Category

Storytelling

“Girl” director Lauren Ludwig in the news!

By | 360 Video, Storytelling | No Comments

Lauren Ludwig, the director of our upcoming 360° narrative short, Girl, got a nice shout-out in LA Weekly’s year-end roundup. The immersive dance theatre dinner-party piece she directed, And The Drum, created with her company Capital W, was listed as one of the best and most innovative live performances of the year. See the list here.                          

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Bringing Virtual Reality to Cuba

By | 360 Video, Storytelling | No Comments

Filmmaker Fifer Garbesi wrote a wonderful blog post on her efforts to bring VR to the artists and thinkers of Cuba; efforts that our very own co-founder, Ian Forester, had the opportunity to help with. They were recently in Havana shooting 360 footage for an upcoming documentary and hosting the island’s first VR Festival. It was, by all accounts, pretty amazing, opening the door for some great creations and collaborations to come! Read all about it here

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What It’s Like to Work in Virtual Reality

By | Storytelling, Technology | No Comments

Let’s be real. Virtual reality is having a moment. Headsets are shipping, people are talking and VR is popping up all over pop culture in weird, interesting ways. It feels sweepingly omnipresent all of a sudden, like there was this plan in place to make VR a part of all of our lives and now that plan is in motion. And so people ask me what it’s like to work in the virtual reality industry. This is a hard question to answer in an interesting way. It’s difficult? It’s exciting? It’s crazysexycool? Yes. But also: Working in virtual reality is like being a first year resident on a primetime medical drama Not that I ever watched “Grey’s Anatomy” because for sure I never did but somehow I know that the pilot episode covered the first 48 hours in the residency of Meredith Grey and friends, just like the pilot episode…

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Journeys Into And Out Of The Remarkable VR POV

By | Storytelling | One Comment

I saw “Death Of A Salesman” for the first time at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in 1997. I was 16 years old and just starting to stumble into what it meant to be an adult and as I watched Willy Loman, crumbling under the weight of so many different familial and societal pressures, miraculously, I started to recognize myself. I saw myself in that 63 year old salesman and in that 50 year old play. And so even though the play is a tragedy, I didn’t walk away sad. I was instead reassured because I knew that the same fears I was just then facing lived in everyone else too. I knew I wasn’t alone. One of the great joys of interacting with art of any kind is the journey you take to find yourself in it, to uncover your own reflection there, as hidden as it may be, and…

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Cereal in the Age of Virtual Reality

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So Kellog’s announced that they’re going to be rolling out limited-edition cereal boxes that will include build-your-own VR viewers, akin to Google’s DIY device, Cardboard. They’ll have their own app too, with 360° videos that will reportedly include first-person rides on a mountain bike and a wingsuit. All of which is pretty cool. Nevertheless, we can’t help but wish that instead of generic action sports footage, Kellog’s had looked inward, to their own cereal brands and, more importantly, the worlds that were created to sell these cereals. Speaking as someone who grew up watching a lot of kids TV programming and, therefore, a lot of ads for cereal, some of those worlds are bonkers-level crazy. The cartoon psychedelia these commercials often traffic in, combined with crystal-clear intentions for their characters (usually, “get the cereal!”), makes them perfect for VR. Here are the five most perfect: Fruit Loops The tagline for…

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The Value of Virtual Tragedy

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The concept of presence, of being virtually and magically transported to a place, real or imagined, and having the feeling of truly being there, has always been and will continue to be, one of the chief selling points of virtual reality. But that concept of presence, and the value that VR gives to it, becomes much more complex when we’re talking about a place and an experience that no one would want to be present for. Such is the case when it comes to “[08:46]”, a new VR piece that recreates the events of September 11, 2001 from the point of view of an office worker in the World Trade Center’s North Tower. I can only guess as to the motives behind the creation of “[08:46]”. Whatever they may be, it is ultimately the prerogative of its makers. It’s a free country and, as with so many controversial works of art, if…

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Repetition, Revision and Gaming the Storytelling System

By | Storytelling | One Comment

Recently, I was up late at night watching Jackass 2. You should know that I consider this to be an important part of my job at VR Playhouse. In one of the film’s stunts, the team had built a full pipe that they were trying to ride using what looked like a tiny, two-stroke pocket bike. The sequence mainly consisted of riders falling, over and over, taking their trademarked joy in their own pain. And then one of them pulled off the trick, riding this toy motorcycle all the way around the loop-dee-loop and, presumably, on to glory. It made me think about one of the more famous moments in skateboarding history. It happened at the 1999 X Games, when legendary skater Tony Hawk landed the first ever 900 in competition. It was a cool moment made exceedingly more dramatic by the way in which it was done. Hawk would fail ten…

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Adventures in VR Storytelling, Part III

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PART III: SWAG, OR SCIENTIFIC, WILDLY­ AIMED GUESSES There’s always been a kind of implied power dynamic that exists in visual storytelling, a power that the storyteller is meant to have over his or her audience. And it’s more or less defined by the frame in which the story plays out. Because there’s always a frame. And the existence of that frame means that the storyteller has the ability to locate the components of his or her story in the space that the frame prescribes. He can compose a shot or a moment on stage and he can then juxtapose that with other shots, other moments. However you may or may not interpret the things you see, what, in fact, you are seeing is always up to the storyteller. Except not in VR. With immersive, 360 content, the frame is the entirety of the user’s field of vision which means, at any given moment, they’re creating their own frame…

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