Anxiety Game

Anxiety is a game designed to foster empathy and awareness around anxiety disorders and mental illness as a whole. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 31.1% of adults will experience an anxiety disorder during their lives. Despite this, and unlike other mental illnesses, there are few if any games on the topic. Anxiety attempts to show neurotypical people what someone who has anxiety might experience both while fighting and attempting to manage their anxiety.

To play, please email A very rough beta is available here.

Friday Five #3

This week’s F5 is a little shorter than previous, for a good reason! I kicked off my next big project on Monday, and have been excitedly busy trying to knock it out of the park. However, here’s a few great things to keep your senses delighted. Happy Friday!


1. Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Whipped Goat Cheese:


I did this without the wine since I didn’t have any on hand, but by using really fresh cauliflower and lemons, I didn’t find it lacking at all. In fact, I’m dying to make it again. Farmer’s Market here I come!


2. Lazarus by Image Comics:


I got my dad hooked on comics with this dystopian future’s tale. Elements of Dollhouse, where a heroine executes missions while entrenched in organizational scifi drama. Best of all, there’s a secret even she doesn’t know about herself. It’s rather dark and violent, so be warned.


3. Bryarly’s self-titled album:

I saw Bryarly performing at a local pie shop/coffee house, and was immediately enraptured with her songwriting, particularly the metaphors, stories, and divulgences she uses in her lyrics. I recommend this for long drives and the open road, or other places you can relax and listen to the lyrics.


4. Deep Focus Spotify Playlist

I like working with background noise, and Spotify’s Deep Focus playlist has been my Creative Flow State mantra for the past couple months. I hope it helps you focus, dig in deep, and make great things.


5. Drapery Experiment by JB Knibbs: I love the chiaroscuro lighting, texture, and colors here. JB Knibbs is an amazing photographer and artist, and I’m lucky to call her my friend. I recommend checking out her work if you like conceptual photography, surrealism, and light. tumblr_nnm3kxOKub1tpkw0ko1_1280

Friday Five #2

1. “Twirl Me” by Wildlight: lyrical storytelling and downtempo chords and water drips evoke a fascinating place in this song:


2. Big Girls Cry by Sia: It’s no secret I love Sia, from Breathe Me to Chandelier. Her partnership with Maddie Ziegler is riveting, and the newest video is no exception:

And in case you’re a Behind the Scenes video nerd like I am, here’s the BTS.


3. Yuri’s Night: On to something happier! I attended my first Yuri’s Night, an international celebration of space. Los Angeles’ took place underneath Space Shuttle Endeavour! A few highlights: meeting R2-D2 (which I did quite a lot of at Star Wars Celebration this past weekend!) great costumes, geeky people, space art installations, and a Space Shuttle Main Engine. But the most fun was the intelligence, perspective and passion of my fellow space nerds:


4. “How Google Works”: No, not the search engine–though they do discuss that too–the company. How do you build a culture of innovation and quality? How do you help your employees thrive as the business scales? I especially love the way they discuss hiring practices and why it’s better to throw the typical “7-10 years experience” hiring rules out the window and instead hire “Smart Creatives.” It reminds me of the rule I use a lot for casting interactive experiences–no matter how well you plan ahead, the Guest/User/Audience will surprise you. So when you’re casting someone to interact with a Guest, cast the person, not their acting abilities. When everything goes out the window, they’re going to default to who they are and what experiences they have and can bring forward–this isn’t a bad thing! They’ll be more believable too, since it’s their true character. “How Google Works” postulates that industries are innovating so quickly, that being fully experienced in the incumbent software language or having done the job before isn’t the solution. Instead, you hire the wildly curious geeks (Smart Creatives) who you know will want to learn and take on the challenges head-first when curve balls get thrown.



5. FREE COMIC BOOK DAY! Mark your calendars, not this Saturday, but next. I’ll be celebrating in LA at the Blastoff Comicsfest in the NoHo Arts District, but most comic shops should be having events! Say hi if you see me, I’ll probably be highly recognizable.


What do you need from this life?

“What do you need from this life?”

I was reading Carter Beats the Devil when I read this line. My breath caught. It was the question I didn’t know that I’d been waiting to be asked.

My life is a blank page right now, and I’m trying to figure out my next steps. Having a blank canvas and deciding what to make on it is every bit as daunting as generations of creators have time and time again pointed out.

Not for a lack of ideas: There’s a LOT I want to do. I would like to spend two weeks in a Mars colony simulation, like Kellie Gerardi just was. I want to travel to the furthest ends of the earth and make things. From studying the neuroscience of illusion to live action role-play game design to the human rights of architecture and even beyond, I have an endlessly growing list of people, studios, companies, fields, and ideas that interest me.

Compile those with the experiences and skills I already have, that’s a lot of options to pick between. There’s not enough room in one lifetime to do everything I want–though I realize this voracious curiosity is a great problem to have.

But there, staring back at me from the page, was the most obvious thing. Not what do I want, but what do I need? 

I need to make things. Good things. With great people. I need challenge and reward. Challenge and failure. I need to be close to people, and have the ability to tell them the scariest, hardest things, and for them to feel comfortable telling me the same. And to celebrate the happiest things. I need to see as much of this beautiful planet as I can. If it becomes possible for me to temporarily leave this planet, I need that more than anything. Permanently? Maybe one day. I need to share the universe’s beauty with other people. I need to see that empathy and love exist. I need clever humor and bad puns and brilliant laughter. I need good food. Star gazing. Books and music and art. I need to be places where I can ask “why,” and feel it is okay to challenge the status quo. To innovate. To not just do things because that’s how they’ve always been done.

That’s a lot, I realize. But, suddenly, that’s infinitely more attainable. Almost any route I take in life will be guaranteed to bring me some of these, and if I work hard and strive my hardest, maybe even most of these.

It’s beginning to feel like I have a plan. The world’s most abstract, least-organized plan (particularly for someone who enjoys color-coded schedules), but, still, a plan. I am searching out what I need.

So… What do you need from this life?


Friday Five

My friend Travis Bedard does this great thing called the Friday Five, where he curates five fantastic things he’s encountered recently. Here’s some recent finds of mine that I think are really great, and hope you do too!

1. Wild Ones Live


Jon Mooallem’s book Wild Ones is a “Sometimes Dismaying, Weirdly Reassuring Story About Looking At People Looking At Animals in America,” and the only way that could get better? You have Mooallem tell the highlights of his book set to a rollicking folk song by Black Prairie, and air it on 99% Invisible (one of my favorite podcasts). Mooallem’s quest to show his daughter endangered species in the wild before they go extinct is the most joyous and bizarre 30 minutes you will spend, and I really hope you’ll listen to it.


2. Digital Orca digital-orca-by-douglas-coupland-joel-robison_549140_default_base_img

Douglas Coupland‘s Digital Orca (AKA Pixel Whale or Lego Orca) is a beautiful public art piece, located in Vancouver.  I haven’t been able to locate a Lego kit to build my own, but one day I’d like to make my own like these beautiful lego bird sculptures!


3. 101 Things I Learned in Architecture School 

101 Things 082

I have been recommending this book to just about everyone I know. It’s a fantastic quick review of many fundamental and complex design rules, told with wit, inspiration, and illustration. I recently visited both Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House and Ennis House, and this book gave me a deeper appreciation and understanding on the tour, which is really just a bonus, as the book is applicable to just about any field–not just architecture.


4. Life on Mars books1-2

I’m only on the first part of Tracy K. Smith‘s collection of poems, Life On Mars, but I already can firmly say: you should read it. For a lot of reasons: it’s SciFi, yet also nonfiction, intensely human, and highly evocative. Plus, you’re supporting art made by a woman of color and published by one of the most independent publishing companies. What’s not to love?


5. “Batgirl: Endgame” Cover


I LOVE the current run of Batgirl. It’s the only DC comic I regularly follow, so that should say something. This week the “Batgirl: Endgame” one-shot came out, and Rafael Albuquerque nailed an AMAZING cover, showing Barbara dusting the Joker’s effects right off of herself & Burnside.


Hope you enjoyed the first Friday Five! Let me know if you’d like more of these F5s, or have any requests of what you’d like to see here!

Put a Duck on It: Or, 4 Things I Learned From Shooting Headshots

I had the chance to shoot the talented and lovely Lois Dawson‘s headshots last week in Vancouver. I had a blast, but also tried a few new things which paid off. Here goes:

1. Confidence is 90% of the game:

Anyone who looks confident will be infinitely more photogenic than someone terrified, hesitant, or lost. With headshots, you often want to appear as a confident and capable professional. However, being confident and capable on the job doesn’t always mean you’re confident and capable in front of the lens. And if you aren’t comfortable in front of the camera, fake it until you make it.

I love this photo of Lois. Look, she’s so confident! How does she do it? Well. If you look at the uncropped shot… There’s a duck on her head! IMG_6880IMG_6880 - Version 4

That’s Cue, the Stage Manager Duck. It’s hard to overthink about modeling or judge yourself too harshly when you’ve got a duck on your head. Who knew a duck could be the secret to success?!


2. Dress for the job you want:

There’s a lot of ways to subtly add textures of the job in the headshot. Maybe I’m a placemaking nerd (well, I am), but with Lois, a brilliant Stage Manager, we shot in a rehearsal room, so there were a lot of textures including brick walls and black duvetine which felt very theatrical. My friend I met at Imagineering, Matthew Glisson, is an amazing Mechanical Engineer. While we initially shot outside in greenery to compliment his hair, by far our favorite shots of were in places which felt industrial, and involved unique angles and materials. IMG_0999


3. Trust your models:

This applies to not just what clothes they feel most confident in (with headshots most of it won’t be in frame anyways!), but how they have fun. Lois recommended we blast a trashy 90s pop playlist, and it kept things relaxed, playful, and you know, ultra-professional. Plus, we sang romantic duets. Proof:


4. Play to their strengths:

Lois has stunning eyes. The glasses and shirt are analogous colors to her eyes, and the complimentary color of the brick wall was a recipe for success.


I think I might need to start carrying a duck with me to every shoot now!


Bonus: This shot is my absolute favorite, though!


If You Lived Here, You’d Be Home Now

IMG_8624 I wake up looking at an alternate universe. At the time I was deciding where to go to college, it was one of the biggest & most stressful decisions of my short life. I’ve survived, chosen, and found a lot more bravery and great experiences since then.

The night before college decisions were due, I was pacing the grocery store aisles in a nervous fervor, unable to choose between UBC and CalArts, trying to decide not just who I was and what I wanted, but who I was and wanted to be in the future. I chose well, I had amazing experiences and the challenging, experimental, break the rules and design your own path world of CalArts fit me well. I wouldn’t change much about my college experiences at CalArts and on foreign exchange (though I regret not finding time in my jam-packed schedules to join Gamelan).

But yesterday, on the Vancouver ferry crossing, I see downtown & Stanley Park, North Van, and the peninsula where the University of British Columbia sits. I had a feeling of home, so intense and so loving, only, I never did live here. I also understand the swelling feeling that there could be a very different me living there had I chose differently. Who would this alternate universe version of me be? Where would I be now? The thought grips me.

For a moment. But, instead of wondering about all the ways I would have changed, and where I would be now, I realize, I’m okay with not knowing who that alternate universe me would be. I’m confident that I’m the best version of me, and I want to keep having more experiences, not bemoan the ones I haven’t. Now, I think of the ones I haven’t–yet! had, but want to. I look forward, not back. I don’t regret.

As I gaze across the water, straight ahead lies the Vancouver peninsula UBC rests on. I know that one day, I would like to try my hand at living here, not because of what I missed out on before, but because of what can lie ahead. I don’t need a multiverse, I need one really, really good run.

An Astronaut’s Guide to Magic


I write this from under the stars in Death Valley. I’ve always been drawn to the stars, as a child counting down every space shuttle launch, answering “What do you want to be when you grow up?” with, “The first person on Mars.” And even if I hadn’t been listening to Commander Hadfield’s An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth as I drove here, I have no doubt that my first impression upon getting to the campsite would have been the stars.

They’re innumerable. The sheer sum is overwhelming, in a sublime, jaw-dropping way. They confirm your insignificance and leave you speechless, yet dare you to wonder and ask what meaning you can have. I’m humbled by them.

Serendipitously (a word of particular significance for me), I’m not the only one here. As a couple people immediately responded to me, I’m not the only one to have tweeted about the stars. Teller, too, is here.

“I’m in Death Valley beginning to celebrate my birthday. Who would have thought there were so many stars?” (x)

I am in no small way a fan of magic, and love Teller’s work. His Tempest was amazing. His work with Penn, from the Vegas shows, to his interview in Penn’s Sunday School, Fool Us–I dig him. I want him to be my Giles and teach me magic from large tomes with reverence and skill.

I had the chance to meet him for one of his iconic post-show selfies. In a quick exchange I doubt he remembers, but has stuck with me, I asked him about immersive theatre, citing how much I adored Tempest and longed to live in that world. He told me how he enjoys current immersive theatre trends, and thinks it’s a necessary direction to grow. However, he said magic is extremely difficult and not suited to those settings, for timing, angles, and a captive audience is so integral to the art.All these things truly are. And yet. I struggle to believe that magicians, the people who I have felt such joy, wonder, overwhelming desire, and longing at prestidigitations of–couldn’t solve that.

I know that magic & immersion go hand in hand. I know the sleights, the trust, the deceit, and the wonder can only fuel each other. It’s what draws me to both. And while it is a challenge, for the reasons Teller mentioned and many more, I long to work the problem.

I know that what draws me to magic and to immersion is like the stars–fascination, desire, meaning, and awe.

I learned A LOT in 2014.

I’m a bit late for New Years, but when does life change and growth land on the button of an arbitrary date with champagne pops? Pretty rarely. So, here’s what I learned in 2014:

1. I used to be precious with my ideas. I knew the adage “don’t be precious,” but I certainly didn’t practice it. I kept them close, trying to be particular about who I told, who I wanted to work with, and in what mediums I would manifest these ideas–it all had to be exact match for each idea; a hatchling needing perfect care. Over the past few years, and this year in particular, I have learned that having good ideas is not the hard part, being able to make them happen is. I know the hardest part is finding the time, support, tools, and ability to develop and iterate and manifest them. The sooner you can get them out of the nest, the sooner they can fly. And the more people and mediums who get to interact with that idea, the better it’ll become. So share, evolve, and don’t be afraid to let them fly. There will always, always, always be more good ideas.

2. Time Management. I still have a long ways to go, but this year I learned a LOT in the time management department. I come from the world of all-nighters, passion projects, staying up too late after day jobs and hours of classes and work in order to make things. I’m used to eating, sleeping, and breathing my projects. This year, I spent a lot of time being creative on strict timelines, proposing those timelines & work plans myself, and tracking hours. I learned how to be more efficient, but still give myself the chance to percolate and marinate. (One of my new favorites: The MacGyver Method. Who knew getting your dishes done could be part of the creative process?)

3. This year I worked with a lot of amazing brands, including some of my absolute favorites. I learned a lot about how to work with existing stories, characters, locations, brands, and conceits to create something new, while still evoking and invoking the original spirit. I also became better at articulating, sometimes you really don’t need so much of a story. Sometimes, the details of a story will get lost, because the spectacle, delight, and emotion, are enough. A one-liner nailing what the guest/user experience is can speak more than thousands of pages of exposition.

4. In a company of impassioned extroverts, everyone is fighting to get a word in edgeways at almost every brainstorm. It can pay off to sit back and listen. Listen to what people are truly saying, not just the surface level.

5. On the opposite end, I realized how important it is to knowing when to articulate your ideas, versus when people get them. People are smart. They are creative and can draw the lines if you give them the dots. Nothing kills a presentation or bogs down a project meeting quite like nitpicking through seemingly obvious details and belaboring the point to the Endless Plains of Obvious.

6. Similarly, don’t go full 180. While I noticed the trend of what happens in the point above, more often than not I personally need to talk out the process I followed, not just the conclusion. When the Notoriously “Out There” Creative Director in the studio turns to you in a meeting, and asks, “what even happens in that brain of yours?” chances are, they missed the line of logic you followed.

7. I come from a world where by the time I came on board in a design process, the project had to ship. Subsequently, I used to measure success as “pulling it off,” no matter the cost. I had the satisfaction of the fact that the overwhelming majority of the time, I could pull it off well. However, over the past few years, I have moved increasingly earlier in the design process, including concept and blue sky thinking–where many times the project can’t or shouldn’t be pulled off–ranging from resources to timelines to safety to the fact it’s just not the best idea. How do you measure a project’s success? That’s something I’ll try to be able to find and articulate this year. I’m beginning to think it’s a lot more about process and people now.

8. Always, always, always, the sheer truth of difference between taste and skill. In my photography, I KNOW that I am not as good as my taste is. But I keep shooting, knowing I’m disappointing myself, but seeing tiny bits of improvement with every shot, and knowing that I am closing that gap. (Take 2 minutes. You must watch this: Ira Glass on The Gap)

9. No doors close forever.

10. You are harder on yourself than anyone else is. When giving yourself advice, take a moment and see what you would tell a friend or loved one who came to you with the same problem. So give yourself that support–this is a lot of work and a stressful planet–we need more empathy.

Bonus: Just do it. You will never be fully ready, and there’s a lot of bravery in learning to try when you aren’t ready. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, or admit your novice, but still. just. do. it. (This year I stepped up and dove in through a lot of major ways professionally, but on a quick personal note: I wrote and drew my first comic book this year!)