Member profile

Eric Larkin

independent designer
Los Angeles, California United States




I was looking for a new career when I left acting, but my boss at my survival job (The Last Bookstore) kept me on with an irresistible offer: "I've always liked your writing, and I've always wanted to have a blog for the store." So, I went from struggling actor to salaried writer. 

It was an opportunity that I knew wouldn't last, because we weren't using it to generate revenue. So, while trying to do interesting things with the blog, I continuously scanned for a more sustainable opportunity. 


What I found instead was an epiphany.


Blundering around the interwebs one day, researching a blog post, I discovered Jeff Baham's Haunted Mansion website. 3 hours later, I came up for air, and began hunting for theme park websites and podcasts. I had had my "Wait - people do this for a living?" moment. 


It felt inevitable, now that I could see the path I'd been on. I grew up at Knott's, Disneyland, and Universal Studios. I had felt the hard pull of theater - onstage and backstage - to the extent that I pursued it for years. I'd developed a lifelong habit of writing and storytelling, and found an unexpected passion for creating neighborhood Halloween walkthroughs. Suddenly, there was this  idea of using all of those tools and all my experiences to create circumstances - adventures even - that a person couldn't normally encounter: a challenge, something to poke the imagination, a bonding experience, fun. This is themed entertainment.


I've used The Last Bookstore for designing and producing interactive events and as a place to add to my tool set - creating installations and artwork. I continue to do this and other work, and to learn everything I can about the art and business of themed entertainment. 

It still feels inevitable, but I'm not a fresh art school grad and haven't risen through the theme park ranks, so I'm out here in the jungle with a pocket knife and a piece of string.

Of course, that's exactly what an adventure is.