Danny Bilson, a gaming industry leader whose career spans film, television and interactive, is the new chair of the USC School of Cinematic Arts’ Interactive Media & Games Division (IMGD), the school announced Friday.
Bilson joined the school in 2005 and has taught classes ranging from advanced game development to character development and storytelling for games. He also heads the Advanced Game Project, the division’s yearlong flagship class in which graduate students create a complete game, which he will continue to oversee while guiding the vision and overall growth of the division.
Former Division Chair Tracy Fullerton will remain the Electronic Arts Chair in Interactive Entertainment and director of USC Games, IMGD’s joint program with the USC Viterbi School of Engineering’s Department of Computer Science.
In the 15 years since its establishment within the School of Cinematic Arts, IMGD has established itself among the nations most elite programs for studying and creating games and interactive media. The Princeton Review has named USC the top game design program nearly every year since 2009. Additionally, IMGD students took home the BAFTA Ones to Watch Award in back-to-back years with Chambara and Sundown, both created in AGP under Bilson’s mentorship.
With his in-depth experience in all facets of the entertainment industry and his passion for helping students create their best work, Danny is the perfect person to take over from Tracy [Fullerton].
Elizabeth M. Daley
“IMGD is all about innovative entertainment,” said Elizabeth M. Daley, dean of the school. “Its students and faculty have to be inventive, creative and collaborative, and must be passionate enough about the endeavor to enjoy the inherent challenges. With his in-depth experience in all facets of the entertainment industry and his passion for helping students create their best work, Danny is the perfect person to take over from Tracy in keeping everyone inspired and energized.”
Before entering the world of interactive, Bilson enjoyed a successful career in film and television as the writer behind films like Trancers and The Rocketeer and creator of shows like The Flash and The Sentinel, directing episodes of both. His extensive credits working with Warner Bros., Paramount and Disney revealed a knack for the kind of active storytelling that would come to serve him well as the senior creative executive behind games like the Medal of Honor series and James Bond games at Electronic Arts and later as the executive vice president of core games at THQ.
“I’m honored to be named the chair of the Interactive Media & Games Division,” Bilson said. “Under Tracy Fullerton’s guidance, it became one of the best places in the world to study games. I’m excited to work with the excellent faculty and talented students here to make sure it continues to lead through thoughtful innovation.”