This March, I took a break from the themed entertainment industry to fulfill my life-long bucket list of traveling through Europe. I would hardly consider it a "vacation" considering how productive I was during my travels. But it was great way to see a different world, have regain a fresh view of how I see my own world at home.
By: Maria Lauro (original article here)
Chris Chien (ID ’10), a concept illustrator who works at Rhetroactive, a global leader in theme parks, museums, retail, food & beverage, hospitality and other location-based entertainment experiences located in California, recently returned to Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Design to give a talk for students, sharing with them how he used the methodology he learned at CMU to break into the field.
“The themed entertainment industry is very broad, covering not just amusement parks, but any themed space -- retail, trade shows, hotels, museums and even religious spaces,” said Chien. “There is currently a lot of work, but a lack of awareness of this field.”
Chien broke into the business by conducting in-depth research on the theme park companies he was interested in, as well as their employees. “The important thing is to understand what their ideal job candidate looks like to them,” he said. “Then it's just hard work - becoming that ideal candidate.
“When we did Design Methods Research class at CMU - we would get really personal with our subjects,” he continued. “We would interview them, find out which TV shows they like, how often they walked the dog, we would follow them around, video-record them, have them write in journals, do a bunch of surveys. That's how our professors trained us to do product design research. Understand the customer. Understand their unmet needs. Design a good product.
“The job search equivalent is: Understand the employer,” he added. “Understand their unmet needs. Design yourself to be ideal employee. “
Chien’s thoughts and tips on how to get a job in the art industry are also available on YouTube.
He credits his CMU experience with influencing him “to see how I could make the world a better place.”
“One of my visions is to use my skills in theme park design to better the world,” Chien added. “If I can build a theme park (which is basically a small city), I can also build villages in Africa.
“I think if you are at CMU hard work is actually the easy part,” Chien continued. “Everyone here knows how to work hard. I feel like the really hard part is just thinking critically, understanding what you want to do, and having the faith to just do it even if you don't know if you will succeed.”
While at CMU, Chien did an independent study with faculty member Kristen Hughes focusing on educating inner-city youth about healthy eating habits. “The project itself was a lot of fun and pretty cool because it was really meaningful and influenced me to go beyond what design meant to me,” he said.
Chien recently completed a mural at an orphanage in Guatemala and currently does volunteer art projects with local underprivileged kids. “CMU taught me to use my talents to better the world in some way,” he added.
Chien also encouraged students to seek out all the opportunities CMU offers to have fun during their college years.
“I had a blast at CMU doing all the extra-curriculars,” Chien said. “I had such a great time hanging out with friends and meeting friends of all difficult social, racial, economic backgrounds.” His favorite CMU memories are of participating in the Asian Students Association’s Spring Carnival Booth, which brought him into contact with students who were studying other disciplines including engineering, science and business.
“When people of different backgrounds come together and work together, I think that’s so fulfilling.”
Visit Chris Chien's Website >>
Tuesday, October 6, 2015
Hey guys! I recently got permission from Zeitgeist Design and Production to show some of my work for the "Journey to the West" theme park. This concept was for the children's play area of the park. It includes a "Fung Fu Training" area, a Ball Pit, and a "Meet and Greet" with the Peach Fairies.
This concept was pretty cool to do because I am CHINESE - and a lot of the stories - I've known since I was a kid.
Artwork © 2014 eitgeist Design and Production. Used with Permission
Hey guys! This was a super fun series to do! This is just personal work - please excuse the super cheesy names! haha. Each one of these took about 1-1.5 hours. I spent about 1 hour sketching all the concepts. I spent about 30 minutes on research and image gathering, and another 30 minutes to an hour on the actual rendering portion. Because I'm doing a lot of photo textures - it's pretty quick in terms of execution. Nothing too tight.
One of the favorite parts were the logos! I spent a lot of time gather references, the fonts and the color effects. :)
Below is a video of my process!
Yesterday Panasonic hosted a mixer for the Themed Entertainment Association. I was one of the photographers from the event. Panasonic showcased many of their cutting edge projects and products. Very cool!
To learn more about the Themed Entertainment Association - please visit this website.
This week - I had a friend from Taiwan visit to California because he was on a business trip. He wanted to go to Disneyland - so I took him! I was no longer a pass-holder, but I knew a friend who was a cast member - so he graciously signed us in.
My friend from Taiwan was SO EXCITED about EVERYTHING! Having been a Disney cast member and annual pass holder myself - it's easy to get jaded and take for granted all the things we see. As a designer - sometimes, we get too critical and academic when survey these themed attractions - and forget to enjoy the moment and experience reality as a result!
Here are some of my favorite photos I took during our trip. I did my best to really enjoy myself and being in the company of friends. I think as a people - we should make it a priority to focus our energy on creating more experiences with family and friends - not just working on our projects! :)
Hey guys! Just got back from a Themed Entertainment Association Mixer in North Hollywood. This company - GP Color Imaging - hosted a phenomenal mixer! Everything was blacklist - it was like going clubbing! lol The details was awesome. Even the name tags were printed with a thick vinyl like material that glowed the dark under the fluorescent lighting. Experience wise.. 10 out of 10 guys!
CLICK TO SEE -> FULL GALLERY
Just two days ago, I was on a call with a recruiter from a major theme park company. We were having a nice chat and getting to know each other. However, I just got the feeling that my recruiter wasn't quite getting a sense of what I really did.
Frankly, there is much we do in the themed entertainment industry that cannot be summed up with words or photos. Some of the "magic" we do must be truly experienced. For many years, I've experimented with different ways to document the work. I've found that the best way to convey my work is through the format of video! This short 2 minute video took me only an afternoon to edit it together, but contains over 8+ years worth of work! I hope you enjoy watching it!
This video is also located in the "About" section of my website.
The TEA Summit is one of the most prestigious gatherings for the Theme Entertainment industry - it's pretty much the Oscars for Theme Park people! This year - I had the honor of being of the official photographer for the Themed Entertainment Association. It was quite rigorous job - taking photos of so many important people. Here are some of the galleries that link to my photos:
Gallery 1, Gallery 2, Gallery 3, Gallery 4
Gallery 5, Gallery 6, Gallery 7, Gallery 8