More than a bag of popcorn
My dream has been to make films since a child. As any boy I first fell for the adventure stories like Excalibur, Willow and Die Hard. Then, one day a girl I had a crush on took me to see Godzilla. After the movie she asked me, "Have you heard of Godard and the French New Wave?" I just stared at her as the names of the directors she started naming didn't sound familiar at all. But when years later I was blessed to discover Tarkovsky, Parajanov, Bergman, Trauffaut and Fellini my life was changed forever. Suddenly, cinema was more than thrills. Cinema was a magnifying glass examining the human soul. Cinema in the 21st century is morphing into a curious mix of documentary and narrative storytelling where actors will no longer be able to hide behind technique but will have to come to terms with their darkest and sweetest memories of who they are. To realize that, in the end, there is no need for acting at all. Pure undivided presence will suffice.
It is quite baffling that the film industry continues to stubbornly offer super hero and fantasy entertainment which continue to promote division and resolution of conflict by violence. The industry fails to capitalize on cinema's inherent gift to teach, nurture and unite. I say all of this because I passionately feel that the emergence of VR allows for us to explore new uncharted territories where greed has not yet corrupted and bankrupted the spirit of innovation and expression. The entire community of VR artists is extremely supportive of each other. Everyone is genuinely excited and eager to see who will break yet another frontier and how.
Tools like ASSIMILATE SCRATCH VR demystify VR so that filmmakers can create high-quality 3D/360 videos. As a creator of worlds and someone who loves to observe man and machine alike, VR offers me a chance to continue to explore the world through recognizing my self in the other. The intimacy, call to action and compassion the medium fosters offers huge potential. Yet, I fear that as VR hits the mainstream content creators will settle on the 'wow' effect of external stimuli - the greater the shock value, the better. All the while thousands of people across the globe humbly wait for their stories to be told.
The responsibility to create content reaching for more than a bag of popcorn and a bottle of coca cola falls on the pioneers paving the way now. However, in an age where every view is tracked and analyzed the consumer also has immense power in guiding this emerging industry. In the end, VR like Cinema is a story that brings us all closer to a unified experience of an earthly wonder anchored in celebration of our diversity.
Thanks Lou Wallace for publishing this article on digitalproducer.com