Presenting for the digital media design segment of the Virtual International Design & Creative Masterclass was Alexandre Lupien, the Creative Director of the Theme Parks Division at Moment Factory, a world-renowned multimedia entertainment studio based in Montreal, Canada. Moment Factory designs experiences for event shows, concerts, museums, theme parks, airports and a multitude of other experiences that connect people together in a physical space. They have created more than 450 unique digital media projects worldwide, with clients including Disney, Universal Studios, Sony Pictures and many more.
With nine years of experience at Moment Factory, Alexandre is hailed as its ‘ideas man’ and core creative leader, specialising in visual and special effects as well as technological exploration. In the session, the audience was given a glimpse of how he and his team create experiences that leave room for the unexpected and push the limits of design to reach new boundaries. Prior to his current profession, Alexandre has a background in aerospace engineering. He said that the transition from the ‘expected’ to the ‘unexpected’ pushed him to seek other topics and creative ways to explore his creative mind in other fields.
He started the sharing with a brief history of the evolution of public experiences. Starting from cavemen who build campfires and gathered around to tell stories, audience that gathered in amphitheatres to watch gladiator games, crowds who gather to admire a sky lit up by fireworks and throngs of moviegoers catching the latest flicks in cinemas, people have always sought to share new experiences together in a physical space at the same time. Post-Covid-19, concerts, live and crowd events have seen an innovation to the virtual and augmented stages.
“Your skills, knowledge and competences are what makes you an expert. When learning, it’s important to not get too stuck on which skills to acquire to get into the industry, just develop the skills that you want,” he advised, using himself as an example of how he applied his knowledge of aerospace engineering into his design, making him an expert in his field.
There are two focuses when it comes to designing the unexpected. One has to master the ‘ingredients’ or elements and learn how to look at them under a different light, only then can innovation take place to create the unexpected. Mastering the ingredients is only half the recipe. Next, is to perform a clever delivery of a simple technique by using one’s ingenuity. To make an unexpected situation, one has to blur the line between what is real and what is not.
“If you want to be a real designer and a good craftsman in this industry, you have to get your hands dirty, experiment, test new stuff and really get into the realm on what you’re doing,” Alexandre imparted to the young learners. He also spoke about the importance of adding interesting elements to one’s work rather than just creating something beautiful.
Lastly, he told the students that instead of asking ‘what do I want to be when I grow up?’, to ask themselves the right question, which is ‘what do I want to be right now?’. If they are living in the moment and working towards their goal, everything else will follow. “Don’t always focus on the future. Focus on what’s in front of you right now and make the most out of it,” encouraged Alexandre.