Give It Up Podcast

Give It Up For Immersive Disney Parks Experiences (& What The Church Can Learn From This), with Peter McGowan (President of Storyland Studios)

August 03, 2023 Vance Roush & The Overflow Team Season 1 Episode 15
Give It Up Podcast
Give It Up For Immersive Disney Parks Experiences (& What The Church Can Learn From This), with Peter McGowan (President of Storyland Studios)
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

In this episode, Vance and Zoe chat with Peter McGowan from Storyland Studios on what he has learned from building and creating immersive "worlds" and experiences at the Disney and Universal Theme parks, expanding visual vocabularies, and what the church can do to create unbelievable guest experiences and tell even better stories.

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Ultimately, when you wind things up with user experience, that's when you have a really good, successful result. So the same thing with storytelling map out the story, and just is the story believable and you kind of beat it up and you make sure that those things come together. And when all those things align, then you know, it really is magic. Our thing is not like, hey, everyone needs make Disneyland. It's not true. I mean, it really is. Everyone just needs to be intentional about their story. What's unique about them, a pastor, turn tech leader and a millennial churchgoer, explore the intersection of technology, culture and faith, equipping you with innovative strategies to support you as you live out. You're calling leader churches with competence to step into the future together. This is the give it up podcast. My goodness XO, another episode of The give it a podcast and this whole volume has been dedicated. Yes. Because we've been dedicating this whole volume two inviting our friends, our partners in crime, people within the flow fam network, to come on and speak innovation technology, especially as it relates to the faith space. And I couldn't think of a better person for this conversation that we're about to have today. Then my friend Peter McGough, when really quick, I'm gonna give a quick intro. He is one of the founders of plain Joe and Storyland studios, champion of bringing clients unique stories to life. By I love this language, Peter broadening their visual vocabulary beyond words, that actually has been done through you and your organization, at brands like Infiniti, Nissan, IBM, Johnson, and Johnson. But what's most exciting to Joe and people like my wife, Kim, as you've worked with brands, like Disney, universal, and Lego, as well, which is super cool. But you're a family man. Married to Jennifer and also have three kids, right? Is that right? Yep. Yeah. Welcome to the pod Peter. Wow, man, humbled must be here. Yeah, this is gonna be an exciting conversation, because I feel like the church has so much to learn about creating incredible experiences and becoming better storytellers. But before we dig into that, I would love to know Peter, how on earth does one get into this entire niche industry? And how do you become passionate about creating these kinds of experiences? It starts with that you have to have some sort of passion to kind of go after it, because there is no kind of, you know, class or major on like, you know, hey, this is how to, you know, get into experiential storytelling or design or anything like that. And people have followed pathways going to Cal Arts and stuff like that fun. Yeah, the footsteps of certain Disney Imagineers and whatnot, but it's not straightforward. You really have to kind of hunt it down and kind of make it happen for yourself and connecting with people. And for for me, and my brother, really, it was about friends, friends, who kind of, you know, opened up and like, took us along side them and taught us what it was to just be, you know, good storytellers. And what it was to kind of put yourself aside and think of the empathetic but the people who are on the receiving and so when you say broadening visual vocabulary, make that practical for the listeners, because maybe they're not familiar with Storyland studio and all the work that you've done with some of these clients. But what some examples of what you guys have done to broaden that visual vocabulary, what's that work look like? Yeah. So I mean, it's quite simply, like most people are used to stories being an oral or written tradition, you know, something you read in a book or something that you hear even watching a movie, let's say, and watching a movie and creating film sets, or any of those things, that's this, that's really scratching the surface of a visual vocabulary. Okay. And it's a spectrum too, because it's not that one is better than the other. In fact, I mean, some of the greatest stories are stories that you read, and your mind fills in the gaps. That's why it's people always say like, man, the book was better than the movie. It's because their, their imagination is so charged and actually can be even better, more visceral. But then, you know, when movies came along, it kind of spoon feeds people into things. And what Walt Disney really kind of hooked onto was this idea that man, people could actually immerse themselves in a story. And that really was the idea of Disneyland and the rides there was actually put you kind of in the story itself. But, you know, a mentor friend of mine, Dan, Cathy, I think, I love what he shares. He actually says in this aspect of service or storytelling, he says that there's hardware and software, the hardware is that physical environment. So yeah, yeah, that that broadening of the visual vocabulary there. But then there's also the software and that's the customer service side, the culture, the rituals of the brand. So at Chick fil A, it's the it's my pleasure. But how does that software kind of align with that? And that broadened vocabulary really helps the whole story come to life. And there's a whole, like, I can go down a rabbit hole talking about, like, story in this suspension of disbelief and taking people into that. Well, well that's so interesting because what you're saying here is that you've helped companies like Disney build experiences, some of that are actual physical structures. Right? But if I'm hearing this right, even helping them think through the service layer of how that physical structure interacts with the end consumer, is that right? Yeah. And a lot of our work with Disney just to be transparent. I mean, like, a lot of our team comes from you know, Disney and Pixar and universal and stuff like that. So a lot of guys worked on things but then we then because relationships get pulled into doing things like like we were mentioning earlier, we built Hogwarts Express the train at Universal Studios there when takes their picture in front of Yeah, and like helping bring those stories kind of to life is pretty exciting. Even just have a small part in this broader thing. So I people thought like, oh, yeah, they created Harry Potter is now we didn't write the books. We didn't make the movies. We didn't. We just worked on creating the physical environments that you walk into it your reader, you you are, you're far too humble. Because the train is like the flagship piece, right? When you walk in, we're just there to universal last week, right? When you walk in the first thing that you see is this life like train that my daughter, we have been reading Harry Potter to her for the last three months to get her ready for this experience. And, you know, religious church folk don't ask me, okay, yes, I read Harry Potter alongside a couple of Bible verses she, but but she when she saw that, because her imagination matched up to an immersive experience. It was actually so cool to see. Yeah, it is pretty remarkable. And actually, I'm a huge fan of JK Rowling and Harry Potter. It really ignited a passion for literature in my kids. And I think it's one of the biggest misses of the church, because, you know, yeah, the whole boycott, everything was all bogus. I mean, because she was writing it as a Christian allegory. And when she was questioned, like, hey, is this a Christian allegory, she's like, I'm not going to tell you that. They'll give you the ending, you'll know that Harry is gonna die and rise from the dead, and hence the Christian allegory. But they took it as Oh, it's from the devil. And like, oh, spells are rules. And it's like, no, it's Latin. She's actually kind of poking fun at a lot of this stuff. But you know, it's just as much magic and is Lord of the Rings or Chronicles of Narnia, or any of those things. But what it really does is it gives you a perspective on this spiritual world and the physical world or the modal world in the magical world. And it's a great Christian allegory. And I was like, you know, whenever people like, Oh, your kids read that I'm like, Yes. And they read CS Lewis, and they all you know, talking everything but that's a whole nother conversation go down. Ya know, humbled must be a small part of that man, because it is it's pretty magical story. Pretty powerful. Movie, the video game just got launched the platform high forget with it. Broke record, it was like 800 million in three weeks. This is like, yeah, it's staggering. People are so hungry for story. And people are so hungry to connect. And one of the key things in stories that we call is layers to the story. So it's not just a veneer. It's just not surface. It's when they can dive down deeper into things. And that's one of the great things about Harry Potter's there's, it's so deep. I want to hear more about this tension of creating what is in people's imagination, even if they aren't able to articulate it until they see it. Like that must feel like a lot of pressure sometimes. Because you have to weigh what's in our imagination versus everybody else. And how do we align that? So how do you guys think through matching up what satisfies someone's imagination when it comes to an experience, and that's a great thing, I'm gonna back up really quick and just kind of give an analogy of our process and kind of even how we work. I equate it a lot to eating. And it's kind of like what you just said, everyone knows what good food tastes like, right? You don't have to be a chef to articulate, like, you know, how it was created. I mean, people have different opinions on whether they like it or not, it's too spicy, or whatever. But usually good food tastes good to everybody, right? Or two people are used to at least that. But same thing with good design, you know, people recognize it, they can't always articulate what's good or what's bad. People can't explain why, you know, Disney is better than certain other unnamed theme parks. But it's like, it's the time to actually get to know the reader understand the story. Understand that the the guests experience the user experience, the user journeys, and then making sure that the story makes sense. And that is actually a lot of work a lot of effort. Steve Jobs is actually one of my favorite quotes from him that he's like in this. I don't know if you've seen that interview. He's like on stage and someone asks a kind of a punchy question about why the iPhone doesn't use certain technology. I think it's like Java or flash or something. And Steve Jobs basically He just kind of points back and says never about the technology. It's never about like whatever flashy thing. It's always about the user experience, you have to start with user experience. For more start with the story. So for the in the case of the iPhone, it wasn't about the technology of whatever flash, whatever Java, whatever Keyboard Event, it was about the user experience and the user experience, the iPhone was this narrative of imagining someone taking a call, then, then making a note or looking up directions or looking up restaurant reservations. And in that narrative, it disclosed to you that the 10 key, the buttons were in the way. And then out of that came the idea that we have to have a plastic interface, a phone with no buttons. And the reality is, once it got launched, everyone was like, This is gonna be a flop, no one's asking you for phone with no buttons, every marketing survey, every you know, everything said that it was going to help people not only want to attend to you, they wanted a full keyboard, right. And that's why I call Qualcomm and blackberry were always going to dominate. And they just missed it. Because ultimately, when you line things up with user experience, that's when you have a really good, you know, successful result. So the same thing with storytelling, you map out the story, and just is the story believable, and you kind of beat it up, and you make sure that those things come together. And when all those things align, then you know, it really is magic. Well, when you're discussing like the element of storytelling, blending it with an experience, I'm just curious, because I'm thinking through someone who maybe is a church leader is listening to this. And they're like, that all makes sense. But it's way more simple. With people that come to church, they walk in the door, they get greeted, they walk, they might go to the bathroom, they might get coffee, they sit down, done. But what you're saying is there's way more and so many more layers to this. So if you could summarize or kind of give us like a snapshot, what are some elements that are absolutely necessary to create an incredible experience, no matter what type of experience it is. So story always taught us, you know, really starts with three core components, what we say is characters, plots and settings, understanding the characters of the story, understanding the character of your church, you know, what is it to walk up and shake the hand of your church, who you are and everything like that? The plot, what is what are the specific journeys that you want to map out, because those plots don't happen by accident? And a lot of times people think plot points are just, you know, you know, things you check off, I'll get back to that in a second. It's so much more important, like, oh, yeah, advances, this whole thing is like, do you have giving? Oh, yeah, we have giving check. Forget the fact that the giving process is painful, or that young kids think it's totally inane, or, you know, they're ready to give with Bitcoin. And you don't even do that. But in their minds are thinking, Oh, giving check. It's like, Nope, that's it. That's the third thing is the setting, understanding the environments in which this is all taking place on their phone, or physically in person, stuff like that. But going back to the character part, I remember one time I walked up this church, I went to their website to look up their directions. First off, there was no like, there was the address, I couldn't just click on it open up Google Maps and navigate to it, I copy the address, and they open it up and do it or I pull into the address, it's on their website, it's like, feels like a shopping mall, I look up, I go to what looks like the big main entrance as like the big high arch. But there's nothing that says welcome or anything other websites said, like a church, anyone can come to everyone's welcome just like that. But I remember walking up, and the big glass doors in big six inch letters do not enter. And it was like, oh, okay, this is interesting. You know, when I got to know the guys there, and the thought process was some facilities guy was like, Hey, these are gonna be the entrance doors over here. These are exit doors over here. But rather than putting exit or entrance to the right, or even better, just take the handles off, just like instead, they put big letters do not enter. And like that. It's like when you add too much salt. It's just like, that's like something doesn't, right? Because when you're saying, oh, everyone's welcome. But then they're walking up. And it's not really feeling welcoming. But it's so hard for people just to actually take a step back and actually see what their story really is, and talk to people who've never who's outside of it. Because so many people in the church are regulars, and they know where they're going, or whatever it is. But what does it mean to that first time person who's already under a lot of stress and under a lot of pressure, anxiety, and all these things. All those subtle little things like yet takes about three seconds to realize, Oh, those are exit doors. But it's the subtle layers to the story that builds in is this really a welcoming place. And there's a bunch of movies out there. There's one movie out how I'm totally drawing a blank on the it was like a whole con man movie, but it's like getting a guy to guess the number and at the end, he was 21. But throughout the whole movie, they kept putting this number 21 and 21. In his mind, he kept seeing it. So when they asked him to pick a number he goes, Oh 21 It's things like that the subliminal things actually do matter. To me, I love that. Oh, it makes it makes a lot of sense because in our little narrow layer in which we serve the local church, and other charitable organizations, we I hear things like this a lot. And you kind of referenced it. Where? Oh, yeah, we we accept stock already. And then I go to their website, and it says, If you want to donate stock, email Yeah, nobody wants to email the CFO of a church take some stock. And it's kind of like to me in terms of giving, and that slice of which we serve best that do not enter sign. Yep. Right. And so I love what you're saying. It's kind of like, how do I challenge ourselves as faith leaders, as honestly, leaders that are meant to be taking people on an experience in a journey? And how are we paying attention to the subtleties? How are we challenging ourselves to refresh ourselves on? Okay, what is a new I mean, Silicon Valley is famous for this, right? Silicon Valley is famous for being really stringent on user testing. I mean, in the Silicon Valley that's built on software, primarily, one change to a layout, or even one change of a button positioning could equal millions of dollars of revenue for some of the software companies, right. And so there's this discipline in the Silicon Valley of being maniacal about user experiences. What do you think Peter? is stopping organizations like the local church to actually start caring about that? Man, I'm gonna be sacrilegious here probably. No, it's good. I think it's a stewardship thing. I think it's a lack of understanding of what Proverbs I'm going to say. Actually, Matthew 25 really means what what is it in the parable of the talents and what we do? And yeah, so it's not about saving money. And a lot of people go, Oh, we're ministry. So we have to save money, we have to be prudent with our dollar. It's like, Man, when I read the parable of the talents, the guy that saved his money, it was better that he had never been born. You know, it was the guy who took the risk, right? And who was not lazy, and actually had the higher return on investment that was blessed. And my my problem is, most churches don't are they're afraid to take risks, and they're afraid to have these great return on investments. I literally have seen churches have success in areas just to shut it down because I won't say who it was. But we had a church that was doing an online church platform. And we actually in early as we said before, Facebook Live was like a predecessor to Facebook Live. And when Susan will login we've captured all their Facebook information is pre Cambridge Analytica. So we would literally hand back, okay, hey, you had 3000 viewers this weekend. 1500 of them logged in, here are their names here, their emails here, their ages, this is how long they stayed on. And we just a treasure trove of data. And the biggest thing is, we'd have some churches that would sit there and go, Oh, my gosh, we have 1000 people who just gave us their emails with a simple Okay, click and would follow up with them. And they actually capitalize that we had other churches who literally, they were like, What do I do? Every week? I'm getting like, hundreds of emails. Am I supposed to follow up with these people turn this off? We don't want to do that. And we're like, like, literally, could you imagine if you had hundreds of guests coming, like turning in a visitor card and you're like, stop taking visitor cards. It's like, it's too much work for us. And it's just like, it's just the thought process is so dysfunctional, because they're so focused on key performance indicators, versus, you know, objectives and key results. And I use the analogy of driving. It's like they're so focused on Hey, do we have gas in the car? Are you are you driving the speed limit? You're not speeding, right? Are you making complete stops? Because we don't want to get a ticket. They're so focused on those things. They're missing the whole point of where are you going? Like, what is the GPS setting? And they're driving in circles around the mall, and they're just going like, hey, roll the windows down, make sure people know we're excited. Yeah, we're all and they're not, they're not getting on the freeway. They're not heading north and going on the road trip, that the whole journey is getting missed, because they're just driving in circles. And but hey, they're not running out of gas. They're hitting all subsets. They're not getting speeding tickets. And they're all happy with that. And we just like, man, yeah. And the whole thing about Silicon Valley, and the lessons that we learn there is, you know, it's not a one and done. It is an iterative process. Yeah. Constantly. Yeah, there's 10,000 versions of Facebook out right now, like, and they're constantly testing and iterating figuring out, but we have people come bring us all the time. And they think, oh, yeah, we hired them. We're done. And it's just like, man, it's like cleaning your garage. I mean, yeah, I Yeah. I know, a lot of people that only ever clean the garage once. It is like, yeah, if you have kids, you know, man garages are like magnets, and they just gather things. And it's a constant effort to keep your garage clean. And that's the truth is it's a constant effort to make sure your story is on track and true. And as any story it's an iterative process. You have to keep re editing it and sharpening it and is it relevant and how are things progressing? But does that am I totally off? Ladies? No. Ladies and gentlemen, ladies and gentlemen. If you just heard the last five minutes that is worth the price of admission, I know you didn't pay anything I listened to this podcast, but I will say, Oh, that's so My mind is blown. No, I legit just got chills listening to that concept. And I think what's so important about what you just said is it's an iterative process, because this is really a sentence I've been chewing on lately is results never last. Like I can't think of one thing other than death, where there's actually a permanence to a result, like you have to keep fighting to continue getting a result. And not only is that like an area of growth for the church, but I kind of want to ask you, your thoughts on churches who have tried stepping into creating immersive experiences, I'm not even going to get into online church as much as examples I've seen over the past decade of some churches doing in the kids area, kind of creating like storefront situations to create that more magical area for them. Is that a good example of creating an experience? Or where is the church still falling short? Yeah, a couple of things about that. First off, and there's a good friend Roberta Amundsen is actually writing a book on kind of art and architecture and the influence on religion in those things. And she really opened my mind to this whole thing of just when you talk about church history, when you talk about like, the original churches that were built in Europe, and the Abbey's and the monasteries. And have you ever traveled through Europe had guys been to any of you really like? Yeah, oh, for sure. Italy, especially, oh, incredibly, Vatican not built for worship on a Sunday morning. They were actually built as experiences. They were experiential locations, they were built as embassies of the new city of Jerusalem. They were built for pilgrims who were making their journeys back to Israel. And, and they were set up along these pilgrimage routes, whatever. And people can come into them, and actually have experiences with God. And the way that they were lined up like was it usually there are a lot of there, certain ones were like we're facing east so that over the, the over the altar on Easter Sunday, the sun would rise through that stained glass window, you'd usually enter on the north side, the north side, but then have, like all the chapels that were set up with all the stories of the fallen man, because the north side was the darker side, the colder side, you go around the altar and the Passion of the Christ, and redemption. And then you go down, exit out of the south side, which is the side with all the sun and the warmth. And those were all the stories of you know, redemption, and all the stories of hope. But people would actually come into the early churches for experiences for holy experience. And that's why people gathered around them. And that's why the cities grew around them. And it's just like, but they started off as experiential places. All around the story of you know, redemption, which you know, I just love it. It's so much a part of it, but it's about experiencing God. So in churches are kind of going back and really for 2000 years, I believe, like, I believe Jesus came to this earth as a storyteller. I mean, yes, he was a teacher, you know, he was a healer. But man, he wasn't just a teacher on the steps of the temple, you know, he was a teacher along the way, that actually use story to connect the scriptural truths. He didn't just teach from the Scriptures, And He use story, and to teach the parables to relate and connect. You know, when he healed somebody, it wasn't like, go to church on Sunday. Now it was now go share your story, or even better build show your story, right? So storytelling is really how the church led for 2000 years, and you look at all these different mediums in the embracing of technology to help tell story, I don't think it's an accident that Jesus didn't write the New Testament, the only time he ever wrote anything down was temporary and sand. And that was because the limit of the technology, you know, it wasn't about it. I mean, there and I read things about this before about how like the the finger, he was probably writing like the Eighth Commandment or whatever is like, because his finger is the finger that wrote the 10 commandments, who like all these things are, but just like the 10 commandments that were written in stone, and then that was became the ark, and they held in such high regard. I think Jesus intentionally, I mean, he was educated, he could have wrote the New Testament, He could have carved into stone, but he didn't, because at the time, the best way to convey story was an oral tradition. And that's how you equip the disciples. And that's why they didn't write things down until like, years after he left because the best way was an oral tradition. But they would use the technology, the technology of the Roman roads. And then as you fast forward in time, whether it was the printing press or you know, radio or television, you know, the churches always use technology to get the gospel out. But it really wasn't until after the Industrial Revolution and this idea of this assembly line approach to things that the current church model really took shape, where you have a building that's used one day a week. I mean, that is such bad stewardship. I mean to have a building is one day a week. The Disney a lot of people say Disney's extravagant smells, right. But they use these facilities, you know, seven days a week. And, you know, even Chick Fil A's least six days a week. Like, they really kind of, you know, one day a week. Really. That's it, and you have this great facility, you're kind of putting things through. I love that churches are pretty intentional about creating these environments that engage kids, because they're being engaged, whether it's at Disneyland, or whether it's at, you know, all these different places that they go, they're being engaged, and really right now in the digital world. My issue is when that story doesn't relate to who they are. And it's like, when we talk to them about it and ends like, oh, no, it says this bigger church did this. And this bigger church did that they're just copying what they think other churches do, rather than embracing their own local story. And, you know, whenever we look at really successful, successful churches, it's hard not to get around the personality of the senior leadership, right, and the stories that kind of revolve around them, and how things have ended up telling come come to shape with that. And that's our thing is not like, hey, everyone needs make Disneyland. It's not true. I mean, it really is, everyone just needs to be intentional about their story. And what's unique about them, because story is what gets passed on from one generation to the next, we talk about story, I mean, it is core to the human condition. It is how culture is conveyed from from one generation X. And right now, the biggest disconnect is the story that's being conveyed. The next generation is not being like the people were being intentional about it, or the people that were complaining about it. This was like, there, there's better at telling story. So interesting. I mean, we're gonna we're gonna get supercharged in elevating this conversation even further into tectonic platform shifts that we're starting to see, and how that might impact story. Right? So what I'm talking about is AI. And the metaverse, right, obviously, with AI, some of the narrative right now is that, you know, creatives such as animators are starting to become displaced, because some of the tools that AI can now do, you know, can replace 10 animators, which is, you know, a couple prompts, type of situation, obviously, Peter, you're closer than to this than most people. I would love to hear your take on that. But also, I'd love to hear your take on the metaverse as well, these platform shifts that we might be facing. I mean, you know, the verdicts still out, we're still in the midst of it. But if these truly are platform shifts, is this going to enhance creativity? If so, how? If not, what's your skepticism around it? Yeah. So I mean, really, to the core of just understanding what is creativity? And yeah, the idea that it's more than just divergent thinking it's it's, you know, divergent thinking of ideas with value, and how do you actually enhance the life and stuff? And I think you met illustrators and animators, but probably Yeah, we're on the forefront of AI trying to replace animation. And there are a bunch of different things. And there's a bunch of levels to it that we're looking at. But you know, we the reality is, we've been immersed in AI for decades. I mean, really, I think one of the key things why Google is successful is because they were using machine learning to come up with better algorithms, we've been totally indoctrinated into it. And Google has actually had some of this stuff out for years, they were actually holding back. Things just really blew up when this practical sense of chat GPT came out, and expose really what's coming out. Now, the reality is the church has not embraced AI, because we've worked with churches before. And just I mean, like, literally, something as simple as having a website, that to a first time visitor would welcome a first time visitor. And then if they came back, you know, just a session cookie, direct eyes and say, welcome back, like literally, and we'd get pushback from people going like, oh, there's privacy stuff or whatever. It's like, we just need an online brochure. It's like, you got to be kidding me. It's like that idea that you want to track somebody and say, like, oh, they were on your website, looking at like divorce care, or looking at junior high. The next thing Okay, come back, maybe we should put like, hey, there's a divorce class, or you here's information about Junior hires on there. And the idea that we get pushed back from that from customers is like bizarre, but churches would push back on that because of, yeah, different reasons. Because a lot of was they didn't want to make an investment in something when they could get a website for free or for $9 over $2,000 just not understanding, like what machine learning was really the benefits of it and different results. But when we talk about Metaverse as well, I mean, for us it's kind of a foregone conclusion. And a lot of people I guess they don't realize this but when we talk about video games when we talk about like Minecraft Roblox fortnight, I mean, these immersive worlds really is the is the content that will be first on the metaverse and the metaverse platform. These people are not pining to get to three hours of people's times a month. You know, they're in the dozens to hundreds of hours. And it's like the film industry. People think, oh, it's about film. That's the thing. The video game industry is estimated 10 times the size of the film industry. It's at least four times, if not six times. But the video game industry is where the next generation is, is where they're engaging. And yeah, the idea that there's going to be hardware that will catch up that allow the extension of that to happen is all we're waiting for is the same thing of like, you had movies, you've had movies for, you know, decades now, right? When you took from the film, to VHS to DVD to streaming, it's like, that's just the platforms that it's coming out on. The Metaverse is kind of there as far as these the content, the story, it's just the platform, is it gonna be on the Oculus headsets? I can pretty much guarantee you not, is it gonna be on because there's just too big and bulky. But yeah, right now, though, our illustrators, our animators on our team, who literally we work with guys who are just like the best in the world, I mean, from Pixar, and Disney and stuff like that. It's just a tool, that AI Yeah, mid journey, all these things. It's just helping them in the creative process. But really, AI is almost a reflection of what already exists truly new, innovative ideas. It's not good at coming up with at least yet. But the collaborative process and how do you bring things to life that are actually of value to people? That's, that's the that's the creative process. I think God created us. For me, our God is the God of creativity. And I think when we look at innovation, all these things, that is the death knell for the assembly line process things, no assembly line goes unpunished from innovation. And that's really where the church is at. If it doesn't innovate, it's going to become irrelevant. And that's what you know, the way of automotive industry, telecom industry, railroad industry, steel industry, but it doesn't matter. You have to innovate. Wow. Am I totally off track? I'm sorry? No, this is you are blowing armor. Perfect. Yes. So with quite a call to action like that, let's get granular. What is one thing, just a springboard that you would love to see every church implement immediately to get better at creating an experience? Oh, man, take a take stock of what their story is, what is their story, the characters thoughts and settings, and be intentional about it? Because a lot of times people think it's Oh, it's values. It's this is that whatever it's like, you know, and if you can't sit down and document what your story is, like, it's the stories of that first time visitor coming to your church. And like we literally go through and say, Okay, pick a random target audience. It's a single mom. She's in a grocery store. She's struggling, she just had a miscarriage she something some crisis just happened. She's gonna go to her phone, she's gonna look up. What is it that she sees on phone? Oh, one church main locations. What does that mean? It wasn't mean to her. But what what is the first thing that you would say to her, Hey, we care a church that cares? How do you find us? Okay, she gets into her car, she's gonna drive there this Sunday morning at 11 o'clock, she's going to meet you. They're like, okay, so when they get into their car, like, what is it when she pulls up? What is it that she sees when she gets out of her car when she walks in through those front doors? Like literally what is the story, because her having a great experience can be kind of a random happenstance of just happy things coming together for her. And I think that's how some people believe the Earth was created this all this randomness, or it can be an intelligent design, it's sitting back and say, Hey, for that story, this is how it's going to unfold. We want her to walk in, we want her to see that, hey, this is clearly where the kids go. This is where the restrooms are. And this is where you get coffee, like and then from or whatever, those things. But yeah, I don't know if that makes sense. But oh, man, I am chuckling inside understanding her story. And going to a website that literally like probably half of churches have right now one church many locations. What does that even mean? That is so eye opening and this conversation, Peter, every time I get to speak with you and get to learn from you, I get so energized. Because, you know, Zoe and I are part of a company that in the giving space, at the very least, right now are trying to push the bounds of what's possible. Right. And, you know, in some cases, we do feel that we're pioneering some things. And you could always tell a pioneer by the arrows on their back, right. And so in some cases, we do feel like we're pioneering some things, but it's so gratifying when there are certain churches, partners, early adopters, that see it, that understand the story that understand the next generation that's coming up, that have a very specific story of how they think about money, how they think about generosity. And even more than that, how they think about their discipleship journey, right? And they start seeing the big picture of cool, like, because we understand those stories. This is the fuel that we need to be intentional. And really I love how you talk about things from a first principle standpoint, because you're almost agnostic. Technology, right? There's always going to be platform shifts, there's always going to be new technology. There's always going to be new tools and things that we can leverage. But at the end of the day, from oral tradition, to Metaverse tradition, the underlying facts about all of that is that those that understand their story, are authentic to it, and are able to tell it the best are the ones that captivates society. So I love that what a great combo. Thank you so much, Peter. Yes. I'm gonna have a conversation with you guys and let the hang out soon. At Disneyland. It'll be fun. Let's go. Well, we'll start planning out some Hangouts. XO, any last words from you? Know, I mean, this has been a challenging conversation just for me. Because when you're talking about experiences, you're not just like, oh my gosh, that was so fun. This is like, all five senses are being overloaded and transported to a different world. And if the church can captivate people, like Jesus did, you know, like the gospel does, and we could turn it into an experience like that, then we can transport people to a taste of what heaven looks like and feels like and I think that is so beautiful and so convicting, and I'm pumped right now. I'm hyped up by this conversation. So thank you. Hey, give it up. podcast listeners. Give it up for Peter McGowan. Shout out to Storyland your team, everything that you guys are pioneering. We appreciate you. Thank you so much for having me. Thanks so much for listening to the give it up podcast if you want to receive even more insights on church innovation, culture, and giving. Now you can sign up for free to be an overflow insider, where you'll receive exclusive content discounts, direct access to Vance Roush to get your questions answered. And also invite only access to our monthly fundraising leadership forums, head to backslash insider, or just click the link in our bio to sign up for free today. In order to get this podcast in the ears of even more church leaders. Could you please subscribe and leave a review for the show? This tells the podcast players what people are enjoying and want to hear more of and we are adamant about providing maximum value to even more church leaders. Thanks so much. We'll see you next time.

how Pete started creating visual experiences and building “visual vocabularies”
his thoughts on JK Rowling, as a believer
how his team creates what is in everyone else’s imagination, and studies user experience
how to create an incredible church experience
why the church should care about user experience
where the church has gotten it right & wrong when it comes to immersive experiences
his thoughts on AI and emerging softwares
one action a church can take to create better experiences today