First Fridays @ Fusion Studio

First Fridays @ Fusion Studio one-hour virtual workshops provide a monthly opportunity to discuss emerging trends in technology in the entertainment industry, engage with industry experts and practitioners, and explore scholarly works.


Disney’s DAHA: Design Assurance and Hazard Assessment
featuring Eric Hall

With millions of attendees annually, safety has to be a priority at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. To assure projects meet their high standards, they follow a unique Design Assurance/Hazard Assessment protocol (DAHA). Join us in the Fusion Studio as we discuss Disney’s DAHA risk management protocols with Eric Hall, Technical Director with Disney Live Entertainment.

There will be time for questions from attendees at the end of this discussion.

View a recording of this event here.

Gamification of Performance: A Chat with David Carpenter of Gamiotics, Inc.

Join us in the Fusion Studio as we discuss the gamification of performance with David Carpenter of Gamiotics, Inc.

David Carpenter has worked in live entertainment for over 20 years. He produced the record breaking 3 year run of Puffs or Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic off-Broadway and in Melbourne, Australia. Puffs was the 8th most produced show in America last year. He also was the lead producer for the Broadway return of the international hit Slava’s Snowshow in 2019 which received a NY Times Critics Pick. He’s been nominated for a Tony Award as a Co-Producer on the Broadway revival of Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune. He is the Founder and CEO of Gamiotics, Inc., the only software solution for live entertainment that connects audiences and content with zero hassle. www.gamiotics.com

There will be time for questions from attendees at the end of this discussion.

View a recording of this event here.

Meet the Winning Team from the 2021 Stage Machine Design Competition

Join us in the Fusion Studio as we chat with the winning team from the 2021 Stage Machine Design Competition!

The Stage Machine Design Competition brings together theatre technology students from colleges and universities to share the excitement of designing and building the machines that bring stage effects to life. The competition celebrates the design journey that leads from inception to prototype, and seeks to inspire the next generation of mechanical designers and engineers who will invent new experiences for live entertainment. The 2021 competition saw 18 students on five teams from four universities compete to design the best dart launcher for a archeologist-adventurer themed escape room, with categories including best proposal, most elegant implementation, most effective device, and more.

Learn more about the Stage Machine Design Competition at https://centers.purdue.edu/fusion-studio/initiatives/smdc/

There will be time for questions from attendees at the end of this discussion.

View a recording of this event here.

Timing, Latency, and Live Performance

We are joined this month by Catherine Skokan and Robert Klimek from Colorado School of Mines (CSM) as they discuss the challenges of latency and timing in real-time performance. Q&A to follow. Catherine Skokan is an associate professor emerita of geophysical engineering at CSM and a musician who has played violin with the CSM orchestra, bassoon with the CSM band, and erhu with the CSM Chinese ensemble. Robert Klimek is a teaching professor at CSM, musician, composer, and clinician in ethnomusicology. He is the director of the Music and Performing Arts program at CSM.

There will be time for questions from attendees at the end of this discussion.

View a recording of this event here.

Wellness, Productivity, and the Entertainment Industry: A Conversation with Brian MacInnis Smallwood

Join us in the Fusion Studio as we chat with Brian MacInnis Smallwood as we talk about the importance of mental, physical, and emotional well being in the entertainment industry. Brian is the author of Productivity Through Wellness for Live Entertainment and Theatre Technicians: Increasing Productivity, Avoiding Burnout, and Maximizing the Value of An Hour, and is an associate professor and production manager for James Madison University’s School of Theatre and Dance.

There will be time for questions from attendees at the end of this discussion.

Brian MacInnis Smallwood has project managed as a Technical Director and Production Manager for dozens of Off and Off-Off Broadway companies. He co-founded a production company called No Time for Love Productions, with clients like the Ma-Yi Theater Company, New York Musical Festival, New York Photo Festival, and Second Stage. He graduated from the Yale School of Drama in 2013 with an MFA in Technical Design and Production. Brian’s research interests include structural engineering for production and increasing productivity through employee wellness. Brian serves as the Director of Operation & Production for the South Dakota Shakespeare Festival; he is also pursuing his Ph.D. at the James Madison University School of Strategic Leadership Studies.

View a recording of this this event here.


Collaborating Across Communities: Updates on the 2021 Symposium on Education in Entertainment and Engineering

Join Dr. Mary Pilotte, Co-Director of the Fusion Studio, Dr. Lori Sipe, Associate Professor, Hospitality and Tourism Management, San Diego State University and Chair of the Symposium Committee for the Themed Experience & Attractions Academic Society (TEAAS), and Professor Peter Weishar, Director of Themed Experience Graduate Program, University of Central Florida and Chair of the Steering Committee for TEAAS, as we showcase our plans for collaborating across communities for this year’s SEEE 2021 event!

The Symposium for Education in Entertainment and Engineering (SEEE) is an annual event hosted by Purdue University’s Fusion Studio for Entertainment and Engineering, whose mission is to share advances, challenges, and trends in curricular design, instructional design, academic research, and cross-disciplinary work at the intersection of engineering and live entertainment. Symposium topics traditionally explore the interstitial spaces amongst the disciplines of engineering, theatre technology, and education.

With the Fusion Studio mission of building bridges between many academic and professional cultures and practices, this First Friday discussion will share how the Fusion Studio and TEAAS partnership for the 2021 SEEE is a force multiplier for revitalizing community connections and widely distributing innovations.

Review presentation slides here.


Smoke and Mirrors? Art, Engineering, & Science: Acoustics for Entertainment Projects featuring David Schwind

Join us for a conversation with David Schwind, acoustical engineer and consultant, as he presents a talk entitled “Smoke and Mirrors? Art, Engineering, & Science: Acoustics for Entertainment Projects,” during which he will share a number of highlights from his long and interesting career. Q&A to follow.

David has left the world of employment and is currently enjoying life in Northern California. He spent 44 years as an acoustical consultant; the last 34 years were at Salter, in San Francisco, and 20 years as a partner at Salter. David’s professional expertise includes room acoustics, acoustics sound isolation, and noise and vibration reduction of building systems. Projects ranged from comprehensive consulting on design and construction to peer review, feasibility studies, and facility programming.

Significant projects David has worked on include Skywalker Ranch Technical Building, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Broadcast Studios for KQED, Grammy Museum, Sufism Reoriented worship space, Acoustical lab facilities for various tech companies. David holds a BSE in Interdisciplinary Engineering (Acoustics & Electronics) from Purdue University, and is a member of the Audio Engineering Society, Acoustical Society of America, Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers, Institute of Noise Control Engineers, and National Council of Acoustical Consultants.

Watch the recording here.


Get to Know a Professional: Kimberly Corbett Oates

Join us for a conversation with Kimberly Corbett Oates (ASTC) from Schuler Shook. In this informal discussion, we will discuss her career, her passion for engineering, and explore some of her favorite projects. Q&A to follow.

Kimberly’s introduction to the stage was as a young dancer, but it was the magical “dance” backstage that became her passion. Her technical and production background in theatre and music contributes to her understanding of how these spaces function for the people who call them home. She collaborates with architects, team members, and stakeholders to create functional facilities that serve their communities well into the future. Kimberly continues to participate in the theatre community, working as a designer and technician. She is a member of USITT where she is active in the Engineering and Architecture Commissions. Kimberly represents Schuler Shook on several ESTA Technical Standards Program working groups.

Significant projects Kimberly has worked on include the Moody Performance Hall in Dallas, Texas; the Buddy Holly Hall of Performing Arts and Sciences in Lubbock, Texas; the MGM Grand at Foxwoods in Mashantucket, Connecticut. Kimberly holds an MFA from Yale School of Drama.

Watch the recording here.


From Concept to Reality: The New Product Engineering Design Process for a new Rigging Control System at Wenger/JR Clancy | December 4, 2020, 12:00 PM EST

Dale Hourlland, Engineering Manager, and Patrick Finn, Product Manager, join us in the Fusion Studio to discuss the new product design engineering process at Wenger/JR Clancy. Wenger/JR Clancy have offered sound, stage, and storage solutions together since their merger in 2011 and as individual companies for a combined total of over 150 years. Dale and Patrick will share how the idea for two new rigging control pendants evolved into Vantis, with the aim of being ergonomically-friendly and intuitive touch-screen control devices.

Watch the recording here.


Themed Experiences and Attractions: A Conversation with Peter Weishar of TEAAS | November 6, 2020, 12:00 PM EST

Peter Weishar, Professor of Themed Experience and Program Director of the Themed Experience MFA track at the University of Central Florida, serves as head of the Steering Committee for the Themed Experiences and Attractions Academic Society. Join us as Professor Weishar shares his experience and knowledge of the themed attractions industry and the academic programs that have grown to prepare students for careers within it.

Watch the recording here.


Perfecting Your Proposal: Turning an Idea into a Conference Abstract | October 2, 2020, 12:00 pm EDT

Developing a proposal for a conference presentation and an abstract for a scholarly paper can be daunting. Join Dr. Mary Pilotte and Professor Rich Dionne, co-directors of the Fusion Studio for Entertainment and Engineering, for a discussion about potential paper/presentation topics and how to turn your initial ideas into effective and informative proposals/abstracts.

Watch the recording here.