Our Column Five team is made up of some very unique people, coming from all walks of life. They’re creative, well-rounded, and work extremely hard. Each week, we profile one fascinating staff member to introduce you to the people behind the scenes of our work.
Hometown: Always a tough one to answer. I was born in Seattle but grew up largely in Bourg d’Oisans, France.
Started May 2011
Describe yourself in 144 characters or less.
Creative navigator and lover of interlingual puns.
What do your parents think you got your Master’s in? (How would they explain it to someone?)
I’ve kept my parents fairly well informed about my work and various schooling, because as my parents they are of course frequently in the position of answering this question. My Master of Fine Arts in Dramaturgy gives them a bit more explanation to do than say, English Literature, but when it comes to telling their friends in France—where they’ve lived since 1998—there’s further translation to do. In French, dramaturge is the word for playwright, which is certainly related to the role of a dramaturg but not at all exclusive to it. My dad tells me he uses either “Metteur en scène”—“scene-setter” translated literally—or “conseiller dramaturgique” for which “narrative advisor” is probably the most accurate translation.
What’s your favorite attraction at Disneyland?
Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Forbidden Eye. Hands down. The attraction is one of the greatest examples of immersive storytelling in a theme park environment from the first step in the queue, to the illusion of choice in the Chamber of Destiny and the thousands of possible minute combinations of sound and movement. Every attraction for me has some moment or “vista” that cinches my experience of the narrative. In IJA, it’s the sweeping reveal of the massive skull of Mara and the bridge over lava matched to a crescendo in the soundtrack. Goosebumps.
This March, IJA turns 17 and, after a three-month refurbishment in 2012, it really looks fantastic. Every time I’d been on it since the six times in a row I went on it for the first time in 1997, I’ve lamented the many effects that I remembered so vividly but that went into disrepair over the years. Going on it now is like getting a new pair of glasses; everything pops. New paint, lighting, and effects that work as they should. Wondrous all over again.
What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever seen/done/experienced?
When you’re 12 and living comfortably in the suburbs of Seattle with a bevy of friends and family close by, moving overseas away from everything you’ve grown to know and love isn’t exactly on the top of your wish list. I was adamantly opposed to this at first but ultimately reasoned that what I would be missing out by staying in Seattle was greater than what I’d miss out on at “home” after moving to Europe. There were many challenges and many times I was lonely, but there were a great number of adventures and new friends to be made too. All in all, worth it.
What’s your favorite thing about working at C5?
The breadth of subjects I get to engage with is what helps make each day new. I’m an insatiable learner and a trivia nerd so not only have I had the opportunity to gain knowledge about a wide variety of topics from the U.S. education system to electronic dance music—.EDU to EDM—my work here gives me an outlet for a lot of the random facts, cultural curiosities, and remnants of niche research I carry around in my head.
We asked Ian to share some of his favorite C5 projects he’s worked on.