Past Meetup

Storytelling in VR Film

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How do you tell a compelling story in VR?

Continuing our series on critical design elements for VR Film, we're bringing together a rockstar, diverse group of experts from Oculus, Google Spotlight Stories, Lucasfilm ILMxLab, Stanford's Creative Writing Department, and more to spark insightful conversation around story design, visual and audio elements, and challenges specific to VR film creation.




Maureen Fan

Baobab Studios - CEO and Co-Founder

Maureen is CEO and co-founder of Baobab Studios, the industry's leading VR animation studio. The company's VR interactive animation, “Invasion!” starring Ethan Hawke, launched to substantial critical acclaim, with Roth Kirschenbaum Films (Maleficent, Snow White and the Huntsman, Alice in Wonderland) signed on to adapt it into a feature film. Right out of the gate, Baobab Studios garnered laurels from film festivals globally, from Tribeca Film Festival to Cannes. The film is a top ranking download on major VR players including Oculus, Samsung, Within, Hulu and others. Baobab’s latest film ASTEROIDS! starring Elizabeth Banks is an official 2017 Sundance Film Festival selection.

Colum Slevin

Oculus VR - Head of Experiences

Colum oversees the Emmy Award-winning Oculus Story Studio, as well as a portfolio of third party developers making 360 video, narrative, and real-time experiences for Gear VR and Rift. His early background in production for animated TV and features led him to Industrial Light + Magic, where he was Director of Computer Graphics, and later Vice President/Head of Studio Operations at Lucasfilm, where he was responsible for the animation division in California and Singapore. Colum joined Oculus in 2015 from Telltale Games, where he was Studio General Manager. He is obsessed with movies and, while he can never choose his favorite film, his current favorite quote is from Pulp Fiction: Mia asks “When in conversation, do you listen, or do you just wait to talk?” Vincent thinks about it and then responds, “I wait to talk, but I'm trying to listen.”

Cassidy Curtis

Google Spotlight Stories - Technical Art Lead

As Technical Art Lead, Cassidy developed the non­photorealistic look of picture for Pearl, the first-ever Oscar nominated VR film. His graphics research projects Computer Generated Watercolor and Loose and Sketchy Animation have appeared in short films Fishing and Brick­a­Brac. He was also a Supervising Animator at PDI/DreamWorks, on feature films from Madagascar 2 to How to Train Your Dragon.

Scott Hutchins

Stanford Creative Writing Dpt.- Lecturer

Scott is a former Truman Capote fellow in the Wallace Stegner Program at Stanford University. His work has appeared inStoryQuarterly, Five Chapters, The Owls, The Rumpus, The New York Times, San Francisco Magazine and Esquire, and was recently set to music. He is the recipient of two major Hopwood awards and the Andrea Beauchamp prize in short fiction. In 2006 and 2010, he was an artist-in-residence at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris. His novel A Working Theory of Love was a San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of 2012 and has been translated into nine languages. Scott teachers narrative with tech approaches in Stanford's Creative Writing Program.

Ben Peck

ILMxLab / Lucasfilm - Generalist Engineer

Ben Peck is a Generalist Engineer in the Lucasfilm Advanced Development Group, where he focuses on gameplay and engine programming for interactive experiences in VR and AR. Ben has experience in both the film and video game industries: at Pixar Animation Studios, writing tools and debugging art pipelines, and at Double Fine Productions, as a programmer on projects such as The Cave and Broken Age. Ben loves working alongside artists and designers to help bring their visions to life.

Rodes Fishburne

[Moderator] Writer, ABC Studios

Our fearless moderator, Rodes Fishburn, is author of the best-selling novel, "Going to See the Elephant," and creator of the one hour drama, BLOOD & OIL on ABC. He has not seen a narrative VR masterpiece yet, but he's optimistic. He can be reached @rodesfishburne.


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A big thank you to the Upload Collective for being our gracious hosts!!!