Alex McDowell, RDI
Creative Director, 5D Global Studio at Wondros Professor of Practice, USC School of Cinematic Arts, Media Arts + Practice William Cameron Menzies Endowed Chair in Production Design Director, USC World Building Media Lab, USC World Building Institute
Alex McDowell RDI is a narrative designer and creative director working in multi-platform experiential media. Throughout his 30-year career of production design, McDowell collaborated with directors including Steven Spielberg (Minority Report, The Terminal), Tim Burton (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) and David Fincher (Fight Club), among many others. In many ways, Minority Report solidified his process of world building, as the film’s broad requirements for empirical context (future reality, not science fiction) demanded the development of an entire narrative space, at the same time as new digital processes enabled revolutionary non-linear and immersive creative environments for design visualization. He is Professor of Practice in Media Arts + Practice at USC School of Cinematic Arts, where he teaches world building. He is director of the USC World Building Media Lab (WbML), where McDowell and his interdisciplinary students engage in funded research to build immersive worlds for storytelling and vast collaboration for synchronous media technologies. The WbML was awarded the prestigious Future Voice Award at the 2014 Interaction Awards. He also leads the USC World Building Institute, renowned since 2007 as the preeminent knowledge space for designers and creators in cross-platform narrative media. He is recipient, from George Lucas, of the USC William Cameron Menzies endowed chair in Production Design. McDowell’s 5D GlobalStudio at Wondros are high-end peddlers of modern-day magic. In a multi-platform, cross-discipline design studio practice, he and his team combine emergent technologies with highly interactive storytelling to create deeply immersive experiences that surprise, provoke and delight. 5D GlobalStudio imagines a clearer vision of the future for clients and creates holistic experiences that enact those futures--now. McDowell applies world building across multiple industries with clients including Al Baydha Development Corporation, Boeing, Intel, Royal Shakespeare Company, Warner Brothers, among others. As Visiting Artist to the MIT Media Lab (2005-2010) he designed the renowned robot opera "Death and the Powers" which premiered in 2010 at the Salle-Garnier in Monte Carlo. He is a Getty Research Institute scholar and an executive board member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Design Branch. In 2006, he was awarded Royal Designer for Industry by the UK’s Royal Society of Arts and, in 2013, was given the UK Designers & Art Director's Presidents Award.