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Austin Design Week Mixer Project

During the fall semester, my Themed Entertainment Design class was approached by Austin Design Week and asked to develop a mixer that would facilitate connection and networking between members of the Austin design community while also adhering to the pre-decided Austin Design Week theme of "Futuring". Our professor tasked groups in our class with developing pitches for projects that could be a part of this event.

My team focused on the idea of making an event that celebrated the idea of "futuring" while serving as a way to demonstrate the varied skills of students within the UT school of creative design and technology. From this jumping-off point, we developed the idea of a mad-libs, choose your own adventure style game, where guests would answer questions about their future and receive a video, animated, narrated, and scored by students, that corresponded to their choices. We pitched our project to various groups and eventually were one of 6 student projects chosen to go forward and be a part of the mixer.

The activity turned out to be a huge success, with over 100 guests playing and receiving custom videos. The interactivity delighted guests and served as a good introduction to the skills of the UT students.

Project Producing and Managing

My main role on this project was project producer and manager. This meant I was in charge of maintaining a tight schedule and ensuring that all of the moving parts of our project would be finished (and finished in a high quality way) by the day of the mixer. We were only given about 8 weeks to get the project from concept to a guest facing finished activity, so it was a lesson for me in working on tight time tables! I managed the project by breaking it up into 3 distinct teams, animation, guest experience, and sound design. I also wrote the original script and storyboard, guiding the whole team through a storyboarding exercise in order to get all teams on the same page. In order to keep things moving smoothly I created a detailed timeline and weekly to-do lists for each team on notion, a project management software. A snippet is shown below. Additionally, I held scrum-like meetings twice a week so that each subgroup was well informed about where the others were. In addition to this scheduling and facilitating inter-subgroup communication,I was also in charge of communicating with outside groups about things like purchasing, power needs, the placement of our booth, and many other logistcal concerns.

Lead Programmer

The second role I held for the team was the lead programmer. When we set out on the project our original idea was to have 6 multiple choice questions, each with 3 responses, that guests would answer. With this set-up we would ensure that the animation team would only have to animate 18 scenes (plus an opening and a closing scene) but that there would be 729 possible videos that could be generated (6 scenes per video, each scene one of three possibilities). However we knew this would require some coding. As lead programmer, I began by creating a google form that had our 6 questions on it. I then programmed a google sheet that would take a guest's filled-out form answers and spit out a number code. After I had this number code, I wrote a python script that took the number code and concatenated the corresponding clips together and added the correct audio, spitting out a video that corresponded directly to how the guest had answered the google form's questions. I did not know python before this project, so it was a lesson in learning on the spot! Below is a picture of the google form guests filled out.


Finished Product

Below is just one of the over 100 videos generated by our guests on the night of the mixer. Guests would come up to our booth, scan a QR code, fill out our form, and then their videos would be generated and shown to them on the spot as well as emailed to them! (click the black box to play)

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