Lance Weiler is a storyteller, emerging media artist, entrepreneur and thought leader. An alumnus of the Sundance Screenwriters Lab, Lance is recognized as an innovator at the forefront of entertainment because of the way he mixes storytelling and technology.
Lance is a world-renowned speaker on subjects such as the future of storytelling, emerging technology’s impact on entertainment, those formerly known as the audience, purposeful storytelling, humanizing data and social impact. He has given keynotes at UN and World Economic Forum events, MIT, USC, NYU, Sundance, Cannes, SXSW, Tribeca, Toronto, Berlin and Los Angeles Film Festivals, Games for Change, the Future of Storytelling Summit, VPROs Conference of the Curious and TED. He often gives talks at film studios, gaming companies, advertising agencies, publishers and news organizations. He has shared stages with luminaries such as Ted Hope, Christine Vachon, David Cronenberg, Kathryn Bigelow, Marshall Herskovitz, Paula Wagner, Ted Sarandos, Douglas Rushkoff and Cory Doctorow.
Lance’s twenty plus years working across multiple disciplines and industries has positioned him well for his latest venture. Since 2013, Lance has been a Founding Member & Director of the Columbia University School of the Arts’ Digital Storytelling Lab, helping to lead and shape the lab’s vision. Its mission, to explore new forms and functions of storytelling while encouraging cross-disciplinary collaboration, focuses specifically on the ways in which story can be harnessed as a tool to innovate, educate, mobilize, communicate, and entertain.
Recently Lance developed three new Digital Storytelling courses offered within the Creative Producing program. In addition, he led the creative direction and design of two prototypes that mix classical literature with emerging technology – Sherlock Holmes & the Internet of Things and most recently Frankenstein AI: a monster made of many which had its world premiere at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. In addition Frankenstein AI has been co-commissioned by the National Theatre’s Story Studio and IDFA to produce a series of immersive dinner parties that mix food, storytelling and AI. Both are global projects that explore shifts in the ownership and authorship of stories while also examining the political and ethical issues surrounding emergent technology. These prototypes are groundbreaking experiments in new collaborative models that cross silos and harness storytelling, design and play as tools for tackling complex challenges. To cite one example, Sherlock Holmes & the Internet of Things has connected over 2,600 collaborators from more than 60 countries. Over its lifetime, the project has given rise to 180 self-organized events staged all around the world. Through highly innovative prototypes like Sherlock and Frankenstein, the Digital Storytelling Lab is working to shape pedagogical methods, unlock and harness the power of storytelling to generate world-changing ideas and solve complex problems, build exciting scale partnerships, celebrate classical literature and generate awareness on a global stage.
Within a short period of time, Lance has helped to give the lab a global profile as an up-and-coming hotspot for story-driven innovation, receiving coverage in: Forbes, the Huffington Post, Filmmaker Magazine and IndieWire. To date, the lab has collaborated with various schools and programs on campus as well as a multitude of off-campus enterprises.