#864 VR for Good: Kaleidoscope VR is Connecting XR Artists with Funders at the Impact Reality Summit

René Pinnell originally created Kaleidoscope VR in order to show immersive art and stories around the world. After talking with creators, he realized that the biggest blocker for creating immersive art was securing funding and resources to make the art. So he’s been focusing on creating opportunities face-to-face and online through his private social network in order to match funders with creators. A lot of the immersive art that is being creating is trying to bring about some sort of social change or impact towards helping to make the world a better place. This movement has broadly been referred to as “VR for Good” or “XR for Change.

Kaleidoscope VR collaborated with Vulcan Productions in Seattle to bring funders and creators together for the Impact Reality Summit, which was held at Vulcan Productions headquarters in Seattle, Washington on January 9 & 10th. I had a chance to catch up with René for him to share all the things he’s doing with Kaleidoscope VR to connect immersive artists and storytellers with funders.


This is a listener-supported podcast through the Voices of VR Patreon.

Music: Fatality

Rough Transcript

[00:00:05.452] Kent Bye: The Voices of VR Podcast. Hello, my name is Kent Bye, and welcome to The Voices of VR Podcast. So I'm excited to dive into a brand new series of looking at this larger movement of VR for good. So at film festivals over the last number of years, there's been different documentary projects or using virtual reality technologies in different ways to try to bring awareness to very specific issues and to bring about larger social change. There's a number of different funders in this space as well as different artists and creators. And so in this series, I'm going to be unpacking over 20 different interviews of different approaches for trying to bring about social change or some sort of larger impact with the immersive technologies. So this series really was galvanized by a gathering that was organized by Kaleidoscope VR, as well as Vulcan Productions in Seattle. So today's episode, I'm going to be talking to the founder of Kaleidoscope VR, Rene Pinnell. So on January 9th and 10th, he gathered together a lot of these artists and creators who are making VR for good social impact. experiences in XR. But he also brought together a number of different funders. And so he curated a number of different experiences that had premiered at a lot of different other film festivals over the last couple of years, many of which I had seen. But he also had this opportunity for these artists to pitch their next projects and then to give out $50,000 from Vulcan Productions in order to support four of these different projects. And so over the last couple of years, I've seen a number of these different projects and talked to different creators. I ended up doing about nine interviews at this Impact Reality Summit that happened in Seattle, but also another dozen interviews that I'm including in here to flesh out some of the projects that were either featured at the Impact Reality or have specific issues that are diving into that I'm going to be unpacking here on this whole series. So it's going to be broken up into four different chunks. The first chunk is going to be talking about the economics and the funding. The second one is going to be talking about some of the actual experiences that are trying to bring about some type of cultural change. Then issues of politics and policy. There's a few experiences that have specifically been able to target changing policies. And then finally talking about some of the underlying architecture and code. So some of the ways in which they're using these immersive technologies in new and different and innovative ways in order to communicate. And so what are they actually doing at the technical innovation level of immersive technologies. So, that's what we're covering on this whole series of the VR for Good movement, and starting off with Rene Penel, who is the founder of Kaleidoscope VR. So, this interview with Rene happened on Thursday, January 9th, 2020, at the Impact Reality Summit in Seattle, Washington. So, with that, let's go ahead and dive right in.

[00:02:46.327] Rene Pinnell: My name is Rene Penel, and I'm the founder and designer of Kaleidoscope. Kaleidoscope is a professional network for artists and industry. We try to make it the best way to connect with leaders, people who are doing work of substance on the artistic side, and people who are in a position to fund, distribute, support those projects. Being an artist is incredibly difficult. It's so, so hard. And our mission at Kaleidoscope is to try to make that journey easier. And the area that we're mostly focused on is funding. Funding is by far and away the most challenging part of being an artist, especially in this medium. VR and AR, in all immersive media, are very expensive playgrounds. And to do work generally requires a good amount of money. And we're trying to make that process, that arduous process, that rolling of the boulder up the mountain faster, easier, more efficient. Because ultimately artists shouldn't have to focus so much time and energy on that. Most artists spend way more time fundraising than actually making the work. And I think that is fucked up. I think artists should spend most of their time making the work. and a minimum amount of time fundraising. We're not there yet, but we're trying to lighten that load, make it a more efficient process, make it a faster process. Right now, the way we're primarily doing it is just helping them get exposure for themselves and their work, helping them identify who are the people they should be talking to, and then once they know who they should be pitching their project to, helping connect them. That's the low-hanging fruit, that's sort of the foundational level, is building this network, bringing the industry online, making those connections easier, faster, And then on top of that, we build services and tools that will facilitate each step of the process, from packaging your project, to pitching your project, to building momentum and exposure, to closing your deal. Like all of that, there's tools and services that we're planning to build. But the foundational level is really just a network. It's just about that professional network, that place where you can make those connections. I mean, you can do it on Facebook, you can do it on Twitter, you can do it on LinkedIn, but they're not built for artists. They're not built for this industry. They're not going to surface those connections very easily. You're going to have to work very hard to find those, you know. And our whole thing is make it easy, make it fast, make it lightweight, so you can get back to making art.

[00:04:58.942] Kent Bye: And so we're here in Seattle at Vulcan Productions at the Impact Reality Summit. So maybe you could talk a bit about the larger context of how this gathering came about.

[00:05:09.495] Rene Pinnell: I think impact projects are so important. And I think that what's happened in the VR space is really beautiful. Over the last four or five years, there's been this thing, the VR for Good movement. And there's certainly projects in other mediums that are for good, but I think this is special. I think it's special to have this group of artists who are dedicated to creating positive impact in the world. And I think every artist who's working ought to be thinking about how their projects can impact the world in a positive direction, because the world is a pretty scary place right now, and I think a lot of the directions that we're headed are going to lead to a really awful future that we don't want to live in. So I think artists have a special role in bending that arc of history in a more positive direction. And there are a few organizations that are really putting their muscle behind supporting these projects. And Vulcan Productions here in Seattle is one of the biggest, you know, biggest amount of resources and largest team to facilitate and support these projects. And they wanted to welcome this community, this movement, to their headquarters. So we're here in Vulcan's headquarters. There's about 200 attendees, about 50 artists presenting completed projects, presenting work in development. And the goal is for this to be a moment where this movement can galvanize, where we can identify people that can actively play a role in supporting these projects. where we can organize, where we can take the resources that we have and allocate them in the most efficient, impactful way possible, where people who are mission aligned, but maybe haven't thought about investing in VR before, get off the fence and actually put money into projects. We've got people from the Ford Foundation, we've got people from Conservation International, we've got people from these impact-driven organizations that have resources to deploy, but maybe haven't deployed them in VR before, and we're trying to convince them that this is a good place to put your money. Because VR is special from cinema, it is special from theater, in that if you get someone in a headset, the impact on an emotional level is so much greater than those other mediums. You can get there with film, you can get there with literature, but it takes a longer period of time. Like maybe by the end of two hours, if you have enough time to sit down, you can get that level of engagement. But in VR, you can get there in like 15 minutes. Traveling While Black is one of the projects that's here and I sat down with Roger Ross Williams yesterday for drinks and he comes from documentary. He's done a lot of amazing projects like God Loves Uganda that have these large-scale impact campaigns around it, right? And he was saying that the thing that was different about Traveling While Black is that the amount of energy and time and resources it took to get somebody to change their attitudes, to change their beliefs, was like a 10x difference. And he saw that borne out by the response. At Sundance, when Traveling While Black came out, you had very, very influential people like Gigi Pritzker at Madison Wells Media, like Lorraine Jobs, people that have the resources to really make huge impact. And they saw that experience and they were so moved that they had to support it, that they had to get it out. So even though VR, in a lot of ways, is a challenge, to get a big audience around, it's so powerful that if you get the right people, the right influencers in those headsets, you change their attitudes, you can have a huge ripple effect. Another example from that project is the CEO of Walmart. He saw Traveling While Black, and this is a person that's in Arkansas, a white old dude, not somebody that you would expect to be moved by a project like Traveling While Black, but he was so moved he said, we have to show this to all the executives at Walmart. That's a response that's different than a movie. Movies are great. TV's great. All the other art forms are great. I love them. They will always have their place. But I think VR is special. I think the impact it can have is intense. I think it is, in a lot of ways, bigger and more impactful than you can have in other mediums. And that's why I think companies like Vulcan, companies like Kaleidoscope, like all the industry people here, are so committed to figuring out how can we get more of these projects funded and out into the world. And that's the purpose of this two-day event. We hope that this is just the beginning of something that Just like traveling while black just like a lot of the other projects has a ripple effect that it's not just us Blowing sunshine up our ass for a couple of days, which is nice I like sunshine, but that it really does get some of these projects off the ground There's 12 remarkable projects that are pitching tomorrow for $50,000 in development funding and that's just award money There's so much more money and deeper pockets here that I think a lot of these projects will get the funding they need to get made and And the thing I'm so excited about is that the community is part of this too, like both here at the event but also the broader community. We're allowing Kaleidoscope members to vote on who gets that funding and that's something I think is a direction I'm super excited about because so often the curatorial decisions are made by just a small handful of people and I think one direction that we're really pushing for in Kaleidoscope is to make it a curation tool that the community decides who's selected for an event like this. It's the community. When we curated this event, it was our review committee, which is like 200 people, that got to weigh in and make that decision, which I think is going to make an infinitely better decision than a handful of people. And I think it's borne out, too, by the great diversity of projects we have at the festival.

[00:10:17.238] Kent Bye: Well, in your opening talk this morning at the Impact Reality Summit, you were talking about fundraising, but you were making the point that the operating system of our society is the culture. And the best way that you were arguing to, or one way at least, to reprogram that culture is through art. So maybe you could connect the dots there for this theory of change with the world that we live in and how you see art being able to impact culture and be able to then bring about change in the world.

[00:10:44.355] Rene Pinnell: So I'm a father. It's changed me in a lot of ways. And the biggest way is that I think a lot about the future in a way that I didn't before. And I'm really scared about the viability of living on this planet. And I think there's three huge global crisis that we face right now. Environmental collapse. nuclear war and AI and bioengineering. I think all of these are three huge existential crises that we face right now and any of them could make the world a place that we don't want to live in or flat-out just fucking kill all of us. I think the only solution is to reprogram culture. We are not as a species at a place where we have the ability to really cooperate at the scale that's required to solve these problems. They're global problems, they need global solutions, but we're still stuck in nationalism, we're still stuck in tribalism, we still think of people as the other. And to get over that, to think of us as humankind, and to think about the planet as a whole, not just our little neighborhood, in our little corner, our little city, our state, our country, to think about us as belonging to this global whole, we need to change how our cultural operating system works. And if you think about culture, really what it's doing is it's a set of shared myths and beliefs that allow us to interact with strangers at scale. That's all culture is functionally. And we've evolved to change culture. We used to live in little tribes of about 150 people. 10,000 years ago we had a fundamental shift in the mythology that we used to organize societies and suddenly we believed in God, we believed in kings, and that shared myth allowed us to build cities and to live in groups of thousands of people. And I believe that we need to go through a similar evolution where we can create a new myth, new stories that allow us to effectively cooperate at a global scale to address these problems. And I think art is the way to do that. I think art is the most effective way of reprogramming culture. And I think that's why we need to support these types of projects at an event like this, these impact-driven projects. They're artists that are consciously thinking about how can I tell stories, how can I engage people to really go beyond their own biases, where they can think of new ways of interacting with people, where they can believe in new myths, new stories that will allow them to transcend our limitations right now. It's impossibly difficult to imagine society looking and operating in a different way. And artists, that's what they do. They imagine things that don't exist. So we need artists to show us what the future can be, who we might become, and let that be the guiding light to then follow those paths down. It's kind of like we have all of these different experiments that we can run. with these projects, little windows into the future, little mirrors that reflect back to who we are. And that process, over time, changes the culture. And we need a radical shift to, again, transcend this local concerns and go to a global concern. And that's why, I mean, for me, I think all the projects on Kaleidoscope, all the projects that I personally support, they've got to have that component. We all have to be thinking about how can we change our programming system? How can we change our operating system? How can we change our culture? And again, art is the way to do that.

[00:13:58.584] Kent Bye: Yeah, maybe you could say a few words about the Kaleidoscope network that you've been cultivating here. I know that you've been slowly building this over time, and maybe tell a bit about your vision for how to decentralize the networking process and to be able to have a way for you to do your art and not be starving artists, but to be a sustainable middle-class artist.

[00:14:20.598] Rene Pinnell: So if art is the answer, we need way more art. And that means we need way more funding. And that's why Kaleidoscope is so focused on that. So my vision for Kaleidoscope is to look at how projects are currently funded, make it more efficient. That's step one. So right now, if you look at the art and entertainment industry in general, or the XR industry specifically, it's very fragmented, it's very siloed, and it's mostly offline in terms of where business happens. It happens at events like this in the real world. It happens over coffee with a million meetings. There's no central unified network online where people can do their business. And that's what Kaleidoscope is trying to build. as a first answer to this problem. Let's network the industry. Let's bring it online. Let's make it easy to connect with the creators, to connect with the producers, to connect with the distributors, to connect with the festival curators. Let's have them all in one central spot. That's the foundational layer and that's what we've built to date. We've got almost 3,000 of the most influential artists and industry leaders on our platform. We've got 861 projects on the platform. The artists on our platform have raised $28 million. By no means is this where we need to be, but it's a good starting point. And from that place of building out this network in the XR industry, the next step is then to build tools and services that help artists with that fundraising process. So starting with packaging and then coming up with your sales leads, then actually pitching your project, and then finally closing your deals. Each of those unique steps need unique and purpose-built tools and services for artists to do that in a more efficient way. Almost every other industry has a deep set of tools to help with the business side of whatever that industry is, right? And we've got a bunch of great tools for making art. Right? We don't have many tools for helping artists manage the process of funding their work and distributing their work. It's all still done by hand. It's all still face-to-face relationships, which is important, but it's complex, it's slow, and it's always hard. And I think we can make it much, much easier, much more efficient by an order of magnitude by moving it online and building tools specifically for artists to help with those specific challenges. The next step after that is if we can build out those tool services on a unified network is to experiment with new radical models for funding projects. That's something we're always tinkering with. For instance, right now our business model is membership-based. So we have a pro-membership that people pay a monthly fee for to get access to certain services and tools. We keep our operating costs incredibly low. And the idea is that in the next couple of months, our pro-membership will cover all of our operating costs. At that point, we're going to start putting all that money each month into artist grants. This isn't the solution, but it's just one of these experiments that we're running for thinking how else can we fund projects other than just connecting them more efficiently to the existing funding sources? How can we bring in more capital? and how can we make that capital come with less strings attached, have the deals that you would cut as an artist to be more friendly and beneficial to the creator? I don't have all the answers, but that's the long-term vision, is to build a foundation and then use that as a place to experiment, test, until we think of totally new ways that will bring in way more capital. Because right now, even if we had the most efficient system in the world, there's still not enough money in this industry. You telescope out of the XR industry, it's the same thing, right? Like, the general art and entertainment industry is a $2 trillion industry. It's a big industry. But even so, there's not enough money to make all of the art that the world needs now. We need a thousand times more art. So how do you bring in a thousand times the funding? How do you funnel capital away from cutting down the rainforest and instead put it into artist projects? Again, I don't have all the answers, but I think it lies somewhere in capturing more of the value that artists create. Right now, artists create a ton of value that they don't capture. They give it away to society for free. And I think if we find more ways for artists to receive the benefit of that, there'll be greater incentives for people to invest in it, right? Because if that value is captured, then it gives capital a reason to flow into art in a way that it doesn't right now. If you invest in art, nine times out of 10, probably more than that, you're not gonna get your money back. And that might even be the purpose of putting it in in the first place, right? You might be doing it because you see intrinsically the value of art. But if you can tie the emotional benefits of investing in art, if you can tie the ego benefits of investing in art, and you marry it with a strong financial incentive, where investing in art actually makes good business sense, that's where I think we'll get an inflection point where we'll have a huge, huge influx of capital into art. That's the end goal. But again, I don't know exactly how to do that. I just know that that's the direction. It's kind of like crossing a river, blindfolded, where you're just going one step at a time and you're feeling the rocks underfoot and trying to make it to the other side. So I feel like I'm somewhere in the middle of the river. Maybe not. Maybe I don't know how long the river is. But at some point, we're going to get to the other side. And I think we have to. I don't think it's a wishy-washy, mamzy-pamzy kind of thing. I think art literally is going to be the difference between us sliding into some shithole dystopic future that none of us want to live in to living in something that has us in balance with nature and with each other and is a place that we can be happy in. I think there's so many people are unhappy. I think living in our modern society is a very unsatisfying thing in a lot of ways, and I think part of it is because we don't have enough art in our lives. I think art not only can make us better people, but I think it can make us much happier people.

[00:20:00.590] Kent Bye: Yeah, well just hearing you talk about that, I think about how there's models like Meow Wolf who they turn it all into a business and they've got physical locations and it becomes more of a venture capital influx and expanding out and to do this immersive art thing where they treat it more as a business and they have profit that they have and then you have like the other end is maybe the crowdfunded grassroots Patreon being able to get enough of an audience to support your work. And then, in the middle, it seems like these normal ways of fundraising, but the biggest hang-up in the XR industry is the distribution, and to get it into the hands of the people. I mean, we have the Quest and other ways, but, you know, just the larger ecosystem. There's YouTube, but Oculus Store, and Steam, and, you know, PSVR, and the Vive port, but you know, in terms of a robust ecosystem where people that are really hungry for just narrative-driven pieces with weird indie art doesn't seem to have taken off in the same way as something like Beat Saber has. So I feel like there's another element there of cultivating a listening audience for this work to break out of the bubble of the film festival circuit and to get these pieces into the hands of people so that they can see what else is out there beyond some of the wave shooters.

[00:21:11.887] Rene Pinnell: Totally. I mean, so for me, I think there's two trains of thought that we should go down as an industry. So one is, absolutely, we need a bigger audience overall. And I think the way to get there is as creators, we have an obligation to think about return on investment. There's a feedback loop that we need to create where content needs funding. Once content is funded, it generates an audience, and that audience should generate ROI. If it doesn't, the feedback loop is broken, right? That return on investment is how the content gets funded in the first place, right? So it's on all of the creators right now, I think, to care about that. Even impact projects, I think. It kind of sucks, I don't like it, but it is where we're at. And I think we need to woman up, instead of man up, and care about return on investment. Because ultimately, that's how we're going to grow the industry. Because that return on investment will bring in more capital, more capital will fund more content, more content will bring in a greater audience, which will make ROI a much easier thing to obtain. So I think that's a direction. But again, that's gonna bias and tilt everyone's work towards things that play to a larger audience, play to the existing audience, which is largely a gaming audience. So, you know, it'll work better for things like Beat Saber than it'll work for weird art projects. And I love both, but I think it's critical that we make a home for those weird art projects that are more in the festival circuit. So the question then becomes, how do you support those projects, those weird art projects? I think the answer there is we need to be the audience for our own work. We as a community, the people that are creating that work, and the small audience that we have, I think we need to both be the creators and the audience, and I think we need to support each other's work. I think that's the direction I believe will bear fruit more than any other thing I can see. I don't see anybody else coming in to save it. I think it's just going to be up to us. I think we have to care, and I think we have to value it, and I think we have to find ways for just this weird little community to support each other's projects and to watch each other's work, to pay for each other's work, and if we can find just a little business model there and grow it over time, that's the direction that I have faith in and I'm excited about, honestly, because the future that I hope is that there'll be all of these micro-communities You know, all these little weird communities that care about very specific things. And if we can have, you know, if we can experiment with these different methods of funding to more reliably fund work in these small communities, it'll create such a greater diversity of content. And I think that's a critical thing, is that we don't want a monoculture. We want a huge diversity of experiences and artwork out there. For the same reason we want diversity across the board. In biology, in society, diversity is resilient. Great strength comes from it. And from an artistic perspective, we're all such different people. And it's the same way that factory-made clothes never fit you quite right. You know, I want art that fits just me. and just a handful of other people because we're all unique little snowflakes. But we do need new models that can support that because crowdfunding, I love crowdfunding, it's a great new model, but the average crowdfunding project only raises like $7,000 in cinema. I think for XR it's probably somewhere similar to that. It's not enough to make most projects. There's some projects you can make for that. But it's not enough. The average amount that you raise on crowdfunding just isn't enough. So we've got to come up with some new model that can fund weird little art projects at a large enough level that you can make substantive work. Great.

[00:24:48.779] Kent Bye: And finally, what do you think the ultimate potential of immersive technologies and immersive storytelling might be and what they might be able to enable?

[00:25:01.071] Rene Pinnell: Well, I think the end-to-end result is something that's quite creepy, or can be quite creepy. I think we're at a time where there's going to be a great separation that happens. I think a great migration is underway. where a large segment of humanity will spend more and more time in these different worlds that we're creating. And I think eventually, there'll be a time where a large segment of people spend most of their lives or all of their lives in these new worlds. And at some point, I think we will fully enter these virtual worlds and leave this one. And I think that there is a hugely dystopic side to that. But I also think that that might hold some of the answers. There's just too many people. We take up too many resources. The idea that humans are the center of the world is one that I think is fundamentally flawed. I think all living creatures on this planet have the right to live and survive and humans are just gobbling this planet up. We're consuming two and a half Earths. We've only got one. So I think this idea of dematerializing humans and having a large segment of them leave this realm and enter over into the digital realm entirely, I hope will be part of the way that we keep this level of reality from blowing up. And that there'll be some version control version of humans that stick around, right? And those humans get to be more human, right? Maybe they go back to something that looks more like hunter-gatherer societies, which, you know, we've evolved for millions of years to be that. much more fundamental to our DNA and genetics, and I think the people that would live in those communities would be happier. I mean, we live very isolated lives right now. We don't have a strong sense to place or people. So yeah, that's my hope. Anyways, it's trippy, and it's probably not useful to anyone that's listening to this, but that is what I think. I think the end point of all of this is, I think we're going to be creating a huge, infinite number of new worlds. And this has probably happened before. I think, you know, if you believe in the multiverse, I think we are in just one universe that's probably playing out the same thing. There's some substrate under this that we're just one reality of. And I think the end result of immersive technology is that we'll play that story out again and we'll create many, many more universes.

[00:27:15.247] Kent Bye: Is there anything else that's left unsaid that you'd like to say to the immersive community?

[00:27:19.981] Rene Pinnell: Please join Kaleidoscope. We're a small company. There's three of us, and we're incredibly passionate, but this thing only works with your support, by you becoming a part of this network we're building, by you helping in small ways and large ways. It's going to take the same thing that we're doing, that I think we need to do on a global scale, which is collective action of organizing. I want to play that out on a small level in our little industry. You know, it's not about me. Ideally, I want to have Kaleidoscope not even be a company. I want it to be community-owned entirely. But I do feel like we do need this. We need some set of tools that can bring us together to be more effective, to be more efficient. Because we're such a small industry, because working in this field is so difficult, we need better tools. We need to be more organized. We need to be more networked. But that takes all of us rowing together, coming together, figuring out how to make collective decisions better, how to allocate the resources we do have more efficiently. So please, join Kaleidoscope. I need your help. I can't do this alone.

[00:28:22.969] Kent Bye: Awesome. Great. Well, thank you so much for joining me today on the podcast. So thank you.

[00:28:26.513] Rene Pinnell: Thank you, Kent. Always a pleasure.

[00:28:28.699] Kent Bye: So that was Rene Pinel. He's the founder and designer of Kaleidoscope, which brought together a lot of these different artists and creators and funders at the Impact Reality Summit that was happening at Vulcan Productions in Seattle, Washington. So I remember different takeaways about this interview is that first of all, Well, I love what Rene is doing with bringing together these different artists and creators and funders and trying to make those connections easier. Rene comes from a family of artists, and so he knows the struggles of what it means to be a struggling and starving artist. And he wants to make it easier for the fundraising process for these different artists and creators. And so he's created this whole social network online to be able to facilitate a lot of these different discussions, but also holding specific contests as well as bringing together these events like this, the Impact Reality Summit. to be able to actually bring people face to face and to be able to make the pitches and to have a lot of different meetings. So I was invited to come up and go to the Impact Reality Summit and see what the upcoming projects are and to see just this overall ecosystem. And so this whole section of this first part of this whole series, I'm going to be focusing on the different aspects of economics. And economics is one of the biggest pain points for anybody that's working in this immersive space. It takes quite a lot of money in order to actually produce a project. And so there's this challenge of trying to say, OK, well, this project is going to bring about this specific type of impact. And when the distribution mechanisms of VR are so still in the early nascent stages, it's not very easy to say, OK, this is going to be sent out on the platform that's available to over a billion people. It's more on the scale of tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands. But if you look at it in the specifically trying to target policymakers or influencers, then you could start to have different contexts where you create an experience that tries to dive into a deep topic and then give people who are already very busy and may not have a lot of time. But if you're able to use an immersive experience to be able to really communicate deeply in a way that is going to be in their body in a way that is way different than in 2D film, they're able to potentially communicate the larger context of some of these issues to different policymakers. And so that's one of the early wins that I think the VR for Good movement has seen, is that trying to focus on changing specific policies and showing those experiences to policymakers and to try to bring about specific change. But overall, there's this gathering of the different artists and the creators and trying to connect those creators with the resources that they need in order to actually create their experiences. Because, you know, as Rene is saying, he's got this theory and thesis that you have different aspects of the culture and we have all these different issues with either climate change or nuclear weapons and the threats of nuclear war, as well as bioengineering and artificial intelligence and some of these existential threats that we have that is going to require us to go beyond what we're doing on individualistic level, like these individual nation states and have this larger global cooperation. And so how do we start to foster and cultivate that type of global consciousness, that we're global citizens and start to collaborate with each other in a completely new and different way. And some of these issues around climate change actually causing us to start to think in that more holistic way. And so Rene is saying that, you know, in order to actually bring about those shifts in consciousness, that there's a huge role for both art and story to start to create experiences that communicate this larger message. So that's at the baseline. Some of the basic thesis is that culture needs to be shift. And the way we can do that through is through art and story. And that in order to do that, we need a lot more art in order to do that. We need a lot more money. And so Renee is trying to reduce the friction between connecting those people who have the funding and the resources in order to invest in these different types of impact projects within the immersive space. So I really liked the more decentralized approach that Renee is taking. You know, there needs to be a lot of innovation when it comes to trying to make it easier for funding to come about. He's doing a lot of community curation and more of a decentralized approach. And so having people join this network and then have some say into who gets selected and, you know, he's got a big programming committee, you know, I get solicited to be able to give feedback on a number of different initiatives that he has. And I've done that a number of times as well. but also just trying to not make it so that it's just a small set of different curators who are making a lot of the decisions. Right now, when it comes to distribution, a lot of the distribution of these different immersive experiences happens to be at these film festivals, whether it's Sundance or Tribeca, South by Southwest, Venice Film Festival, IFA DocLab, Sheffield DocFest, you know, there's a number of different places that are out there that are showing this immersive work. And there's going to be new requirements to have other distribution mechanisms out there, whether it's through location-based entertainment and through different arts and cultural institutions, or just have selling it as a broader consumer product that is available on all the different VR headsets and then having marketing campaigns around that. But I think right now, a lot of the VR for good is been focused on more of these cultural institutions, these film festivals and targeting specific events where the influencers or the policymakers that are going to be having to make these large decisions are going to be there and present and available to see some of these immersive experiences. So that's all that I have for today, and I just wanted to thank you for joining me here on the Voices of VR podcast, and I'm excited to dive into a lot more discussion about these different topics. And if you'd like to see me continue to bring you this coverage, then please do spread the word, tell your friends, and consider becoming a member of the Patreon. This is a list of supported podcasts, and so I do rely upon donations from people like yourself in order to continue to bring you this coverage. So you can become a member and donate today at patreon.com slash voices of er. Thanks for listening.

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