“Wow, how fun…I have always wondered who did that stuff”…this is a response I hear many times after telling someone what I do for a living. “So, you get to travel the world, build cool stuff and get paid to do it? … you are blessed”. Yes I am, is often my response.
What is it that I do, you ask? Well, I’m glad to answer… my primary role at Falcon’s Creative Group is ‘Field Art Director’. So, what does that mean? … the Field Art Director is a major component of Falcon’s Creative Guardian services, typically for a theme park, water park, attraction or destination resort. I protect the creative intent of the project in person, whether it’s at a vendor’s shop during fabrication, or on the project site during installation.
While on location, my primary goal is to realize the designer's vision. This is done by meticulously reviewing our drawings and having a complete understanding of the creative intent, then providing guidance at every turn and to every individual that is on the ground building our vision. Falcon’s has been able to establish ourselves as a firm that knows how to get guests to experience their imagination. Ultimately, I want to produce an amazing overall guest experience while exceeding our client’s expectations. There are many aspects and tasks involved to reach these goals. I follow the storylines, adhere to IP brand guidelines, oversee quality control and check materials, methods and craftsmanship from vendors.
I may be involved in the integration of the ride and show components like scenery, sets and props, not to mention overseeing a myriad of visual elements such as architectural accents, colors palettes, textures and patterns, graphics and signs, special effects, landscape and hardscape. Another major component that makes our projects special is the seamless integration of the audio and video components, which I take great pride in art directing. All these creative elements work together to give our attractions its unique identity.
This work often requires me to move to the project location. I have lived in several foreign countries, sometimes for a substantial amount of time. The duration of the construction phase can vary from weeks to months and depending on the scale of the project I could be abroad for a year or more. This aspect of the job has always become fantastic life experiences for me. I have explored different cultures, visited famous and historic sights, I’ve eaten strange, but tasty foods and I have learned unusual methods and techniques (as it applies to the craft). I have especially enjoyed meeting many interesting and talented people, some that have become good friends, and one lovely lady that is now my wife... sometimes life can be so grand!
What you may not realize, is how much work is involved before we ever even get to the field! I am heavily involved during the design process and work with the design team to ensure that materials being specified and colors being called-out will work practically on site. Maintaining the creative vision in all elements associated with the project during design, fabrication and installation is crucial. I collaborate with other project disciplines and teams to attain project milestones, schedules, technical and operational objectives as well as budget restrictions, all this while safeguarding the creative intent. This often requires a balance between the left and right brain.
There are times when compromises to the creative are sometimes necessary for the bigger picture and the commercial success of the project. Quite often these decisions are left to the Art Director and may not be so fun… as Bob Seger once said…
When it comes down to all my responsibilities, I feel the most important for the Creative Guardian is in the Art Direction of the final finishes. The ‘finished look’ is what is on the surface, and exposed for all to see, enjoy, critique, and record. This finality is what will immerse and impress the guests…what they will take home, in photos and memories to share with friends and family. This finality is also what the client will use to judge the final product and what will be remembered long after opening. At Falcon’s Creative Group we have this in mind through the entire production process leading up to and including this final phase. This is one important way that we ensure every project we deliver is Simply Masterful.
I may not be guarding the galaxy, but I am protecting a portion of it, one guest experience at a time… Peace.
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