Bilson has been on the faculty of USC School of Cinematic Arts since 2005, serving as chair of the department as well as teaching narrative design and leading the Advanced Games Project. USC Games is a collaborative effort between USC’s School of Cinematic Arts Division of Interactive Media & Games and the USC Viterbi School of Engineering Computer Science Department. Bilson is known for his work as a writer, director, producer, and gaming executive. Formerly a senior exec of Electronic Arts and THQ, Bilson also worked with Warner Brothers, Disney, and Paramount.
Bilson recently sold a screenplay co-written with the late Paul DeMeo to Spike Lee; “Da 5 Bloods” is currently in production. He also consulted for Walt Disney Imagineering on parts of Disneyland’s Star Wars Land.
The announcement of Bilson’s new role comes jointly from Elizabeth M. Daley, the dean of the School of Cinematic Arts, and Yannis C. Yortsos, the dean of the Viterbi School of Engineering.
“Danny will take USC Games to the next level as a leader in games education, development, and innovation,” Daley and Yortsos stated in the press release. “He brings real world experience from the games industry as well as the entertainment industry at-large to benefit the program and our students.”
Bilson is succeeding Tracy Fullerton, who held the role from 2014 to 2018, according to the press release.
“It’s an exciting time for USC Games,” Bilson said. “We are further blending our design and engineering classes to offer true cross-discipline education. I’m honored to represent a fantastic team of faculty and students as we continue to evolve the program, focusing on bringing innovation, diversity and professionally-trained students into the interactive industry.”
As for what’s ahead for USC Games, it will host industry workshops for students to work on games with industry partners, as well as build its job placement initiative for graduates. There will also be a growing focus on strategic partnerships in “the rapidly-growing Next-Gen Location and Themed based entertainment space” as well as a continuation of the building of the USC Esports Union, according to the press release.
It was also detailed how Bilson will continue to support the program in his new role.
“Under Bilson’s leadership,” the press release stated, “USC Games will continue to bring world class game design and engineering faculty to the program; support both independent and major studio game development; foster a diverse student body that produces both creative and innovative content; continue to build wide ranging curricula which cover a multiple of areas of interactive entertainment; and build a robust industry placement pipeline for students.”