Tommy Honton, Experience Designer


Cool Tools Show 162: Tommy Honton

Our guest this week is Tommy Honton. Tommy is a Los Angeles-based experience designer who specializes in weaving interactivity and game mechanics into narrative storytelling. Across the United States, he’s produced interactive and immersive work for audience sizes ranging from 1 to 80,000. He’s also the co-creator and designer of the critically-acclaimed escape room Stash House and co-founder of the interactive exhibition Museum of Selfies. You can follow him on Twitter @angelalansburyd.

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Show notes:

Scheduling system: Using Trello with Google Calendar
I live and die by my calendar. I struggled to find a way to organize tasks by project and deadlines along with my daily agenda and personal schedule that could fit in one space on my phone and computer. I finally found my rhythm with Google Calendar integrated with Trello. All my projects are on Trello and every deadline or milestone now appears automatically on my calendar which makes it easy to manage and schedule my entire life in one spot.

Note taking systemUltra fine sharpie and Field Notes End Papers Edition
I take notes constantly. I prefer to keep everything digitally in the Google Drive ecosystem, but there’s something satisfying about using a good notebook and pen. Plus, in meetings, typing on a computer or phone can give off the appearance of being distracted or not paying attention. I prefer using ultra fine tip Sharpies as my typical writing tool in a durable notebook. I used to use pocket-sized Moleskines (they’re actually vegan which is important to me), but lately I’ve used Field Notes brand notebooks. My favorite is their End Papers version which is thinner and slimmer and fits in pockets very easily. Once I finish with a meeting, I always photograph the pages and mark them through so I know I have a digital copy. Then I’ll transcribe them or add notes in Google Keep which I’ll transfer over into a Google Doc sorted in Google Drive based on the project.

Consumed media listTrakt integrated with Series Guide
I like keeping track of all forms of entertainment I consume, not only because I like data for some reason, but it’s been practical when I’m trying to remember a show or something I’ve listened to or want to make notes on it. For media, the service Trakt is fantastic and I have it integrated with the app Series Guide on my phone since Trakt doesn’t have a first-party app. I wish they kept track of books, Podcasts, etc, but they don’t, so I just have a Google Sheets page where I keep track of that stuff manually. And, me being me, I have a sheet for escape rooms, immersive productions, LARPs, and other stuff that I have to do manually as well.

ToolboxSugru, E6000 and Rustoleum multi-purpose clear paint
Creating tactile experiences means stuff is going to break, crack, tear, smear, etc. I’ve really learned to appreciate the magic of three things: Sugru which is a putty-like glue that cures into a hard rubber. E6000, a craft adhesive that bonds pretty much any material to any other material. And a good clear coat to protect or finish any surface to make it smooth and safe from UV damage, scratches, or peeling. I prefer Rustoleum brand’s clear paint version.

Also mentioned:

Stash House is a 90-minute escape room experience that plunges guests into the seedy underbelly of Los Angeles’ criminal underworld. Coming face-to-face with Ray Jones, notorious criminal kingpin, players must navigate Ray’s test or risk the consequences. It is ranked 15th by the most experienced players in the world.

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