The Thin Line of Media
Hello all! As the relative “newbie” of the Future Reality Lab, with this inaugural blog post I’d like to take some time to introduce both myself and the research I’ll be working on for the last 3 semesters of my undergraduate career.
Firstly, my name’s Sam. I’m in my junior year currently pursuing a major in computer science and a minor in film. Naturally, I’ve found the intersection of these two relatively disjoint fields to fall perfectly onto the work done at the FRL. Storytelling has always been captivating to me, whether it’s been through writing terrible short stories in elementary school, or attempting to create full-length screenplays over the last few years. My research will revolve around the evolution of “traditional storytelling.” I believe new technologies such as VR and AR can be used for the betterment of the storytelling experience, and I want to test this first-hand.
The last few weeks, I have set to work on my project, self-titled: Sound and Color. It will be a short, interactive film that takes place in a 1970s war-torn Manila, Philippines. The story follows a young girl named Jasmine who, along with her single mother, escapes the harsh reality of an ongoing, violent civil war through the powers of art. During one eventful night, she finds that anything she draws will immediately come to life around her. She’ll need this power if she’s ever to make it out alive.
This is a story about the healing power of art, that would only be aided by the unique immersion that VR offers in-place of a traditional movie-going experience. I want to place users in the middle of this world, and for them to experience these literal powers of art first-hand.
Now, where to begin? The most important thing for me to solve right now is the main mechanic of the experience: the drawing. There are many questions to answer: How should drawings go from the page to reality? How much user input can I actually provide? Etc. Hopefully, these are questions that I’ll have answered in my next blog post.
With this project, I want to blur the lines of media. I call this project an interactive film, but really it doesn’t belong to any category. It is not quite a film in the same way that it is not quite a video game. It is its own experience in storytelling, and one that hopefully more people will experience in the coming years.