Susan Bonds is a pioneer in experiential storytelling—the art of crafting immersive narratives that spill off the screen and allow the audience to participate across platforms—and the force behind 42 Entertainment’s critically acclaimed interactive experiences, including The Dark Knight, Halo and Nine Inch Nail’s Year Zero.
As co-founder and CEO of 42 Entertainment, Bonds has led the evolution, from alternate reality games to deeply immersive entertainment experiences that engage millions of people worldwide. She has focused 42 to take advantage of what she calls “true convergence”—the social, technological, gaming and story alignment that enables 42 to give the audience a role in The Dark Knight, Halo, or in Nine Inch Nail’s Year Zero. These rich worlds extend beyond film screens, game consoles, television shows, book pages, brands, products and music, allowing audiences to “live” the story in unforgettable ways that intersect when, where, and how they program their life. In 2013, Bonds launched an original content label, Animal Repair Shop, to design and launch next generation mixed reality experiences, games and location based entertainment.
Bonds started as an aerospace engineer working for Lockheed Martin’s Skunkworks, before joining Disney Imagineering. There, she developed the attractions Indiana Jones Adventure at Disneyland and Mission: SPACE at Epcot, two of the parks’ most popular and innovative attractions, and ran Imagineering’s Concept Studio, producing location-based themed entertainment and out-of-the box experiences. Susan then went on to produce the MMORPG, URU: Ages Beyond Myst and a 3D version of Myst called realMYST before launching 42 Entertainment in 2004. At 42E, Susan has developed and produced over 40 immersive entertainment experiences which have won over 50 awards, including the Cannes Cyber Grand Prix, multiple Webby Awards, and GDC Innovative Game of the Year.
Bonds’s work and insight has been featured in multiple publications, including 60 Innovators Shaping our Creative Future, Wired, USA Today, New York Times, WSJ, Contagious and in Art of Immersion: How the Digital Generation is remaking Hollywood, Madison Avenue and the way we tell stories. She is on the President’s Board for Georgia Institute of Technology, a member of the Producer’s Guild, on the advisory board for the Ryman Foundation, and a mentor for Sundance’s New Frontiers Lab. She has an engineering degree from Georgia Tech and an M.B.A. from Georgia State University.