background| | introduction The Power of Story

Color Color

“"Get to the heart of something, then tell the truth, with whatever tools are best for the job"”


Paul Belserene has been active as an envisioner and storyteller in a wide range of media and interactive environments for more than 30 years, first as a writer and marketer in the arts community, later as a writer and producer of large interactive installations and environments, more recently as the Strategic Storyteller at Envisioning and Storytelling, and continually as a consulting storyteller, branding consultant, namer, marketer and producer.

Belserene first received international recognition for his work on behalf of EXPO 86. Called upon to provide all presentation materials used by the EXPO Corporation itself, he and his longtime collaborator Paul Smith were responsible for four major attractions at this world's fair including the Celebration Theatre in the Canada Pavilion, the 315-seat interactive Futures Theatre in the EXPO Preview Centre, The BC Pavilion's Discovery Trees, and the Air Canada Pavilion (in its entirety). They also played a major role prior to the exposition in producing materials instrumental in securing international participation, corporate sponsorship, public support and ticket sales for British Columbia's largest and most successful event.

At World Expo 88 in Brisbane, Australia the two also produced "This Is Our Home" for the highly successful Canada Pavilion at World Expo 88 in Brisbane, Australia as well as designing, fabricating, and installing British Columbia's interactive theatre at the same World Exposition.

Belserene has been a pioneer in the development of Interactive Theater and object theater as part of a new wave of interactive storytelling in museums, attractions, science centres and interpretive centres. The Kwakiutl House in the Museum of Civilization in Ottawa, the Native Heritage Centre in Duncan, BC, the "Frozen in Time" exhibit at the Royal London Wax Museum and the Grouse Mountain Theater in the Sky are each examples of his ability to conceive and create powerful storytelling environments capable of making three dimensional artifacts "come to life." in combination with advanced theatrical technologies.
For the Columbus Quincentennial Year, Paul Belserene collaborated with the Smithsonian Institution and the Ohio Historical Society to write and produce the 14,000 square-foot exhibition "The Smithsonian's Seeds of Change."

For the Expo '92 Corporation in Seville, Belserene led the Canadian-based design team which provided marketing and design services to the Expo Corporation and which developed the "Siempre Adelante" concept and storyline for the Exposition's 10,000 square-metre Navigation Theme Pavilion.

When Intrawest first aquired Blackcomb Mountain, Belserene began a 20-year relationship with that company. His storytelling for their resorts was instrumental in that company's transformation from a general purpose property developer to one of the world's leading experience-oriented resort developers. The stories and storydriven tools developed by Belserene for Intrawest played an important part in the maturing of mountain resorts from "uphill transportation" to a powerful global phenomenon. Belserene's ability to envision a visitor experience that does not yet exist, and to communicate that vision to those who must work together to make it real became part of the core of Intrawest's business model until the acquistion by Fortress. He was engaged in the planning and marketing of resorts throughout North America and Europe, including Blackcomb, Whistler, Mont Tremblant, Mammoth, Snowshoe, Squaw Valley, Panorama, Keystone, Straaton, Les Arcs, Sandestin, Winter Park, Blue Mountain and Copper Mountain. Other resort clients include KSL Recreation (La Quinta Resort and Spa, PGA West, Lake Lanier Islands, and Grand Traverse), Mount Washington, Pinehurst, and The Homestead.

The Envisioning and Storytelling process was initially developed as a way to extract essential marketing and positioning information from company leaders in order to effectively tell their story to others. It quickly became apparent that it was far more powerful than that - literally capable of uncovering essential branding capabilities that were present but "unconscious" within organizations. Helping companies see themselves from the outside in, Belserene's work was instrumental in the formation of the company Envisioning and Storytelling (E+S) where, as a consultant, he assisted companies in strengthening their internal vision and purpose and also in communicating that purpose outward to partners, associates and the public. In addition to experience-based resort and tourism clients in North America, Australia and Europe, clients included Vancity, Ethical Funds, CNL and Newland in the financial industry, The Toronto International Fillm Festival Group (TIFF-G), St. Andrews of Scotland, and, in higher education, The University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University.

Additionally he has written and produced materials for Tourism BC, Tourism Vancouver, and Canada West. He has conceived, written and produced tourist attractions in Singapore, Australia and the United States. His writing and direction have helped BC government ministries and Crown corporations to make powerful impressions to benefit international trade, as well as tourism.

As an educator, Belserene headed the conceptual design for "Boosters," a national health and wellbeing program being formed out of Johns Hopkins University. He consults for the Alberta Center for Injury Control and Research as well as the Alberta Motor Association in the areas of injury awareness and prevention. He was a member of the Smithsonian's conceptual team for the permanent exhibit entitled "Forces of Change" scheduled for installation at the National Museum of Natural History.

Belserene earned an AMI International Gold Award for "Heroes," a program designed to help reduce injuries among high school students. Originally produced for the University of Alberta Hospitals, the one-hour multimedia traveling program was experienced by some 200,000 Alberta teens. Paul later adapted "Heroes" for national distribution (in both of Canada's official languages) by the Canadian Injury Prevention Foundation, now SMARTRISK. He has also produced a companion program for the Canadian Air Command. Paul was also the writer and producer of "Outrageous Acts", another AMI International Gold Award winner which took students backstage at Vancouver Opera. Paul is also the holder of an IABC (International Association of Business Communicators) Gold Quill award for work on behalf of the University of Alberta Hospitals.

Addressing the emerging need for transformation in how our culture addresses aging, Belserene has worked for numerous developers and operators of seniors' communities, including the National Nikkei Heritage Centre, Amica, Pacific Arbour, and Retirement Concepts.

Initially hired by the University of British Columbia in 1977 to teach a poetry writing course, Belserene has become one of their most enduring and respected instructors. Over the past three decades he has perfected a unique and powerful program of teaching creative writing, (and creativity in general), enabling students to cultivate their powers of communication, spontaneity, precision and passion.

An early adopter of social media, Belserene became a host of the WELL, one of the world's first virtual communities, in 1990, and has played instrumental roles in Howard Rheingold's Electric Minds and Brainstorms communities.


Naming is the most concentrated form of storytelling. Belserene's creative and strategic strengths are ideally suited to the naming and positioning of products and services.

Belserene provided the category "Hard Lemonade" to the Mark Anthony Group, whose "Mike's Hard Lemonade" went on to become one of North America's biggest beverage success stories.

The Catalyst Paper Company was named out of a long consultation with the compay as it evolved from Fletcher Challenge Canada Limited to Norske Skog to Catalyst, a name that came from one of the differentiated paper products that Belserene initially named and positioned for the company.

He has named Iris Optical, Botticelli Chocolates, Credential Securities, Amica Seniors Communities, among others. As part of the envisioning of the Toronto International Film Festival Group's new building, he was instrumental in naming the Bell Lightbox.

Companies with strong marketing capabilities in house often turn to Paul to help them create effective names for new products and storytelling for new projects. Belserene is sometimes called upon to give identities not only to a company's products but to the company itself.


Some Theater-Related Projects of Interest

Skyride, Pavilion and Show: 195 projectors plus lasers, the largest multi-image theatre in the world. Air Canada, EXPO 86. The Pavilion contained a 1937 Lockheed 10A airliner (Air Canadaís first aircraft) that was the star of a show entitled "One Destination"

British Columbia Pavilion, Brisbane 110-seat Interactive Theater. World Expo 88, Australia with animatron host. "ABC - Adventures British Columbia"

"This Is My Home" 14-screen, theater-in-the-round immersive experience. The symphonic music score for "This Is My Home" has been called Canada's "second national anthem." (listen to it) A companion book was published by Douglas & McIntyre. Show and pavilion concept were later adapted and used at the Canada Pavilion at Expo 88 in Brisbane: 'This is Our Home."

Canada Pavilion, World Expo 88 600-seat 5-screen panorama Celebration Theater in Brisbane, Australia "This is Our Home"

"Our Spirit Soars" Grouse Mountain Resort, The Theater In The Sky, a $5.5 million mixed-media mountaintop attraction included a preshow, the main theater experience featuring artist Robert Davidson, Ann Mortifee and Long John Baldry, a Gallery and a themed gift shop

3-D multi-image theater Haw Par Villa, Singapore. The world's first application of Steroscopic multi-image projection with laser perspective animation. "Creation of the World"

Interactive Theater Concept, design, script, production and installation of the worldís first truly interactive theater: the 315-seat Futures Theater at EXPO 86 (Now Science World). "Oracle - Futures theater." Theatre opened one year prior to the Exposition and ran throughout the World's Fair. The technology was later adapted for a tourism related interactive theatre for The British Columbia Pavilion at Australia's World's Fair

Ko Olina Resort, Hawaii Visitor Information Center and show "A Place of Joy." Awards for outstanding photography, outstanding programming and outstanding art direction

Lotte World, Korea Mixed-media theater, Swiss Pavilion, "All Around The World"

Multi-lingual Shows. Scripts and shows designed to communicate to bilingual and monolingual audiences without subtitles or versionaing. Examples include the visitor information Center and theater, at Mont Tremblant, Quebec: two multi-lingual theater presentations. "Toujours Tremblant" and "Tant de choses a dire"

Museum of Civilization Grand Hall, Central Coast House Theater and show "What Brings You to this Place?", Son et Lumiere (Grand Hall) "The Raven" Soundscape (Grand Hall), Museum of Civilization, Ottawa, Ontario

Native Heritage Center Theater and show, "The Great Deeds", Duncan BC

The Smithsonian Concept, design and production of 15,000 square foot multimedia exhibit, the "Seeds of Change at AmeriFlora '92", National Museum of Natural History and Ohio Historical Society, Columbus, Ohio.

Sanctuary Cove, Australia Visitor Information Center theater and two shows, "The Spirit Lives On," "One Day".

University of Alberta Hospitals "Heroes". One hour mixed-media traveling show for teens. AMI International Gold Award winner. Achievement Awards for soundtrack, writing, photography and art direction

A Partial List of Clients

Air Canada
Alberta Motor Association
Amica Seniors Communities
Aquilini Group
Arts Umbrella, Vancouver
Blackcomb Mountain
British Columbia Trade Development
British Columbia Communications
Blue Mountain, Ontario
CNL Financial Group
Collingwood Neighborhood House
Credential Securities
Davis & Company, Barristers and Solicitors
Dossier Creative
EXPO '86
EXPO 92, Spain
Fletcher Challenge, Canada
Film Development Board, BC
GTE Enterprise Solutions
Harbor Properties, Seattle
Harbourfront Corporation
Health Sciences Association of BC
Homestead Resort, Virginia
Intrawest Corporation
Lareto Bay, Mexico
MacMillan Bloedel
Management Resources (L.A.)
Mark Anthony Group
Ministry of Transportation of BC
Molson Canada
Mont Tremblant, Quebec
Mountain Creek Resort, New Jersey
Mount Washington NH
Newland Communities
New York Seltzer
Native Heritage Centre, Cowichan BC
National Museum of Natural History,
Smithsonian Institution
PARC Amusement Parks
Pinehurst Resort
Proctor & Gamble Canada
Relais & Chateaux
Resort Municipality of Whistler
Royal London Wax Museum
Saint Andrews of Scotland
SCI, Calgary
Schweitzer Resort, Idaho
Secretary of State (Canada)
Simon Fraser University
Sterling Crane
Stone Creek Properties
Stratton, Vermont
Subaru Canada
Theme Design Inc. (L.A.)
Toppan Printing (Japan)
Toronto International Film Festival Group
Tourism Alberta
Tourism B.C.
Tourism Vancouver
Trans Mountain Pipeline
University of Alberta Hospitals
University of British Columbia
Vancouver Board of Trade
Vancouver Children's Hospital
VLC Properties Ltd.
Vancouver Opera
Vancouver Symphony
Whislter Mountain
World Trade Centre, Vancouver

Meditation in Vancouver the Vancouver Shambhala Centre - How to Meditate, Locate Buddhist Organizations in Canada

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