Dustin Stephan

Dustin Stephan

Live Entertainment

Immersive Experiences

In addition to the immersive experiences displayed in my portfolio, I have developed an array of projects across a bevy of platforms. This includes experiences in a CAVE environment to dynamic DMX programming.

ETC Tomb

I produced content for an educational experience designed for an Egyptian tomb set.

CAVE Merlin Adventure Game 1

CAVE Merlin Adventure Game 2

CAVE Merlin Adventure Game 3

Additionally, I designed a collaborative game produced for the CAVE where players communicated with each other to traverse an underwater environment. The story involved mythology surrounding Merlin and finding his spellbook which I modeled in MAYA. I also designed the layout of the 3D environment in UNITY.

Creative Content

In addition to generating content for Animatronic Shows & Extended Reality experiences, I have applied my comprehensive knowledge of storytelling to traditional theatrical works and digital experiences.

Developed an engaging musical program for young audiences

From writing grants, academic & research papers, to entertainment spectacles; I am proficient in delivering concise and articulate content for a diverse audience.



GKTW scripts & cue cards
Cue cards and script for Tome Foolery Show

From 360* VR movies to abstract performative pieces, deriving compelling narrative for audiences excites me. In addition to generating my own content, I love working with a client's intellectual property to develop new opportunities to bring characters and their stories to life.

360 video Still

360 video Still 2
Stills from 360* Short

Blind Shadows Still
Blind Shadows Still

Blind Shadows
360* Video (Developed and filmed over a week)
Music Video (Developed & filmed over a weekend)

Give Kids The World - Animatronic

Role: Creative Director, Producer, Designer, & Writer
Team Size: 7 (Josh Danzig, Rajat Gupta, Niharika Jain, Raisa Chowdhury, Alexandra Gobeler, Atul Goel)
Duration: 30 Weeks
Platform: Animatronic Figure [MR]
Client: Give Kids The World Village - Orlando, FL

GKTW concept Art

Miracle Workshop was a partnership between Carnegie Mellon's Entertainment Technology Center and Give Kids The World, a nonprofit resort located in central Florida that provides children with life-threatening illnesses and their families week-long vacations at no expense to them. GKTW tasked our team of seven to take an existing puppet, "Tom Foolery," and retrofit him to become an audio-animatronic figure that performs in experiences such as storytime.

GKTW Tom Foolery Puppet

As Creative Director & Producer, I was charged with developing the creative content, overall vision, and production process of the project. I utilized my expertise in live entertainment to create captivating content for the guests at Give Kids The World Village: developing a character profile, writing the scripts, casting the voice talent, directing & recording the audio session, setting the audio cues, and directing the show experience.

GKTW Tom Close up

When the team hit a roadblock with determining what kind of functions our animatronic was to have, I worked with the engineering team to define the functions based on Tom's character profile. I worked with the client to make sure that our experience would hit all of the metrics desired and make sure the mythology would be consistent with other entertainment offerings.

GKTW Grand Opening

In addition to maintaining the overall vision for the show, I worked with the design team on the mechanics for the animatronic. I facilitated engineering work with our various vendors and utilized my expertise in biomechanics to pinpoint the appropriate range of motion for each of the animatronic figure's five functions. By recording humans performing similar actions, I calculated the ROM for each movement and then passed that data on to our lead designer for implementation in the mechanical design.

GKTW ROM study

I worked with each of our team members to make sure that Tom would be robust and withstand the rigors of daily operation. Since Give Kids The World is a volunteer-based organization, having the staff generate content in real-time is not feasible. I took their operational demands and distilled them into content that would be appropriate for various times of the day. From jokes in the afternoon, a good night show that runs in tandem with an existing animatronic, to a show that thanks the various sponsors of GKTW, and more; I synthesized and anticipated the client's current and future needs. I also produced seasonal content to give Tom even more implied awareness and keep the content fresh throughout various times of the year.

GKTW Touch Screen Interface

The content then runs off of a large touch screen monitor in the back of the house. To create the illusion that Tom is interacting with the children and guests in real-time, staff facilitates the "performance" of Tom in the front of the house. They have the option of using cue cards to read their lines so the barrier to running the sophisticated animatronic show is extremely low and requires little training. This was imperative for the success of the project as the client does not have the bandwidth for intensive training or maintenance.

miracle workshop timeline

New Block Diagram

I maintained the production timeline to keep the project & installation on time and within budget. I worked with the technical director to create technical documentation including a block diagram to facilitate communication between our team, client, and vendors.

This just scratches the surface of all of the work I helped the team with. I also designed his new scepter and reached out to industry professionals to help fabricate the finished product. His animation was developed utilizing new industry processes of using MAYA and 3D animation software to animate the figure and then convert the data into signals to be read by the show controller. I worked hand in hand with each team member, industry experts, our vendors, and the client to develop a successful installation for a very deserving demographic.

GKTW Installing Tom

To read more about our animatronic, please view our project websites:
Miracle Workshop Semester 1
Miracle Workshop Semester 2

VIDEO LINK (Composite)
VIDEO LINK (Content Sample)

Egyptian Time Machine

Role: Producer, Designer, & Writer
Team Size: 5 (Ruili Tang, Trisha Surve, Guande 'Patrick' Lyu, Wonjae Kim)
Duration: 3 weeks
Platform: CAVE [MR] / [XR]

CAVE Wormhole

Developed for the CAVE platform with a motion equipped base, I produced and directed a location-based experience for the Building Virtual Worlds course at Carnegie Mellon's Entertainment Technology Center. The experience was designed and built in a two-week rapid prototype and iteration process.

CAVE Experience

Guests would enter the CAVE and approach a "time machine" which they would control. A mad scientist would guide them through a tour of an Egyptian tomb only as a ploy to trap the guests in the tomb. In a twist, the scientist would leave the room only to enter the digital environment.

CAVE digital Dustin

I worked with the artists and programmers to build an interactive location-based experience where the guests would have agency by controlling the motion floor up, down, left, and right. The guests would also be given a "flashlight" where they could use the controller to shine a light in the digital environment to destroy enemies.

CAVE giving instructions & prop

I built the physical time machine prop, produced the audio, and maintained the production & creative vision for the project.

Live Entertainment

As a director, master choreographer, and classically trained performer; I find something alluring about creating entertainment using mankind’s most primitive language: dance and movement.

There is magic in being able to evoke raw emotion from an audience facilitated by only the performance of movement and music. My mastery of storytelling, stage choreography, and spatial negotiating has assisted my ability to apply the many tricks of Dance Performance to enhance the staging of more traditional theatrical works and Extend Reality [XR] offerings (Virtual Reality / Augmented Reality / Mixed Reality). These experiences allow me to approach situations and problems with multi-faceted and unique solutions as my background is comprehensive in all manners and aspects of human performance.

My career in live entertainment is a smorgasbord of experiences from small regional performances to large scale venues, as well as new media that has gone “viral” to tens of millions of views. My diverse background in creative direction, theatrical production, and performance has developed my artistic vision and has allowed me to grow in a breadth of entertainment mediums. I consider my professional body of work to be a testament to my ability to collaborate with a diverse set of individuals and to be adaptive within a theatrical environment. This has set me up with a track record leading artistic teams to create successful unifying artistic visions.