PlainJoe Studios

You’re never going to kill storytelling, because it’s built in the human plan. We come with it.

Margaret Atwood
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The most amazing thing for me is that every single person who sees a movie brings a whole set of unique experiences, but through careful manipulation and good storytelling, you can get everybody to clap at the same time, to hopefully laugh at the same time, and to be afraid at the same time.

Steven Spielberg
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Poverty Encounter

Children’s Hunger Fund (CHF), a nonprofit in California, wanted create a fully-immersive experience that would bring visitors face-to-face with the reality of poverty.

Rather than showing a predictable training video before entering the warehouse, they wanted to take volunteers and guests on an eye-opening journey of insight, empathy, and action.

CHF’s Poverty Encounter is a walk-through attraction recreating the experience of visiting impoverished communities and telling the true stories of the suffering children who live there.

PlainJoe worked with CHF to develop an experiential sequence of encounters around the key objectives that CHF felt were important for telling its story well.

  • Real-Life Situations. Depict situations that truly reflect the heart-wrenching circumstances children face every day, such as the garbage dumps of Guatemala, displaced peoples camps in Southeast Asia or the brickyards of Nepal.
  • Believable. Build the highest standard of realism into the scenes and set pieces with Disney-level immersion, including authentic materials to sound effects.
  • Solutions. Show visitors how food and other resources provided through local ministries creates opportunities for hope despite dire circumstances.

Hand-in-hand with the CHF team, we created realistic set designs, mind-blowing immersion, and an emotionally captivating storyline that would carry throughout the entire exhibit.

The experience concludes in CHF’s volunteer warehouse where visitors are invited to take immediate action building food boxes for families in need.

The Poverty Encounter opened at the Children’s Hunger Fund global distribution center in Los Angeles in 2018.

Read Mel McGowan’s full article about CHF’s Poverty Encounter in Outreach.