 6 p.m. to hear from former Imagineer George Head, professor of Themed Entertainment Design. He had a special treat for us – a presentation by SCAD’s 2012 ImagiNation entry team, Elisabeth Papadopoulos and Nathan Hollrith.
The two opened up with the ImagiNations contest, and precisely what it is. For those that don’t know, it’s a competition proposed by Disney for college students to create a new “Disney experience.” This could be a new ride, a new hotel – even a new travel experience. If Disney likes your idea, and you become a finalist, you and your team will win an all-expense-paid trip to Walt Disney Imagineering in California.
Sounds easy, right?
Both Papadopoulos and Hollrith expressed the difficulties, the stress, and the work this contest takes. “It’s like taking another class,” Hollrith says.
But they persevered, and – despite only having a group of two, and regardless of the fact that this was their first time ever applying – the team made it into the final round. In California, they were able to interview for Internships, go behind the scenes, and ask questions.
Unfortunately, once a team makes it to the final round, they aren’t allowed to enter again. That’s why Papadopoulos and Hollrith came out tonight – to urge everyone in the club to take a stab at it and apply. They suggested getting into teams as soon as summer, to start preparing for the 2014 ImagiNation guidelines.
“Pay attention to the way you write it,” Papadopoulos repeated. This was perhaps the most notable take-away from their lecture. “Present it like you would a story. Make it parallel to the experience.”
At one point, professor Head yelled out, “Get a writer on your team!” Disney has always focused on the story, so make sure you tell yours well.
After Papadopoulos and Hollrith finished their presentation, it was professor Head’s turn. He stayed loosely on the topic of ImagiNations, and began by saying, “There are a million ways to sell a project.” His best example? The Space Mountain concept sketch by John Hench.
Professor Head had plenty of other examples, and shared concept art with students from every Disney Park in the world. Admittedly, some of the pictures were outdated: rides that have since been removed, parks that have been updated. But the message he was trying to get across was clear.
You don’t need all this fancy-smanshy computer stuff to get your idea across. You just need an idea worth telling.