Seeing. Playing. Living.
These are the elements I believe are core to immersive story worlds that transcend format boundaries. Worlds that enthrall us when we encounter them. Worlds that keep our inner adventurer, lover, hero, and rebel alive for otherwise unlivable journeys, romances, rescues, and revolutions.
We’re often quick to dismiss entertainment media, but I’ve seen how movies, video games, songs, or books can be so powerful. I’ve seen how they can give inspiration, breathe meaning, and instill hope to keep us going. And I’ve seen how they can alter the course of a life, silently guiding us to right where we should be – in fact, I’ve lived it.
Right now, I’m a PhD candidate, conducting research on how we perceive the brands of media products and how who we are influences what we choose to see, play, listen to, and read. My interest in brands is driven by the belief that without a strong core brand – the collection of common symbols, characters, themes, etc. – the story worlds created by entertainment media are little more than a set of separate media products. I’m very fortunate to have my graduate training in media research backed by my undergraduate training in media production at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts and its Interactive Media and Games Division. I believe my research is greatly enhanced by my familiarity with and ability to speak the language of media production.
As a grad student, free time is scarce, but when it’s there and I have to fill it, I like to read, write, build computers, compose music, watch movies, and take long walks on the beach – there isn’t a day when I don’t miss hopping the 720 bus to Santa Monica, walking down to Venice for lunch, and lounging and writing in the sand.
Favorite movies: Before Sunset, La La Land, (500) Days of Summer, Back to the Future, Midnight in Paris, Senna, Serendipity, Forrest Gump, Interstellar, Cinema Paradiso
Favorite musicians: Queen, Fun, Coldplay, OneRepublic, Train, Sara Bareilles, Michael Giacchino
Favorite books: Brave New World, Cloud Atlas, Under a War Torn Sky, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, The Art of Racing in the Rain, Steve Jobs
Favorite TV shows: Band of Brothers, Battlestar Galactica, How I Met Your Mother, Stargate SG-1, House, Psych, Top Gear
Favorite video games: Quantum Break, Alan Wake, The Walking Dead, Mass Effect, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, X-COM: Enemy Within
Danny (MA, The Wharton School; MCM, USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism) is currently a doctoral candidate at the Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania, where he conducts research on brands and media preferences. Before coming to Annenberg East, Danny received his BA cum laude in interactive entertainment from the University of Southern California (USC) School of Cinematic Arts and master’s in communication management (MCM) from the USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism. During his time at USC, Danny worked as research assistant for Dr. Sheila Murphy at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and project manager for Dr. Daphna Oyserman and Dr. Norbert Schwarz at the USC Dornsife Mind and Society Center. His work has been published in the International Journal on Media Management.