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Pure Imagineering

@pureimagineering / pureimagineering.tumblr.com

There is no life I know to compare

HuffPost spoke to three workers supportive of the organizing effort, who said they want to be treated like the professional entertainers they are.

They said the pay at Medieval Times tends to lag behind comparable industry work, with many performers starting around the New Jersey minimum wage of $13 per hour and working years before reaching $20. And they believe some workers end up with crucial tasks, such as handling horses, without sufficient training.

Every two-hour show at Medieval Times requires careful planning and rehearsal. The knights are essentially stuntmen, leaping from horses and smashing wooden lances on one another’s shields as they joust. The show includes complex dressage movements, as well as a falconer who handles a bird as it flies through the arena over the crowd. Performers often do two and sometimes three shows a day.

“They treat it like a normal job, and it isn’t,” one worker, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation, said of the company. “Today [managers] will call us a sports team; tomorrow they’ll call us a theater. But we are treated like a business, like a normal 9-to-5 job.”

Inadequate staffing in a tight labor market has led to a number of safety concerns, the worker said. Some performers have felt overworked during the rebound from the pandemic and fear an accident during a live show.

With limited security at the shows, performers are the ones left to enforce boundaries and police the crowd — including when guests reach out to touch the falcon as it flies overhead, endangering the bird and themselves. And workers say the rotating cast of queens is subjected to unwanted touching during pre- and post-show meet-and-greets with fans, especially with so many bachelor parties on the weekends.

“If you mix children, alcohol and animals, it can be a very interesting situation if you don’t have enough eyes on it,” explained another worker. “Not having enough event staff, that puts a lot of people at risk.” [...]

“It feels like the customer experience so greatly outweighs not only our employee experience but our safety and our well-being,” the employee said.

Thompson, 25, said he and his co-workers are passionate about their jobs and wound up at Medieval Times because they love their craft. He has spent much of his life around horses and helps tend to the two dozen at his castle, each with its own personality. [...]

Three issues he hopes the union can force the company to address are safety, pay and “respect.”

“They treat a lot of the professionally trained actors like anybody can do this job,” Thompson said. “They treat a lot of the stablehands like we’re fully replaceable and they consider it an entry-level job. I’ve worked entry-level animal care jobs. This is not that. You can get hurt or die doing this.” [...]

“I know what acting unions are like, and I know that our situation has become pretty dire at the castle,” said one worker. “Something has to be done.”

a mystery for the ages

Even for Disney this is ridiculous.

To stay at the animal kingdom resort during peak season is still less than $600 a day. The Disneyland hotel is less than $500 a day. Per room. Let alone per guest.

If I was the sort of person who didn’t care about money and wanted a star wars experience I’d probably still opt for a different Disney hotel and just go to the galaxy’s edge section of the park. That price is more than I think even most super well off families are willing to save up for.

If I remember correctly: the hotel is supposed to be a Disney Cruise… but in space. And Disney Cruises are prohibitively expensive.

It’s disgraceful behavior, imo. The underclasses should be allowed to enjoy Star Wars & theme parks & ambitiously immersive hotels, at affordable prices.

Fuck Disney. I hope they lose a fortune, and that upper management is forced to retire in disgrace.

The Engine of Experience

In Designing Games: a Guide to Engineering Experience, Tynan Sylvester describes his 3 objectives, when he's trying to immerse an audience into a video game. Here is my attempt to paraphrase them:

Design your game around an activity that engrosses the audience. Once they get caught up in the flow, they'll forget their everyday concerns & and focus only on the game. This is a good place to show off for the audience, since they're paying close attention!

✅ Design the activity to get the audience pumped. Use the game to stimulate their emotions. Get them excited! Scare them! Flatter them! Pique their curiosity! Piss 'em off, until they're ready to fight back! Whatever's right for your game. It'll get the audience loosened up!

✅ Use the game’s “fiction layer” to help the audience process the experience they're having. Treat them as if they are characters in a story, and they may start to play the part!

I love Joan Cusack's performance as Jessie.

Like, Pixar made a cowgirl character, but she doesn't have a southern accent. That's a choice! It easily could've been a distraction.

But Cusack has such sincerity in her whoop! I suspect she really loves the character. She always sounds absolutely pumped to play Jessie.

Back when Tiffins opened, Joe Rohde posted an Instagram about how ordering the whole-fried sustainable fish is actually an Experiential Story that represents the very soul of Animal Kingdom

Because eating a fish who still has a head is the sort of broadening experience that you might have while traveling

And it gives you a greater respect for the animal who died for your sustenance

I wish I could find the post, because I swear he also said that the tastiest part of the whole-fried sustainable fish is its cheeks

It’s like a bonus for anyone who’s brave enough to dig into their dinner’s face

Well

Let me tell you

Tonight I ate the whole-fried sustainable fish

It tasted excellent, and it was a broadening experience

But it had no cheeks

Its head was hollow

I’m not sure what to make of that

Maybe I imagined that very specific and Rohde-esque recommendation

Or maybe they change the fish based on availability (although the waitress said they don’t)

My best guess is that it’s true, but Joe Rohde hoards it all for himself

There’s just a big barrel of fish cheek meat in the back

And the only way to open it is with a key that’s disguised as a Bhutanese earring

Despite the disappointment -- or maybe because of it -- Rohde & his team told me an effective Experiential Story.

It prompted me to arc, as a character. "A believer, who gets disappointed by his rabbi. He learned -- at Disney's Animal Kingdom -- that life wouldn't be as happy as Joe Rohde had promised. One glance into those hollow fried jaws, and Ian gave up on becoming an Imagineer."

That's a lot of nuance to fit in a fish's mouth! That's a hell of an Experiential Story! And I am grateful to Rabbi Rohde, for teaching me how to process life-changing moments like this.

For the record: I haven't given up completely on theme park design.

Because I've been researching how to tell an interactive story since 2007... and I'm finally ready to teach it, as a class!

So I'm making it! It'll be an online class -- with an interesting curriculum & a ton of creative prompts -- all (taught / spieled) by me.

Which means I'm gonna be using this blog more often, as I design the class. Tumblr helps me get into the teaching mindset.

TL;DR? To the 4 people who read my long posts: hello! I'm back now. I hope you're prospering!

There are many reasons why I don’t buy the cynical interpretation that Ariel gives away her identity for a man.

One of them starts in the next paragraph. Another one can be read here.

This screencap comes from Ariel’s introductory scene. She’s searching through a shipwreck for human artifacts–which is her passion–when suddenly she’s attacked by a shark.

While fleeing, she accidentally drops her bag full of artifacts right in the shark’s path. Without hesitating, she chooses her passion over her safety, risking her life for a dinglehopper.

The girl is an anthropologist who studies humans. That’s her passion, that’s how she spends her time…that’s her identity.

Sure, Eric is the catalyst that leads Ariel to changing her species and leaving her family–he certainly intensifies her feelings–but they’re feelings she already has, and they dictate most of her life.

If Ariel had the chance to become a human before she met Eric, everything that we know about her suggests that she probably would.

Also, what finally pushed her over the edge was her dad trashing her stuff. Like, the dude literally blew up everything in her cave. Ariel didn’t abandon her life and family for a man, she ran away from home because her dad was being an asshole. I don’t know about you, but I’d leave too if my dad did something like that.

Can we just talk for a second about how Disney fully could have leaned into the crazy Latina women and husbands who roll their eyes at it, but Felix is always so fuckin quick to validate her. Not one crazy joke, not even a single comment, just fully encourages her to feel her emotions.

when she’s crying at Antonio’s ceremony, he could fully have been like yo chill stop being dramatic, but all he says is love, you’re gonna get him wet. Not a, don’t cry, not an omg stop, just a gentle reminder to move the cloud over a little.

And with the whole hurricane wedding, he’s not, oh she ruined the weather or ugh it was a disaster. Just a, what a joyous day. Like she’s warning mirabel and he’s like fuck yeah I get to talk about one of the best days of my life

Look how fucking happy he is, getting pelted by hail by his fucking goddess of a wife

Pixar made Toy Story 4 — in which Woody gracefully retires — around the same time that John Lasseter got outed as an abusive pervert man-child, who left his own company in disgrace

What a big weird self-own!

DISNEY PARKS: Welcome! You’re gonna love working for us!

DISNEY PARKS: There are four rules you’ll have to remember when you work here

DISNEY PARKS: The first rule – the most important rule – is to keep everyone as safe as possible

DISNEY PARKS: If you ever have to choose between keeping someone safe & being nice to them, keep them safe

DISNEY PARKS: If you can either keep them safe or help them feel transported into a magical world, you should keep them safe

DISNEY PARKS: Even if it causes a thirty-hour wait, you should keep. Them. Safe.

PANDEMIC: (~450,000 dead & counting)

DISNEY PARKS: Okay everyone! Back to work!

A year later.

The theme parks are still open.

~637,000 dead from Covid, with no end in sight.

The Walt Disney Company is a danger to public health.

Your boss has a different job than you

It requires different skills than yours does

But that doesn’t mean it’s more demanding than yours

Or that they work harder than you

Or that they deserve $0.01 more than you

I do not know Bob Iger, and I have no idea how he spends his work days

But I GUARANTEE he has never worked harder than a cast member during crunch time

I am willing to accept the possibility that Bob Iger has worked as hard as a cast member during crunch time

But 2,338 times harder? Get real.

I am designing an online course, about how to tell an interactive story!

I have been training to do this, ever since I started researching theme park design, back in 2007. I’m designing the course that I wish I could have taken, back then!

Bear in mind: I just started working on the course. Currently writing lectures & designing assignments & fleshing out the curriculum. Everything is a first draft.

But I am proud to have first drafts. They required >10 years(!) of pre-writing, so thank God: they’re pretty good. And they’ll clean up nicely, as second drafts.

Very exciting! Eager to share this! (Someday! Eventually! If I live long enough!)

miss piggy puts up with so much as a woman in show business and her response to misogyny is never to turn the other cheek or take the high road. it's to physically attack people. and she's right.