Nova Han has been producing shows on the scale of Coachella and Night on Broadway for years, but she still spends every moment thinking about the individual interaction with her work. While 50,000 people may be jumping in unison, Nova still attempts to create personal memories for each one of her guests, and she does so through a very solid consciousness that she works through every day in various fields of creation. We talk about her career through theater and into creative direction on some of the most well-known public events in the world, and what it takes to work on such a large stage while maintaining a sense of discovery.
1:35- Find us at https://www.instagram.com/thinktankdtla/
2:27- Making the steaks high
3:51- Learn more about the Oakland Ghost ship fire here:
7:43- What are you thinking about doing with your warehouse space?
8:20- Nova goes into detail about what she is aiming to create in her warehouse. Creating an artistic playground for adults that bring them back to a play state and allowing people to go through a physical challenge where they are required to use teamwork. Nova believes in creating a venue where people can explore space in an artistic way.
9:13- Trap house:
12:13- A lack of experience and places where adults can go to play
14:00- Jacob and Nova explain what Meow Wolf is while giving their thoughts on the success they have encountered and their immersive art space
17:02 - “Lets make something really cool and sophisticated and not just weld together a grocery cart and satellite dish and call it art”
17:25- How did you start?
20:00- Nova goes into detail of what she did in the circus and how spitting fire lead to lighting her ass on fire
20:53- What made you go from the performance side to the director side?
21:30- Read more about Einsteins theory
22:54- Nova explains how she follows her highest attraction even when she does not understand her path
22:40- Nova getting scouted at Coachella
23:50- Were you hired at Coachella as a a contractor to produce something for them?
24:40- Listening to your calling
24:56- From a business women's perspective how do you make sure that someone can find you after seeing the work you created? Do you have to create some pathway for that?
25:40- “People will find you if you put out powerful good work.”
27:51- Did you have periods where you were struggling to get where you wanted too be while not getting paid?
30:22- Not stopping what you love to do because of societies standard of a real job
30:41- Can you remember specific moments where you were doing projects that you weren't getting paid for but spent hours on them because you loved them? Did you ever take too many in a row and started to get scared?
32:14- Looking at the “why you are doing it.”
32:37- Jacob talks about transiting from the Think Tank to other work
33:00- Listen to Mark Schustrin on Episode 3: The science of sales, selling art from auctions to Instagram and find more of him here:
35:21- Searching internally for who you are
36:00- Do you have methods to answer the question of “why” for yourself?
36:18- There is nothing to figure out, every day you are changing and evolving from new experience and approaching yourself daily
37:00- Nova goes into detail of how she makes time for discovery by following what excites her like traveling, jewelry making and pottery— by allowing yourself to follow what you are passionate about outside of work it will potentially give you that extra knack that'll help you in work areas.
39:40- “I am in the state of discovery”
40:20- Creativity is a tank you fill up
41:17- Graphic designers
43:38- Built to Last book
Steve Jobs biography
45:12- Walter Issacson
46:44- How to stay inspired
48:05- John F Kennedy
49:00- Nova talks about hanging out with Elon Musk and a conversation they had about why he wanted to go to outer space
Who is Elon Musk?
51:00- Art creating an awakening in people
52:10- Staying inspired, creating inspiration and people being able to whiteness themselves through yourself.
52:40- Finding a tight group of people who value what you do
52:50- Setting audacious goals to keep yourself inspired
54:40- What goals have you set that are large?
56:30- Jacob talks about how kids think their ideas are irresponsible
57:51-When you do come up with an idea and you have to change it significantly to make it real, where do you decide to compromise?
1:00:08- Have you noticed that as you gone through your 20’s and into your 30’s that you've become more flexible with your ideas or more firm?
1:01:00- Fighting for an artistic vision and trusting yourself
1:02:03- When did you discover that it only takes a little bit of extra time to make something extraordinary?
1:02:22- When did you first step into the position of saying, “okay Im a director now?”
1:06:00- Nova goes into detail about how in the beginning she didn't feel comfortable taking on the title of a creative director leadership role
1:07:10- Do you feel like you ran into struggles because you are a woman of color?
1:08:20- Navigating your approach
1:09:20- Do you remember any specific instances where you struggled to find that truth in your interactions?
1:11:00- “The idea of a good leader initiates difficult conversations.”
1:11:55- Have you always been able to initiate difficult conversations?
1:13:00- Nova explains what it was like growing up within an asian culture
1:15:26- How having theater as an outlet helped Nova
1:17:55- What was the relationship with your parents like after your show?
1:20:10- Explain some of your productions. What are you creating for people now and why?
1:23:32- Worlds largest functional pin wheel
1:25:15- Did you know you were going to make it in the Guinness World Records before you did it or did you find out after?
1:25:51- Was this narrative explained to the audience?
1:28:51- How do you deal with something that doesn't plan out the way you wanted it too?
1:31:00- Being visually upset and having public freak outs
1:33:00- Moving through bad situations with grace
1:34:07- Jacob goes into detail about two things he likes to live by. One, is to take a moment step back and watch what people are experiencing. The second is to “do it to the best of your ability until its done,” and then when its done make two binders one saying what went well and what went poorly to look back on.
1:36:00- Making failures an asset to you
1:38:14- What kind of setting do you aspire to make when you are approached for festivals now? When you approach the electric forest festival every year; what kind of goals do you set out with for those productions?
1:40:11- Do yo have a set team that you work with now?
1:40:27- Nova talks about creating a permanent space where people can come to regularly for interaction and like-minded people
1:43:09- Where can people find you?
My Haunt Life is the best place for long form content that any LA-based scare fiend can find. While their basis is most certainly haunts, Mike and Russell cover everything from haunted houses to immersive theatre. The latter is really where this conversation takes off, and we go pretty deep on certain topics that provide insight and opportunity for creators looking to make a tangible impact on their guests. There is no better source to find out about the most cutting edge stuff in the immersive haunt world, so diving into how Mike and Russell see that world at this moment is a real treat.
7:06- Night on Broadway
8:43 Introduction Russell and Mike from My Haunt Life
10:55- What is a ARG? An alternate reality game (ARG) is an interactive networked narrative that uses the real world as a platform and uses transmedia storytelling to deliver a story that may be altered by players' ideas or actions.
13:33- Mike are you really experienced in ARG’s? when was the first one you ran into?
17:03- Tune into episode 11 to hear more about Noah Nelson and the Tension Experience
17:43- How did you guys find the Tension Experience?
22:10- Ron English Hulk:
24:03- How did they first get out the information for the Tension Experience?
25:33- Thoughts on the Tension experience and how Russell and Mike believe it is the best thing in Los Angeles
29:21- Read about the upcoming shows Russell and Mike mention at http://www.myhauntlife.com/los-angeles-haunt-calendar/
29:38- How often do you find the process of people wanting to be apart of it then people falling off? Is there a pattern within the personal line that is crossed with the people who fall off or does it move show to show?
32:23- Jacob goes into detail of how Immersive theater is a great way to flip the art world upside down.
33:13- Karen Finley
36:18- How do you think the experience was for the people who only went to the haunt portion of the Tension Experience?
45:09- What do you think would have happen if you changed your character and started reacting in the opposite way?
46:43- If you had to suggest an experience to the audience which one would it be?
Lust Experience: http://thelustexperience.com
48:33- Where would you suggest the audience to start at, to those who have not been exposed to the Immersive theater?
50:03- Is there a way for the people who weren't involved with the tension experience to get caught up?
52:03- Thoughts on how The Haunt life documented The Tension Experience on their podcast
53:43- Jacob goes into detail about how and why he first got off-put about the Immersive world
54:33- Megan Reilly:
54:58- Scott Hove:
55:33- Russell and Mike explain why they do what they do with “My Haunt Life”, and how they wanted to give real genuine reviews for the people.
59:33- Russell and Mike go into detail about the Immersive world and how “there is a difference between creating a show where you want to pull them in and involve them and then you have the other thing where someone in the audience is forced to do something they don't want too.”
59:33- On your guy’s podcast you break down honest reviews on Immersive shows, going into detail about what was good/bad from both of your point of views and you then end it with the show as a whole- has this been a structure since then start, or did it come naturally?
1:02:28- What were you guys doing before, you said it was a craigslist add?
1:04:13- Did you guys meet at Scare LA?
1:05:03- The story of how Russell and Mike met
1:09:44- Flying Lotus Film
1:10:44- The Queen Marry
1:11:18- Matt Durado:
1:13:13- The Hollywood Fringe Fest will have an Immersive show category this year learn more details at http://www.hollywoodfringe.org
1:14:43- Teri Hatcher
1:15:43- Russell, did you have a background in theater?
1:20:33- Mike, how did you get into the haunt world?
1:25:23- Jacob goes into detail about when he went to a Immersive haunted experience alone and how it impacted him
1:37:34- The Rope Experience:
1:40:33- Russell talks about weird experiences with fans since he is in the Blackout documentary and how haunts have to sometimes deal with overactive fans
1:46:35- A lot of people go to Knott's Scary farm or the Queen Marry because this is what they know. Now things are starting to spread with the Immersive world and with all the knew people learning about these Immersive shows, they do not know the rules how do you think producers should handle their new audiences?
1:50:03- Escape rooms and people ripping and or breaking pieces
1:50:45- Its the communities responsibility to approach escape rooms and Immersive theater shows appropriately
1:55:17- What advice would you give to people who are already making shows or who want to step it up in this world?
1:57:13- “Create, take risks, invite people in to what you create but respect them for taking the risk to follow you.”
2:00:03- Producers need good customer service
2:03:33- How do you bring customer service during an Immersive experience without breaking character?
2:04:55- What happens to you when its not haunt season? What are you guys up too right now and what are you looking forward too?
2:05:28- If you could suggest a show right now what would it be?
2:07:11- What are you guys looking forward to with Scare LA coming up this summer?
2:07:56- Find more of Russell and Mike at
Find different events of escape rooms and Immersive shows at
If you are visiting LA and don’t want to do tourist things, check out
Call 515-HAUNTLA if you want to leave Mike and Russell creepy messages
It's impossible to describe Phil America's work, and that fact is very important to him. Our host Jacob Patterson and Phil are from the same working man's town in NorCal, and they relate on many topics. Because of that, this podcast gets deeper than any we've done so far. Discussing what it means to be an American and an artist at the same time is what we are all doing nowadays, but it's something over which Phil has been obsessing for years. And that obsession expresses itself in many ways, oftentimes illegally.
0:00 - Intro
6:02 - What do you do?
6:19 - Not being exclusively stuck in a box
6:50 - Are you still a graffiti artist? When did you start?
7:32 - What were the first trashiest tags you were putting together? Did you use pens or spray cans?
9:02 - Was this the first art you did period?
9:14 - Art VS. Vandalism
12:02 - Phil explains what his favorite type of art is
14:02 - Social media echo chamber
14:42 - Do you consider yourself on the other side of people who are putting up gang graffiti?
16:02 - Calling social media activism when it really doesn’t do much
16:42 - At what point after 13-14 years old did you start writing things on the walls that you wanted people to see (with a social agenda)?
18:32 - You started sharing photography and publishing books; when did that start and what was the thought process behind it?
19:42 - Learn more about who Jean- Michel Basquiat is at
21:02 - Street art and the media are two different worlds. Do you think there are more areas now where these two worlds combine?
22:22 - “Graffiti is the only art form that was created by the youth.”
23:16 - What came next for you after tagging?
23:42 - Phil gets into detail of who graffiti train painters are and what they do
25:47 - When did you find your interest in graffiti train painters?
26:19 - Were you in a crew In Sacramento?
26:32 - When did you take the step of being an artist instead of just painting trains?
28:22 - https://streetartnews.net/tag/montana-gallery
28:52 - How Phil realized he was more than just a Graffiti artist and a photographer
29:24 - Why did you choose to go to Europe?
29:32 - Phil’s published books
29:55 - Phil goes into detail about realizing he does not want to restrict himself to only photography
31:18 - Is your graffiti work documented somewhere?
33:07 - You say that these graffiti artists don’t care about anything other than getting their respect at the same time you personally don't care if you suck or if you are good— you care a lot about the culture and getting in there to document them. When did this shift change from you painting to caring more about the culture?
35:07 - Where did you go to prison and for what?
36:32 - People viewing you through a lens of being straight white male
37:44 - An Interpol notice is an international alert circulated by Interpol to communicate information about crimes, criminals and threats from police in a member state (or an authorized international entity) to their counterparts around the world.
39:32 - Principle and conviction
39:52 - Did you make work in prison, if so what kind?
40:42 - Project in Thailand white ambition
41:42 - The caste system in India is a system of social stratification which has pre-modern origins, was transformed by the British Raj, and is today the basis of reservation in India. It consists of two different concepts, varna and jāti, which may be regarded as different levels of analysis of this system.
44:22 - Project in Thailand
45:12 - What was the first thing you did when you were in Bangkok since you didn’t take your camera?
46:29 - Phil touches on how he got in touch with the mafia in Thailand
48:00 - In Thailand the Thai people look down upon the slum people. Phil managed to find away that connects the both of these worlds. He placed both sides together in hopes of sparking conversations between the two in which he succeeded. His only hope is that this will lead somewhere in the future.
49:22 - Do you think there was some sort of difficulty while trying to express this project truthfully since you are a white american?
51:00 - Phil questions why it was okay for him to go to a higher part of the town but not the slum part of town
52:22 - “The language of art”
54:22 - How shortly after this project did you get arrested over there?
55:02 - What was it like being a white dude and coming out on the newspaper while in jail?
55:53 - How long were you in jail for?
56:53 - Phil explains how going to jail influenced him
59:12 - “If my mom can’t understand it get the fuck out of my face!”
01:01:52 - Phil is able to have conversations with people that he sees are voiceless, in a certain realm. He does not make his art work to them, he makes it for them.
1:03:47 - What was the moment you were like okay i’m going to prison?
1:04:00 - Phil taught at a school in Thailand, and by doing this him and his team helped thousands of people out of poverty.
1:05:42 - Did you get to call anyone from back home to let them know you were getting locked up?
1:09:32 - At what point did you decided to start calling yourself Phil America, how does it make you feel when you are called that?
1:11:42 - Taking American for granted
1:15:12 - Separating and using different names for different creative projects.
1:16:36 - Listen to Shelley’s podcast episode #5 and find more of her at
1:17:07 - Creating a story for the name you chose
1:19:17 - How have you moved up from each project you’ve done- from graffiti to photography etc
1:20:32 - Using the best language people will understand to get messages across
1:22:07 - What was the first instillation you did, was it in Europe?
1:22:42 - “Pictures are not worth a thousand words.”
1:24:02 - Phil’s thoughts on only creating art that is powerful
1:24:32 - Do you have ideas that are aesthetic?
1:28:01 - http://www.artsdistrictneworleans.com
1:29:07 - Where do you draw the line when people are emailing you trying to take advantage of your connections etc?
1:31:42 - Phil gets into depth about how the people he wants to help are the ones who aren’t asking for help.
1:33:42 - Jacob and Phil’s thoughts on not putting your name on every project you do, or the help you give.
1:35:12 - Shelley Holcomb
1:35:52 - Building relationships with sponsors
1:38:52 - Jacob speaks about how instillation art is important. In today’s society people are drawn to art that they can snap a photo of to post on Instagram while tagging their friends which is good exposure for the artist.
1:40:22 - The language of art
1:41:30 - Built to Last by Jim Collins and Jerry I. Porras
1:43:42 - Jacob and Phil’s thoughts on Millennial's having a complicated relationship with work and the American Dream.
1:44:50 - “Who does the most work, the best work the hardest work and who's the most clever.”
1:46:36 - Good is a subjective term hard work is not- to Phil working the hardest does not mean it is the best work but at the end of the day it is something he respects.
1:48:56 - Understanding a process Vs time
1:49:27 - See more of Phil’s art instillation of sneakers made into a flag
1:52:02 - What it means to be an artist and an american at the same time
1:53:22 - Super bowl rant/Tom Brady/Lady Gaga.
1:56:27 - See the trailer for the dance show by Daniella Agami
1:58:01 - Jacob gets into detail on a collaborative idea that both him and Phil hope to create. This project will involve sections of the border between Mexico and America; making references to politics. This piece can help for a mediative inspection of those ideas
2:07:22 - Phil speaks about Donald Trumps idea of creating a wall and how it is not something new that does not exist. This wall specific wall already exists and Phil believes people are critical of the idea of walls, not this wall. People are against the idea of keeping people out of somewhere when they are just looking for a better life.
2:08:42 - The American Dream, how it’s fallen, the mistaken angle in the belief that we can “Make America Great Again” – case in point, Americana:
“From the mid through late 20th Century, Americana was largely associated with nostalgia for an idealized life in small towns and small cities in America around the turn of the century, from roughly 1880 to the First World War, popularly considered "The Good Old Days". It was believed that much of the structure of 20th Century American life and culture had been cemented in that time and place”
The zeitgeist of the idealized period is captured in the Disneyland-style theme parks' Main Street, U.S.A. section (which was inspired by both Walt Disney's hometown of Marceline, Missouri and Harper Goff's childhood home of Fort Collins, Colorado), as well as the musical and movie The Music Man and Thornton Wilder's stage play Our Town. Especially revered in Americana nostalgia are small town institutions like the barber shop, the drug store/soda fountain and ice cream parlor,
2:10:42 - Your name has defined you and your work; with this crumbling American dream how do you reconcile this
2:13:14 - Phil explains what his idea of the American Dream means, “It’s a feelings it’s an emotion its something you can’t bottle up. America is a place where you are allowed to dream.”
2:16:52 - Americans taking what they have for granted
2:21:54 - If the way you are trying to communicate your message makes it so there is no receiver, from that point longer it is no longer a message because it wont get to the receiver.
2:22:59 - Kafka’s “Metamorphosis” and the idea of being worthless to even your family if you are unable to do good work – a reflection of American ideals from a German author
2:23:42 - Phil’s comments on street art - how putting a label/placing it in a box immediately takes away from what the person is saying from viewing it through a specific lens.
2:27:22 - What are you working on next?
Find more about Phil America at: