Colum Slevin is Facebook/Oculus’ Head of Experiences, and I had a chance to talk about how they’re supporting independent storytellers in a quest of trying to discover some of the fundamental components of an immersive story. Slevin says that the production pipeline and iterative development methodology of real-time, interactive games has made it easier for the gaming community to adopt virtual reality technologies. The film industry has not only had to learn an entirely new set of tools but also they’ve had to figure out how to move to a more agile development process from the normal storytelling and character development process, and storytelling is a time-based medium where it’s harder to give up authorial control of the building and releasing of narrative tension. So we talk about how VR is a transcendent and transformational medium that has inspired Facebook to support more avant-garde storytelling experiments like The Under Presents, which features live theater actors that will be paid to interact with participants within this immersive theater virtual reality experiment. So I had a chance to chat with Slevin in Park City during Sundance after getting a sneak peak of The Under.
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