Virtual Reality and the reimagining of Story – part 5

Virtual Reality and the reimagining of Story – part 5

VR & Storytelling as seen through a filmmaker’s eyes

In the first installment of this series I wrote about how seasoned game fanatics were turned into crying babies by the power of the VR medium. In the second installment, I went into the hurdles which the VR-medium poses on the storyteller. And in the third part, I took a peek at what the future might hold for VR and how future VR-makers might use new tools which are becoming available right now. In the fourth part I talked about Story Masters and the over arching idea.

This time around, I want  to dive into the subconcsious sauce of a potential protagonist.

The inner world of the character

My intention this time around is to take a look at how one might enter the inner world of our protagonist through the VR-medium and the first person narrative.

I’ve chosen a scene from my soon to be published novel A child made to order. I chose this scene because of the way it’s written. Meaning, it’s filled with inner monologue which is difficult, if not impossible, to translate into a visual medium like film or VR. And unless we want to resort to some very crude voice-over, we will have to look for other solutions. On the other hand, this scene also has a clear and tangible line of action performed by the protagonist which is the manifestation of her inner drives and desires.

Viola, the protagonist of the novel is a forty year old woman struggling with infertility due to a rare genetic disease. After quite a few unsuccessfull attempts, she finally managed to give birth to a small boy named Markus. However due to her genetic disease, Markus died only a few years later. Scarred by grief and struggling with shame, Viola has never managed to recover after this.

When I set out to write this scene, I wanted to convey to the reader a sense of how deeply Viola is tainted by her past. A history which acts as a distorting lens through which she views the world.

Let’s dive into it.

Wednesday, 13th February 2016

The subway was filled to the brim. Viola’s breathing grew more desperate by the second. She knew she couldn’t go on like this for much longer. She couldn’t stand these people or her situation.

The last two years had been so by the book. Under control, just as she expected of her life. After her breakdown, shortly after Markus, she had done some grim therapy sessions. The luxurious retreat had cost way more than she could spend at the time. But her mother was more than happy to pay for her daughter’s well-being. After all, it was either that or be forced to reveal a failure in the family.

And Anne didn’t accept anything less than success in her life. So Viola spent two months in the northern part of Norway, just to make her mum happy. She proved to everyone, including herself, the breakdown was just a coincidence. A sudden blip on the radar that would never show up again. Anne was happy that Viola seemed stable. Or at least could fool the experts into thinking this was the case.

Still, the retreat had not been all that bad. It helped her to regain some much-needed distance to herself. It had also taught her some basic meditation techniques. She was never much into spirituality or New Age thinking. Her mind was way too pragmatic to even consider going down that road. But the basic meditations had done wonders for her. And ever since then, she had done the breath-focused meditations each morning.

Now, as she stood in the cramped subway, choking on the lack of air, she attempted again to focus on the breath. And what usually worked wonders, did nothing for her now. On the contrary, she got even more agitated, bordering on delirious.

When she was finally prepared to push herself towards a premature exit, something caught her eye. A boy’s profile standing sideways to her. Perfectly curly blond hair and that nice rounded chin.

It looked just like him.

Markus.

Viola blinked once, twice. And the more closely she peered at him, the more she became mesmerised by every single detail about his features.

Viola began to push herself towards him. Shouldered everybody in order to reach the boy. And he was just standing there, all by himself. All alone. And then it struck her. It wasn’t just that he looked like Markus.

Maybe it was Markus.

After all, it would make sense. He could have gotten lost. And, somehow, he was taking this subway, maybe he was even looking for her. Hoping to find his mother again.

She pressed on, elbowed her way through, and when she finally reached him, he spun around towards her. A flash of recognition passed through her body. His ethereal face looked right into her eyes.

Of course.

It was Markus.

It all made sense now. Him being here, finding him, a miracle.

Everything that followed was just bliss.

The feeling of the boy’s soft hand against her callous palm. The trustful exchange of glances between them. And she realised all this suffering she’d had to endure, it wasn’t for nothing. No. It was just so she could find him. Right here, right now. As their eyes met, she understood he was just as alone and lost as she had been.

But at this moment, nothing would ever come between them again. And nothing would force her to let go of his hand.

As she drew him out of the subway, Viola suddenly felt a woman’s hand lash at her back. The woman’s fingers wrenched at her coat, and her eyes glared with a blistering accusation.

Viola thought the subway stations gathered all kinds of crazies. And this woman had to be one of them. So she shielded her Markus, and decided to make a run for it. She had to get him to safety.

But she had barely made it across the platform when words finally pierced through her clouded mind.

“What the fuck, Lady! What the hell are you doing with my son?” the woman shrieked at Viola. And this time, she ripped the boy away from Viola’s hand. And as she peered into the kid’s face, Viola was hit by a simple realisation.

Not Markus.

Not Markus.

After that, other accusations followed. Lots of nasty words were thrown at her. Unintelligible, toxic threats of police and other grim consequences. Stuff she knew she couldn’t deal with.

So she made a run for it. And as she escaped, she was encapsulated by a dense fog.

The main protagonist and the distorted lens that is her mind.  (Image, Shutterstock)

The  adaptation process of the narrative into VR

So with this small scene in mind, let’s try and map out a similar narrative for VR.  A little story which would convey the same over arching idea as in the novel – Our scars and traumas from the past are, for better or worse, the single most defining quality for how we perceive ourselves and the world around us, in the present.

Keep in mind the goal. Not only do we want to experiment with the adaptation and see what works in VR and what doesn’t. But through this micro-narrative, we want to see what kind of tools might be available in order to drill ourselves into the inner world of our protagonist, get under her skin without the all too obvious and literal voice-overs or expositional dialog/text.

For this little experiment, let’s also say we only have  today’s tech at our disposal. Meaning a game engine like Unity or Unreal Engine, and simple game logics programming.

Wednesday, 13th February 2016

Your eyes take in the whole subway. It’s filled to the brim, people squeezing at your body left and right and your breath spinning out of control.

Then you notice something peculiar. Someone is holding your hand. You glance down, and catch a glimpse of a boy’s tiny hand. It yanks at you, calls for your attention. You peer right into the boy’s face.

You see Markus. There is no doubt about.

It’s your son.

“Mum? I can’t….”

He is trying to tell you something but his puny voice is drowned by the subways jeering noise. And judging from the burning urgency in his face, this is a matter of life and death.

So you fight your way to more space, you push away the sordid and obnoxious woman beside you, shoulder past the grubby, unshaven man, just so you can kneel in front of him.

And finally, as your ear brushes against the boy’s lips, you hear a distinct.

“Mum? I can’t… breathe…  Out. Please. I need to get out.”

So you grab his hand, and scramble for the sliding doors. You shoulder your way across the jeering crowd, you trash and jerk away at the people who are standing between you and your son’s well being.

You are almost there, the way out to freedom, but as you reach the doors, they are gone. You whip your head around and realize you’ve been pushing the wrong way. But you are 100% certain the doors were on this side. 

No matter.

So you make a valiant effort, and crash your way onto the other side. All this time Markus, begs you to hurry. He is about to capsize, and every second counts. It’s your son goddamnit, and those bastards are everywhere, standing in your way and his life.

You blast out of the subway, clinging onto your little treasure, saving him from the most certain death.

Once you get out and onto the platform, Markus begs you to stop, yanks at your hand. He pleads with his beady eyes for help. The boy is hyperventilating, his face wrenched in pain. In the next instant, he slides to the ground.

You catch him before he falls, and realize you have to get him to a medic. So despite his weight, you wrench him up and into your arms. And you scatter down the platform. But the further you get, the slower the progress becomes.

Then you hear some shrieks behind you, way too distant to intercept at first. You realize Markus is fighting you, trying to halt your progress. The shouting finally drills right into your brain-stem, unequivocally pristine.

“Lady! What the fuck, Lady! What the hell are you doing with my son?”

You whip your head around, inspecting for the source of this voice. Your eyes lock onto a woman just behind you. Before you can do anything, she lashes at you, then rips the boy away from your grip.

You glimpse into the kid’s face, and you are hammered by a simple realisation.

This is not Markus. Not Markus.

After that, other accusations followed. Lots of nasty words are thrown at you. Menaces of police and other grim consequences. And seeing security personell racing towards you, you see these threats might realize a lot sooner than expected.

So you make a dash for it.

The secret sauce of this, and any medium, the inner world of the protagonist. (Image, Shutterstock)

The storytelling sauce digested

So this was the same scene but tuned into something which might work in VR. There was one major hurdle to overcome to make this work. In the original scene (from the novel), the protagonist noticed her own child in a way which was quite passive. It was all internal and literary. Fine for a novel, but trying to replicate this in VR would most probably end in disaster.

Please keep in mind, that I’ve outlined the story in a linear way. The game logics, and the branching “what ifs” are not the focus of this article.

In a non-linear narrative, I had to do more legwork into engaging the VR-participant. This was done by making the child way more active. In the VR-version, Markus propels himself towards us, yanks at our arm and begs us to save him from what must appears to be a life threatening situation. This immediately creates an urgency and a goal for us. Get our newly found son out of the subway before he suffocates to death.

And from here on, it’s the storyteller’s job, to make the seemingly easy task, get of the subway, nearly impossible. So Viola attempts to fight her way through the dense crowd, and for every turn, the situation gets worse. The people turn more aggressive, and Markus’ situation more dire. Everything happens in real time, there are no cuts or fades – we want the real-time, continuosus and hyper-realistic immediacy of VR. Yet as we turn one way, the subway doors are missing on the right side, despite that we saw them there a moment ago.

Adn when we finally manage to get out, we realize we’ve been dragging some boy stranger by the arm.

So this scene uses several methods to alter the reality, in order to pull us into the protagonist’s head. The crowd which turns more aggressive by the minute, the doors which are misplaced, and finally the boy who turns out to be someone else.

And this is what I think VR will excel at. Manipulation of the reality and the environment in real time. All this, so we can drill ourselves into the mind of the protagonist.

Personally, I think that if these narrative tools are supposed to have an emotional impact on the VR-particpant, they have to be done “under the hood”. Meaning, we have to slide into the main character’s head without crude queues which might imply this. Or in other words, as is apparent in the VR-version of the narrative, there are no visual queues which suggest Markus is some other boy, suggesting this is just happening in our head.

So it becomes all the more poignant point at the end, when we realise what we have done. How our senses have distorted our reality.   And ultimately, how a character struggling with personal issues like Viola might feel. Why she does what she does, however illogical or insane it might seem at first.

Or to repeat the over-arching idea. Our scars and traumas from the past are, for better or worse, the single most defining quality for how we perceive ourselves and the world around us, in the present.

What are the most burning questions for us artists, in any medium? (Image, Shutterstock)

Vision and storytelling

Considering how technical the VR-medium is, it was unavoidable with all the tech-talk of the previous articles. So this leads me to a question which I heard recently. And it went something like this:

“But do you have any experience in VR?”

This is a question which probably many budding VR-makers will be confronted with.

And although it’s a perfectly valid question, implicitly, it’s also a question focused on technology.  Don’t get me wrong, personally I love tools and technology, as they’ve consistently made new art forms available to us. But ultimately they are just that – tools.  I know because I come from an animation background with Maya, TV and feature film work. But whether it’s Maya for building 3D assets, rigging and animating them, or using Unity and Unreal Engine for VR-development, given enough time, technical skills can be mastered.

But developing storytelling maturity, and a unique artistic vision? Well, that’s a lifetime.

So coming back to the original question. If you really want to get more specific about VR, maybe it could sound something like this: “How do you transpose a story, any story, simple or layered with meaning, into a medium which, right now, is in its infancy, has so many limitations, so many unknows, and most of all, an undefined language?”

Though ultimately, I think the most burning question for us storytellers, in any medium, will always be: “What do you have to say about the human state, and the world around you which is uniquely yours?”

The end?

So for now, this is the end of my VR-series. I hope you’ve enjoyed it and I would love to hear what you think.

Personally, I think VR holds an incredible potential, especially when the A.I. algorithms come up to speed, so they can drive the human psychology in a believable way. But my heart still beats the strongest for the rigorous yet sublime beauty of the film image, and the abundant richness of the novel’s narrative.

Latest News

Posters for the movie Panacea are out

The posters for the upcoming movie & novel PANACEA are available below.
The movie is in pre-production with a planned release at the end of 2018. The novel will be released through the London based publishing house “The Book Folks” at the end of 2017.

read more

Storygeist blog

The future of the filmmaker Auteur

I think there will alwayas be a public for sensitive cinema made as an art-experience, as there will always exist a public for fine literature. But I also see the emergence of a few trends which might change the way we make movies in the coming decade. And I believe this coming 10-15 years will bring forth new ways to tell stories, unlike anything we’ve seen before, and it will be more accessible than it has ever been before. All of this will have a major impact on the Auteur Filmmaker/Storyteller. In the most profound way.

read more

Rene v3.2 – part 2

“Rene v3.2” – a short story about a female robot companion. A woman made only to fulfill other’s needs. Seen through Rene’s eyes, the story takes the worn cliche of the dangerous Artificial Intelligence, and turns it on its head. It asks if A.I.’s will be able to replace true human relationships? Especially the ones of the intimate kind. How might we treat them? How will the Robot Companion react emotionally? What rights will she have if abused? And is she less of a human if artificially made?

read more

Rene v3.2 – part 1

“Rene v3.2” – a short story about a female robot companion. A woman made only to fulfill other’s needs. Seen through Rene’s eyes, the story takes the worn cliche of the dangerous Artificial Intelligence, and turns it on its head. It asks if A.I.’s will be able to replace true human relationships? Especially the ones of the intimate kind. How might we treat them? How will the Robot Companion react emotionally? What rights will she have if abused? And what is the nature of consciousness? The very thing that defines a human.

read more

The emotional core of the story – part 2 of 2

Last time, I concluded at how important it is to arrive at a deeper emotional connection between us, the writers, and the characters in our stories. The true stuff of life, our hard earned emotional experience which has burnt its way into our subconscious, and made us into who we are. This time around I would like to go deeper into my own experience of enquiry about the main character of my novel. A protoganist which was as far away from my own personality as I could possibly imagine. Or so I thought initially. But more importantly I would like to break down my process of enquiry into some more manageable steps and conclusions. So others might hopefully take away something of value from this.

read more

Storygeist – a bird’s eye view

As the Sciences plunge into the impossibilities of Quantum physics, decipher the world of vibrations and frequencies, technology closes in on the ancient truths which the mystical traditions have spoken to us from the dawn of time. And as our world is hurled into a wrenching acceleration of change, we believe that stories are essential to our inner development. A ritual which passes timeless values from one generation to the next. And encapsulate not only intellectual meaning, but also a beating heart which can feed our souls. Join us and read this to get a bird’s eye view of our stories.

read more

Films & Books

Virtual Reality and the reimagining of Story – part 4

Virtual Reality and the reimagining of Story – part 4

VR & Storytelling as seen through a filmmaker’s eyes

In the first installment of this series I wrote about how seasoned game fanatics were turned into crying babies by the power of the VR medium. In the second installment, I went into the hurdles which the VR-medium poses on the storyteller. And in the third part, I took a peek at what the future might hold for VR and how future VR-makers might use new tools which are becoming available right now.

This time around, I want to dive into some basic storytelling, in order to illustrate some of my points.

(This story appeared originally on my Blog Storygeist.com)

Involuntary prisoner of your own nightmares

Your eyes blink open, then blink again. You attempt to grasp at a coherence, but the only thing before you is a dense fog.  Your eyes shutter again and finally a smeared out vision coalesces into what looks like a hospital room. Now, if you could only remember how you got here, where is here, or who you are for that matter. Minor details. The only thing whis is certain is that your pupils have serious trouble adjusting to the reality at hand. Do the windows seem skewed, or are you just going out of your mind?

This is interrupted by a nurse who races into the room. Soon you are vivid enough to realise what she is saying to you.  She probes you delicately for simple facts, your name, your age, and other basic things. Simple enough, right? Well, no. You just woke up and your brain feels like it’s been churned through a meat grinder. And when she fails to get any sensible answer from you, her face fills with worry. Or is it simply pity? She tells you that maybe it’s for the better. What is for the better, you ask. That you don’t remmeber anything, she murmurs under her nose.

Did she really say that? Or did you just imagine it? You scramble for some simple answers. How come does a stranger know a hell of a lot more about you than you do? But before you can stuttter out something meaningful, the girl leaves just as hastily as she came in.

You grab onto the glass of water on the night table. But you realise it’s gone. even though you are sure it was there a moment ago. You glance at the walls, and they feel like they are about to come down on you, suffocating at you from every corner. Are they pulsing with your breath or is it just your heart spewing up adrenaline into your brain, making you an involuntary prisoner of your worst nightmares. You realise that if you stay around here for just one more second, your thoughts are going to drown your mind.

Fortunately there are options. You don’t have to stay around here, answer to some goddamned nurses,  attempt to make sense of this situation. There are alternatives, and none of them seem better at this moment than fleeing this place.

So you grab onto the bed railing and are about to blast off the bed. At least that’s the intention. Except, it turns out that you don’t. You can’t. You can’t move an inch. And that’s when you realise, the place where your toes, your knees, and calfs should have been, there is nothing. Just an empty void.

You hear someone screaming. A muffled shriek. Probably from another room. It has to be. Pour wretched soul.

But when you readjust to it, you realise it’s only yourself, screaming for help.

The baloon that kindles our soul, in the darkest hours. Hope just within reach, yet unobtainable. (Image, Shutterstock)

The  exposition of the narrative in VR

This is an unwritten story, just a snippet of an idea.  This story’s point is not to have some attention grabbing or thrilling high-concept. On the contrary it was to be a “realistic” and psychological approach to a major life crisis.

Its goal was to prototype how one might approach starting off a VR-story. In other words, how do you introduce the main character without doing a major info dump on the character’s life, relations and values.  How do you dramatise something as serious as a car accident, and the post traumatic feeling of disorentation, loss, fear and depression. How do you show it in VR? And also how do you use the power of this medium to show the inner-world of the character?

Let me point out why I think this story might be a good fit for VR.

The main thing was to start right off the bat, to make us active. Meaning, creating a situation which puts us right in the middle of the narrative, where we as the participant need to get answers. But the answers aren’t handed to you on a platter, or told to us by some omni-present narrator. We have to fight for them, but only because we need to find out what happened. So immediately we kick off with some major narrative questions. What happened to the main character? Why is the nurse not sharing anything with us? Why does she think that it might be better that we don’t remember anything? Did she really say something as insensitive as that? Why is the reality being so heavily distorted? And ultimately, how will we deal with this life crisis?

Gradually these questions are revelead to us, or dramatised by real and psychological encounters with the nurse, later on the doctors and finally the family.

These encounters force us, to make sense of what happened. And most importantly to take action, in order to learn what happened. To speak to people, to learn about oneself, to learn about the past, and to deal with the trauma in order to push the narrative forward. As the secrets are slowly revealed, we have to take a personal stance to this character’s past life.

The over arching idea

And while she/he (the main character of the story) starts over, basically from scratch, we as participants discover the fallout of this character’s past life’s wrong doings and toxic nature.  While we participate, we have to, day by day, make difficult choices in our new life.

Do we become embittered by what life has given us, deny the help of our family, everyone around us? Or would we learn to appreciate the simple things which this new situation presents to us? Do we take responsibility for our past actions, and move on?

All these choices are forced upon us, through the encounters with differeent characters in this VR-narrative.

The over arching idea of this story might then go something like this: Tragedies happen all the time, at various scales. Sometimes the only choice we have left, is how we deal with them.

So through this narrative we would be in control of what life path we choose, despite the hardships dealt by life. And in this narrative, through our participation, we would not be told how to think. We would rather have to make up our own minds, perform our own actions in order to come to terms with life. This would be the power of this story. The choice bestowed upon us by this medium.

Much like life itself.

The over arching idea – to transcend a crisis, to transcend ourselves and the limitations life poses on us.  (Image, Shutterstock)

And what about the glue that holds it all together?

Last time I promised to talk about some kind of magical glue – a Story Master.

Dungeons & Dragons had a Dunegon Master who was in control of the story, and who would be the medium through which the players experienced his vision. And so it  would be in the case of  this VR-experience.  Each story would have to be steered by a controlling idea. The over arching concept. What is the story about? What are we trying to convey to the participant, despite the boundless freedom given by this kind of interactive experience/story.

With this over arching and controlling idea, the Story Master would role play the main characters of the narrative through several, escalating, psychological encounters. To be more concrete, the Story Master would use a similar technology to the one mentioned in my last article (Ninja Theory’s facial motion capture) and participate in the your story as the nurse, as the doctor, or as the family members. Each with their own psychology and character traits.

And with this over arching idea, the Story Master’s ultimate message, he would create the story together with us.

The secret sauce of this, and any medium, the inner world of the protagonist. (Image, Shutterstock)

The ultimate beauty of this medium

This story concept is just one way, out of a myriad others, how one might deal with a VR-narrative. It illustrates how to make use of the immersion of the medium, tell a story without dumping tons of exposition on the participant, and let him write their own story (within bounds of the pre-planned improvised narrative but within the over arching idea).  All this so the participant can tell a story which is her own and ultimately personal.

And this very fact is what would lift this experience into a new space. A place where not only the VR-maker (the director, story master) makes up the story, but where there is a collaborative effort between the storyteller and the viewer/participant to forge and improvise a wholly unique tale.

If you ask me, that just might be the ultimate beauty of the VR-medium.

The secret sauce called art.

But there is more, a “secret” ingredient.

For a filmmaker, it’s just as important to pay attention to what he is saying through his story, as to how he is telling the story through images. And the VR-medium presents a unique opportunity, which my little story from the hospital already hinted at.

I’ll give you a clue – subjective POV, only this time, done in VR – the filmmaker’s secret weapon to enter the inner world of the main character. And if done subtly enough, it’s able to elevate simple moving images into the sublime.

Let’s talk about it next time.

Latest News

Posters for the movie Panacea are out

The posters for the upcoming movie & novel PANACEA are available below.
The movie is in pre-production with a planned release at the end of 2018. The novel will be released through the London based publishing house “The Book Folks” at the end of 2017.

read more

Storygeist blog

The future of the filmmaker Auteur

I think there will alwayas be a public for sensitive cinema made as an art-experience, as there will always exist a public for fine literature. But I also see the emergence of a few trends which might change the way we make movies in the coming decade. And I believe this coming 10-15 years will bring forth new ways to tell stories, unlike anything we’ve seen before, and it will be more accessible than it has ever been before. All of this will have a major impact on the Auteur Filmmaker/Storyteller. In the most profound way.

read more

Rene v3.2 – part 2

“Rene v3.2” – a short story about a female robot companion. A woman made only to fulfill other’s needs. Seen through Rene’s eyes, the story takes the worn cliche of the dangerous Artificial Intelligence, and turns it on its head. It asks if A.I.’s will be able to replace true human relationships? Especially the ones of the intimate kind. How might we treat them? How will the Robot Companion react emotionally? What rights will she have if abused? And is she less of a human if artificially made?

read more

Rene v3.2 – part 1

“Rene v3.2” – a short story about a female robot companion. A woman made only to fulfill other’s needs. Seen through Rene’s eyes, the story takes the worn cliche of the dangerous Artificial Intelligence, and turns it on its head. It asks if A.I.’s will be able to replace true human relationships? Especially the ones of the intimate kind. How might we treat them? How will the Robot Companion react emotionally? What rights will she have if abused? And what is the nature of consciousness? The very thing that defines a human.

read more

The emotional core of the story – part 2 of 2

Last time, I concluded at how important it is to arrive at a deeper emotional connection between us, the writers, and the characters in our stories. The true stuff of life, our hard earned emotional experience which has burnt its way into our subconscious, and made us into who we are. This time around I would like to go deeper into my own experience of enquiry about the main character of my novel. A protoganist which was as far away from my own personality as I could possibly imagine. Or so I thought initially. But more importantly I would like to break down my process of enquiry into some more manageable steps and conclusions. So others might hopefully take away something of value from this.

read more

Storygeist – a bird’s eye view

As the Sciences plunge into the impossibilities of Quantum physics, decipher the world of vibrations and frequencies, technology closes in on the ancient truths which the mystical traditions have spoken to us from the dawn of time. And as our world is hurled into a wrenching acceleration of change, we believe that stories are essential to our inner development. A ritual which passes timeless values from one generation to the next. And encapsulate not only intellectual meaning, but also a beating heart which can feed our souls. Join us and read this to get a bird’s eye view of our stories.

read more

Films & Books

Virtual Reality and the reimagining of Story – part 3

Virtual Reality and the reimagining of Story – part 3

VR & Storytelling as seen through a filmmaker’s eyes

In the first installment of this series I wrote about how seasoned game fanatics were turned into crying babies by the power of the VR medium, thereby proving what potential psychologically this medium holds. I also touched upon the utterly heart wrenching semi-interactive story “That Dragon Cancer” which proved that some artists do have something wortwhile to tell.

In the second installment, I went into the hurdles which the VR-medium poses on the storyteller. I also laid out a humble appeal to the future VR-filmmakers for  stories which search for, and question, something deeper, more humane, existential and morally complex, than what most games/interactive stories have to offer right now

As promised in this third part, I would like to see what the future holds for VR.  And with this, I would like to draft my own personal vision, a rough crystal ball, of a new kind of movie/hyper-reality experience which I believe VR is headed for during this decade.  In my opinion this experience holds so much promies on so many levels, that this just might be the place where the true screenwriting/actor/theater/film talent will be heading for.

In order to get to an experience which might have a shot at showing the full potential of VR,  we need to take a look at a few of the emerging technologies which are happening around the world right this moment.

Hurdle number one – 1:1 room scale environments

In my personal opinion, there are two major hurdles to overcome. The physicality of the world. Meaning the expierence needs to deliver a 1:1 room scale environment which imitates the Virtual space. And second, the psychology and interactions which need to take place in this world have to mimic the real world. Let’s take a closer look at both of them. Let’s dive into the first of those.

This year has given us a promising glimpse into what the true potential of VR holds. The Occulus, the HTC Vive, and a myriad others have materialized onto the market. You can install each one of them at home. Despite the steep access prize, and  the high-end gear requirements, it’s available right this moment for you to enjoy at home.

All of these systems deliver different  levels of  immersion, but where everyone of them ultimately fails is the sense of being in the environmet at 1:1 scale. HTC Vive can map your movement onto your surroundings, so you can actually walk around. That’s a big step in the right direction. But this is also limited to the space confined within a couple of meters. Whenever you need to move further,  you have to teleport within the game. And to say the least, this obliterates any feeling of being in the Virtual environment.

But there are some guys in the US who are working hard and chipping away at this challenge. And they might have just solved it with their Hyper-reality.

Image from the company the Void, depicting their experience, coined Hyper-Reality

Stepping into Hyper-Reality

The Void is the name of the relatively new start up from Salt Lake City, US, and it is also the name of the VR experience they are creating.  But to call their vision VR wouldn’t be quite doing it proper justice. Instead they coin their experience, Hyper-Reality. And rightly so. In my opinion, this is VR done right, in the sense that they have built a physical theme park from the ground up which corresponds exactly 1:1 to the digital environment in their Virtual world.

This means that when you step into this theme park, put on the vest, and the VR goggles named Rapture, you are transported into a world which you can walk around, run, and most of all, touch. When you pass through a door, you can literaly touch the door handle, push the door frame open. When you approach a wall, it will be there, exatly as you would expect it.

Check out the Video on the Void to get a better understanding of what I am talking about.

So it goes without saying that this kind of immersion puts us in a completely different category of experience.

“While the phenomenon of “presence” in VR is well-documented, inducing shared presence—experienced among people in different physical spaces, and bolstered by the immersive power of physical feedback—is the milestone that will unlock the medium for good.” Wired

Image from the Ghostbusters VR experience playing in London and done by the people from Void. This experience puts a small team of players into a fully immersive environment which is built as an exact replica of the VR-space.

Another hurdle – this time psychological

But the second point is a bit more tricky. I am talking about the psychology and interactions which need to take place in this VR-world and mimic the real world. It is absolutely necessary to be able to communicate with other characters in a believable way, in order to play out the dramatic narratives.

The interactions between characters playing in the Void, with their team interactions, point us in the right direction. The cooperative game and the multiplayer social experience is what will draw the masses to these theme parks. But this kind of approach can only get us as far as the First Person Shooter genre or Horror VR-experiences like Paranormal Activity VR.

If we want to go further, and create genuine human drama, we need to have proper human interaction. And I am not talking about the A.I.-level of human dialog/communication which is available at this moment. That simply won’t cut it. While I am a strong believer in Artificial Intelligence, I also think that Kurzweil is wildly optimistic. I just don’t think that we will see A.I. advanced enough to pull off a true dramatic narrative for at least two more decades. (Still, I do hope I am way off on this)

But I don’t think we need one. And we might have all the tools available to do something which might be inherently more believable and at the same time social. A new kind of theatre. But this time,  interactive theatre.

Image from Ninja Theory’s game “Hellblade”. The character and its facial and body animation was real-time mo-capped as proof of concept.

Real-time Cinematography

For this to happen we need to look closer at a small company named Ninja Theory who have are working on some amazing tools developed specifically for Unreal Engine.

A new concept of motion capture has been making the rounds at SIGGRAPH 2016(premiere meeting place for the Visual FX industry). Coined “Real-time cinematography”, and done by the Ninja’s Theory team, it is a based on the well known technological innovations of motion capture, both facial and full body. But Ninja Theory’s approach has an added, all important twist. The actor performing the mocap is actually acting out his performance in real time. Only so his facial, and body expressions can be transposed onto a digital character.

Take a look at the video below to see a glimpse of what I am talking about.

Rightly so, they coin this Real-time cinematography. A way to record and immediately play the mocap sequences, without any rendering which could sometimes take weeks. Only this time, the director and the team are able to see the result instantly. And what’s more important, make immediate adjustments, direct and create a story right before their eyes.

 

And the glue that holds it all together

So with the Void and Ninja Theory’s tech we might have the necessary tools at hand to create a new kind of experience. Something which would convince the most demanding directors working in film today to experiment with their scripts in VR as an interactive experience akin to theatre/film.

With this in mind, please stay tuned to for the next installment of this story where I want to talk about the concept of Dungeon Masters, lifted from the age old game Dungeons & Dragons.  Because, I think personally that therein lies the key to the glue that will hold all of this together and form a new kind of narrative.

I would love to hear what you think, so drop me a line. And if you want more stories like this, please subscribe to the newsletter on the front page!

Latest News

Posters for the movie Panacea are out

The posters for the upcoming movie & novel PANACEA are available below.
The movie is in pre-production with a planned release at the end of 2018. The novel will be released through the London based publishing house “The Book Folks” at the end of 2017.

read more

Storygeist blog

The future of the filmmaker Auteur

I think there will alwayas be a public for sensitive cinema made as an art-experience, as there will always exist a public for fine literature. But I also see the emergence of a few trends which might change the way we make movies in the coming decade. And I believe this coming 10-15 years will bring forth new ways to tell stories, unlike anything we’ve seen before, and it will be more accessible than it has ever been before. All of this will have a major impact on the Auteur Filmmaker/Storyteller. In the most profound way.

read more

Rene v3.2 – part 2

“Rene v3.2” – a short story about a female robot companion. A woman made only to fulfill other’s needs. Seen through Rene’s eyes, the story takes the worn cliche of the dangerous Artificial Intelligence, and turns it on its head. It asks if A.I.’s will be able to replace true human relationships? Especially the ones of the intimate kind. How might we treat them? How will the Robot Companion react emotionally? What rights will she have if abused? And is she less of a human if artificially made?

read more

Rene v3.2 – part 1

“Rene v3.2” – a short story about a female robot companion. A woman made only to fulfill other’s needs. Seen through Rene’s eyes, the story takes the worn cliche of the dangerous Artificial Intelligence, and turns it on its head. It asks if A.I.’s will be able to replace true human relationships? Especially the ones of the intimate kind. How might we treat them? How will the Robot Companion react emotionally? What rights will she have if abused? And what is the nature of consciousness? The very thing that defines a human.

read more

The emotional core of the story – part 2 of 2

Last time, I concluded at how important it is to arrive at a deeper emotional connection between us, the writers, and the characters in our stories. The true stuff of life, our hard earned emotional experience which has burnt its way into our subconscious, and made us into who we are. This time around I would like to go deeper into my own experience of enquiry about the main character of my novel. A protoganist which was as far away from my own personality as I could possibly imagine. Or so I thought initially. But more importantly I would like to break down my process of enquiry into some more manageable steps and conclusions. So others might hopefully take away something of value from this.

read more

Storygeist – a bird’s eye view

As the Sciences plunge into the impossibilities of Quantum physics, decipher the world of vibrations and frequencies, technology closes in on the ancient truths which the mystical traditions have spoken to us from the dawn of time. And as our world is hurled into a wrenching acceleration of change, we believe that stories are essential to our inner development. A ritual which passes timeless values from one generation to the next. And encapsulate not only intellectual meaning, but also a beating heart which can feed our souls. Join us and read this to get a bird’s eye view of our stories.

read more

Films & Books

Virtual Reality and the reiminagining of Story – part 2

Virtual Reality and the reiminagining of Story – part 2

VR and Storytelling as seen through a filmmaker’s eyes

In the first installment of this series I wrote about how seasoned game fanatics were turned into crying babies by the power of the VR medium, thereby proving what potential psychologically this medium holds. I also touched upon the utterly heart wrenching semi-interactive story “That Dragon Cancer” which more than proved that some artists do have something worthwhile to tell.

This time around, as promised, I would like to get more into the hurdles which the VR-medium poses on the storyteller, and how some people think it’s an obstacle, while I think this is only an advantage and holds the true power of this particular entertainment/art form. I also want to make a humble appeal to the future VR-filmmakers for a more sensitive sensibility in their tales. To create stories which search for, and question, something deeper, more humane, existential and morally complex, than what most games/interactive stories have to offer right now.

Let’s go!

Two different beasts.

Personally I am utterly in love with Film as an art form. But when you break it down to its simple building blocks, which are more than a century old, you discover it’s quite an artificial construct.

The different kind of shots, the scenes, the mis-en-scene, and the flow of time in film, is a language. And its purpose is to emulate the flow of the story. When you peer closer, it’s quite striking how this language differs  from the way we perceive reality, from one instant to the next.

You could make a case for the indie film which uses less cuts, wider shots, and is generally less prone to force upon the viewer author’s intention.  But even those films have a distinct vision and a multitide of artistic choices, be they more or less subtle, which force upon the viewer some kind of vision. And there is nothing wrong with this. On the contrary. It’s an art form, just like any other, with its rules and rigor.

So when you think about VR as a storytelling medium, you realise a lot of what works in film, just doesn’t make any sense in VR. The framing of the shots which is the staple of the filmatic language goes right out of the window. This one is a biggie. I mean, what simple tools generates more emotion in Film, than precise framing. This not only directs our attention to the action, but is also able to conceal or reveal true human emotions in a very subjective way. This is what makes film an art form.

But if you think about the real time rendered, open-world VR experiences, which have a freeform camera, this (the framing) is no longer valid. Although games like Fallout 4 are not yet done in VR, they are a good example of well done interactive stories, but where the camera is the viewer’s player’s eye.

You could argue that there are cut scenes, of course, and here the artist can force upon us short snippets of well composed filmatic shots.  Here he can manipulate our feelings at will, just the way he inteded it. And when you inspect interactive stories like  “That Dragon Cancer”, they resort to this simple tool as well.

But, I think these sort of storytelling tools are on their way out. And if one uses them, one misses the point with the medium. In my opinion Virtual Reality, as the name implies btw, has the biggest impact when it emulates life itself. So when you think about framing, and watching something passively, even a story well-told, you are not using the power of this medium. Once you get into the pre-made shots, where the viewer loses control of their ability to look around, you lose the viewer’s sense of free will, and the illusion that he is in a real/parallell reality.

And this brings us to another powerful tool in film. Just as framing, the passage of time, has its own tools which the public is well used to. But when you break it down, it’s again a very archaic way of presenting reality. The ellipses and shot cuts are necessary but that doesn’t mnean they work well in VR

A man by the name of Cartelmike makes a succint point:

And this brings us to the elephant in the room with the current notion of VR Storytelling. (Storytelling) It always has been. People didn’t sit around the campfire telling stories in the timeframes that they actually occurred. And i’m not aware of realtime books. Linear… Storytelling is a RETROSPECTIVE thing. Interlude narrative mechanisms have evolved to break down the constraints of time and emotive viewpoint. But herein lies the VR Storytelling anachronism.

Cartelmike continues to make an argument that VR can never succeed as a storytelling tool. Personally, I think it’s missing the point. The true power of storytelling in VR lies in its natural 1:1 passage of time. Only this true to life flow of time has the ultimate power of immersing us in the story. Anything less woul dbe jarring. Of course there will be some ways as to jump bigger chunks of time, for the sake of the story, (a fade comes to mind) but mostly we want to get the viewer grounded in the here and now.

I think that in order to batter  the viewer’s emotional heart-strings, we need to see the story unfold before our eyes, while we particpate in it in real time. Not while we watch a lengthy cut scene where the author’s tools are visible right in front of us.  But  done, “behind the scenes”, through dialog with another character, by exploration in real time, or by performing a certain story tasks, making the veiwer active. We need to feel that we are tight in the middle of the story by the way of participation. This is the true power of this medium. And we need to make him believe that what is evolving in front of his eyes, is 100% real. That’s powerful.

To  reiterate my point, I think we are missing the point with VR by emulating the tools which work so well in Film. In my opinion,the closer we get to life, and the subtler cues we can create behind the scenes of the VR narrative, in order to guide the viewer through the story, the more powerful of an emotional experience we will end up with.

As a side note, read this excerpt by Carolina Milanesi:

Stanford University’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab has been studying VR for more than a decade. In 2009, the lab published the results of a study that focused on children’s memory and VR. A group of children played with whales underwater through VR. A week after the experience took place, they were asked about it. Some 50 percent of them said they remembered it as if it actually happened in the physical world.
And she goes on to say:

Even more interesting was how viewers reacted to one tested story ending, where the other bunny dies. Killing the bunny triggered much stronger feelings than it would have done in a regular movie. You are in the story; you are the bunny’s companion, yet there is nothing you can do to save it. You can see how this must be much harder on children — and adults, for that matter— I cried watching “Pete’s Dragon”! — than a traditional screening, even a 3-D one.

Image taken from Bethesda’s game “Fallout 4”

An appeal for the future.

Let’s leave the toolshed of these mediums for a while. And go over to something inherently more important. The sensibilites and the artistic motivation to tell your story as an artist.

One could argue that some stories are better suited to tell in VR right now than others, it would probably be much easier to recreate a Mike Bay  blockbuster with all of its emotional crudeness, than it would be to emulate a sublime european art-house flick. One where the characters struggle with inner conflicts, and  structure which veers wildly away from the classical three-act structure.

But this doesn’t mean we can’t create beatiful stories which are set in our world. I understand the needs of the market and the economic environment which drives the development of these games. It’s obvious that especially games are driven by the target group’s needs and wants, and the pragmatic thinking within the companies to stay financially afloat. But games like “That Dragon Cancer”proved two people can create a piece of art, and it can still be just as appreciated by young and old.

So why not strive for stories which are more true to life, stories which brings us, and the viewer more in contact with the dilemmas of our own world. And ultimately in contact with ourselves.

These stories don’t have to be filled with passive characters, doing nothing else than living through invisible to the eye, inner conflicts. On the contrary.

“A Child made to order” is one of my own stories, and is inhabited by the main protagonist, Viola. She is an investigative journalist who stumbles upon illegal therapy treatments in an in vitro clinic. Through this, she is faced with the biggest dillema in her life. Should she do what’s right as a working professional, and go public with the story, or fulfill her lifelong desire of being a mother which these therapies can provide her.

This story has a very clear goal-oriented character which researches the clinic and discovers, bit by bit, the secrets which the people hold at this place. Beside the clear emotional stakes playing out for this character, there are also enough secrets in this place and characters, to hold us vested in the story from beginning till the very end. But more importantly, told in parallel, the protagonist confronts her innermost longings for a child she could never have.

By giving this story as an example, I would like to propose a more realistic, and character based, sensibility for the future stories done in VR. Stories filled with real life dilemmas and emotionally truthful people.  Tales which could hold their place in the tough marketplace and entertain, but also simultaneously fulfill a healing role in our society. And given the immersive power of this medium, I do believe there is great opportunity here, to tell exactly these kind of stories.

The future redefined – a new kind of VR-making.

In the next installment, I would like to take a look at what’s on the horizon of the future of VR. And with this I would like to draft a rough picture of a new kind of movie/hyper-reality experience which I think Virtual Reality might be headed for in this decade. Something which we are just beginning to see in a very few places in the world right now done with VR, but taken to a different artistic level. And this might just be where the true screenwriting/actor/theater/ film talent might be heading for.

If you want to read first part of this story please go HERE.

A woman in despair from the stunning movie by Wong Kar Wai “In the mood for love”

Latest News

Posters for the movie Panacea are out

The posters for the upcoming movie & novel PANACEA are available below.
The movie is in pre-production with a planned release at the end of 2018. The novel will be released through the London based publishing house “The Book Folks” at the end of 2017.

read more

Storygeist blog

The future of the filmmaker Auteur

I think there will alwayas be a public for sensitive cinema made as an art-experience, as there will always exist a public for fine literature. But I also see the emergence of a few trends which might change the way we make movies in the coming decade. And I believe this coming 10-15 years will bring forth new ways to tell stories, unlike anything we’ve seen before, and it will be more accessible than it has ever been before. All of this will have a major impact on the Auteur Filmmaker/Storyteller. In the most profound way.

read more

Rene v3.2 – part 2

“Rene v3.2” – a short story about a female robot companion. A woman made only to fulfill other’s needs. Seen through Rene’s eyes, the story takes the worn cliche of the dangerous Artificial Intelligence, and turns it on its head. It asks if A.I.’s will be able to replace true human relationships? Especially the ones of the intimate kind. How might we treat them? How will the Robot Companion react emotionally? What rights will she have if abused? And is she less of a human if artificially made?

read more

Rene v3.2 – part 1

“Rene v3.2” – a short story about a female robot companion. A woman made only to fulfill other’s needs. Seen through Rene’s eyes, the story takes the worn cliche of the dangerous Artificial Intelligence, and turns it on its head. It asks if A.I.’s will be able to replace true human relationships? Especially the ones of the intimate kind. How might we treat them? How will the Robot Companion react emotionally? What rights will she have if abused? And what is the nature of consciousness? The very thing that defines a human.

read more

The emotional core of the story – part 2 of 2

Last time, I concluded at how important it is to arrive at a deeper emotional connection between us, the writers, and the characters in our stories. The true stuff of life, our hard earned emotional experience which has burnt its way into our subconscious, and made us into who we are. This time around I would like to go deeper into my own experience of enquiry about the main character of my novel. A protoganist which was as far away from my own personality as I could possibly imagine. Or so I thought initially. But more importantly I would like to break down my process of enquiry into some more manageable steps and conclusions. So others might hopefully take away something of value from this.

read more

Storygeist – a bird’s eye view

As the Sciences plunge into the impossibilities of Quantum physics, decipher the world of vibrations and frequencies, technology closes in on the ancient truths which the mystical traditions have spoken to us from the dawn of time. And as our world is hurled into a wrenching acceleration of change, we believe that stories are essential to our inner development. A ritual which passes timeless values from one generation to the next. And encapsulate not only intellectual meaning, but also a beating heart which can feed our souls. Join us and read this to get a bird’s eye view of our stories.

read more

Films & Books

Virtual Reality and the reimagining of Story

Virtual Reality and the reimagining of Story

This is a story from the Storygeist. A blog focusing on the near future narratives in Technology and Spirituality which are impacting our society, the core family and the individual. 

The beginning of 2016 saw finally a wide release of several technologies which have made Virtual Reality available to the masses. Although the required PC equipment remains very high-end (read expensive), it is quite possible to get an own VR-setup from the likes of Occulus or HTC Vive, right this moment. As the tech is beginning to slowly trickle down to the masses, we are already seeing the first attempts at different approaches to storytelling in this new medium.  Coming from a film background myself, with visual storytelling as the main cornerstone of my profession, I would like to take a look at the potential which these new technological tools might bring for us, the creators. I would also like to elaborate on how VR differs from film, what inherent obstacles this might throw our way, and what this entails for future VR-filmmakers.

The nature of the beast – the immersive experience

But let’s go back a little in time, to 2004 to be exact and reminiscence on a golden gaming oldie. That year Doom 3 launched and in many ways set a new golden standard for the quality of graphics available for first person shooter games. But even more interesing was the psychological impact this game had upon senses. This was quite an interesting threshold, because for the first time we had a game which just wasn’t a game.It was an immersive experience.I clearly remember playing this with the lights turned down at night. And frankly, it scared the hell out of me. It was actually so damned scary of an experience, that I remember turning the sound down, way, way down, as low as it could go, just to make sure, I wouldn’t choke on y own screams at the next horror awaiting around the corner.  This was a staggering revalation, to be transported into a world which ceased to be mere bits and bytes. tnis was something else. A full on experience which was able to batter my senses into the feeling of just being there. And giving a heart attack at the same time. Although Doom 3 was a rather mindless and unimaginative exercise in gameplay, this was the first hint at the true potential of the kind of immersiveness which VR could deliver in the near future.

 Scare the bejesus out of me

Fast forward to the glorious year of 2016 and we have another beast in the house which hints at the nature of VR. Take look at the video below which shows the first hand on reactions of IGN’s (entertainment site) staff to the Paranormal Activity VR game\experience. Watching this, another revelation becomes apparent.  Especially when we reach the climax of the experience, and shit really hits the fan in the haunted house, the seasoned gameplayers are turned into crying babies. Watching this, I had goosebumps, because I knew that what Doom 3 offered over a decade ago, was nothing compared to the sheer schock, exhiliration, nauseau, and terror which VR will have on our senses in the coming years.

 “Cheap scares” do not equal genuine storytelling

So we are the dawn of a new storytelling medium. Everyone seems to agree on that. And in some part it is true. Seeing the kind of visceral and quite traumatic reactions this medium will provide is promising and uplifting. This holds a lot of potential.  But as the title says, cheap scares are just a small subset of the tools and emotions which are called upon in such an advanced storytelling medium as for example film. I will not bang too much on the storytelling skills which are at display in the “Paranormal activity VR”experience, because they are certainly on display there. There is a clear escalation, from subtle to the more gross, there are lots of interesting foreshadowing tools as to what will happen. There is even visual subtletly, and visual ambivalence hidden in the shadows. And this is much more scary than any gross splatter scares provided by Doom 3.  But we are still in a very small spectre of the human emotions. Where is there a place to be amazed, to be touched, or to even cry a little? Not in the house of Paranormal Activity. Given this, I think this experience is quite emotionally flat.

 Interactive storytelling as art. Well, sort of interactive.

But instead of bashing way to much at paranormal VR, because I still think it’s quite an amazing acheivement, I want to give you another case example. This time it’s an amazing piece of interactive story which was driven by nothing less than true emotions of loss and grief. It’s quite a rare experience in the interactive/gaming world to aim as high as the “That Dragon Cancer”. This little game which lasts just under two hours was created by a team of two people only. Ryan Green, the main creator of the game saw this as a an opportunity to deal with the death of his son. This spawned not only an interactive story never seen before, but was also the birth of a poetic experience which challenged what a game, or interactive story should be. This game was also the breeeding ground of a slew of conflicting human emotions. Guiding you through a first hand experience of what it is like to deal with a dying son in your family, it is both heart breaking and traumatic, in equal mesures. Ryan Green should be congratulated to handle such a difficult subject matter in such a poetic, and transcendent manner.

And although I am amazed at the acheivement, and the genuine emotions at display here, “That Dragon Cancer” has an inherent flaw in it. And that is not Ryan Green’s fault, but a challenge which every struggling storyteller will face when dealing with VR or interactive storytelling. Despite its beaty and heart breaking experience, “That Dragon Cancer” still remains a very linear experience, where you just sit back and enjoy a story well told. There is inherently nothing wrong about this, but being a passive spectator to unfolding events is not what will transcend Virtual Reality into a full blown artistic medium, just like film did a century ago.

Latest News

Posters for the movie Panacea are out

The posters for the upcoming movie & novel PANACEA are available below.
The movie is in pre-production with a planned release at the end of 2018. The novel will be released through the London based publishing house “The Book Folks” at the end of 2017.

read more

Storygeist blog

The future of the filmmaker Auteur

I think there will alwayas be a public for sensitive cinema made as an art-experience, as there will always exist a public for fine literature. But I also see the emergence of a few trends which might change the way we make movies in the coming decade. And I believe this coming 10-15 years will bring forth new ways to tell stories, unlike anything we’ve seen before, and it will be more accessible than it has ever been before. All of this will have a major impact on the Auteur Filmmaker/Storyteller. In the most profound way.

read more

Rene v3.2 – part 2

“Rene v3.2” – a short story about a female robot companion. A woman made only to fulfill other’s needs. Seen through Rene’s eyes, the story takes the worn cliche of the dangerous Artificial Intelligence, and turns it on its head. It asks if A.I.’s will be able to replace true human relationships? Especially the ones of the intimate kind. How might we treat them? How will the Robot Companion react emotionally? What rights will she have if abused? And is she less of a human if artificially made?

read more

Rene v3.2 – part 1

“Rene v3.2” – a short story about a female robot companion. A woman made only to fulfill other’s needs. Seen through Rene’s eyes, the story takes the worn cliche of the dangerous Artificial Intelligence, and turns it on its head. It asks if A.I.’s will be able to replace true human relationships? Especially the ones of the intimate kind. How might we treat them? How will the Robot Companion react emotionally? What rights will she have if abused? And what is the nature of consciousness? The very thing that defines a human.

read more

The emotional core of the story – part 2 of 2

Last time, I concluded at how important it is to arrive at a deeper emotional connection between us, the writers, and the characters in our stories. The true stuff of life, our hard earned emotional experience which has burnt its way into our subconscious, and made us into who we are. This time around I would like to go deeper into my own experience of enquiry about the main character of my novel. A protoganist which was as far away from my own personality as I could possibly imagine. Or so I thought initially. But more importantly I would like to break down my process of enquiry into some more manageable steps and conclusions. So others might hopefully take away something of value from this.

read more

Storygeist – a bird’s eye view

As the Sciences plunge into the impossibilities of Quantum physics, decipher the world of vibrations and frequencies, technology closes in on the ancient truths which the mystical traditions have spoken to us from the dawn of time. And as our world is hurled into a wrenching acceleration of change, we believe that stories are essential to our inner development. A ritual which passes timeless values from one generation to the next. And encapsulate not only intellectual meaning, but also a beating heart which can feed our souls. Join us and read this to get a bird’s eye view of our stories.

read more

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