Media, education and culture, a programme of the EU

Developing Interactive Narrative Content Seminar 2002: Speakers

Sebastian Belcher | Klaus Diepold | Daniel Dumont | Annika Heitmann | Stefan Hiene | Bob Hopkins | Sibylle Kurz | Mark Stephen Meadows | Erik Oleson | Stefan Schemat | Michael Stelzer | Greg Roach | Richard White

Sebastian Belcher

Sebastian is a senior associate at Harbottle & Lewis, London. Much of his work involves computer games, internet and new media matters.

He handles a variety of commercial and corporate work concentrated on these industries but also more generally within the media, entertainment and leisure industries including the development, distribution, licensing and other content-based deals. He is also involved in the setting up of corporate and contractual joint ventures, start up and financing and mergers and acquisition work within these fields.

Recent work includes advising TakeTwo Interactive Inc., the NASDAQ quoted computer games publisher on its sale of Pixel Broadband Studios, an Israeli broadband technology company to Gameplay, together with an online distribution arrangement providing Gameplay with online rights to Take Two products.

Klaus Diepold

Klaus Diepold received a Dipl.-Ing. degree and a Dr.-Ing. degree both in Electrical Engineering from Munich University of Technology in 1987 and 1992, respectively. 1993-94 he was a research engineer with the Institute for Broadcasting Technology (Institut für Rundfunktechnik) in Munich, being engaged in national research projects (HDTV-T)and contributing actively to the specification of digital terrestrial television systems (DVB-T). From 1994 until 2002 he served as the Chief Technical Officer of DynaPel Systems, Inc., a New York based company in the video processing and compression industry. He is the lead architect of DynaPel’s award winning video post-production tools MotionPerfect® as well as its successor SteadyHand. He has developed motion estimation techniques and implemented MPEG-4 video codecs.

Since 1996 he is an active member of the MPEG group, mainly focusing on video aspects in the MPEG-4 video and requirements subgroups. He is now actively involved with the MPEG-4 Industry Forum to promote the MPEG-4 standard for interactive television services and media streaming applications.

Currently, Klaus Diepold is a full professor at Munich University of Technology, Department of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology, holding the chair for Data Processing. His main interest is in all algorithmic aspects of motion picture technology, video processing and compression, computer graphics and computer vision as well as information security.

Daniel Dumont

Project Manager

Curriculum Vitae

1996: Diploma in Physics at the University of Konstanz

1996 - 1998: Manager of the Department for Games Localization and Service at Ubi Soft Entertainment in Paris and Düsseldorf

1998 until today: Project Manager and Concept Author at Ascaron Entertainment in Gütersloh, Germany

Most important projects since 1998

Patrizier II/Patrizier II Add On: Trading simulation in the Hanseatic area of the late Middle Age.

Port Royale: Pirates and trading simulation in the Caribbean sea during the age of colonializiation.

David S. Freeman

Screenwriter/producer David S. Freeman teaches “Beyond Structure,” the most popular screenwriting workshop in America. It’s been taken the writers, directors, producers, and executives behind The Fugitive, Good Will Hunting, Runaway Bride, Sling Blade, E.R., Law & Order, Everybody Loves Raymond, The X-Files, Buffy, and many other major films and series.

David himself has written or developed scripts and ideas bought or optioned by Columbia Pictures, Paramount, MGM, Castle Rock, Allied Stars (based at Sony), Buena Vista Television, Atlas Entertainment, and many other companies.

He has also worked extensively in new media, and contributed to the script for the big budget videogame for The Matrix sequel. He’s currently working as a designer/writer for videogames being made by Activision, Midway, and soon Infogrames. He’s writing a book on creating emotion in videogames for Pearson Publishing.

Annika Heitmann

MSc in International Business and Dipl. Betriebsw. (FH)

Having a background in business studies, Annika Heitmann is currently working on her doctoral thesis on payment systems in open networks. Since 2001, she is working as a research assistant at the Institute for Economic Policy Research, Division for Money and Banking, at the University of Karlsruhe, Germany. She contributes most of her work to a project called "FairPay", a project on security aspects and reliability of payments in open networks, which is supported by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology. In addition, she is also contributing to the institute‘s annual survey on "Internet payment systems from the consumer’s view (IZV)". More than 10.000 consumers took part in this year’s survey, stating their opinion and their experiences as far as the different Internet payment systems are concerned.

Stefan Hiene

Stefan Hiene is a passionate and successful moderator of expert panels, discussions and interviews. At the Internet World 2002 in Berlin he was elected “best moderator” by the audience. He is chairman and CEO of ocean seven, a company for innovation consulting and international business relations.

Stefan Hiene started his career after studying 4 years of Political and Economic Science in Augsburg and Freiburg. In 1999 he founded one of Europe’s first Content Brokers based in Munich. In his function as Chief Communication Officer he started the research initiative “Forschungsgemeinschaft contentstudie”. After leaving his company he founded the “Association for the German Content Economy” (VDCW).

In his rare spare time Stefan Hiene is a passionate endurance sportsman. He lives in Munich, his favourite German city.


Bob Hopkins

Bob Hopkins graduated in 1971 from the London School of Economics and then qualified as a Chartered Accountant with Deloittes & Co. (then one of the 'big 6' now subsumed into PriceWaterhouseCoopers). After several years of auditing and managing audit teams in a variety of privately owned and publicly listed companies, Bob chose to move into industry to broaden his horizons and to gain practical experience of financial management. Ten years with Lucas Industries were then followed by 15 years of management consultancy.

Currently Bob Hopkins is Commercial Director with Wise Monkey Limited, specialised in film style financing and consulting of computer game development.

Sibylle Kurz

Sibylle Kurz, communication skill trainer, personal coaching and pitching expert in the media-industry. Working for film schools and institutes all over Europe.

She studied media and communication science, sociology and psychology in Munich.

1981 - 1996: Assistance in setting-up and building of the meanwhile biggest German independent distribution company for theatrical, video, and TV rights. Main area: acquisition, co-production and script analysis.

Since 1992: "decision maker" for MEDIA programmes Cartoon Form, Rendez-Vous, EAVE. Since 1994 member of the pedagogical team of EAVE, a MEDIA supported training programme for European producers and authors.

Furthermore working as consultant on scripts and the presentation of projects as well as personal coaching.

Mark Stephen Meadows

Mark Stephen Meadows is an artist and writer, currently living in Paris. He was most recently Creative Director for a venture of Stanford Research Institute and prior to that held the post of Artist-In-Residence at Xerox-PARC where he conducted research in reading and interactivity. He has been a professional designer in the realm of Interactive Media since 1993, creating works that defy traditional distinctions of "technology", "narrative" and "visual art."

His 3D animation and interactive design has touched companies from Lucasfilm to Microsoft, and he has been exhibiting his mixed media artwork since 1987 in galleries and museums throughout the United States and Europe. Meadows' work has received awards from Ars Electronica, the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, and the National Information Infrastructure (NII) highest honors, among others.

His first book, Pause & Effect, examines interactive narrative while his second, Simulus & Response, focuses on artificial intelligence and the roles that characters play in emerging narrative forms. He has recently learned to play the concertina, sew curtains, and mix tempera paints (but not at the same time).

Learn more at:

Erik Oleson

Erik Oleson, a produced, professional screenwriter, is a member of both the Writers’ Guild of America West (WGAw) and the Writers’ Guild of Canada (WGC). He is also an occasional consultant, lecturer and script coach with The Freeman Group, the Los Angeles-based company founded by top screenwriting guru and creator of “Beyond Structure”, David S. Freeman.

Erik’s early experience in the movie business landed him crew jobs on more than a dozen major feature films, from JFK to Days of Thunder. While attending New York University’s prestigious film school, Erik began working professionally as the director of several award-winning television commercials. His first TV script, Choices, was developed at Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment, but never produced.

After graduating from NYU, Erik moved to Los Angeles and worked first as a Development Assistant, then Creative Executive with Carol Baum Productions at Columbia Pictures. After leaving that executive position to write, Erik freelanced as a script reader and analyst for: Dreamworks SKG, The Kennedy-Marshall Company, 1492, The Ladd Company and several other filmmakers.

Erik’s first feature screenplay, the dramatic thriller The Fall of Troy, was optioned by actor Ice Cube and New Line Cinema. That led to a host of rewrite and script-doctor assignments, including The Plutonium Project, which Erik rewrote for producer-director Irwin Winkler at Columbia Pictures. He also penned several TV episodes and sold his pilot Revolution to 20th Century Fox Television.

Erik is currently developing several new projects and hopes to make his feature directorial debut in 2003 with The Marquis, which he wrote and will produce with Djimon Hounsou, star of Amistad, Gladiator and Four Feathers.

Stefan Schemat

Stefan was born in 1960. He studied cognitive psychology and developed a narrative biofeedback system at the psychological Institute of the University Goettingen. Since 1991 he has been doing research on the cognitive psychology of new media and narrative hypermedia. In 1997 he founded the media G. media lab in Hamburg. He is a media pioneer, writer, programmer and inventor of the breathing book and augmented reality fiction (roaming novel). His work has appeared in various exhibitions and augmented reality fiction environments (e.g. Berlin, Goettingen, Hamburg, Linz, Lueneburg, New York, Siegen, Tokyo).

Michael Stelzer

Michael Stelzer was born in 1967 and studied film at the Filmakademie Ludwigsburg, Germany. Since 1996 he works as a director for commericals and shorts. In 1999 he founded his own production company and has developed the interactive movie project “JackPointJack”. The pilot was released on the internet portal of T-Online in spring 2002.

Greg Roach

Greg Roach, M.F.A., is the CEO and Artistic Director of HyperBole Studios, which he founded in 1990.

For over ten years Roach has been recognized as a worldwide leader in the field of interactive film, video and storytelling. His company, HyperBole Studios, explores interactive multimedia as a new artistic and cinematic form.

In 1990, Roach´s first effort was the creation of an online, interactive digizine - years ahead of the internet explosion. During the two years he published HyperBole magazine, he designed, wrote and produced the world's first interactive, multimedia novel. The Madness of Roland, one of the first non-reference CD-ROM's, which was published to great acclaim. The New York Times called the effort "stunningly beautiful." While finishing work on Roland, Greg also wrote, produced and directed a short interactive film called The Wrong Side of Town, a work that the American Film Institute considers to be the "first interactive narrative film."

With these two milestones under his belt, Greg began work on Quantum Gate, the industry's first full-length interactive movie, and the first product to use his newly conceived VirtualCinema technology. Quantum Gate solidified Roach's reputation as both a talented writer/director and a visionary technologist and designer.

His first six years in business culminated when Fox approached him and asked him to helm the much sought after X-Files game. After receiving a ten-page story outline from Fox, Greg created the design (1000+ pages), wrote the shooting script (250 pages), directed a 2-month location shoot and oversaw the entire editing and post process. Upon its release The X-Files Game exceeded all expectations, premiering at number one in nearly every territory where it was released, and going on to sell over a million copies worldwide.

Greg Roach is now focused on the potential of the VirtualCinema technology he invented, with a particular focus on DVD. He has established a program with the USC School of Cinema and Television to teach classes in VirtualCinema. In addition, he is completing a feature film script, and has just been made a research associate at Cambridge University.

He teaches regularly within the frame of the training initiative sagas Writing Interactive Fiction, at USC and at workshops in Seattle, London, Cambridge and LA.

Richard White

Richard White is co-author and currently mentor of School of Art & Media – Convergence & Interactivity –, a new arts and media faculty at Gotland University College, which explores interactive and convergent media with a special emphasis on authorship and accountability. He is Editorial Director of Initial Cut, the interactive media, project development incubator. Richard is also an author, producer, director and development executive in theatre, film, television and interactive media. He was one of the founding lecturers on the Arista Story Editor Workshops and was responsible for the strategizing and implementation of the previous mechanism used for funding interactive media development through the Media Programme of the EU.