Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality…

I invested heavily into VR when the hype machine pulled me in around 2017, and how could I not? It’s an artform that hits all the right buttons for me. I write code, I do 3d, and music, and storytelling, and… anyway, you get the picture. I was very excited about this and dumped a lot of money into it. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite take off to the level the hype had us think it would, but at least this time it did stick around. I remember in the late 80s when there was a surge in interest, and you could go to the arcade for the experience. I remember standing on a circular platform, putting on this huge bulky headset, and stepping into a world of… stick figures, basically. And even though it was primitive, I remember being awestruck. I’m even more awestruck by what we can do now, and I still dump money into it, but now it’s more for fun.


One of the things that excited me the most about VR — still excites me — is the prospect of using it as a medium for storytelling. As a filmmaker, I had to learn a whole new language. We call it “screen language,” and it has to do with how we communicate within the frame; the composition, color, angles, lenses, type of motion, etc., and the psychological effects. I did a few things in VR, but the one I am most proud of is my experiment in storytelling. This experiment used some of the aspects of screen language to see what could be pulled off when the viewer could look anywhere they wanted. VR presents some interesting problems for a storyteller to puzzle out. The biggest one being; how do you direct and keep the viewer’s attention on what you want them to pay attention to, so that they’ll be able to follow the story? So, here, I’ve taken the setting from George Seurat’s painting “Sunday on La Grande Jatte,” and put George himself in as the main character. You, the viewer, watch as he shows up on an “off” day when the park is less populated to see how the light plays for his future painting, and finds a flower. The rest is a playing out of a parable — the telling of a story with a message. I think it works, and maybe one of these days I’ll have enough time and money to do something much more complex to really see how something like this could be executed. I did write a script for just such an execution, but I’ve stolen my own script from myself to be used in a graphic novel instead. Who knows… it could end up being both someday.