Start your free trial now, and begin learning software, business and creative skills—anytime, anywhere—with video instruction from recognized industry experts.
About the Author
Alex McDowell, RDI, is a narrative designer and creative director.
Throughout his 30-year career of film production design, he has collaborated with directors including Steven Spielberg (Minority Report and The Terminal), Tim Burton (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory), and David Fincher (Fight Club). In many ways, Minority Report solidified his process of world building, as the film's broad requirements for empirical context (future reality, not science fiction) demanded the development of an entire narrative. The film initiated the creation of new digital processes, which enabled revolutionary nonlinear and immersive creative environments for design visualization.
Alex's 5D Global Studio on Wondros is a multiplatform, cross-discipline narrative design studio. 5D combines emergent technologies with highly interactive storytelling to create immersive experiences. Alex applies world building across multiple industries with clients including Al Baydha Development Corporation, Boeing, Intel, Royal Shakespeare Company, and Warner Brothers. In April 2015, 5D was awarded the BritWeek Business Innovation Award in Los Angeles.
At the University of Southern California, Alex is a professor in the Division of Media Arts + Practice at the School of Cinematic Arts, as well as the director of the World Building Media Lab and World Building Institute. His students engage in practice-based curriculums and funded research to build worlds for storytelling, including an exploration of opera as a narrative medium with the LA-based company the Industry, led by director Yuval Sharon.
As visiting artist to the MIT Media Lab (2005–2010), he designed the renowned robot opera Death and the Powers, which premiered in 2010 at the Salle Garnier in Monte Carlo. He is a Getty Research Institute scholar and an executive board member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Design Branch. In 2006, he was awarded Royal Designer for Industry by the UK's Royal Society of Arts and, in 2013, was given the President's Award by D&AD.