Alex McDowell, Creative Director at 5D GlobalStudio at Wondros | Professor at USC School of Cinematic Arts

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 evelopment 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.

FMX is funded by the Ministry of Science, Research and Arts and the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Labour and Housing of the State of Baden-Wuerttemberg, the City of Stuttgart and MFG Baden-Wuerttemberg, taking place in cooperation with the VES Visual Effects Society and ACM SIGGRAPH, supported by the Animation Media Cluster Region Stuttgart (AMCRS), Autodesk, Backstage, Epic Games/Unreal Engine, Foundry, Mackevision and ScanlineVFX. FMX is an event by the Filmakademie Baden-Wuerttemberg, organized by Animationsinstitut, hosting the Animation Production Days (APD), a joint venture with the Stuttgart International Festival of Animated Film (ITFS).

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