StoryFutures Academy Podcast

  • StoryFutures
  • November 29th 2020
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This 8-part series, hosted by immersive director Shehani Fernando, gives listeners a practical look at how VR and AR productions actually get made. If you want to begin creating your own immersive storiesor learn more about the XR sector, this is the podcast for you. With the help of some of the biggest names in the industry, she explores practical tips, case studies and the challenges that make this a really exciting area to work in.

Episode 1 - Making Immersive Stories: What is the future of storytelling?

In our first episode, we delve into what the opportunities are for immersive storytelling. We speak to Becky Gregory-Clarke, Head of Immersive at StoryFutures Academy about the potential of this relatively new industry, and hear from Professor James Bennett, Director, StoryFutures and Co-Director, StoryFutures Academy about their mission and where he thinks the future is going. In addition we’re joined by Darren Emerson from East City Films who talks about his recent VR experience, Common Ground, set in the Aylesbury Estate in South London.

Episode 2 - Making Immersive Stories: Getting Started

This week, we look at how to take your first tentative steps into making immersive content and thinking spatially. But where do you begin? Do you jump into a game engine, or go up into the loft to find your old lego? To help us decide, we’ve enlisted the help of Kim Leigh Pontin, Creative Director at Nexus Studios and Verity Mcintosh, Senior Lecturer in Virtual and Extended Realities at the University of West of England.

Episode 3 - Making Immersive Stories: Augmented Reality

We begin with Alex Fleetwood, Head of Niantic's London studio, the company behind Harry Potter’s Wizard’s Unite and the worldwide phenomenon that is Pokémon Go. We’re also joined by Susan Cummings and Taavi Kelle who are going to take us on a Bristol-based AR adventure with Wallace and Gromit.

Episode 4 - Making Immersive Stories: The Producer’s Role

An immersive producer is a key role in any XR project - so what does it take to become one yourself? What are the nuts and bolts of delivering a project to budget, and what technical knowledge do you need to be able to translate what clients want to developers? This week we have two guests that have worked on some ground-breaking immersive projects, Katie Grayson from Passion Experience, and executive producer Zillah Watson. Both of them share their top tips on the different phases of production and discuss the making of the BBC’s Emmy-nominated ‘Dr Who: The Runaway’.

Episode 5 - Making Immersive Stories: Writing for Characters in VR

This week, we're talking about the role of writers in immersive storytelling. Some of the biggest IP on the planet is beginning to wake up to the possibilities that virtual reality can offer. In the last few years, both Star Wars and Doctor Who have launched VR experiences. Writers are going to have an increasingly important role in the creation of new character-led experiences. This episode brings together the sage voices of Adam Ganz, Head of the Writer's Room at the StoryFutures Academy, Kerry Kolbe a TV writer who is making the leap into writing for VR, and finally Russ Harding, the man entrusted by the producers of Peaky Blinders to bring the world of 1920's Birmingham onto a headset near you.

Episode 6 - Making Immersive Stories: Audience Insight

Whether the first immersive experience you are making is for people in their living rooms or launching at a museum, understanding how your story is going to be experienced and who you're going to target is a huge question that should be dealt with upfront rather than after you've built it. This week we enlist the help of Catherine Allen from Limina Immersive, Executive Producer, Zillah Watson and our own Dr Laryssa Whittaker from StoryFutures to find out exactly what questions you should be asking your audience and how to attract more people to your content.

Episode 7 - Making Immersive Stories: Reflecting Reality

People often see immersive technology as a way of entering new worlds to experience things that they would never normally get to do in real life. While there is certainly much out there to delight and entertain, immersive stories can also enable a glimpse into someone else's world or provoke new perspectives on social or political issues. This week we look at the documentary work of two XR makers: Francesca Panetta, who led the Guardian’s VR studio and more recently has been dabbling in deep fake technology; and Karen Palmer, whose body of recent immersive work deals with race, ethics and AI to challenge our own implicit biases.

Episode 8 - Making Immersive Stories: Reaching an Audience

In this episode, we'll be talking about sources of funding and looking at how some makers are trying to create sustainable business models. We have three guests to guide us through this emerging ecosystem.We'll hear from Mike Jones, a producer at Marshmallow Laser Feast about the location-based entertainment model, and to Dave Ranyard, CEO of Dream Reality Interactive who's been successful at creating mobile augmented reality games. We're also joined by immersive expert Liz Rosenthal, VR Programmer of the Venice Film Festival and founder of Power to the Pixel.

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To find out more information on everything discussed in each episode, click below.

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