Residence: Los Angeles, CA
Current project(s): Two brand new E-Ticket Dreamworks attractions within Dubai Parks and Resorts Motiongate theme park; Stephen Schwartz’s newest musical production, Magic To Do; a new branding icon attraction for a destination resort in Changsha, China; a new lake show in Doha, Qatar; a re-envisioning of The Fort Worth Museum of Science and History’s Energy Exhibit.
Most notable achievements: Being able to make a living telling stories. That is huge. I am so incredibly humbled and impressed that I spend my days surrounded by brilliant people who are all as invested in our projects as I am and who want to share stories with the world even more than I do.
When I started in this industry: At age seven.
How I got into this industry: Growing up in a single-parent household is challenging in many respects, and my mom worked incredibly hard as a waitress to make ends meet. One of the best things she did for me as a young kid was to find the cheapest day care providers around: the local community theatre.
From the first day she dropped me off to help with the Lake Worth Playhouse’s newest production, I was hooked. Little did she know it would be my life’s calling and passion. Plainly, theatre teaches, if nothing else, courage and conviction. It’s that courage and conviction that made me step onto the stage and audition when they needed a kid in the scene. It’s through courage and conviction that I learned determination, and that’s what made me venture from Florida to the California Institute of the Arts in Los Angeles. Finally, it was courage, conviction, and determination that led to ambition, which propelled me through various film, television, and theatre projects until I landed at EDC. So really, my entire life’s calling began with my mom introducing me to community theatre, the best day care no money can buy.
Influences: An incredible mentor of mine once told me that the best designers are the ones that are smart enough to take two seemingly different concepts and put them together in a new way. I’ve taken that to heart and have tried to be influenced by everything I see, taste, hear, and touch. It’s all research, and it should all be used.
Worst advice I’ve ever heard: “Stick to what you know.” The world was created by people who had no idea what they were doing. Be bold, stick your hand in the air, and say, “Sure, I can do that.” Just make sure you can actually deliver.
Best advice I’ve ever heard: “Never be the smartest person in the room.” It’s not only humbling, but also being around brilliant people introduces you to new thoughts and possibilities.
My favorite thing about the production industry: The people: I love working with highly engaged and creative people; the production industry is filled with talented people who are constantly questioning the world around them in an effort to make it better. Production people know how and why sitting on the same side of the table is so important to get a project on its feet, and it’s why I find myself, again and again, pulling up a chair.
Favorite design/programming/technical trick: To begin my process, I always start with a loose word/image association game. I sit down and write out ten to 20 words or phrases that “feel” like the show, attraction, kinetic art, or tour. I then image-search those words or phrases in Google and print the first page of each search into a type of comp sheet. Lastly, I compile the comp sheets on my desk and take a step back. It always helps me define my initial reaction and reveals the textural nature of what the piece might look like.
Plans for the future: Along with the ambitious work we’ve done and continue to do in the themed entertainment arena, I would love for EDC, after this long stint of attractions and theme park work, to revive its design work in the concert and theatre arenas. To that end, we have recently designed the 2015 Nicki Minaj Pinkprint Tour and a new Princess Cruises show Magic To Do, created by Stephen Schwartz, which has just opened on three vessels.
Other interests/side gigs: I’ve been an amateur magician since I was ten years old. I love old Land Cruisers. I am a Freemason, a general aviation pilot, an avid Lego collector (ha, I know), a real estate investor, a director, a butcher, a baker, and a candlestick maker (okay, I just threw in those last three).
Awards, honors: 2012 THEA Award for Outstanding Achievement: Show Spectacular for Crane Dance.