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March 20, 2008

Imagineering Success

Tonight I had a phenomenal experience. But first, I have to give you a little backstory so you understand the impact.

For our advanced Imagineering class, we have an assignment to pitch a project for Google pretending they want to build a physical presence that would have a positive affect on their brand. (It's all just a project, Google didn't really assign us to do it, it's just an exercise).

I was in a group of 9 people, and at first we put together this very large, very grand plan where we never said no to anything people in the group came up with because we were all being too nice. Our mid-term came, and we were told to present our idea in progress, as a checkpoint on where we were.

It was an unmitigated disaster. Crash and burn. Probably one of the worst things I've ever been a part of.

All 9 of us presented. We rambled on, we were confusing, we were unclear. We were boring. And the instructor (head of Imagineering) and the other Imagineers who came to hear our pitches basically told us we were horrible. I didn't even want to post about it, it was such a terrible memory.

Anyway, I decided then and there that I had been too nice, and from now on I was going to speak my opinion. My first suggestion is that we start over. We were too big and unfocused. I had another idea early in the whole process which was smaller but very targeted towards a specific group (children in elementary schools) and also could tell a really good story. I got together a few people in our group who I could totally trust and pitched it to them and asked them to help me get the rest of the group on board with this huge change of direction.

It worked. Everyone agree to let our old idea die, and start over. We developed this new idea, which I'll go into in more detail some other time, and we developed the presentation around it, realizing that the presentation had to be a story that gripped people emotionally. We worked ourselves like crazy, meeting a ton of time outside of class and perfecting everything.

Tonight we went to the Imagineering office in Glendale for our official pitch. There were 12 Imagineers there to listen to us.

And we rocked it. I mean totally amazingly, better than we could have ever expected rocked it. We narrowed the presenters down to two people - me and another guy who could really speak well about our idea. We limited our visuals to just these amazing animations of our idea, taking all text out of it so that we wouldn't just be reading it. We just had them in the palm of our hands the whole time, and in the end they didn't have one negative thing to say about our idea.

Here is what they did say:

We should start a company and pitch it to google today. They would pitch it as is today. Animation and art gorgeous. This could be made. Love the story. Amazing turnaround from midterm. Great testimony to multi disciplinary team. Love that the kids are filling up the meter. We should call Sergei from google. Even if this isnt something google was planning to do they'd build it anyway. Both presenters were great. Narrative of the presentation was great. They could tell we worked as a cohesive group. That we put this together in such a short amount of time is so impressive. Perfect extension of google brand. Everything in the room reflected google. Loved that we actually had kids moving through room. Companies come to them all the time for this kind of thing and this would be perfect for that. Animation never lost them, they knew exactly where they were. The story gripped them emotionally.

Seriously, one of the toughest critics of the previous groups (we were the 3rd of 5 to pitch) said only: "I love it, I would pitch this just as it was just pitched today. I wouldn't change one thing. It would get greenlit." That's a high-ranking Imagineer saying that.

And the best thing... they awarded a "best in show" for the project which would get made. And yes, from worst to first, that's us. They even said that all 5 of the presentations were incredibly excellent and that any one of them would have won first prize in previous years (Disney runs this class with UCLA every year). So yes, that means that our pitch was the best of all time.


And they offered us all internships basically, if we're interested.

I have to admit, I am kind of tempted.

Posted by jason on March 20, 2008 03:14 AM


wow congrats....that rules...i dont understand what it is though...is it a movie? a web site?

Posted by: Anonymous on March 20, 2008 09:25 AM

Yeah, it's confusing, I know. The assignment was to act like Google wanted to build something in the physical world. Our job was to figure out what that should be and pitch it to them in such a way that they would say yes, this is awesome, this is exactly what we should build. We used a presentation and 2 speakers to communicate what that should be.

Posted by: jason on March 20, 2008 12:25 PM

Google would build something much like the online search engine, but it would be a real engine. For cars.

You get in your car and type "Australia" and in approximately 0.09 seconds you transported to any of 609,000,000 possible locations in australia.

It is, of course, free for anyone to use and will be payed for with high speed billboards.

Posted by: ian on March 20, 2008 02:01 PM

That's awesome, Jason! You are really so talented. Big shout out from all the way over here in Elkton!

Posted by: Anonymous on March 20, 2008 09:38 PM

Ian: don't be retarded. You can't have ads on a 0.09 second trip.

Jason: Yawn. Not impressed. Now, if you told me you got a group of people together and you decided to pick Western Kentucky over Drake AND San Diego over UConn, THAT would be impressive.

Posted by: SnakeMan on March 21, 2008 06:56 PM

Congratulations. That's awesome!!!

Posted by: Chris on March 29, 2008 08:26 AM

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