Lance Weiler is a storyteller, entrepreneur and thought leader. Recognized as a pioneer because of the way he mixes storytelling and technology WIRED magazine named him “One of twenty-five people helping to re-invent entertainment and change the face of Hollywood.” He has successfully self-distributed his films The Last Broadcast and Head Trauma to more than 20 countries while grossing over 5 million dollars in the process. The Last Broadcast which he co-wrote and co-directed became the first film to be distributed digitally to theaters in 1998.
Always interested in experimenting with new ways to tell stories and reach audiences, Lance developed a cinema ARG (alternate reality game) around Head Trauma. Over 2.5 million people experienced the game via theaters, mobile drive-ins, phones and online. In recognition of these cinematic gaming innovations, BUSINESSWEEK named Lance “One of the 18 Who Changed Hollywood.” Others on the list included Thomas Edison, George Lucas, Steve Jobs and Walt Disney.
Lance is recognized as a thought leader in the entertainment space. He sits on a World Economic Forum steering committee for the future of content creation, is part of a think tank on the future of film at NYU and teaches at Columbia University on the art, craft and business of storytelling in the 21st Century.
This fall Lance will release two new storytelling projects.
Robot Heart Stories is a co-creation storytelling project that mixes creative writing, math, science, geography, and history to create an experiential learning experiment between two first grade classes in underprivileged schools. One school is in Montreal and the other is in LA. The project concludes with an actual space launch as copies of the childrens stories make their way into space.
Wicked Solutions for a Wicked Problem (WS WP) is a think tank meets hackathon that looks to solve a wicked problem using design thinking, storytelling, game mechanics and collaborative problem solving. WS WP will take place at UCLA’s Charles E. Young Research Library during Open Access Week this coming October.
Currently, Lance is developing a number of film, TV, and gaming projects. His next feature film entitled HiM won the Arte France Cinema award at the 2009 edition of CineMart. In 2010 HiM attended the Sundance Screenwriter’s Lab marking the first time the lab has supported a feature film / transmedia project. The feature film portion of the project is being produced by Ted Hope (21 Grams) and Anne Carey (The American).
In 2011, Lance returned to Sundance with a short film in competition and an immersive storytelling project entitled Pandemic, which was an official selection of the New Frontier section of the festival. Pandemic is a storyworld experience told via film, mobile, online, print, real world events and data visualization as players/viewers work together to stop the spread of a fictional pandemic as it unfolded over a 120 hours. Currently, Lance is working with a number of prominent scientists to explore ways that the next versions of Pandemic can be used to model outbreaks, increase public awareness and provide insight to how things spread socially.
Another area of focus for Lance is within TV. He is currently developing a TV series with Marshall Herskovitz and Edward Zwick. A dark episodic tale that is being developed for a major cable outlet - Lance is a creator, co-writer, and executive producer.
Lance and his writing partner Chuck Wendig are developing a number of scripts as well as a few transmedia novel concepts. Together they scripted and provided narrative design for Tommy Pallotta’s (A Scanner Darkly and Waking Life) latest transmedia project entitled Collapsus - an energy risk crisis. Collapsus was recognized as an innovative work of fiction and received an International Emmy® nomination for “digital program fiction.”
In 2006, Lance founded the WorkBook Project an open creative network that has grown to become a thriving international community of filmmakers, musicians, game designers and software developers. In 2007, Lance started a roving conference series for creatives called DIY DAYS. DIY DAYS has traveled to LA, San Francisco, Boston, NYC, and Philadelphia. In 2012 DIY DAYS will travel to Europe, Asia and South America as the conference and its incubator efforts expand. Since 2009 Lance has co-created and produced 42 episodes of a stylized doc series entitled RADAR. The series explores storytelling and creativity in the digital age and was recently nominated for a Streamy Award for best doc series.
Often Lance speaks about the changing landscape of entertainment. From the evolution of storytelling to changes in media creation, distribution and discovery he has spoken at the World Economic Forum, MIT, USC, Columbia, Cannes, and Sundance in addition to large ad agencies, brands, gaming, and media companies. He has been compiling his thoughts and theories into a book entitled â€œPutting the Mass Back in Media which he intends to publish as a rich media resource.
Since 2007, Lance has sat on the board of the IFP, a national filmmaking organization. He also advises a number of tech companies in the entertainment space and is helping a number of Fortune 500 companies to shape their media offerings for the 21st Century.
Finally, Lance is a co-founder of a new stealth startup that is working within the social entertainment space set to launch in early 2012.
Lance writes a regular column for Filmmaker Magazine on the impact of tech on entertainment. For fun he runs a discovery blog called Text of Light where he posts the random things he <3’s