Early in 2008, InPark asked a variety of industry experts to ruminate on the future of themed entertainment. In poking around the InPark archives today, I found this piece. Three and a half years later, it might be fun to see if that future has been realized yet. I'll periodically post these comments as a loose-knit series of sorts over the next week or so. Enjoy! -- M.P.
First up, Rick Rothschild. When he wrote this, he was with Walt Disney Imagineering. Rick has since left WDI to start his own company FAR OUT! Creative Direction. He also serves as Creative Director for Global Immersion and is the sitting President of the Themed Entertainment Association.
"'Who are we and where are we going?' Two questions certainly asked at least annually by most every one of us in our industry.
"As for who we are, I think the answer is that as an industry we are an expanding collection of kindred spirits, united by a never-ending passion for creating new opportunities for storytelling in an ever-widening quantity of ways and environments. I think the growing connectivity we find available to all of us through technology continues to highlight new opportunities to create specialized public experiences. The more we are able to connect, the more we are able to learn from each other, share with each other and collaborate in new ways as we as an industry explore the creation of new forms and formats of entertainment and learning experiences.
"It is important as one looks to where we are going in the future to consider that although being open to discovery is fraught with risk, it is also the opportunity that ultimately drives us forward most effectively to create the “new and different” that our audience continually seeks. The exciting future of our industry depends on being even more willing to take risks, more open to trying new things and forming new partnerships with the ever broadening diversity of talent from around the world seeking to join in the fun of our industry.
"As I look back at our industry’s exciting past growth and expansion I am reassured by the volume of exciting new ideas and forms of entertainment that have resulted from so many extraordinary collaborative partnerships...built across all the professions, talents and skills that fill our industry.
"To infinity and beyond... the opportunities for discovering the future are as boundless as the creative minds that are challenged by them!"---Rick Rothschild