Thinkwell Design & Production, a newly formed international design and production company headquartered in Pasadena, CA., was officially launched by partners Craig Hanna, formally of Universal Studios Creative, Cliff Warner, who has over 20 years experience as a producer/production manager, and Francois Bergeron, an award-winning sound designer who has designed all over the world with the innovative Cirque du Soleil. Thinkwell specializes in turnkey design and production services for theme park attractions, live shows, branding/corporate experiences and environments, museum and educational environments and restaurant and retail environments.
The company, which designs and produces experience-based projects for the leisure, corporate, retail and theatrical market, currently is developing new projects for Universal Studios, DreamWorks, Nike and Planet C Studios.
According to Craig Hanna, one of the company's founders, "Our mission is to create and produce extraordinary projects and have fun doing it, working with clients we like and respect."
Francois Bergeron added, "The success of a project comes in many forms: on-time delivery, on-budget design and production and an understanding of the client's goals and objectives. Thinkwell's philosophy is that there is no success without the three of these things coming together."
Thinkwell Design & Production's team of talent spans the world of art, technology and production to create compelling cost-effective entertainment, environmental and interactive experiences. Craig Hanna, Francois Bergeron and Cliff Warner, the founders of Thinkwell, have, with more than 50 years of combined expertise, been leading forces behind some of the world's best-known entertainment experiences.
While at Universal, Hanna conceived the world's first interactive ride with multiple endings, "Men in Black: Alien Attack," as well as "Twister" for the Florida theme park. He was also the creative director of "FiestAventura," a nighttime spectacular at Universal Studios Port Aventura in Europe that won the 2000 THEA award for Best Live Show. He has worked in creative development for more than 14 years and is the inventor of three attraction patents, is an honored member of Wired magazine "Brain Trust" and co-created the first rideable simulation video game.
Cliff Warner is a Yale graduate with a Master of Fine Arts in Stage and Production Management with 20 years experience in theater and production. In 1994 Cliff was hired as Technical Manager for Universal Studios Hollywood theme park, where he was responsible for an $18 million annual operating budget and staff of more than 200. In 1997, Cliff was hired to produce DisneyFest, a traveling entertainment experience for Disney in Southeast Asia. He also developed four live shows currently in production at Tokyo DisneySea. For the last three years, Cliff has been Producer and Show Project Manager for Universal's new attraction and live show development in Spain, producing the award-winning "FiestAventura," the Western Stunt Show and Templo del Fuego.
Francois Bergeron has been a part of the Cirque du Soleil design team since 1989. Awarded the Entertainment Design "Sound Designer of the Year" award in 1996, he has led the development of audio and technical design for multiple projects including the Hayden Planetarium in New York City, the Niketown flagship stores in London, Berlin and New York, and EFX in Las Vegas, among others. He also served as technical director for Cirque du Soleil's world tours of "Saltimbanco" and "La Nouvelle-Experience." But, it is Francois' work developing the systems and sound designs for "O" at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, "La Nouba" at Downtown Disney in Orlando, and the world tours of "Quidam" and "Saltimbanco" for which he is most recognized.
Together, these three partners form the mind and soul of Thinkwell, bringing their years of talent, vision and unique creative sensibilities to the expanding and compelling business of entertainment.