Speaker Series: Active Theory — Pushing Digital Experiences

Guest Speakers Nick Mountford (Left) and Michael Anthony (Right) from Active Theory

Every project needs a hook. Find it.

UCLA Creative Labs had the rare opportunity of having Executive Producer, Nick Mountford and Interactive Director, Michael Anthony from Active Theory as guest speakers this evening. Active Theory is a creative development production company with award-winning works such as Pottermore, Halo 5 Visualizer, Google Racer, and Coca Cola FIFA Shoot out. Together, they delivered a motivational and riveting presentation about sheer determination and passion. The young and accomplished gentlemen shared their invaluable experience and advice sincerely to an audience of sixty people.

In the rapidly advancing and evolving nature of the technological world, Active Theory has to adapt constantly. They showcased their impressive creation of Javascript framework, Hydra, which moves past the standard and backdated Adobe Flash. Hydra has evolved to become the core of Active Theory’s coding structure to create projects that are animated and expressive.

‘When we use Hydra, we grow with it and add new features as the web adds new features’ Michael said. Hydra is continuously being improved and inspired by new and different types of languages, he maintains. This is a real testament to the company’s desire to remain highly competitive.

In every single project that Nick and Michael went on to showcase, there is a distinct and memorable hook that completely transforms an ordinary user experience to an extraordinary one.

‘That hook, that core mechanic, we always try and identify it when we start the project’ Nick said.

‘A hook may be a way of navigating through a site, like a unique but simple way, clever transitions, some sort of effects to bring people from one part of the experience to another, or a totally new type of interaction’ Michael said.

With works like the Emmy award winning JFK Library “Clouds over Cuba” (with the hook of a timeline that corresponds to the time and date in the film), Under Amour advertising campaign “I Will What I Want” (with the hook of real-time 3D tweets appearing on a wall inside a video), and “Pottermore” (as the WebGL BAZOOKA), Active Theory has indisputably proven to be a leader in the field of web technology and creative experiences.

Active Theory has work dabbling in Mobile, Games, Films, WebGL, and Installations

What they have produced with a small team of ten self-starters is truly remarkable. But what really pulls Active Theory apart from their competitors is their integrity to the craft of the creative process in digital web production.

‘A lot of our competitors try and take on every project they possibly can just for the sake of growing. But we are constantly knocking back work, and picking and choosing our clients to make the best digital creative experience’ Nick said.

Their 45-minute presentation left the audience feeling incredibly inspired and excited about what is to come in their own digital design/production journey.

Hard work. Patience. Hold on to that desire to create something phenomenal and groundbreaking. It will be worthwhile.