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Above a bakery in Portland, Oregon, a unique group of storytellers are quietly changing museum and exhibit experiences all over the world. In this Creative Inspirations documentary, we meet Second Story, creators of award-winning interactive projects for clients that include the Getty Museum, National Geographic, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Smithsonian Institution, just to name but a few.
Founders Julie Beeler and Brad Johnson introduce us to their uniquely talented studio where their signature interactive design is conceived and produced. Second Story creates immersive adventures that educate and entertain through compelling visuals, touch and play, and inspiring participation through curiosity.
We follow the team as they reveal one of their latest triumphs, the Age of Mammals exhibit at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, designed to both please the doctorates and the first graders who participate in their finished project.
(Music playing.) Julie Beeler: Second Story had the opportunity, the Natural History Museum in L.A. was building their Age of Mammals Hall. We spent a tremendous amount of time with the content and understanding, what are the types of stories that we are telling? It's a very complex story, that's a very intellectual story, and how do we break that story down to an average level, so that an individual could actually wrap their head around the concept that continents move, climates change, and mammals evolve.
Heather Daniel: It's been a long process, and it's great to see it start from really conceptual thinking all the way. Now, we have the concrete interactives, and we are seeing it in place. Male Speaker: Okay. It's set to ninety-nine now. Heather: Okay. Let's try this. I think what's interesting is that every project is different, and that we come up with different ways to try to get to whatever that core concept is going to be, and how we are going to present that. Jennifer Guibord: We take a really comprehensive look, and we say, what is the goal, where are we trying to get to with this, and what's the best way to tell the story.
So, our team came together and met with the museum team, the exhibit team, and all the different parties that are involved, and tried to learn a little bit about the hall, what their mission was, how are they going about their storytelling, what voices are they using, and from that we put together a concept package. When we bring a team together, we try to make it as multidisciplinary as possible, because if you have all the different perspectives from the very beginning, and represented throughout your process, then you know you have the most holistic approach.
So, the first part of our process really is this content acquisition and understanding of all the different - the databases, the stories, all the minutiae that are going into the presentation. Then you are going to be brainstorming on how do you make those stories come to life in an interactive? That's really what we are trying to do during the brainstorming in the conceptual phase, is finding something in the story that creates our concept.
So, you are sitting down, you are brainstorming, you are looking at images, pictures of the hall, story, and all that sort of stuff, whatever it is it's going to inspire the team so that they have that aha moment of "Oh! I understand what they are going for, and I think we can get there by doing this. We've got a concept and here is how the content fills into it, and here is how the technology fits that content." So, you want to make sure that you have the total package, and you are not just thinking of the content or the design or the technology, but you need something that pulls it all together, and that is the concept that the studio is trying to come up with.
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