In her “first” life Jena Ball is a writer, educator, and storyteller who has tackled everything from technical papers and textbooks to features for national publications and personal essays. Her love of stories, told both in words and images, drew her to Second Life where she has been exploring how narratives connect us all.
Ball has recently focused her energies on creating immersive and engaging Story Quests designed to bring participants into and help co-create personal stories. Her work as the Coordinator of the HIV/AIDS sim, Karuna, was the basis of The Virtual Worlds Story Project’s groundbreaking film and Story Quest, “The Life and Times of Uncle D,” which takes audiences into the life of an HIV-positive person known simply as Uncle D.
Martin J. Keltz
Emmy award winning producer, Martin J. Keltz has been involved in education and children’s media throughout his career. As the Co-founder and President of Scholastic Productions, Inc. (SPI, 1978-1995), he was the Senior Vice President in charge of New Media at Scholastic, Inc. His vision helped make Scholastic, the largest publisher of children’s literature in the English-speaking world, into a global media company.
From The Baby-Sitters Club to Goosebumps and The Magic School Bus, the top-rated Emmy and Annenberg award-winning animated series, Scholastic was at the forefront of developing educational media content for children and families in traditional and new media during his tenure. Groundbreaking projects in new media with companies like Microsoft to produce educational multimedia products related to the science-based animated series, The Magic School Bus and a traveling museum collaborative that brought science and fun-learning to kids across America.
Among his many production credits, Keltz was the co-executive producer of the International Emmy Award-winning series My Secret Identity and the critically acclaimed, big-budget feature films, The Indian in the Cupboard (Paramount and Columbia Pictures) and The Baby-Sitters Club (with Columbia and Beacon Films). During his tenure, SPI received over 75 national and international awards, including numerous Emmys, Cable Aces, ACT, Cine Gold Eagle, Ollie, Gemini Awards and was regularly honored with Parents Choice Awards for creating “the best in children’s media.”
Following his career at Scholastic, Keltz continued to produce innovative content and programming. For example, with Stuart Samuels Productions, based in Toronto, he spearheaded and co-executive produced the international specials, Urban Wild, for Discovery Canada. As Executive Vice President of GS New Media he worked with Sun Microsystems (U.S. and Israel) Protocol Entertainment, Inc. (Canada) and Crawford Productions, Pty, Ltd (Australia) to develop an online virtual world for children based on the popular children’s book and television series The Saddle Club.
Recently, working with Jena Ball (Jenaia Morane) he helped develop and launch The Virtual Worlds Story Project, which creates educational programs and helps groups form communities of practice using TVWSP’s unique Questing model.
CEO of Remedy Communications, Doug Thompson brings over 20 years of brand strategy, market research, advertising, and digital media experience to Startled Cat. Starting his career with Southam Publishing, the largest newspaper company in Canada at the time, Thompson helped to develop and launch some of the first digital media products in an age of main frames and fax machines with curling paper. His experience following Southam included syndicated market research, video production, continuing education and training, and branding. He sold some of the first health-related Internet-based products in the late 90s, produced award winning video titles on behalf of Fortune 500 companies that including Glaxo SmithKline and Pfizer, and helped launched a half-dozen Internet properties during the early days of the Web.
Thompson formed Remedy Communications in 1998. Remedy is a full service agency providing brand strategy, training, education, content services and creative to Fortune 500 companies, cause marketers, and the military. Remedy delivers programs across traditional and digital media, and is a leading agency for virtual world development, mobile technology, and social media.
Remedy owns Metanomics, the leading source of insight into the serious uses of virtual world technologies and how our lives online are influenced by policy, governance and economics. Thompson also blogs about immersive media at Dusan Writer’s Metaverse.