Enrique Agudo (Fiction and Entertainment ’19)
"Fiction and Entertainment was the stepping stone between what just stayed as an idea and the materialization of what I always wanted to do. I developed technical skills unlike ever in my career in architecture and came to have a precise understanding of an industry that I was too intimidated by to ever consider jumping into. It was a year in which I developed a carefully crafted, deeply researched, design fiction project and executed it to the standards of the VR industry worldwide. After developing the project at SCI-Arc, my work evolved into The Pantheon of Queer Mythology, a short VR film that was selected for Tribeca Film Festival 2020, as well as Geneva Film Festival, Cannes XR Finalist, Strasbourg Film Festival, Fivars VR Film Festival, and many others. It has allowed me to begin working relationships with other filmmakers and developers making VR and be featured in press outlets such as Interview Magazine, 032c, and Vogue Spain. If I could have the resources, the professional input, the creative and technical guidance, and institutional support to develop my work now like I did in my time at the Fiction and Entertainment program at SCI-Arc, I wouldn't blink twice at the opportunity."
Lu Te-Hsing (Fiction and Entertainment ‘18)
"Fiction and Entertainment is an ambitious program that focuses on the future of media and storytelling, unlike any other academic approach I’ve seen before. With the resources and support the program provides, each of us established individual workflows that correspond specifically to our projects. The numerous guests from different disciplines come in weekly, exposing us constantly to the latest trends and technologies. To seek the balance between ideology and practice, we learn different tools as languages to communicate with mentors and use in the industry. It’s a program worth investing in for those who are fluent in techniques yet not satisfied with traditional forms of practice, and those who have strong visions and a passion for developing their own personal projects.
During my time in the program, I developed the short film Last Choice. The project explores “Hikikomori,” the phenomenon of social withdrawal prevalent in Japan, through the lens of fiction and documentary. Last Choice won Best Direction and Best North American Short Film in the Asia South-East Film Festival, and it was nominated for the LA Independent Showcase, New Filmmaker NY Film Festival, Docs Without Borders Film Festival, Asian Film Festival Of Dallas, and the Houston Asian American & Pacific Islander Film Festival.
After graduation, I started working for UNIT9 as a junior creative director. UNIT9 is an international production company that produces interactive experiences, including AR, VR, gaming, film, installations, and immersive theater. We work closely with teams from Nike, Vice, Tinder, Spotify, Facebook, Instagram, Starz, Gucci, Chanel, Pandora, Netflix, Snapchat, Oculus, and many other companies that are interested in unexpected and unique productions."
Rick Farin (Fiction and Entertainment ‘19)
Director & Digital Artist
"Soon after graduation from the Fiction and Entertainment program I co-founded Actual Objects, an experimental creative studio of artists, architects, and creative theorists who use technology to develop critical work about the changing world around us. AO is now known for its provocative work for artists and clients like Marine Serre, Hood By Air, Travis Scott, Nike, MoMA, and Yves Tumor, among many others. AO specializes in creative direction, music videos, fashion campaigns, album covers etc. -- and we are currently in production on our first set of short films. The studio now also employs a group of recent Fiction and Entertainment graduates who apply their knowledge of game engines, animation, and film to our varied project work."
Ina Chen (Fiction and Entertainment ‘20)
Unreal Engine Supervisor
"During the program I had the chance to work on ideas that span across various industries both conceptually and techinically. I was able to use the resources and spend quality time developing projects that are artistically driven and have personal value to myself, while exploring mediums that are helpful for my professional paths. This allowed me to truly use the program as a playground and I was able to land on projects and jobs I was interested in upon graduation.
I have been working for VFX studios and experiential creative studios on Virtual Production projects as well as Final Pixel projects using Unreal Engine. The flexibility of the software itself plus diversity of knowledge I gained from Fiction and Entertainment has allowed me to be working smoothly across industries and project types including but not limited to Music Videos, TV, Feature Films, Documentaries, Concert, Art Exhibition and Festivals, namely Great Escapes with Morgan Freeman, Aku Art Basel Miami, Maroon 5, Icelandic National NYE VR concert with Sigur Ros, as well as Commercial and VFX projects where I worked closely with Beatsaber/Oculus, NOWNESS, HYPEBEAST, NIKE and many others."
Christian Pepper (Fiction and Entertainment ‘20)
Art Department/Production Design
"One of the real values that the Fiction and Entertainment (FE) program provides is a broad cross-section of what paths are open in the entertainment industry. FE isn’t just tool learning, and it's not just a film school. Its like a sandbox program, and it puts you in the dirt learning real industry methods and techniques (compositing, game engine workflows, etc.). Colleagues that I interact with everyday are often taken back by the exposure that an outside program like FE is able to provide in just a single years’ time. Going to film school will provide focused connections with production designers in film and television, but the FE program puts you in contact with those same people from film/television, video games, virtual production, and numerous other disciplines. You then couple this with the worldbuilding and design toolkit that the program brings, and it really helps set up a great package.
After graduating I began work as a studio assistant for Lucy McRae, helping produce multiple exhibitions, short film projects, and sculptural pieces. Additionally, the FE program connected me with a production designer who helped set me up with my first official position in film and television in the art department for an HBO television show."
Shuruq Tramontini (Fiction and Entertainment ‘19)
Creative Tech Director
"Throughout my academic career in architecture, I continuously found myself battling for creative control both in terms of developing a work but also the discussions that would unfold around it. I came to Fiction and Entertainment finding genuine and student-led discussions - looking at the essentials of today's contemporary global society and rethinking our complex times in new and provocative ways. Through the discourses and the overall dynamic that the studio offered, I got knee-deep into a world where I was able to set my own parameters. The discourses and dynamics of studio life helped shape these ideas with me, and the profound technical knowledge I gained helped me create them!
Soon after my graduation I got a 3D modeling job for Ian Cheng on his new work Life After Bob. Fiction and Entertainment prepared me to lead discussions, work independently and design with an artistic and visual sensibility. My role on the project evolved and continued all the way through to final installation at The Shed in New York. I was part of the weekly production meetings with responsibilities for the overall art direction of the project and the overall world design and am credited as the Lead Unity Artist and Lead Environment Artist. In parallel to Ian Cheng’s project I was also the Lead Artist for the development of the new indie game Commonhood, directed by Jose Sanchez. I was responsible for the overall aesthetics, the environments, the character design and level design. Having constructed a solid network of professional creatives both within the program itself and after graduation helped me into another high profile project with Ivaylo Getov, who is a creative tech director working with established artists. We are now developing an art project for celebrated artist Pierre Huyghe. My role is the Creative Tech Director. Jumping straight into both these roles after graduation has laid the foundations for my professional career and development that incorporates a strong knowledge of technical workflows, creative problem solving and design investigation."
Jeremy Kamal (Fiction and Entertainment ‘19)
Filmmaker & Creative Director
The Fiction and Entertainment program gave me the time and space to work on a project that directly aligned with my interests. It was a unique space to create something unapologetic and sincere. What I valued most was being taught how to apply my background in both architecture and landscape architecture toward broader cultural mediums. The program helped me leverage my past education and turn it into an asset in nontraditional practices such as storytelling and entertainment.
Since graduating I've worked as a visual artist with Actual Objects on a number of projects from CG fashion films to music videos and album covers for clients including Marine Serre, The North Face, Trippie Redd, and Yo Gotti. Additionally, I've become a Sundance New Frontier Lab 2020 fellow working as creative director with director Kordae Jatafa Henry (Fiction and Entertainment ‘18) on a project entitled Earthworks. Currently, I'm continuing to creative direct Earthworks as a member of the ONX fellowship in New York as well as preparing to join SCI-Arc as teaching faculty for a studio course in 2021.
The Fiction and Entertainment program has been a great way to explore how to bring together my multiple unique interests and create a niche for myself. My time in the program helped me develop a language, approach, and workflow unique to my background and skillset. My experience at SCI-Arc as a space that intersects with philosophy, films, video games, story, and architecture, continues to be essential' to the work I do now, and I still make use of the indispensable community of advisors, peers, and faculty I met here.
Eva Huang (Fiction and Entertainment ‘17)
"My time with the Fiction and Entertainment program provided a technical and professional breakthrough that still deeply impacts my practice. They are incisive educators that guided my work from speculative architecture to real-world filmmaking. I cannot thank them enough for sharing their community and guidance.
Right after graduating, I interned at the Sundance Documentary Fund before becoming a screener for Sundance Film Festival's VR submissions. I now freelance as a production designer and producer. This year, I started my own production company with a client list that includes Google, Netflix, Interscope, Dead Oceans, Capcom, Adobe, and Sony. In addition to the commercial clients, I have a narrative feature film in late development with Andrew Thomas Huang.
The full production pipeline from concept through post that I learned in the Fiction and Entertainment program absolutely enabled me to tackle fantastic projects early in my career. The program taught me invaluable skills that I use on a daily basis; I build digital concepts for VFX, design physical sets, storyboard narrative scripts, and pitch to industry professionals."
Rohini Jadhav (Fiction and Entertainment ‘18)
"The Fiction and Entertainment program at SCI-Arc is one of a kind program that merges architecture with entertainment. While I had a passion for films and a highly specialized skillset from architecture, I had no prior understanding of filmmaking or knowledge of how to apply my skills into this field. During my year at SCI-Arc, I mastered additional new skillsets and under the guidance of diverse experts from different states of filmmaking, I developed my own short film that highlighted the long-lasting repercussions of the Fukushima disaster.
The exposure to different styles of filmmaking, interactions with industry experts, and practical applications in my own project honed me for the next step post-graduation—getting my foot in the door of a highly competitive film industry in LA. Since my graduation, I have worked in art departments on a Netflix animated film, an HBO pilot generation, and even a feature currently being optioned to studios. I have had the privilege of working closely with renowned production designers like Oscar-nominated Guy Hendrix Dyas, Inbal Weinberg, and Lauren Fitzsimmons. I am also a participant in the highly selective Art Directors Guild’s Production Design Initiative and have designed and art directed multiple short films since.
The program is a great way to explore the multiple facets of designing for films, video games, AR/VR, and finding your niche before you seek out jobs in the extremely competitive entertainment industry."
Paul Krist (Fiction and Entertainment ‘16)
"Every short film that I made at SCI-Arc pushed me to learn new tools to better tell a story. We travelled through India with the studio and I worked with local actors and producers to develop a speculative fiction set in a hybrid Los Angeles and Mumbai cityscape. We developed skills in both traditional in camera cinematography and digital visual effects. Ultimately, through the studio I developed the knowledge and professional connections that helped me to get a position as a compositor at Framestore in Los Angeles. I had the opportunity to work on AAA games titles, Hollywood blockbusters, and various commercials like the cinematic trailer for Destiny 2. I have now transitioned to Framestore’s HQ in London to work on concept designs and environment art for National Geographic TV series Mars 2."
Fariba Shafiee (Fiction and Entertainment ‘18)
"Throughout my time in the Fiction and Entertainment program, I developed an episodic film titled House of Eyes, a series of three stories on the city of Tehran and its invisible infrastructures of surveillance. With this project I built up my VFX skillset from digital concept art to pre-visualization animation techniques and final cinematography and post production. These techniques built on my architecture background and came together as a body of work that provided me the opportunity to work in Pixomondo Studio—an international VFX company. As a digital artist in Pixomondo, I have been working on blockbuster projects in a range of roles such as a designer on Star Trek, a 3D modeler on Westworld, and as a concept artist on other short animations and music videos.
For me the most compelling aspect of the Fiction and Entertainment program was the interdisciplinary discourse that helped establish a comprehensive knowledge across a range of storytelling mediums such as animation, game design, VR, and short films. This knowledge is developed in weekly discussion between high profile instructors, guests, and students along with technical skills workshops. I believe if someone, regardless of their background, wants to explore cutting-edge forms of entertainment through new technologies of storytelling, speculation, and world building then Fiction and Entertainment is the best program to put that desire into practice."
Sarah Villareal (Fiction and Entertainment ‘17)
"The studio helped me to cultivate the skills I learned in architecture as a vehicle to explore my interests as a designer and filmmaker. The guidance, dedication, and tireless tutelage I received from Liam Young and Alexey Marfin instilled a determined work ethic and sense of wonder in me; giving me the tools to visualize and realize my short film Neville—a story that follows an autonomous lawn mower doing its daily rounds in a post-human, special economic zone of downtown Los Angeles. The curriculum’s rich exercise in world building, development of speculative narrative through research and story boarding, and intimate workshops with leading film professionals were an invaluable opportunity to learn and gain access to one on one feedback from the best. I submitted my film to the Sundance Film Festival and through the professional network I met in the program’s design lab I am working as a researcher on an upcoming documentary series for a major network. This program is truly inspiring and a mind-blowing experience. It opened up real opportunities to pursue a future as a filmmaker."
Michel Erler (Fiction and Entertainment ‘18)
Mixed Reality Designer
"Over the course of my Master of Science in Fiction and Entertainment at SCI-Arc, I did not only deepen my conceptual skillset through worldbuilding and design research, but also gained a thorough understanding of game engines and the overall professional workflow for game development and immersive experiences. My project Ways of Seeing, which explores the world seen through the eyes of machines, has been exhibited at State Studio Berlin, shortlisted for several competitions—among them Sundance New Frontier—and will be exhibited at media art festivals in Europe, Asia, and North America this year. Through connections made in the program I am currently working at Framestore’s Immersive Entertainment department in Los Angeles. At Framestore I have been both involved in early, internal pitching phases for AR games, as well as in the development of a state-of-the-art VR experience for Intel. The program equipped me with strong conceptual, artistic, and technical skills, exposed me to a range of highly contemporary developments and concepts, and introduced me to numerous creative leaders in their field, making me eager to push the forefront of interactive, immersive, and emerging forms of entertainment."
Pierce Myers (Fiction and Entertainment ‘17)
"The Fiction and Entertainment program is an invitation to the forefront of storytelling. Students of the program gain an intimate understanding of emerging workflows while also learning how to tell compelling stories, a combination of skills which other programs can’t offer. Fiction and Entertainment’s broad focus on worldbuilding allows students the opportunity to focus on any point of the process that they choose including modelling, animation, game design, writing, and concept development. The course has positioned me perfectly for work in the field of creative direction. I now have a comprehensive knowledge of emerging narrative mediums at a technical level and understand the ethical urgency associated with mediating the future. Working in futurist writing and narrative development I feel confident in my ability to steer projects and move culture in a desirable direction. Through connections established in the program I am now currently working with worldbuilder and award-winning production designer Alex McDowell on a new project that involves embedding narratives in a near-future context for an immersive installation, and I have begun preliminary work with Netflix and the New York Times on a documentary project."
Khevna Shah (Fiction and Entertainment ‘17)
"As part of the Fiction and Entertainment program, I made the short hybrid documentary The Endless Market. The film is based around the design of a fictional tower that forms an archive of stories from an important market in Mumbai that is now threatened by gentrification. My architectural approach to the project gave me a different perspective towards a particular place, its people, and its culture, but it was with the guidance of Liam Young and Alexey Marfin that I learnt how to speculate and visualize an alternate world within this existing context. In the year-long course I have learnt and developed a completely new pallet of skills. The curriculum gave us the opportunity to learn from and receive feedback at every stage of the process from some of the great professionals in the industry. Furthermore, it enabled us to make connections and work with them in the future. After graduation I worked with production designer Alex McDowell on a worldbuilding project imagining the city of tomorrow and the urban possibilities of driverless cars. This program opened up innumerable possibilities for me and definitely added a great deal to my skillset. I then got a compositing internship with the visual effects studio Framestore before getting full time compositing jobs at some of the worlds most significant post production studios, first at MPC and now with DNEG."