Candidate Profile

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Author / Writer
Creative Writing
Film & TV
Magic & Illusion
Theatre & Drama
Unusual & Interesting - Check them Out!
Matt Costello’s innovative work includes ground-breaking and award-winning games, online destinations, novels, and television.

Matt’s acclaimed novel Beneath Still Waters was filmed by Lions Gate. His Island of the Skull was an original prequel to Peter Jackson’s King Kong. Berkley/Putnam released his suspense novel, Nowhere, as well as its sequel, In Dreams. Matt has also written two books based on his game Doom 3. His acclaimed horror novel Vacation was published by St. Martin's Press as was the sequel, Home.

His best-selling mystery series Cherringham, written with Neil Richards, has sold over 400,000 copies, and led to the best-selling audio books read by Midsommer Murders' Neil Dudgeon.

Online and TV
For the Disney Channel, Matt Costello co-created ZoogDisney, the groundbreaking on-air/online weekend programming bloc. He has scripted episodes of the hit children’s series, Cyberchase (PBS), and co-scripted episodes of the award-winning Disney/BBC series Microsoap. Costello co-created The Sci-Fi Channel’s first original program, FTL News. He is currently creating a number of major trans/cross media projects around the globe.

Costello wrote the critically acclaimed game The 7th Guest. Since then, he has scripted and designed dozens of best-selling games such as Doom 3, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End for Disney, the best-selling Just Cause1 & 2, and both the game and novel for Id's Rage.

He co-wrote, scripted and designed Planet of the Apes: Last Frontier, a landmark game that bridges both game and film. From one review: "Last Frontier excels at creating an atmosphere that sucks the player right into the game’s focal point: the narrative.

Consulting and Education
Matt has also been an interactive and creative consultant for many clients, including James Cameron’s Titanic, the BBC, PBS, and television and game companies around the world.

Creating Cliffhangers: Where Do Great Stories Come From?
What’s an author’s magic behind writing a compelling suspenseful novel that keeps you on the edge of your seat? This presentation demonstrates how reality can turn into gripping fiction. The author will reveal the subtle changes that ratchet up the tension and suspense, using real examples from his own life and books. The presentation closes with the audience participating in their own story invention seeing how even ordinary experiences can magically become fiction.

Beneath Still Waters
From Book to Film, and Back Again
Every author dreams of a book being turned into a film. But that experience is not always a pleasant or easy one. This presentation looks at my early novel, Beneath Still Waters -- about a town buried beneath a new reservoir -- and how it became a film from Lions Gate. Samples from the book will be read, with matching scenes from the film and ‘on-set’ shots of the filming in Spain.

Puzzling Matters!
Based on Matt Costello’s books The Greatest Games of All Time and The Greatest Puzzles of All Time, a look at:
- where puzzles came from
- the first known puzzles
- the creation of classics like the crossword, and how new puzzles really get made.

Also, a look at how magic illusions can also be puzzles (based on my book, Magic Everywhere.) The presentation will have the audience playing with puzzles and discovering secrets to solving them.

Creating Cherringham
A look at how Matt created his internationally best-selling mystery series, Cherringham, from imaging the Cotswold village, to the engaging characters to the muderous mysteries that face the characters.

From Scrabble to Monopoly: Stories and Secrets Behind the Greatest Games
One can see on the great cruise ships that people love to use the game tables to play the classics.

Based on my book, The Greatest Games of All Time, this presentation will reveal how those great games were created, the people behind them, as well as their little-known secrets and strategies -- and of course -- why we enjoy getting lost on a game boards. (An interactive puzzle session, linked to my book The Greatest Puzzles of All Time, has been a consistently well-received.

The $100,000 Rebus Contest and the Search for Amelia Earhart
Next month my article will be published about the amazing connection between my book, the winner of that 1937 nationwide contest and the search for Amelia Earhart in the Pacific. It’s an incredible story involving the last days of the depression, a really big prize contest ($1.5 million in today’s money) that gripped the country, and a new revelation about the most expensive search for a lost person ever.

Boo-Why Some of Us Absolutely Love Being Scared
A trip inside scary stories….why some of us love to be scared and how writers use our fears.

The Secret of Magic
Matt – the author of the Random House book Magic Everhwre, reveals the stories and secrets of great magic, and the great magicians…while performing classic illusions for the audience.

Creativity 101
The ‘left’ side of our brain gets us through our day pretty well, dealing with all the pragmatic and practical challenges of daily life.

But the great ideas -- the ‘ahas’ -- come from the ‘right’ brain. Without that creative side, where would innovation and the breakthroughs that can change how we live come from? In this presentation, as author and consultant on Gifted and Talented issues, I’ll lead the group in variety of fun (and funny) exercises that will get everyone into the ‘zone’ of the left brain, and playing with creativity.

The At-Sea Story Experiment
In this presentation I will share some of my published short stories and how they were written. Then, using the audience, we will together create an experiment in group story telling.

At the end, I will collect all the elements that the audience has been playing with..and then go off to write the story over the next few sea days. A follow up session will present this new, original story, jointly created by the author and the audience, with signed copies available for all– a one-of-a-kind keepsake.

Location, Location, Location: World Travels and Amazing Places in Writing.
How my trips around the world…have ended up part of my novels and scripts.