Meow Wolf’s Formula for Immersive Storytelling
by Stephanie Janard
Vince Kadlubek, Meow Wolf co-founder, says attractions of all sizes and types can weave immersive storytelling in their facilities. Doing so will appeal to almost every age and psychographics, especially 9- and 10-year-olds.
“This is an age group that has kind of given up hope that there’s magic in the world. Meow Wolf’s bringing forth something they have been asking for since they were born, which is for the world to meet them where they are,” he notes.
Some of his top suggestions to recaptivate this group—and most everyone else—follows.
Show, don’t tell. Similar to how a good book or movie doesn’t explicitly reveal a story all at once, this is a tactic that fires up the imagination. In a setting like Meow Wolf’s House of Eternal Return, you can see this in the rapt-like expressions on the faces of throngs of people moving from one room ... or dimension ... to another.
Give guests agency. Kadlubek notes there is no substitute for surprise and delight. “Let people be people. Put them in a place of experiencing the unknown, where they can be both grounded in something that’s safe and reliable, but also free to move into the possibilities of what’s in front of them,” he advises.
He adds, “Oftentimes in the world of attractions, there’s so much emphasis on design, technology, record breakers, and things that can create massive amounts of adrenaline. We forget there is a huge audience out there of people who just want their imagination captivated.”
Be open to originality. Kadlubek says in attractions everywhere, there are countless spaces waiting to be “activated” by artists, even a blank wall in a queue line. “I would love for artists to be able to create more original intellectual property in the attractions industry. We don’t need to reproduce the same ideas over and over,” he emphasizes.
Kadlubek will speak at “Game Changer – Creativity is the New Attraction” on Thursday from 3:30 to 5 p.m. in Room S310ABC. He will discuss the consumer’s movement toward creative experiences and why unpredictable artistry is more valuable than either adrenaline or the replication of familiar intellectual property. Through this lens, Kadlubek will share his futurist vision of the themed attraction industry and challenge the industry to consider the social impact implications of how we spend our money. IAAPA Expo registration and separate ticket required to attend.