Brett Leonard’s journey into VR all started when he moved to Santa Cruz and started partying and smoking pot with some of the elite visionaries from the Silicon Valley technology scene. He was an aspiring writer and film director who got inspired by Jaron Lanier’s evangelism of virtual reality technologies. Brett got to try out a lot of cutting edge VR and then went on to help popularize the term “virtual reality” on a global scale with his 1992 film The Lawnmower Man, which is a dark cautionary tale that also contains many prophetic predictions. It’s still one of the earliest and most accurate portrayal of the potential of VR as an immersive video game medium, and Palmer Luckey has cited it as an inspiration for being able to step into a video game. It also shows how VR could open up new neural pathways into the mind and serve as one of the most transformational mediums today.
I had a chance to sit down with Virtuosity Entertainment’s Brett at Casual Connect last week to talk about some of the history of how he got into VR, and how he’s been thinking about how VR will transform storytelling into the process of building storyworlds. He’s taking inspiration from shamanic and tribal rituals as well as immersive theater productions like Sleep No More to come the conclusion that the primary experience of a story world will be kind of like a “clothes line under which the entire experience is hung.” While a tradition narrative is more like being presented a singular clothes line that’s fed to you, in VR it’ll be more like discovering many different clothes lines where you get to decide which line to focus on and then “try on the clothes on that line in order to discover where that clothes line leads.”
Brett also think of VR as primarily as a feminine medium, and has been actively thinking about the ethics of VR with his Five Laws of VR as well as participating in the Three Laws of Human Augmentation Code led by Dr. Steve Mann.
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[00:00:05.412] Kent Bye: The Voices of VR Podcast. My name is Kent Bye, and welcome to the Voices of VR podcast. This week on the Voices of VR, I'm going to be really focusing on storytelling in VR and talking to a series of different people, exploring how storytelling is going to grow and evolve within this virtual reality medium. And I think one of the people who's been thinking about this for over 20 years has been Brett Leonard, who created The Lawnmower Man, which was released on March 6, 1992, and really helped to popularize the term virtual reality. So I had a chance to talk to Brett about how this film came about by his association with different people within the VR community back in the early 90s. And Brett has been quite a visionary in this field, not only kind of predicting the application of video game playing within VR, which has inspired a lot of different people who are working in virtual reality now, including Palmer Luckey, but he's also got a specific take as to what the strengths of storytelling are going to be within this new virtual reality medium. There's a lot of people within Hollywood who want to kind of apply the same rules and mindset into storytelling with NVR, but Brad is really looking for other inspirations for the strengths of how to tell stories with NVR, including ritual and shamanic practices, as well as immersive theater. So we'll be talking about his ideas around story worlds and world building, storytelling in VR, as well as quite a lot of interesting VR history on today's episode of the Voices of VR podcast. But first, a quick word from our sponsors. Today's episode is brought to you by The Virtual Reality Company. VRC is at the intersection of technology and entertainment, creating interactive storytelling experiences. The thing that's unique about VRC is that they have strategic partnerships with companies like Dbox, which is a haptic chair that takes immersion and presence to the next level. So they're making these digital out-of-home experiences for movies, studios, and original content. For more information, check out thevrcompany.com. Today's episode is also brought to you by The VR Society, which is a new organization made up of major Hollywood studios. The intention is to do consumer research, content production seminars, as well as give away awards to VR professionals. They're going to be hosting a big conference in the fall in Los Angeles to share ideas, experiences, and challenges with other VR professionals. To get more information, check out thevrsociety.com. So this interview with Brett happened on July 20th at the Casual Connect conference in San Francisco. So with that, let's go ahead and dive right in.
[00:02:50.861] Brett Leonard: My name is Brett Leonard. I got into VR because I moved when I was 20 years old to Silicon Valley area. I actually lived in Santa Cruz, California. And I got involved with the group of people that were creating the whole computer revolution because they used to go to Santa Cruz and party. So I used to sort of, you know, Hang out and smoke weed with that group of people and one of them I met through that socialization was Jaron Lanier and he had a company called VPL and he actually coined the term virtual reality and I saw this initial very crude version of sort of consumer level VR there was higher ends of VR done in the government before this but You know, like at the NASA Ames Research Laboratory, I got to do the flight F1 simulation and those were forms of VR as well. And I was looking around for the subject matter for my first big feature film because I was very focused on becoming a film director and I saw this virtual reality thing. I thought, this is amazing subject matter for a movie. And I thought it was something that was going to sort of take over the world probably five years later. Of course, it took a little longer. But I made a film called The Lawnmower Man, which popularized the term virtual reality and the concept to pretty much the global audience. It was a big indie hit. And that established me as a film director and also sort of established VR as this idea out there for many people. I followed that up with a film called Virtuosity at Paramount Pictures with Russell Crowe and Denzel Washington. It was one of Russell's first movies. So I'm credited with kind of helping discover him. So because I made these movies about VR and sort of thought of it in a sort of fanciful way, I started actually thinking about the real medium itself and I was put on these panels because I made a movie about VR to talk about virtual reality. So I had to come up with something and I started really thinking about what would it mean to actually bring people into a virtual story world environment. and have them have agency, have the ability to explore and yet still be delivering them a story experience. Basically character and emotion and all the things that you can experience in a cinematic story but in the context that was similar to gameplay and yet also cinema. So it was this thinking about those things. What quickly happened for me was that I realized that cinematic language was not the basis for this new medium that I thought was going to happen a lot sooner than it has, but that it would be something different. So I started looking around for other antecedents and one of the things I found was tribal ritual structure and the idea of, you know, being in an immersive group experience and ritual, how you're guided through that shamanically, how you're taken in, brought into a liminal state of being, transformed within that, then brought out in terms of incorporation of that experience. And this relates much more to VR, I believe, as a medium than traditional mediums do, especially cinema. Although there's some paradoxes there. I think that some aspects of cinematic language, or cinematic theory more than language, really relates to the medium of VR. Like off-screen space. The idea of exploring what we sort of cut out of the story in the telling of a movie story, and allowing that to be explored in the context of a virtual reality experience. And so combining all these things, I've started a company with my partner Scott Ross and David Goldman, both very experienced and skilled people in the Hollywood environment. Scott ran Lucasfilm and ILM for many years, and then was James Cameron's co-founder of Digital Domain, was really one of the executives that shepherded the entire sort of digital image revolution that happened, and was a tool maker, was part of making Nuke, which is the composing engine that makes all these superhero movies work. And David Goleman was one of the people that ran William Morris as an agent and is a very skilled businessman in the Hollywood environment and also created the Commie Time channel. So we've formed a company called Virtuosity Entertainment and we are focused on creating story worlds with these tenants that I've been exploring for the past 20 years. and really sort of focused on defining the true next phase of virtual experience. Because right now, we're in this period of 360 camera. I don't believe 360 camera material is really VR. It's very valid as its own art form. There's some wonderful work being done in it. But I think that that's a niche that will quickly change into a true interactive, immersive entertainment experience. something that's the undiscovered country between gameplay and linear narrative. And that's really where my focus is. So this is sort of the overview of how I started in VR and where I'm going with it.
[00:07:47.515] Kent Bye: Yeah, in the panel you talked about instead of storytelling, you think of it more as story building. And so I'm curious to hear your thoughts about world building. And you said at some point that stories and film used to be kind of like three things of character, story, emotion, but they're kind of moving to something new. So maybe you could kind of expand on those points.
[00:08:03.159] Brett Leonard: Well, you know, in filmmaking it's usually like story, character, and emotion, like story and the plot and this linear narrative is the structure and then character imbues that with an emotion and you get connected to the emotion of the characters and that's how you experience the story. In story worlding, as I like to call it, we create a world that is much, much more detailed initially because the actual narrative sort of bubbles up through and is discovered by the details of that world, which include, you know, human characters and non-human characters can all be part of a world. And so, in a way, I think that it turns around those three tenets. It turns it to more initially its emotion, which is imbued in the environment that then leads you to interaction with characters and that that allows you to discover story. Because story discovery or questing in the context of story is really more what a story world will be about. there may still be a linear narrative thread or multiple linear narrative threads within a story world. And I believe there always will be elements of linear narrative in virtual experience because humans, there's something hardwired in us that wants the resolution of a linear narrative. But the primary experience will not be that. It's more like the clothesline on which the entire experience is hung. But the real experience will be putting on those clothes that are hung on that clothesline. and being able to then discover where that clothesline leads through the putting on of those clothes and imbuing and embodying them. So it really has to take a lot of sideways thinking from the standpoint of being a linear storyteller in cinema. You have to really kind of dump a lot of the tenants that you're used to working with. And of course, you're also dumping the idea of the frame, which is very daunting for a lot of film directors. It's like, what, I don't have my frame? I can't focus people? There are ways of focusing people, though. There are ways of doing that. I actually grew up in the theater, and my theatrical experience, which is really my fundamental experience initially, has served me well in thinking about this, because That idea of engaging an audience in a real way with real people in a space is much more akin to what doing that in virtual reality will be.
[00:10:23.347] Kent Bye: Yeah, and you mentioned Sleep No More, and I think of all the different mediums that are out there already, I think that immersive theater experience is probably the closest to the potential of what storytelling might look like in VR. At least one version where you're kind of a ghost and you're receiving a number of different parallel storylines, and you have some local agency where you're able to kind of explore, but you're not actually having any global agency into determining the outcome of that story. But I'm sort of curious of your thoughts in terms of what you can learn from a production like Sleep No More and how some of that applies to VR.
[00:10:55.023] Brett Leonard: It is, I agree with you completely. It's one of the things I think is the best analog. And one of the things is because the performers that are working with you in Sleep No More are in a sense for me like AI characters would be in virtual reality. They can read what your intentions are, they can sort of help guide you or misguide you. I mean there's a lot of ways to do this and so that idea of sort of intimate connection with characters in a theatrical, limited, curated, aesthetically focused sense is what I think a great VR story worlding experience will be. Because, you know, limitation is very critical. I think one of the things that's wrong with a lot of the initial VR demos is that there's too much. It's too much chaos. It's not limited enough. It's not focused and it's not creating its own logic system. You know, when you enter into a great story, whether someone's telling it to you or you're in a ritual or you're watching a movie, You're suddenly in a world that has its own logic and you let go of the logic of the real world. And that's what this idea of being in a liminal state is. And, you know, anthropologists talk about this in the context of indigenous rituals. And I think that that really applies to the way we have to think about the process of actually exploring the way to bring people through and guide them in and allow them to discover in a virtual story world.
[00:12:20.797] Kent Bye: Yeah, I really think about this in the context of how the Greeks had two concepts of time. One was Kronos time, and one was Kairos time. And the Kronos time is kind of like looking at your watch in the schedule, and it's got a very rational order to it. In the Kairos time, it's a little bit more qualitative and subjective, and you kind of get into the flow of synchronicities, and it is very much more shamanic in that way. And I think that when people go into VR, they kind of go into these flow states that they kind of lose the track of time and time dilation, and they're able to, I think, have access to that sense of Kairos time. But I'm really curious of, like, all the different experiences you've had from either shamanism or psychedelic experiences and what those types of altered states kind of inform you when you look at the medium of virtual reality.
[00:13:03.145] Brett Leonard: Well, I have had a number of psychedelic experiences. You know, Tim Leary was a good friend of mine in the last years of his life. And we used to talk about VR all the time. Remember, that's how he was a fan of Lawnmower Man. And he had the most amazing sort of viewpoint on it. A lot of these ideas I'm having came from my interaction with people like that. I also happen to Joseph Campbell at the very end of his life and he gave me this idea of a medium like this could be the medium of the global human. So in a way I really think there needs to be a movement around VR that focuses it in a very humanistic way because it is going to be a tremendously powerful medium. It's going to be something that can literally change your mind. And think about the way that current media does that, in the Orwellian sense that it's used, like through this presidential campaign as an example. I think that VR has that times a thousand in terms of its power, so I believe it's very important to take it seriously and to really create something around this that's an inherently positive focus. I am focused on making virtual reality the medium of the global human, where we can go to a place that is not a nation-state, it isn't being citizens, it's not even being necessarily a specific gender. It's just being humans together. And I think that's very beautiful and that idea of creating virtual reality as a place where you can get into that kind of time sense that you're talking about that takes you outside of the traditional experience of quote-unquote reality and allows you to expand and explore the human imagination and the human spirit. It's the most amazing medium for transformation I think that's ever existed for humankind. At least it has that potential. And I think it's incumbent upon those of us that are in the medium at the beginning as creators to guide it in that direction. There's a platonic responsibility to do that because this hardwires neurotic pathways. It literally will change the minds of children, you know, on a physiological level. So I think we have to take it seriously and really, really consider very strongly what we are doing with this medium. I think it can be a tremendous healing modality. It can be something that I mean in fact some of the more interesting early studies of the virtual reality like curing soldiers of PTSD is an early example and gives a lot of hope about how powerful a healing environment a virtual environment can be. And why wouldn't we want to do that? I mean, humans want transformative experience. I mean, it's funny because I made these movies about virtual reality, right? So I've had years now, 20 some years of people responding to those movies. The things they respond to the most are the moments in those films where the character is having a transformative experience. Where Job in Lawnmower Man comes out of VR at one point and says, I saw God, I touched God. And that moment is the one people from all over the world come to me and tell me about. That changed my life. I'm like, wow, that's amazing. And so I realized that that idea, even though Lawman is a cautionary tale, doesn't necessarily end in a positive way, but we don't quite know, you know. That's what a cautionary tale is about, you know, not giving you the answer but giving you both the dark and the light. It's that this medium could be that kind of place, a dimension, where we could explore humanity on a deeper and more boundaryless manner. And the boundaries of time, like you said, the boundaries of even physical space, all those things can kind of go away. in the context of virtual reality. And I believe these things are going to be very entertaining to experience. I mean, I'm primarily an entertainer. So, you know, it may sound like I'm talking about this from an extremely spiritual level. Well, yes. And yet, I also think this is going to be the thing that will be most successful in virtual reality. It will be the thing that people will gravitate to this medium for. Because it's going to be something that I think every human being will want to experience. They want to experience the idea of being boundaryless and having a limitless feeling of time and space, and I've never experienced another medium that does that. The filmmakers that I love and that actually stimulated me to become a filmmaker, filmmakers like Fellini and filmmakers like Stanley Kubrick, although very different, they created worlds. And they created worlds that were transformative. I remember when I was seven years old, I went and saw 2001 A Space Odyssey. I changed my life because it wasn't a traditional narrative. It was much more like, in a way, a virtual environment that you inhabit, that you go to. That's why you can watch that movie again and again and again. Blade Runner is an example of a film like that. It's not the plot of Blade Runner that makes us go and watch it again, because the plot is, you know, cop chases robot, robot dies, cop gets away with other robot, you know. I mean, it's very little plot there. But what Ridley did was create such a world. He is a world creator. He's an example of a filmmaker that creates worlds and allows you to explore them. So you can go and watch it again and again because you're in that world. You want to be there. That's what a virtual reality experience will be like. So there are things in cinema that do relate to it, that can kind of point the way. And I think filmmakers like Kubrick are an example of that, because he really didn't care about traditional narrative. He really cared about what cinema would do, would take you to in a wholly different way as a pure medium itself. Virtual reality will be sort of the great final expression of that desire, you know. And I think if Kubrick was born now, he would be the greatest virtual reality creator on planet Earth. So, you know, that's how I connect the dots between this cinematic history we've had and the history that's about to explode around us with virtual reality.
[00:19:05.617] Kent Bye: Yeah, and you've also been involved in thinking about some of the ethical implications of VR and AR, both at this virtual rally conference that just happened in Canada with Dr. Steve Mann coming up with the different ethics around augmentation, as well as you mentioned that you have a company called Virtuosity collaborating with the Rogue Initiative and that you're writing a story called The Futurist where you have like five laws of VR. So I'm just curious to hear some of your thoughts on some of these ethical implications.
[00:19:29.917] Brett Leonard: Yeah, well, you know, the experience with Dr. Steve Mann in Toronto was an amazing one. It was the VRTO, which was put together by Kiram Maliki, a fantastic conference that really embodied other aspects of the medium that usually, in the Hollywood environment with VR, it's all about, what's the monetization scheme? And where's the tech going? And this was much more focused in a unique way. And we actually ratified the Toronto Code, as it's being called. It's now listed in the Kurzweil site. And it's a living code. It's something that can be changed and modified and grow with time. But at least it puts a stake in the ground and says we're thinking about these things from the very beginning of this medium. And you know, Dr. Steve Mann's been thinking about it for literally 25 years. He's been working on this code. So it was a really historic moment and it was a tremendous honor for me to be part of it. And to have my name next to Steve Mann's on that document is one of the great experiences of my whole journey with this. In the context of The Five Laws of VR, which I wrote before that, kind of what brought me into that group of people, Isaac Asimov wrote his Three Laws of Robotics in a fictional context for our Daniel Overlaw series of robot detective novels. And so I wanted to write something in a fictional context that I could discuss or at least stimulate the discussion around the ethical framework for this medium. And it's really a framework for discussion and you know the word laws is somewhat a misnomer. It's just a way of dramatizing it. And of course it's in the fictional context of a story where a kind of Steve Jobs of virtual reality is a character in the story and he's created these five laws because he wants to guide VR in a certain way on the planet. So my five laws are really about giving VR a humanistic focus. And they all build to the fifth law, which is that virtual reality must be the medium of the global human, where we can just be humans together. It's about interconnectivity and interdependencies of being humans on this planet. And it can be a communication medium and an entertainment medium and a transformative medium that really connects us in possibly the most amazing way imaginable. Because we have 8 billion people now, we're going to have more. We can't all travel to all the wonderful places so we have to create a wonderful place where we can all be that. There are a lot of questions around that and that's why these laws are meant to be subject to discussion. And stimulating that discussion with content creators is one of the things I find myself doing more and more and more. It's just the time and you know I have a 21 year old son Shannon who works with me in this medium and you know I'm doing it for him because this will be the medium of his generation and he's going to know a virtual world much beyond what I know. So it's important to me from that standpoint and I think it's more important than all the other aspects you know whether it be success or being able to raise a ton of money around VR I mean that's important. because we have to have that in order to really create and express and define this medium. But these other elements of the ethical framework and really considering the deeper issues both political and economic and spiritual around the medium I think are very important for those of us that are pushing it forward to consider. Let's not end up like Robert Oppenheimer at the end of his life. I think he had a little bit of a tough time. And I don't want to be part of creating something and you know funnily enough I've sort of been part of creating this in a weird way I'm a storyteller, but I've had so many people come up to me that are in the VR world That have said my movie was a big part of their inspiration So I am connected to this medium whether I like it or not and even though I made a cautionary tale several cautionary tales actually I believe there's a responsibility that we need to take and and help guide this medium into something that's possible. And that's one of the reasons I also talk about the fact that I believe it's a feminine medium. I believe it can be guided by feminine principles. I think we've had enough mediums guided by masculine principles. And, you know, let's look at the world. Not so great. So I'm not giving us a great grade. So it's time to let the feminine guide a medium. It's never really fully happened before in history, although obviously women have been part of all the mediums to a great degree, except many times not credited. Now, some of the most interesting things happening in this medium are happening from women creators, and that aspect of it is something I'm very happy to serve.
[00:24:02.732] Kent Bye: And finally, what do you see as kind of the ultimate potential of virtual reality, and what it might be able to enable?
[00:24:10.348] Brett Leonard: I think it could truly be the enabler of true global culture, where we have this idea of the global human, where we have something that takes us beyond the idea of being separate, the idea of the other as something that's scary, the idea of other cultures being alien and scary and not of us, because that is what creates all the suffering on this planet. It's what creates war, It's what creates disillusion and division. And I think that this medium could be a very positive force to connect people in a way that's never been done before. And you know, I mean, Alexander Graham Bell talked about this in the same way about the telephone. But you know what? In a way, it did do that. These things are all sort of along a spectrum. of human connectivity and there's something in humans that want to connect with each other. We don't want to just be siloed in our own solo meat cages, you know, we want to be connected and that ability of being connected and experiencing each other as intimate a way as possible And yet feeling oneness in that is something I think this medium could actually be helpful in achieving. I think this medium is part of a constellation of technologies that are happening all simultaneously right now. It's part of a faceted ball of different enabling technologies that will all be coming together to create something that is beyond what we can see on the horizon. And that's the part of it that's most exciting to me.
[00:25:46.405] Kent Bye: Awesome. Well, thank you so much. Thank you. It's been wonderful talking with you. So that was Brett Leonard. He wrote and directed The Lawnmower Man back in 1992. And a few years later, released another VR film called Virtuosity. And now he's got a production company called Virtuosity, where he wants to create story worlds where you can have an environment built upon emotion, interact with characters. And there's a lot of discovery that is inspired by ritualistic and shamanic practices. So there's a lot of different takeaways that I had from this interview is that, first of all, Brett's been quite the visionary in this field in terms of really exploring some of the kind of ultimate potentials of virtuality and the lawnmower man, where it is a cautionary tale, so it is fairly dark, but there is also a lot of different aspects of showing in that film how Doing VR could potentially open up new neural pathways into our mind and unlock latent human potentials such as psychic abilities or telekinesis. It's sort of an extreme example within the film, but I think the principle is that there's things that our bodies can do that VR could help to unlock. So I think Brett was thinking about this for a long, long time and has been thinking about the global human and how VR could help create this global culture, which I think is on the way of actually starting to happen. But I also talked to Philip Rosedale, who created Second Life and is now in the process of releasing High Fidelity. And one of the things that he said to me at the Rothenburg Founders Day is that there is a trade-off of creating global culture, which is that you risk destroying smaller microcultures in that process. So the process of creating one global culture, you risk losing all the different diversities of many different types of culture that are specific to different geographic locations. So I do like the idea of a global human and a global culture. but also want to recognize that there's trade-offs into preserving the culture that's existing in the world. But I think that a lot of the things that Brett is talking about really resonate with me, especially this idea of using virtual reality as a medium for transformation, whether it's psychological or spiritual transformation. I do agree that there's a lot of potential for how this medium could be used to really open minds in a new way. I also agree with Brett about how virtual reality is primarily a feminine medium. And I actually talked about this back in episode 72 with Jackie Moray. And Jackie really mentioned that a lot of the early VR creators who were artists were women. And actually, she did a whole PhD dissertation on that, researching a lot of the early artists within VR in the 90s. And so, but just to expand on why I think the VR medium is primarily feminine, I look to symbolic references like Chinese philosophy that talks about the principles of yin and yang. And so just to pull up Wikipedia and to expand on that a little bit, the yin is primarily the feminine and the yang is primarily the masculine. And so I think the traditional 2D mediums that we have are primarily yang. So something like action films or fast cuts and lots of quick action where there's a protagonist going out into the world, exerting their will in some way. So Wikipedia says Yang is fast, hard, solid, focused, hot, dry, active, and associated with fire, sky, and the sun. Masculinity in the daytime. So something like Mad Max Fury Road, I think is kind of like the essence of a very young film where there's just a lot of fast action. And that's something that I just don't think works very well within VR. Because when you're in a VR environment, you're more in the space and you're receiving what's happening into the space. And so the Yin principle tends to be a little bit more receptive. So Yin is characterized as slow, soft, yielding, diffuse, cold, wet, and passive. and is associated with water, earth, the moon, femininity, and the nighttime. So I think that if you kind of use these principles of Yang and Yin and thinking about the storytelling and what Brett is saying, I think that rather than focusing on the action within the story, it's a little bit first starting with the environment. He says you start with the emotion that's embedded within the environment. And then from there, the characters are kind of coming out and you're interacting with them. The story is revealing itself. What he says is that it's kind of like a story world is like a clothesline under which the entire experience is hung. but the real experience will be putting on the clothes on that clothesline to discover where the clothesline actually leads by putting on those clothes. So that's another way of thinking about how there's like these many different clotheslines within an experience like Sleep No More you have the choice of kind of choosing between like 21 clotheslines where each character has their own story and you kind of learn more about it by chasing that character through the environment and seeing where they go and who else they interact with. And so it's much like real life in terms of there's billions of people that are kind of living out their own stories. And I think that Brett's right in that the sense that the people do want a linearization of those stories. And so you think of those kind of like different trajectories of those storylines as each person's kind of clothesline through the world. And there's something that Brett mentioned, which is the off-screen space, which is kind of eliminating a lot of the boring bits within an experience where You don't really necessarily want to see somebody brushing their teeth as part of their story, but in some ways, VR allows you to really explore all those off-screen spaces. And Brett's kind of thinking that it's moving from starting with the character, then the motion and story, that you're really imbuing the emotion within the environment, then the characters are coming out, and then you're kind of discovering different aspects of each of those many different clotheslines that are running through these worlds. And it's up to you to kind of figure out which one of those threads that you're going to follow. So that's kind of like how I think about some of the things that Brett was saying. And I also just want to say that I think it's really awesome that he's looking into these five laws of virtual reality, all kind of leading to this sense of being a global human. And within this virtual reality conference that happened in Toronto, he was participating in this process of really signing their names to this Rules for Human Augmentation, led by Dr. Steve Mann, who's been thinking about this for many decades. And so I really see Brett as somebody who's a visionary in this field. I don't think that a lot of people within Hollywood are really actually kind of caught up to really embracing a lot of these ideas, because what it means is that they have to let go of a lot of control in a lot of different ways. And I think that just in the process of hearing him speak on a panel at Casual Connect, just saying that how There's a lot of directors in Hollywood who really love the control of the frame and being able to really direct their perspective of what the story is. And VR kind of changes that in a lot of different ways. And it's more about building a story world. On the panel, Brett also talked about some of the cutting edge technologies that are going to help enable these types of story worlds. And I think artificial intelligence and machine learning and being able to track people's eye contact and get more biometric information about what's actually happening with the viewer is going to help kind of dynamically shape these stories that are happening. And so the the role of artificial intelligence I think is going to be actually a pretty huge deal within these interactive narratives and something that talking to Andrew Stern of Facade back in episode 293 and really kind of inspired me to catalyze a whole entire new podcast called The Voices of AI which I've already recorded 60 interviews at the International Joint Conference of Artificial Intelligence a couple weeks ago and hope to be launching that here within the next couple of months as things kind of settle down with traveling to over 15 different conferences between July and November. So that's all that I got for today. I'm going to be releasing podcasts about storytelling each day this week. So it should be a good summary and recounting and a lot of the thoughts about what storytelling is going to look like in VR. And I'm excited to kind of focus on that this week. I'm actually physically in Los Angeles this week. I'll be covering SIGGRAPH and hope to be covering a lot of the news that's coming out from that within the next coming weeks as well. So with that, thank you for listening. If you enjoy the podcast, then please do spread the word. Tell any of your storyteller friends that we're going to be focusing on storytelling this week. And if you'd like to help support the podcast, then please do consider becoming a contributor to the Patreon at patreon.com slash Voices of VR.