Movies with Branching Narratives

One of the many reasons I have always been interested in VR, as a storyteller, is that it has many unique characteristics that traditional cinema does not possess. I am not debating that one is better than the other, rather, I am excited about crafting stories, even worlds, where the audience isn't just passively consuming the content and only ever looking in one direction.

Think about it: in your everyday life, when not watching traditional TV or cinema, do you sit practically still for hours on end in your free time, never looking at the world around you? Of course you don't, so why confine oneself to the now century-plus old artifice of cinema and TV?

As audiences, we've been conditioned to accept that "this is it," and that "is all there is." When trying anything new, it can sometimes feel weird, but until you try it (sometimes more than once!), you will never really know for certain, and you would be missing out on what could prove to be truly spectacular entertainment and even memories.

I want you to take advantage of this new medium. I want you to feel like you are there. Not only that, I want you, the audience, if so inclined, to take control (aka "agency), and define the narrative for yourself. If you did or didn't like the narrative you undertook, but found the experience of it appealing, you can always return to take another route and see what happens the next time.

I recognize that this form of storytelling is not for all filmmakers, including audiences, and it is certainly not suited for every story. However, for those wanting to experience something different, for those who like games and/or interactivity with their content, or if you are the kind of person who will watch the same motion picture over and over again - wouldn't it be cool to be genuinely surprised by an enjoyable new twist the next time you rewatched a movie or series? 

This concept of "branching narratives" (or plotlines), is not anything new. If you were a child of the 80's, chances are you encountered one of those "choose your own adventure" books. The underlying concept here is the same, only technology has finally caught up to make this kind of content seamless, no matter if it's traditional 16x9, Cinematic VR, music videos, etc. 

I invite you to take a dive into a New Yorker article on the topic, and let me know what you think in the comments. 

Body-positive blogger reveals the reality of beauty industry pressures

In the early days of my career, I did a lot of Photoshopping for fitness magazines. The people in the photos were already in quite exceptional physical fitness, but I was tasked with making them some absurdist ideal. Men had to have Adonis-like exaggerations, as did the women, along with "perfecting" their facial features to symmetrical and aesthetic ideals. 

Nowadays, in TV and motion pictures (see example at bottom), it's done a lot, sometimes subtly and other times quite to extremes (maybe it is intentional such as a flashback, but mostly it's vanity and commerce). I have to admit, I actually enjoy doing this kind of work, but I make it a point to remind folks from time to time that most of what they see is an illusion. Camera angles, lighting, makeup and cosmetic surgery can do amazing things, but they do have limits, and time catches up to us all.

For me, it was important that my younger sister understand this, as I showed her how I retouched bodies and faces. She got the point, and she has a healthy understanding of body image. Now, if I could only feel the same way about my own body. ::sigh::

Check out some of these articles and examples:

Let's include some gender equity here, because the pressure on men is real too, even though it's discussed far less than those about women:

A male version of the "Evolution" video presented by Dove's Campaign for Real Beauty. explanation goes until approx. the one minute mark and video starts. This was my thesis project - it allows the public to see the actual manipulation that goes into advertising images of men.

"De-age" example on motion content by compositor Rousselos Aravantinos:

Brands are betting big on Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality is set to explode, once Apple rolls out its iOS 11 update, automatically enabling iPhones from the 5S model and up to access the new capability. This is a captive audience of well over 200 Million iPhone owners, practically overnight (at least, as fast as they update to the new OS). Check out the original post from AdWeek. Music: ODESZA - Sun Models (feat. Madelyn Grant)

Apple Maps officially no longer sucks.

Technically it's Virtual Reality, but its using the smarts of Apple's AR Kit and it's built into the iOS 11 Beta.

Navigating with your iPhone just got a lot simpler:

ARKit on iOS 11. Video credit to Andrew Hart (@AndrewProjDent)

80's flashback comes to augmented life thanks to Apple's ARKit

Augmented Reality's A-ha Moment

This creation was made with ARKit from Apple.

From the YouTube description:

We are giant fans of the original video by Aha and director Steve Barron, and especially the legendary animators Michael Patterson and Candace Reckinger who came up with the beautiful technique and style we were trying to emulate.

This work was made very quickly and just for fun, there is a lot of room for improvement. We inspired by the intersection of emerging mass technology like ARKit and visual effects that traditionally have been difficult to recreate. Everything is live in camera and works as shown.

This is not for an app we currently are planning on distributing,
For those of you too young to recall this groundbreaking music video hit from the 80's, just push play and enjoy! 

Time and Again: The Ultimate a-ha, including the biggest hits + rare and unreleased remixes, is out now! Get your copy here: - - - - The official video for a-ha "Take On Me".