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Meet Trisha Williams and Joseph Unger of Pigeon Hole Productions

Today we’d like to introduce you to Trisha Williams and Joseph Unger.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Trisha and Joseph. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
We made the blockbuster Video Games and built Virtual Worlds for decades. We used computers and worked with teams to make life inside the internet exciting and filled with magical worlds. (Think Ready Player One but without the dystopia) But, when you’ve shot zombies & slayed the same dragons every day for decades, one day you wake up and ask “So, what is it all for?”

It’s that question that led us to move to San Diego and found Pigeon Hole Productions in 2014. We knew we could build better worlds. We knew our own world needed a place where the play had purpose.

Early on we partnered with incredible institutions like The Salk Insitute, UCSD, Cali-Baja Binational, and worked to apply what we knew, world building, to topics like Scientific Research, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship. In 2016, we worked with our collaborators and the World Building Institute at USC in LA to prove out we could build “Future Worlds” one city at a time, starting right here with ‘Frontera’ the combined San Diego/Tijuana metropolis in 2038.

Over the last year, we’ve worked with The Sundance Institute and The Marion Ewing Kauffman Foundation to engage city communities to create a shared, aspirational vision of their own futures. We ground our “fictional future worlds” with real-world research and combine it with the imaginative nature of games and film. While our internal team builds the vision in Virtual Reality in order to share with larger groups, we also help our external builders to follow through on their ideas and innovations in order to make parts of this aspirational future become reality.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
When we first left the games industry we were a little lost on how our skills could transfer to anything else. What other industry builds fictional virtual worlds? We knew we wanted to do something that made a positive impact in the world so we first started with scientific game products with The Salk Institute. Although this was an incredibly fun project, the interest in science games was very low from the outside world.

As we adjusted our company we realized that although creating the virtual spaces was a skill we had, our team’s actual strength was bringing together large diverse sets of people to create a shared vision within a fictional setting. Digital Games are created by hundreds of different people making one coherent vision and we harnessed that strength to bring out of the entertainment sector and into the business and entrepreneurship sector.

This new type of business structure isn’t easy to communicate when there’s nothing comparable out there. It took quite a while to learn how to explain and simply talk about what we do and find the type of people that are interested in it. We happily found the interest and communication through the Innovation Industry which is growing more and more every year.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Pigeon Hole Productions story. Tell us more about the business.
Pigeon Hole Productions is a World Building and Interactive Technology Company. World Building is a creative process in entertainment that creates the “world” of your favorite movies, games, books, etc. (We also used to teach World Building at USC Cinema).

PHP has taken World Building and brought it to cities and innovation communities. We bring groups of people through the process with the goal to create a 20 year out an aspirational vision of their city. We create this vision in virtual reality and then help individuals follow through on their ideas and innovations in order to make them realities.

The infrastructure is based on the way that entertainment has been informing reality for years. Think of how many technology pieces have been inspired from sci-fiction like Star Trek. Fiction informs reality every day and Pigeon Hole Productions is a company that works to involve the community in those creations from the start.

We are the most proud when we see individuals go through the world building process and come out the other side inspired, engaged, and passionate to create new ideas, businesses, and networks.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
Luck, chance, the universe, whatever one wants to call it has played a big role. From unfortunate studio closures that inspired action, to lucky meetings of the perfect individuals, to being fortunate enough to stay healthy, the fact that Pigeon Hole Productions has a position where we can inspire and create real-world impact through fiction is amazing.

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Image Credit:

Katie Gardner

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