Elliot McGucken

Founder, JollyRoger.com

Artistic Entrepreneurship & Technology 101
52 minutes, 23.9mb, recorded 2007-04-09
Elliott McGucken

Tired of being a starving artist? Dr. Elliot McGucken's Artistic Entrepreneurship & Technology 101 puts together a new approach to entrepreneurship and the arts through a fascinating application of the classic journey of mythological heroes. McGucken, a physicist, has taught the class at both UNC Chapel Hill and Pepperdine, and has expanded the concept through blogs, a festival, and an upcoming book.

In this interview McGucken describes how the course applies the structure of the monomyth, the fundamental pattern of the great hero narratives throughout history, from Odysseus, Jesus, and Buddha to Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and The Matrix. Also called the Hero's Journey, Joseph Campbell identified this pattern in his book The Hero With A Thousand Faces. McGucken even takes it a step beyond, using examples from modern real-life success stories like Richard Branson and Kid Rock.

McGucken explains why the web's democratization of both the means of production and distribution can be used by the big companies to continue to exploit artists, or instead used by indie artists themselves who preserve their own rights in their successful journey. It's your choice, if you take it.

Elliot McGucken was born in Ohio, and grew up outdoors except for when he was sitting in front of a computer. He received a B.A. in physics from Princeton and a Ph.D. in physics from UNC Chapel Hill where his dissertation on an artifical retina for the blind received several NSF grants and a Merrill Lynch Innovations Award. The retina-chip research appeared in publications including Popular Science and Business Week, and the project continues to this day.

In 1995 McGucken founded Classicals & jollyroger.com LLC as a technological tribute to the great books, and he has spoken at the Harvard Law School concerning his authena.org project for Open Source software for managing digital rights for artists. McGucken, known as "Dr. E" to his students, teaches physics and programming at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and has published a poetry book, a novel, a collection of essays, several scientific articles, and poetry in The Wall Street Journal.

McGucken founded the Hero's Journey Entrepreneurship Festival in Malibu, CA. Keynote speakers have included John C. Bogle, the founder and former CEO of Vanguard, and William Fay, executive producer at Legendary Pictures. The festival pays homage to Joseph Campbell's Hero With a Thousand Faces and the Hero's Journey in all walks of life.



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