The secret stories of Little BIG City
Jeff Parker, Creative Lead at Merlin Magic Making tells us how he brought the small stories of Berlin to life.
What was your career history before Little BIG City?
I worked for design agencies when fresh out of college then became a freelance illustrator and concept artist. I was invited to input some ideas for the SEA LIFE brand about 8 years ago and hit it off with the team straight away - you know that feeling when you instantly get the vibe, so before I knew it I was part of the team!
What were the biggest challenges of bringing life to Little BIG City Berlin?
The biggest challenge was bringing to life the iconic and historic moments in Berlin’s rich history. The goal was to choose the most fun and entertaining stories and bring them to life using elements such as AV, physical effects, mechanical movements and a cast of thousands of tiny characters to tell the city’s amazing story.
What was most challenging about telling the story of Berlin in miniature?
The challenge was deciding which stories to choose to best represent Berlin, as it has a very rich history. Cherry picking the most interesting and iconic stories throughout the ages was hard. We also had to recreate the buildings that no longer exist in the city - getting the smallest details from old paintings and photos and building them from there was no easy task!
What is or was your proudest moment of Little BIG City?
I think being there on day one of opening, watching as the first guests arrived, listening to them say ‘wow’ as the intro show doors opened for the first big reveal of the city. Then following groups and families around and watching them examine the scenes, getting really up close and having fun!
I am also incredibly proud of the teams that I worked with – it was such a huge team effort.
Where would you personally like to see a Little BIG City next?
Right now we are working on our next exciting project in Beijing, which we are looking to open in 2018. I have to say personally I would also love to see Moscow as a LBC attraction – it would be amazing! It has incredible architecture and a rich history. I’m also interested to see more old world cities such as Rome, Venice, Paris and Delhi with such incredibly diverse architectural styles and histories too, that’s not to say more modern cities from America or Australia don’t have amazing stories to tell, its just a matter of adapting the time frame, and defining how we bring them to life.
It’s exciting that we are going to tell the stories of many other vibrant exciting cities all over the world, now we just need to decide where’s next!