Prototyping The Future
Witness the launch of an innovative new participatory storytelling project created by Lance Weiler and co-produced with FUTURESTATES, entitled WISH FOR THE FUTURE - an immersive online environment where users are invited to make wishes for the future on any axis, and have those wishes granted by other users (including FUTURESTATES filmmakers), by generating multimedia stories based on their wishes, and then collectively prototype the creation of actual future artifacts such as artwork, hacks, models, robotics, designs, etc.
In this workshop, the creator and producers will lead a rapid prototyping lab with the attendees which will include the unveiling of the online Wish Engine, allowing users to make and grant wishes, and then collectively prototype one of those wishes in collaboration with FUTURESTATES filmmakers.
WISH FOR THE FUTURE is a global transmedia project designed to inspire collaborative storytelling across all demographics and create positive visions of the future.
Mr. Ahmad oversees several funding initiatives at ITVS, including the Open Call, the Diversity Development Fund and the innovative web series FUTURESTATES, for which he reviews projects for funding and works with greenlit filmmakers to develop both non-fiction and fiction content from conception to completion. Mr. Ahmad previously served as Feature Development Director at San Francisco production company Momentum Cinema, where he wrote and produced the award-winning narrative feature film Harrison Montgomery, starring Martin Landau. Mr. Ahmad has served as a panelist for numerous film funders and festivals, worked extensively as an independent story consultant, and received his BA from Pomona College.
Lance Weiler is a storyteller, entrepreneur and thought leader. An alum of the Sundance Screenwriters Lab, Lance is recognized as a pioneer because of the way he mixes storytelling and technology. WIRED magazine named him “One of twenty-five people helping to re-invent entertainment and change the face of Hollywood.” He has successfully self-distributed his films The Last Broadcast and Head Trauma to more than 20 countries while grossing over 5 million dollars in the process. The Last Broadcast which he co-wrote and co-directed became the first film to be distributed digitally to theaters in 1998.
Always interested in experimenting with new ways to tell stories and reach audiences, Lance developed a cinema ARG (alternate reality game) around his second feature Head Trauma. Over 2.5 million people experienced the game via theaters, mobile drive-ins, phones and online. In recognition of these cinematic gaming innovations, BUSINESSWEEK named Lance “One of the 18 Who Changed Hollywood.” Others on the list included Thomas Edison, George Lucas and Steve Jobs.
Lance is recognized as a thought leader in the entertainment space. He sits on two World Economic Forum steering committees. One focused on the Future of Content Creation and the other centered on Digital Governance. At NYU, Lance is part of a think tank on the future of film and he teaches a grad course entitled Building Storyworlds – the art, craft and business of storytelling in the 21st Century at Columbia University.
This past fall, Lance kicked off a participatory storytelling trilogy focused on digital literacy. The first installment of the trilogy entitled, Robot Heart Stories mixed creative writing, math, science and geography to create an experiential learning project between two fifth grade classes of at-risk students. Together the students helped a stranded robot (who they named LAIKA) make her way from Montreal to LA. But the project spread further then the two cities and ignited the imaginations of students, parents and teachers in over 10 countries. Later this year the project will continue as LAIKA visits schools and stays with host families on a journey around the globe. At the end of the year, LAIKA along with the students artwork and stories will be launched into space. One aspiration of the project is when the students look up into the night sky, they’ll be reminded of how far their imaginations can carry them.
Later this Spring at SXSW, Lance will launch the second part of his digital literacy trilogy entitled Wish for the Future. The second installment enables participants to make a wish in a 140 characters or less. Then wishes can be granted with a creative act (story, video, piece of art or song). A number of granted wishes are then prototyped in partnership with the Parsons School of Design and the Makerbot community using 3D printers. In the end wishes and prototypes will be buried and sealed for a 100 years in time capsules designed by well know artists.
Lance is also developing a number of film, TV, and gaming projects with his writing partner Chuck Wendig, who has authored over a 100 books. His next feature film entitled HiM won the Arte France Cinema award at the 2009 edition of CineMart. In 2010 HiM attended the Sundance Screenwriter’s Lab, marking the first time the lab has supported a feature film / transmedia project. The feature film portion of the project is being produced by Ted Hope (21 Grams) and Anne Carey (The American). On a television front, Lance is developing a TV series with Marshall Herskovitz and Edward Zwick. A dark episodic tale that is being developed for a major cable outlet – Lance is a creator, co-writer, and executive producer. Lance is represented by UTA and is a member of the WGA.
Lance is recognized for his ability to use technology creatively to tell stories. In 2010, Lance and his writing partner, Chuck, scripted and provided narrative design for Tommy Pallotta’s (A Scanner Darkly and Waking Life) project entitled Collapsus – an energy risk crisis. Collapsus was recognized as an innovative work of fiction and received an International Emmy® nomination for “digital program fiction.”
In 2011, Lance returned to Sundance with a short film in competition and an immersive storytelling project entitled Pandemic, which was an official selection of the New Frontier section of the festival. Pandemic is a storyworld experience told via film, mobile, online, print, real world events and data visualization as players/viewers work together to stop the spread of a fictional pandemic as it unfolded over a 120 hours. Currently, Lance is working with a number of prominent scientists to explore ways that the next versions of Pandemic can be used to model outbreaks, increase public awareness and provide insight into how things spread socially.
This past January, Lance headed back to Sundance with a National Film Board of Canada project called Bear 71 . He co-created the installation and designed the social narrative for the project. Bear 71 is a heart wrenching interactive documentary about a grizzly bear created using surveillance from wireless trail cams. Told from the age of three when she was captured and tagged up until her death at age 11 when she is struck by a train, the story is a powerful tale about where the wild and wired worlds collide.
In 2006, Lance founded the WorkBook Project an open creative network that has grown to become a thriving international community of filmmakers, musicians, game designers and software developers. In 2007, Lance started a roving gathering for creatives called DIY DAYS. DIY DAYS has traveled to LA, San Francisco, Boston, NYC, and Philadelphia. Later this year DIY DAYS will travel to Europe as the gathering and and its incubator efforts expand. Since 2009, Lance has co-created and produced 42 episodes of a stylized doc series entitled RADAR. The series explores storytelling and creativity in the digital age and was recently nominated for a Streamy Award for best doc series.
Lance often speaks about the changing landscape of entertainment. From the evolution of storytelling to changes in media creation, consumption, distribution and discovery – he has spoken at the World Economic Forum, the Russia Forum, Digimart, Power to the Pixel, MIT, USC, Columbia University, Cannes, and Sundance in addition to large ad agencies, brands, gaming, and media companies. He has been compiling his thoughts and theories into a book entitled “Putting the Mass Back in Media” which he intends to publish as a rich media resource.
In addition Lance often is brought in to design campaigns and storytelling properties for clients such as the Coca Cola company, Ubisoft, CAA, Ogilvy, McCann-Erickson, Dorga5, Summit Entertainment, Ebay, and Hammer Films in addition to large ad agencies, brands, NGOs, studios, gaming companies and publishers.
Since 2007, Lance has sat on the board of the IFP, a national filmmaking organization. He also advises a number of tech companies in the entertainment space and is helping a number of Fortune 50 companies to shape their media offerings for the 21st Century.
Also Lance is a co-founder of a new stealth startup that is working within the social entertainment space set to launch in 2012.
Lance writes a regular column for Filmmaker Magazine on the impact of tech on entertainment. For fun he runs a discovery blog called Text of Light where he posts the random things he