and the Sky


which I sometimes write myself and sometimes collaborate with others. I am constantly dreaming of new ways to present stories interactively, but also love to create simple linear, just-press-play films. 

I started from the ground up, as a production artist and learned the production process of how to write and produce an engaging game, how to polish traditional commercial communications (broadcast, print, and interactive), and how to make films on shoestring budgets that allows the viewer to get lost in the narrative and not see the dollar bills associated. I've learned how to lead a team, how to communicate my vision and allow people's talents and experience better them. I've learned that good, informative communication with your clients and colleagues can not only aid your vision, but make for a truly collaborative experience that fortifies it. 

The last few years I've worked mainly on Mixed Reality Projects, trying to crack the code of how our audience and our stories will blossom from interactivity and audience participation. I'm constantly dreaming and scheming, and independently generate projects that push the boundaries of what’s possible in the interactive space. In 2010, I developed MiniCine, an interactive film concept that hands over character and cinematic control to the user. Beginning in 2016, I began exploring interactive character development, emotional responsiveness, and examining ways to create a bond between character and our audience. This has led to development of HUE, a touch-based interactive tale about a man who has lost his senses, and only you, the viewer, can guide him to find them again. 

I've done loads of non-disclosure projects where I've had the pleasure of assisting clients in marrying interactive narratives with their brands/ideas and presenting content in new and exciting avenues. Talking about myself gives me the heebie-jeebies, so let’s just do something amazing together!  Say  


When I see a really good piece of creative in the world, I always think about the individuals who tirelessly protected it in it's initial stages, huddled around it like rugby players, forcefully nudging out the obstacles, moving it through the production process until it was 'born.'  This truly invigorates me and I quietly high-five them in my mind. 



Nicole McDonald is an award-winning writer and director who dreams-up extraordinary ways to experience stories. Her focus is on ‘cracking the code’ - discovering unique, revolutionary ways to emotionally and viscerally connect audience - to story. Leveraging new and emerging technologies as her primary creative tools, she marries interactivity and audience participation into each of her creative narratives. The thematic threads that connect all of her work are the human experience and the wonder of the natural world. Her stories are about feeling, connecting and evolving.

After studying new-media and filmmaking in college, Nicole began working in games at the famed Looking Glass Studios, where, as a game designer and 3D modeler, she first discovered stories as multi-axial continuums. Affectionately known as the “terrain goddess”, she worked as an art director and 3D modeler on flight simulators, racing games, and space odysseys, as well as creating a workflow with NASA that generated high-res imagery from low-res satellite data. Nicole then moved on to advertising as a creative lead. Where she developed integrated campaigns and creative strategies for some of the world's largest brands. She’s written, directed, designed, and managed cross-functional teams on multi-platform marketing campaigns for clients such as Google, Toyota, Cirque Du Soliel, Motorola, Dove, Axe, American Idol, Volkswagen and Microsoft. 

She now is focused on directing projects that fuse the digital and the real, including live performances augmented by sonar-sensing smartphones, a Google Experiment, and interactive characters with a mind of their own. Her passion to use technology as a creative tool has led Nicole to produce award winning interactive experiences that have been honored at Cannes, One Show, the FWA, the Art Director’s Club, AICP, SXSW, Sundance New Frontier Lab, Sundance Film Festival, Cannes Film Festival, and the Future of Storytelling. She has had the pleasure to speak about her passion for interactive narratives at Google Sandbox, SXSW, Off Festival, Digital Design Days, and Engadget Alternate Realities.

Nicole's latest project, “HUE”, which debuted at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, is a touch-based interactive tale about a man who has lost his ability to see color. Her hero seeks to find wonderment in life again and through this search, discovers his own potential to be wonderful. In HUE, the audience is protagonist. Asked to aid and encourage, “Hue” with our touch, we ultimately help him find his full spectrum, the prismatic array of color that will finally makes him whole again.

Her most recent work, “FREE THE NIGHT”, that premiered at the Future of Storytelling, is a VR interactive film that allows the audience to rid the night sky of man-made light. To set the night free, we pluck street lamps between our fingertips and gently blow them out. They extinguish in a cathartic visual display, a cross between dandelions and fireworks. With each light dimmed, the expanse of the natural night sky comes back to vivid life. Once the full galaxy is finally revealed, “Free the Night” allows us to interact directly with universe, as we touch, play, and dance with the stars and the Milky Way high above.



I've been more than fortunate to work with an amazing group of people, who have enhanced my work and projects in immeasurable ways. You should check them all out and work and play and grow and laugh together (as they are all not only beyond talented, they are pure joy to work with).

DAVID MCFARLAND is an amazing Director of Photography whose knowledge is endless and willingness is humbling. He is a true painter of light.

KC AUSTIN is a ridiculously talented creative developer with an meticulous eye.

TAY STRATHAIRN is a music composer who has the ability to literally make your vision sing.

STEVIE LAUX is an amazing creative mind (creative direction, art direction, editor, you name it).

ANITA FONTAINE is a delightful and masterful creative mind with crazy interactive chops.

JESSICA HUNDLEY is an amazing creative force (a writer, a filmmaker, a doer). 

JULIA MARKIEWICZ is a writer and ACD, she also is a dream collaborator. 

AMY JO DIAZ is an mulit-talented art director and artist (she makes things happen above and beyond).

CANDICE BIRNS is THE hair stylist that you want to work with (never mind that you'll fall madly in love with her).

HEATHER CVAR is a highly talented make-up artist (and is totally in it to win it).

JASMINE ALBUQUERQUE is a seriously creative choreographer and dancer (she is one of the members of Wife, they are mind blowing).

RYAN HEFFINGTON is a force of nature in the dance community (he choreographed the very famous sia, chandelier video).