Alexandre Amancio, Founder at Reflector | The Mind of a World Creator | SSP Interview

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Previously a Creative Director at Ubisoft, Alexandre Amancio was one of the visionary talents behind the international success of Assassin’s Creed Revelations (2012) and Assassin’s Creed Unity (2015); projects for which he was twice nominated by the prestigious Writer’s Guild Awards. 

Now, Alex Amancio is the Chief Creative Officer and Co-Founder at @reflector Entertainment Ltd. a transmedia studio that develops Storyworlds interweaving video games, novels, podcasts, comic books, interactive experiences and more.

Show Links

https://twitter.com/4lex_amancio

https://lunerouge.com/en/team/detail/alexandre-amancio/

SUCCESS STORY PODCAST

Stories worth telling.

On the Success Story podcast, Scott has candid interviews with execs, celebrities, notable figures and politicians. All who have achieved success through both wins and losses, to learn more about their life, their ideas and insights.

He sits down with leaders and mentors and unpacks their story to help pass those lessons onto others through both experiences and tactical strategy for business professionals, entrepreneurs and everyone in between.

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Machine Generated Transcript

SUMMARY KEYWORDS

game, people, world, create, reflector, ip, ubisoft, transmedia, product, company, building, podcast, fans, film, assassin, big, point, creative director, creative, called

SPEAKERS

Alexandre Amancio, Scott D Clary

 

Scott D Clary  00:06

Welcome to the success story podcast. I’m your host, Scott Clary. On this podcast I have candid interviews with execs, celebrities, politicians and other notable figures, all who have achieved success through both wins and losses. To learn more about their life, their ideas and their insights, I sit down with leaders and mentors and unpack their story to help pass those lessons on to others through both experiences and tactical strategy for business professionals, entrepreneurs, and everyone in between. Without further ado, another episode of the success story podcast. All right, thanks again for joining me today I am sitting down with Alex Amancio, who is the CEO of reflector entertainment now reflector is a transmedia company with an exciting new IP unknown nine, which was previously teased at New York Comic Con and is now set to launch this fall. With the announcement of a new triple A game CEO and creator Alex previously was a creative director behind the HID assassin, Assassin’s Creed franchise and is set to revolutionize the way the fans and audiences experience storytelling. With this out of the box, tactically innovative approach to their new IP, their content is built on multiple platforms simultaneously, to build out story worlds and to understand a little bit more about what that is, and allowing the company to tell Richard deeper stories that connect with fans everywhere through television, mobile, game console, novels, comics, digital content, etc. And all these pieces support each other. So this is what Alex is working on. Now he has an incredible career before he started working with obviously, co CEO reflector and with unknown. So Alex, I really, really appreciate you coming on, I’m really excited to understand your story, because everything you’re doing is so impressive, but I don’t come from the world of creative. So I want to understand a little bit more about your career and how you got into what you’re doing now.

 

Alexandre Amancio  02:02

Yeah, I mean, I think like the cool thing about careers in the creative world is that the paths are very different. And it’s almost the kind of the kind of like, everybody that I know has a different journey. It’s like almost like every single journey is completely unplayable until you’ve done it right. And then in hindsight, you look at it, oh my god, that all makes sense. But when you’re doing it, it just seems like the right decision the right time. So my career I actually started in school, I was I was gonna study science, I was I was always gonna be a science person. I love physics. And art was something that was just part of my life. Ever since I was a kid, I drew light by, you know, saying in a band, I played instruments. So I always figured that was gonna be sort of my my hobby. But then, you know, one point, I see this movie, Jurassic Park, and I, I saw them do things that, like, bring back to life, things that had been dead for millions of years in a way that I mean, it complete realism. And I foresaw that where we were heading with entertainment, with games and with film, and like, we could build worlds, the worlds that we could only imagine like, even a few years back now we could we could start building them. So I did a complete 180 I quit school I the only way I could learn to do 3d was there was these private schools that that we had to in Montreal, I think back then you can do it through the normal school program. So I I enrolled in that I did like an eight month crash course in 3d, and then started working. There was like today, the video game industry in Montreal is huge. But back then there was maybe only Ubisoft. And so I didn’t get picked as the initial like wave of employees. So I worked for about like almost four years in visual simulation, I did simulators for, like ship simulators and aircraft, helicopter simulators, learned all about how to do a lot with very little. And then at one point I got, I got an entry like, essentially an opportunity to go into a video game company was this small video game studio in Montreal that was French owned. And I worked there for about four years. And we did little games that probably nobody ever heard about, like I did a game called tennis Master series, I think it was like the 2003 or four. And then I did a game called the memory knights apprentice, which was a platformer, but we were doing all these things with about it, like, from a 10th to a fifth of the budget that other companies were doing them. So we had to come up with innovative ways of actually getting it done. So even if the games that we did were, you know, small games that are that nobody knows about. This was the best possible school to learn how to to work in the in the industry, because, you know, if you wanted something done, and nobody else was assigned to do it, it’s either you do it or it doesn’t get done. So it allowed me I was I was lead artists but I also play the role of the art director of the technical art director. So at one point or a member of the, the writer or the lead designer was also writing he quit the join Ubisoft and I ended up writing it. I had done some writing creative writing in my spare time. So it really allowed me to to test my you know, put out my creative feelers and to test the limits of what I could do. So after that, that the company closed down, and we were we were bought by Ubisoft, they didn’t buy the IP. They just bought literally the furniture and the employees, literally. So I found myself from from the small company where we were, I guess, at people working on two or three games, sometimes super small teams, to a huge company where I think we had about like that number just in my game. And my game was sparked by to

 

Scott D Clary  06:00

remember Far Cry that was that those are these are started starting to become bigger names, I guess. Second, you move to Ubisoft? Because that’s that was a huge game.

 

Alexandre Amancio  06:09

Yeah. And I mean, the first one had come out it was it was this relatively obscure game made by a German studio called Crytek. And Ubisoft bought the game engine and bought the IP with it. And our first mandate was, how do you turn this into an IP that will, you know, like, be more successful and bigger. So it was the first one was all about, like Newton monsters and an island tropical island. So we dropped those, and we made it about, you know, you know, human against nature, like, you know, the wrong place, that the guy that’s the wrong place the wrong time, but it’s the right person to be in that. So. So it was all about a fish out of water. And we envisioned this IP being always with a different protagonist. But the one thing that was common to everything was the fact that you have this character that was dropped into from there, their perspective was an alien world, and they had to use your wits to survive against these bad guys. And the executive producer back then gave me a challenge. He said, Look, I want this game, he showed me what crisis was we’re now working on. And he shows me this game that would become a game called crisis, the company cried tech, the, and he shows me this game and goes, I want Far Cry, too, to look as good as that. And I looked at the screen, I’m like, but that’s running on a $5,000 $6,000 computer. And, you know, we have to run on a $300. Xbox. So but I, I guess, because I was young and a little naive, I accepted the challenge. And I spent the next three years trying to figure out how do you reinvent the way that you create art assets for for video game in a way that you essentially circumvent the flaws of consoles, which back then were a memory, you know, you didn’t have enough memory. You know, like these, these big computers had these amazing graphic cards with, you know, a lot of RAM, whereas you were limited in an Xbox or PlayStation. So what the advantage we had in the console is that we had a lot of processing power. So I envisioned this way of creating rather than using high resolution pictures to sort of create the surfaces for the game, which is the traditional way of doing it, I instead try to figure out how do we simulate surfaces. So by using things like fractals, and like, like small tileable textures that you that you stack and then blend between one and the other, and trying to reproduce actual surfaces, rather than trying to map them with big pictures. And the added benefit to this was that it made assets be a lot more flexible, we could we could essentially have them accumulate dirt over time, we could have them rust, so they felt more alive, we could burn them and have them actually literally turned to ash. So it made for a game that not only I think look great at the time, but also that was the probably the most dynamic and immersive open world that had ever done been done back then. You could you could you know, burn it like fire propagation through wind. And you know, the vegetation was all dynamic. You could literally shoot branches. And if you stayed there long enough watching you’d see the branch grow back. So everything was procedural. Everything was so so I was up. I felt very proud of that. Especially because the for the first two and a half years, people thought it was nuts. You know, because before all the tech was ready, and everything was ready, it didn’t look very good. But I was like, No, trust me, it’ll work. This is going to work. And luckily, I guess, again, I guess I was lucky. It worked out and it turned out really great. It bought me a lot of capital within the company. So what I said as well as our director and because after after the game like Autodesk had me which they’re the makers of the 3d software that we use. They had me tour the world. They invited me to Japan I did conferences on this new like technique for creating assets. So after having done that, I figured, well, you know, there’s very, like, I couldn’t see how I could sort of talk that at least in the short term as an art director. So I asked Ubisoft Well, I’d like to, I’d like to evolve towards creative direction. And they said, but you know, like, we really liked you as an art director. You just did Parkway to like, yeah, I understand. But you know, I think I have something to bring in terms of creative direction. So they said, Okay, look, we’re and this, this is I really appreciated this, the fact that they actually went for this, but they said, Look, we’ll give you a room, they converted a big meeting room into sort of a private little flap. And they gave me two designers, some programmers, and they said, you know, what, pitch us a game, come up with something and, and we’ll see what you can do as as creative director, I said, okay, so they gave me three months, I came back with five pitches. And I think we had three prototypes. One was actually AR and augmented reality, assassin’s creed that you could play on a table. One was, I think, a platformer. The other one was a pirate game. And it was that there was a bunch of different concepts. And I pitched them to the various executive producers at Ubisoft, and one, I think, saw potential in me, and he said, Look, the five games that you just pitched, I think we should make all five of them. But I mean, it’s just not going to happen. Because we can’t start those many new IPs, and says, I certainly don’t have the power to start a new IP in this company, you’d have to get a green light from, like, very top. That being said, I think you could bring something to this to my brand that I manage, which is sort of nascent, if they had done a couple of games, which was Assassin’s Creed. And he said, Look, I want you to do the biggest, most ambitious one that we’ve ever done. And I wanted to sort of like break new ground, I want it to be the next generation. But before we do that, we sort of have a little problem like, Okay, I’m listening. And he goes, Well, we sort of were working on AC three, but we sort of need to, to release an Assassin’s Creed game this year. And I went like, what do you what do you mean this year, like, like, like, 11 months from now? He goes, Yeah. And we don’t really have a team. Because the team that’s made the previous ones, they’re there, they’re burnt out, they’re there, they’re much, much needed rest. So we’re gonna have to create a new team. And you’d be the creative director. And then we get a producer who hasn’t shipped an Assassin’s Creed game yet, either. And maybe you guys meet if you guys get along. Well, you know, we can, we can get this started. And

 

Scott D Clary  12:47

give me all the easy jobs.

 

Alexandre Amancio  12:50

All because again, because I could probably because I was young and very naive. I said, I sure like Challenge accepted. I like hard missions. And so we we essentially, we formed the team. And we from beginning to end, we shipped Assassin’s Creed Revelations in 10 months, which is a record for I think, I think for a full size Assassin’s Creed game, and we ended up it went so smoothly, I think that the stars must have been aligned, because the team that we put together was, I think one of the best teams that I’ve certainly ever worked with my entire career. So we ship that. And then the executive producer said, Well, you know that pirate game that you pitched that was a pretty cool idea. You think we can sort of make an Assassin’s Creed game with that? And like, yeah, for sure. So I essentially started the conception of Assassin’s Creed Black Flag, which was then called Golden Age. And I got greenlit by upper management. And then afterwards, I went on to the big one that I was supposed to do originally, which they had sort of started but it was a little bit lacking direction. It was lacking a creative director. So my my revelation, steam continued on black flag, and I went on to pick up unity, to ship that game because that was sort of the big priority for the company. It was a big, big investment. It was their next generation Assassin’s Creed. So it was probably well certainly back then it was the most ambitious It was huge. We reconstructed Paris in its full splendor. But Paris as it was before it was re redone by a Napoleon three and an architect called Ousman. So we did the medieval Paris that you can’t see today, unless you go to the center islands in the SCT you still can see that old Paris but that’s pretty much it. The rest of Paris was beautified and with those big buildings that you know No. So and we ended up breaking a lot of ground like first sort of co op Assassin’s Creed game first, full sized city where you could go into interiors as well, before you needed loading, you can sort of go into houses because they were actually too small. They were a scale, they were about a third too small. And we were able to actually have crowds of up to 10,000 NPCs. On screen, which was, probably still is, I think the record in a game for a fully realized crowd. So we ended up breaking a lot of technical ground on that game. It was very, very ambitious production. And then, as I was working, like, throughout my career as creative director, I really started seeing the and this started with revelations, I started seeing that what we were working on what we were building, it was more than video games, I think that we were stuck in the medium. But in reality, we were building a modern mythology, we were building these a mirror to society, we were building these new characters and these new factions that sort of represented currents that were that humanity was sort of going through, which I think is probably what entertainment does best. It’s sort of provide society with a mirror. And I felt that we were expanding the story across a lot of different media like comic books. With revelations, we actually did a pilot for an animated show that we actually released the pilot, but we never pursued the show. But we were we were doing spin offs, novels, and the novels that for the games that I worked on weren’t the story of the game, it was always a different story that was complementary to the game, expanding the game, but it was a standalone. But if you combine both, you could have a different perspective. And I started really realizing that, that entertainment companies in general, were focusing on the medium. And I started wondering, why are they doing that? Why, why is a film studio, you know, a film studio when, what the value that they’re creating, like, let’s say Lucasfilm, for example. What they’re creating is a modern mythology, it’s Star Wars, right? Whether it’s a film or comic book, or a game makes no difference, that the worth, that the product that they’re creating is the mythology, it’s not the medium. And something else came to mind, I realized that this is exactly what a lot of companies the mistake that a lot of companies make, like if you look at Kodak, for example, Kodak was the number one reference for everything to do with your memories, right. And in my opinion, when they were at their effects, Kodak was the memory company, it was the memories of your life. But because they were making most of their revenue through film, because they were developing your film like back then it’s hard to imagine today. But people were literally putting their film in envelopes, shipping them to Kodak, and Kodak would send pictures back through the mail. And like over 80% of their revenue was was was from from film. So when their own r&d department invented the digital chip the digital camera, they’re like, Well, this is no use to us because it cuts us out of our main revenue. So they sold it off. Right. And then they ended up killing themselves. But if Kodak rather than seeing themselves as a film company, they saw themselves as a, an image company or a memory company, they probably today would dominate the world of digital camera of digital, like Photoshop would maybe be one of their products. Right. And, and I think that this is the same mistake that sometimes entertainment companies do is rather than viewing themselves as as creators and mythologies, they see themselves through the lens of their medium. And the media might not exist 20 years from now, but people will always want stories and characters. So this is where after unity, this had sort of grown in my mind. And I decided to to leave Ubisoft and to start something on my own where I would maybe try to found a company that was based on those values on this idea of creating myth. So this is where reflector sort of came about.

 

Scott D Clary  19:02

I wanted to actually I wanted to highlight a point that you mentioned that I think you’re probably going to get into but I noticed as I I fully agree with what you’re saying about this whole mythology and this whole brand, I’ve noticed that fans actually supplement a lot of those loss opportunities that brands are taking advantage of in some of those in some of those, you know, those companies that you mentioned, and it’s a shame, because you see all that ancillary stuff created after the fact.

 

Alexandre Amancio  19:27

You’re absolutely right and the other the other and you’re so right, because the other the other angle, like printing an IP and doing it like in a transmedia way with a lot of products and telling complementary stories. That the fan base that’s the missing piece of the puzzle because if you’re able to integrate the fan base and make them part of the creation process, make them part of the of the tissue of the meta tissue of the AIP that I think is when you you you’ve essentially reached that transmedia nirvana. Because I mean, look, and this is I’ve had discussions About this with a lot of people that that really believe in transmedia, like, you know, you might know a guy called Tim Kring he created here, right. And that TV show was one of the first if not the first TV show to really capitalize on on social media and, and the modern world, they created a strong community. And they created a lot of like, args alternate reality games, they created like a, you know, content for the fans like, like using that the digital technology and digital social media of that day and age. And one thing, conversations that I’ve had with him, it was all about, well, he always call it like feeding the zombies, it’s it’s, it’s almost like as much content as you throw into the world. It’s there’s so many, there’s a horde of fans that are just gobbling it up, and you can’t produce it fast enough to feed that these these fans, these rabid fans. So the way to do it is to find a way where fan creation becomes you sort of you sort of crowdsource a lot of that, that creation and you you you give the fans a voice so that the fans can also feed themselves and it creates a sort of a positive feedback loop between the fans and the team that’s actually creating the stuff

 

Scott D Clary  21:21

Now that that you took that and you brought that into into reflector, that whole that whole ideology, so to speak to me about you know, you started reflector? How did you build that out? What was your first steps? And then how did you get to unknown nine and what you’re doing now?

 

Alexandre Amancio  21:39

So um, so the idea was really that it really initially started with that concept, that concept of transmedia. And I knew that to, you know, a concept an idea is great, but it only works if you have the right content behind it, you know, you know that the concept in itself is worthless if it doesn’t have the right product or the right world to push behind it. So the first couple of years were a lot about trying to figure out what what IP or what new worlds, we could create that that was compatible with this concept of transmedia. But that really resonated well with with the zeitgeist of the moment. You know, I truly believe that if you’re going to create a world or a universe that sort of that lasts in time, it has to resonate with the spirit of the moment with the zeitgeist of the time. I mean, Star Wars, when when when Lucas created it, it was it was the perfect timing, because it was all about, you know, this rebel this ragtag band of rebels that were outnumbered by this overpowered military. For him, it was a metaphor on the Vietnam War. Right and on and on the rebels that were that the Vietcong, I guess, against an imperialistic force coming. But it also was extremely positive in a world where, in a time where I think that the US especially needed a positive story, it wasn’t about dark and depressing, there was hope. So I think that even if people don’t know what’s behind the inception of it, that energy and that force, no pun intended there, sorry.

 

Scott D Clary  23:22

Just no, that’s fine. And Star Wars, puns are always allowed.

 

Alexandre Amancio  23:28

But it sort of seeps through. And I think that fans, like we capture that like, like, like an antenna, like, you know, a signal to an antenna. So the first part was like, what’s the world of today? You know, what, what, what is? What are the big questions that are essentially, fundamentally at the forefront of the human experience. And I started upon this site, and one thing that came to mind is that we are we are evolving so fast as a species, we’re getting to a point where we are transformation as a species is accelerating to vertiginous speeds. And we are essentially becoming gods. In most every sense of the word and the sense that we can we were cracking the basic building blocks of the universe. And every every week, I’d read articles about a new way that we could annihilate ourselves as a species, I read this article on on the news, like a few years ago that were they were thinking of creating these like miniature black holes to, to power cities. And I’m like, Oh, that’s great. The military black hole on the surface of the Earth, like, What could possibly go wrong? So, you know, the other ones were like, Oh, we’re gonna invent this retrovirus that allows us to, essentially, at any genetic material to it, like a cure for something so that we infect people with the cure and that yeah, like it’s and then we have a zombie bladers up like or something. So like, what again, what can possibly go wrong with that? So I felt that We had attained the knowledge of gods, but our our capacity to wheel that knowledge or collective wisdom was actually dwindling. We went from a society that used to venerate wisdom, to a society that venerated knowledge. And now we live in a society that generates data. But data is knowledge that hasn’t been analyzed, and knowledge is is wisdom that has been acquired through books not through experience. So I felt that we’re at a crux in our evolution and we either transcend our or inherent flaws is species and transcend to that next level, are we really risk annihilating ourselves as a species and that’s where unknown nine came from? That concept them and like, like Lucas, with Star Wars in the Vietnam War, people might never know this if if nobody tells them but the spirit of it is encoded in the DNA of the world. And so hopefully, this is what people will seize on and and it’ll, it’ll create a world and characters that are very relevant to the realities of today.

 

Scott D Clary  26:11

I love I love that you the thought that went into this, and I think it’s it’s highly relevant. And I and even just your point about the fact that we, that we’ve sort of degraded, how we make decisions as a society, I would even argue that many of our decisions are no longer even database. I think that we’ve taken a step back from that. But that’s not the point that that’s not the point of this podcast, I think. So as you build out on no nine, where are you at in its creation, now, just to sort of tee it up for everyone. So they saw the trailer. And the trailer really just walks through the beautiful trailer doors open chose a plum tree speaks about, I guess, a God, like leaving a portal open. And that’s just like the teaser to cue up the story. And I didn’t know where where you were in the actual development or the release. So where are you at right now.

 

Alexandre Amancio  27:05

So we’re working hard on on what we call our first story cycle. And a story cycle is something that we we came up with, but it’s the equivalent think of it, it is to transmedia what a season is to a television show. So you have to wrap it up into digestible bites so that people can actually start an end following it and know where to start the next cycle. So if it’s just like, a big sprawl, then it’s, it might be scary or difficult to the uninitiated. But if you break it up into narrative cycles, so we’re working on our first story cycle, our first story cycle is three novels. We’ve published the first one, we we’ve kept it pretty hush hush, because I’ll get into that later about our announcement that we because of COVID, we sort of had to cancel it. But the first novel is out. We the second one is finished. It’s it’s I think it’s finalizing the editor this week or next week. The third one is already outlined, we are working on a comic series, a comic book series of 12 issues, which is about the size of Watchmen, if you want a comparison, we’re working on a podcast, it’s three seasons, the first one is completely recorded. We’re finalizing the writing on season two, season three is outlined. And we’re going to start recording season two pretty soon. COVID. Again, as soon as it dies out a little bit. We’re working on this ambitious digital platform where you can consume all these products that you don’t need to consume them on platform, you can buy the book on Amazon or whatever. But it’s it’s one place where you can actually delve into the world. And the platform itself is an interactive experience. So you can depart remember, we talked about like the fan base being part of it, this is it. Like you’re part of the world, you’re part of the your character in the world, and you can actually delve into it and explore find secrets like follow us down the rabbit hole. There. There’s it’s a very ambitious initiative. And we’re also working on a triple A video game. And we’re also developing a film and we have loads of digital series that also are embedded in our platform that that you can consume on the platform.

 

Scott D Clary  29:23

And I guess I got a question about like how you built up this narrative and how you went through these sprints for lack of a better term because I’m I’m uneducated on this. So as you look the different sprints and releases different products is what’s the strategy behind getting somebody engaged and involved and in love with this story worldwide. The book first why not the video game? Why not a movie first?

 

Alexandre Amancio  29:49

It really depends on the it’s very good question. It really depends on the on the story world or even on the the specific story cycle. So right now Like the way that we were supposed to launch, it was not just the novel, it was supposed to be a lot of stuff intended, but then COVID. So the way we do it is that we don’t treat you don’t need to have read the book to enjoy the film or the game or each product is standalone. And it’s each product is treated like it’s an acquisition channels. So we create the novel, not like a spin off of something else, we create the novel, as though we were only making a novel. It’s, it’s for us, it’s a priority. It’s like our principal product. And we create the podcast with the same philosophy, every product. So if somebody just likes books, and likes that genre of book, they’ll find that book really good. And the book is actually like, rated, I think, three 4.4 point 20 Something on on Goodreads, which is very high for Goodreads. Because we treated it like it’s this is it, this is not like an ancillary, that we just write, like, give to somebody and you know, just write something fast, so that we can capitalize on whatever our main product is, it’s treated like a main product. So the way the way that everybody will get into the IP into the world is different. If you’re if you’re a novel reader, and you read it, and you like it, and then you learn that there’s a podcast, you might give it a try, and then you might get hooked on it. And then you might hear about a video game, and then that’s your own journey, my journey might be more I love comic books, and I’m enjoying the comic book, and then I might give the film a try. Because a some of the characters are in the film. But if we go watch the film together, and I’ve played the game, and read the comic book, and you’ve, you know, read the book and listen to podcasts, you’re gonna have a different perspective than I do. And so when the film is gonna start, I’m like, Oh, shit, I know what this character is. And you’re like, Yeah, wait, but yeah, but it’s not, it’s not so clear cut, because that character also did this. And then it gets us into a debate. And it encourages conversations, talks, like forums like it posts. So that’s how you sort of encourage that building of that community by giving people different perspectives and allowing them to connect the dots. But because everybody has a different perspective, they’re gonna see connections that others aren’t. And so that again, it encourages all of that, like, hopefully all of that cool chemistry on social media and community building and community growth.

 

Scott D Clary  32:19

And and as this I want to understand how you’re planning to take this to market and COVID instead of the industry but before that, I just want to understand, is this something that is entirely proprietary Is there anyone else doing anything like this? Or is the concept of a store what purposefully building a story world is that innovative in, in this industry?

 

Alexandre Amancio  32:39

It is pretty innovative. And a lot of people have toyed around with with transmedia and you know, like this, this concept of transmedia isn’t new. But the specific way that reflector is doing it is pretty new. And, you know, any company that says that they’re doing transmedia often, oftentimes, and I don’t want to generalize, but often when you have a conversation after five minutes, you go, Aha, and the usually the haha is when they start talking about their tentpole. Right? Well, it really is a TV show, but we’re creating all this stuff, too. So it’s okay to have like a reflector we have we know what are revenue drivers, we know which one is the product that we are hoping to make money out of, but or principle money driver, but there’s a difference between the money driver, the revenue driver, and the philosophy and the deployment and, and and what you’re keeping your eye on. So most companies, the thing is there, even if a company has all of these different divisions, let’s say they have comic books, they have games, they have films, TV shows, like all of it, but they’re all siloed. And on top of each silo is somebody that runs that division or that company, and that person will find it difficult to swallow if, you know, let’s say I’m the company X, and I run the game division. And I’m told, Well, your game is a loss leader because the TV shows gonna make a lot of money and we see Well Why will I have read on my bottom line so that the person that runs the other division can reap all the profits I’m penalized for this. So it it becomes difficult to collaborate. Whereas reflector the business model is on the IP itself it’s on the world so it’s much easier than to have lost leaders because your your your ultimate valuation is on the world itself that you’re building. As long as the world expands, it grows, the fan base grows as long as you’re making money. It’s okay to sacrifice certain products is lost leaders because ultimately, even if they’re not making any direct money, they’re increasing the value of the of the IP of the world.

 

Scott D Clary  34:56

Yeah, no, that makes that makes a ton of sense. Sorry, I didn’t mean

 

Alexandre Amancio  35:00

But no, that’s what’s really different about like, the specifically about our business model.

 

Scott D Clary  35:06

So, So walk me through how you are going to take it to market, um, because I read an article on South by Southwest, and how you were planning on on creating this, this, I guess, this event at South by Southwest, and I thought that was a great microcosm of how you can, you can build out so many different facets to even a launch. So it’s like, you know, everything you do seems to be multifaceted and have so many different angles. And then also just, I guess, the state of the industry, you know, what, what you are planning on doing that you’re allowed to talk about in terms of taking the market because obviously COVID and whatnot.

 

Alexandre Amancio  35:43

So I can tell you how we were going to do it. And now how we’re sort of like without, again, without revealing too much, but I’ll explain how we’re reacted and how we’ve, we’ve reimagined our to market strategy. So originally, we were going to announce a no nine and we were going to actually release a lot of products at South by Southwest. And about a week before, a little less than a week before it opened, we actually had people on the ground there preparing, it was canceled because of COVID. Now, the way we were going to do it is that one of the products that I didn’t talk about was live events. And I didn’t talk about it earlier, for obvious reasons. Because right now, it’s very difficult to think about live events when people are still wearing masks, and people are still afraid for their for their life. So our priority has to be first and foremost, people safety. But back then, we really thought I still believe like once once, hopefully COVID is going to be resolved, you know, eventually with with the vaccine or medication. And I think humans are social animals, it would be a shame that we can’t go back to the actual social gatherings because I think that’s part of what our species is about. So we were going to do probably one of the most ambitious live events ever attempted at South by Southwest. So we were, first of all, we were opening, we were doing the official opening party for the interactive division of South by Southwest. And then we were inviting people to this event that was happening in the streets of Austin, this huge architectural dig, and people were going to be part of it. And people were going to show what was discovered under the city. And it was this very, very ambitious, very cool event that people could take part in. And, and this would lead to our announcement and we were going to announce that we were going to launch a bunch of products that a bunch of the ones that I spoke about earlier today. And then and then it was going to be also the launch of our platform. And then the platform would evolve gradually, as span a span sort of joining, we would go to phase one, phase two, phase three, and and then as new products were released, we would we would expand that experience in the platform in the narrative, the ongoing narrative. So obviously, we had to rethink everything. And we had to react very quickly when when, you know, stuff started happening very, very quickly. And the team, the team that we sort of pulled back and we started thinking about like, okay, like this thing is here to stay for a while this COVID. So how do we start envisioning a launch that takes into account the new reality that we live in, so we essentially fell back on something that was a lot more digital in nature. So we’re still going to use an event to amplify our message, we’re still going to use like, even if it is a digital event, but then our launch and our strategy, at least for the moment is going to be wholly digital. And we’re going to avoid anything that’s life, just again, for clarity. But the good thing about this is that people are actually never going to get to see version one of the platform because we kept working on it. Since Saba Southwest and we’re, when we actually launched the initial version, it’s not going to look like what was supposed to be the initial version, it’s already going to look like something much, much more ambitious. So I’m at least excited about that part. I think fans are you know, it’s going to be much more of a cool experience to see something that that is already a game changer, rather than having, you know, the first portion and having see that game changing aspect integrated later on.

 

Scott D Clary  39:31

So that so do you have it? Do you have public timelines for as things roll out? Or is it still sort of being you know, in the works under under wraps, right now?

 

Alexandre Amancio  39:42

It’s sold through UPS, but I’ll tell you is that it’s, it’s, you know, ended this year? Yeah, we’re gonna we’re gonna have we’re gonna have a big announcement.

 

Scott D Clary  39:53

Okay. Well, no, I’m more asking for myself now because the more you tell me about this, the more I’m getting. It’s really really it’s a very Very cool concept. And now once you understand the thought behind it, I think you like, you know, you appreciate it even more, as opposed to just another piece of IP. Yeah. I do have I have like some rapid fire questions that I like to ask just to bring out insights that you’ve learned over your career before I pivot. Is there anything that I don’t? Or that I didn’t ask that I should have about? Unknown nine? You know, reflector, anything you’re dealing with right now that you just wanted to speak about?

 

Alexandre Amancio 40:34

Nope.

 

Scott D Clary  40:36

Okay.So he did a good job. All right, good. Good. All right. And I just like to ask some of these questions to tee up your professional experience, because you’ve had such an incredible career. Um, so what what would be some advice that you would give someone who was looking to go into a career in creative?

 

Alexandre Amancio  40:59

The one thing I would say is, is to always follow your instincts. Because a lot of the decisions that I that I made in my career might not have been the logical ones at the moment, but they were the ones that my heart was was was indicating. And I think that it’s funny how, when you do that, things seem to line up and, and, and things seem to like the opportunities that will and also sometimes a road that might seem like a riskier one might be the one that leads you to something where you never would have like, I never thought I would one point find myself as as the creative director of such a big franchise as Assassin’s Creed. And I certainly didn’t seek it out. Because I mean, to, one could certainly try to seek it out. But I, how does one get there? Right? So it happened completely out of the blue. And I wouldn’t even have imagined that like two years prior, like, if somebody had told me you’re gonna, you’re gonna leave that franchise at one point, I would be like, Yeah, really? How? So? So I think by following your instincts, and staying true to that, I think that the, the world has a way of sort of guiding you around those currents and leading you towards, towards, like, calm waters.

 

Scott D Clary  42:25

Very good. In terms of in terms of what you’re curious about, or what you’re researching, or you’re excited about in creative and IP creation, is what what are you looking into now, that’s going to be the future of your industry?

 

Alexandre Amancio  42:40

That’s super good question. And it’s, I mean, it’s such a it’s, it’s, it’s in such a state of flux right now, the like, the every industry, like, creative industry especially is in such a state of flux that it’s it’s difficult to see even like, what mediums are going to be popular. Like, look, I’ll give you an example. I love film. And I am a huge film fan. I have a huge Film Library. But I’ve noticed lately that I didn’t even remember last time I saw a film because I’m always watching series. And now when I watch a film, I have a sense that something’s missing that it’s almost like, like, I’m so used to the format. And this happens so fast. But simultaneously in such a gradual way, that I never realized that my perception flipped on a medium that has been something that I’ve loved for my entire life. So that’s the speed at which things are shifting right now. So I think that’s what I would say what I would think is, I think the paradigm has to shift from the medium to what the value is that you’re bringing the universe. And I think that’s what reflector is trying to do. And we’re doing it one way. But I’m certain that there’s, you know, 100 other ways of doing it that might be as good or better. But I think that the important thing is that I think that people have to, to be open minded about, like questioning the paradigms that we’ve we’ve essentially inherited from a very different world. These companies were created in the 20th century, right, these big companies, the world was very different. And the other part of your question, like how do I and where do I get my inspiration? I really believe that creativity. I don’t think that creativity is some sort of like weird voodoo that happens, I think. I think that creativity is a direct result of what you pump into your brain. And I think that the more diverse subject matters, you insert into your brain, the more original ideas are going to be spewed out by your brain. So I read about science, I love fiction, nonfiction. I, I’m interested by everything. I think the world is a fantastic, interesting place full of magic and I think that if people choose to see it that way, they’re going to come up with magic, and they’re going to come up with stuff that is out of the box and it feels fresh. I think that that, you know, and this goes back to also your question that you asked me about, like, the advice, I think this is also a really, like, from my perspective, anyways is, is, it’s very easy to start seeing the world through pessimistic or negative eyes. But I think that I think that seeing the magic, and everything is what brings about change and what brings about like, quality. So as a creative, you always have to remember to see the world through those eyes, the eyes of a child, you know, yeah,

 

Scott D Clary  45:45

I like that answer a lot. And that actually tees up, I’m curious about where you go to learn and sort of stay on top of on top of what’s happening? And are there specific resources? Or is it just a diverse,

 

Alexandre Amancio  45:57

you know, a diverse set. Um, so, when I’ve never been one for, like, a lot of conferences and stuff like that, it’s just like, it. It’s not really my personality. I love reading. And I think that also having an amazing team of people that are smart, and that have varying points of view, putting them in a room, if everybody is always respectful, varying points of view, this is something that, you know, the world today is, this is this is slowly dying away, right people now it’s more of a tendency of surrounding yourself with people that think exactly like you. But I think this is a mistake, because you just keep shrinking your circles, your perspective, more and more echo chamber of Yes. Whereas it’s okay to have varying opinions. As long as nobody’s harming anybody, but having very, it’s okay. For people that have varying opinions to have that opinion. Right. And it’s, I think it’s what makes it’s also a check and balance for not only for creators, but for the world in general, to make sure that we never go down a road where everybody’s sort of convinced of something. So So I think that like, allowing that surrounding yourself with smart people of varying opinions, talented people, that also is is something that keeps that creepy, creative spark and that originality alive.

 

Scott D Clary  47:28

Is there is there any any books in particular, like actual titles that you that you, you’ve read that you really like?

 

Alexandre Amancio  47:36

There’s many, I mean, I know.

 

47:38

I see behind you.

 

Alexandre Amancio  47:43

Look, Leonardo da Vinci biography. It’s an amazing bio. Like, I’m not a huge fan of biographies, but some of them are very well, like, I really like well, Walter Isaacson, um, you know, if you want books on on, like, I’m writing, there’s many that are cool. I love like, I’m not a fan of Stephen King. But Stephen King on writing is such an amazing book. I think it’s, in my opinion, the best book on writing that I certainly that I’ve ever read. And a lot of people say what it doesn’t talk about writing, but it does. It so does. So then, you know, sapiens is an amazing book that everybody should read. It’s about humans about our journey. You know, what else is interesting? I love history. Obviously, the Assassin’s Creed part of my career sort of gives that up, but I love I love history, like from the ancient world to classic history, medieval to the Renaissance. I think that history is, if people read more about history, I think we would avoid a lot more problems because humans are humans were the same people that existed 2000 6000 years back, very little has changed, except our environment. So we do make the same mistakes. And, you know, knowing in reading about history is is an amazing way to at least avoid the ones that we’ve made in the past and just focus on trying to avoid the ones that that you know, we haven’t yet made.

 

Scott D Clary  49:16

Very good. And then I actually never asked you if you have a hard stop, I hope not because I’ve just been going because there’s so much. There’s a lot of stuff coming out of this. I only have a couple more quick questions if you don’t mind. Um, what’s a what’s a lesson that you would tell your younger self

 

Alexandre Amancio  49:39

that’s a really good one. I would probably tell myself to you know, like, and I would probably tell myself not to take things to treat life more like a game, in the sense that I tend to be somebody that is very, very emotional, whether it’s about what I create, whether it’s about like, like things. And I think that this goes with the creative aspect of myself, right? Yeah, I think creative people are inherently people that are that are connected to their emotions, because this is what you’re channeling, you know, when you’re writing, or it’s almost like self hypnosis, where your, your, your your brain is, is sort of just channeling pure thought and emotion. But I think that when I look to somebody, like my wife, for example, where she’s at the eternal optimist cheat for her, I mean, life is something that essentially, that you need, it’s almost like a river that you follow. And you just need to be careful not to hit the sides, but you just go with the flow. And if you’re careful to avoid the obstacles, it’ll take you to where you need to be. Whereas a lot of times, especially younger, you tend to want to fight the current and, and I think that’s a mistake. I think that like channeling that like life energy and like taking things as they come and just being Zen about it, I think is probably something that a lot of creatives deal with. And it’s it’s not only it’s something that I would tell my younger self, it’s something that I would tell any person that is in the creative industry.

 

Scott D Clary  51:28

No, it’s very good. And then what is what does success mean to you?

 

Alexandre Amancio  51:34

For me, success is all about a quest for excellence. And excellence is not something that you ever get to it’s something that if you’re lucky, sometimes you sort of you almost like you, you lightly touch. Right. And it’s I think it’s a it’s something that you do your entire life, getting to create something that is excellent. I think it’s a lot it’s life quest. Right. And, and success for me, is sometimes maybe just glancing at it and or just touching it lightly. And being able to say that, you know, I was able to I was able to do that. Right. I think that I think that today we we we very often get lost in the immediacy of success being like monetary or it being, you know, like, I don’t know, like, I think that I think that, for me, success is is not a goal. It’s it’s a moving, it’s a moving target, it’s

 

Scott D Clary  52:40

a lifestyle, it’s like, it’s like a it’s like, omnipresent, just like, like, so you’re always because I understand what you’re saying, you’re saying, you know, we’d get too focused on these tangible milestones, like, you know, I make this much money, or I did this or got, but that’s, it’s temporary, right? Like, you can’t have that. Because then what happens when you hit that? And you’re on the other side of that? Right? That’s an issue if you if you can, if you’ve envisioned success that way, I think I don’t want to put words in your mouth is what you were mentioning.

 

Alexandre Amancio  53:08

Yeah. And look, if you if you if your mindset is about that journey, it’s about that finding that excellence, especially as a creator, right, then then you’re never done. And and you’re happy about having, oh, man like this, this part right here. Wow. Like, I’m so proud of that, because I sort of like I touched upon that excellence, right. But next time, I’ll do better. And maybe it’ll be you know, but you know that it’s something that you’ll never fully attain. But it’s great because those rewards that you get when you sort of like, lightly touch upon that success, that excellence are what drives you to the next one.

 

Scott D Clary  53:49

And lastly, the most important where can the listeners connect with you online and find out more.

 

Alexandre Amancio  53:54

So they can go to under nine.com Become a reflector calm, they can go to Instagram, they can go to twitter, and like I’m their reflectors there. So

 

Scott D Clary  54:06

that’s all for today. Thanks again for joining me on another episode of the success story podcast. You can download or stream this podcast wherever podcasts are available, including iTunes, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, I heart, radio, and many others. You can also watch his podcasts on YouTube. If you haven’t already. Please subscribe and share this podcast with your friends, family, coworkers and peers. Please leave us a rating on iTunes takes about 30 seconds as it allows other people to find our podcast and lets our amazing guests reach even more people with their message. And remember any rating is fine as long as it contains five stars. I’m Scott Clary from the success story podcast signing off

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