Screenwriting : VR Storytelling by Jeff Lyons

Jeff Lyons

VR Storytelling

I've been wondering hard about VR storytelling and the challenges for writers ... the form is so different. Well, just found a new VR short that is pretty close to traditional 2D, but also filmed in 360 degrees... I found myself so distracted clicking around looking for stuff going on around the main action that I lost focus every time I clicked away. I imagine it's the same even with a VR headset on. Looking off to see what else is happening is a huge disconnect from the narrative (even though presumably it's all narrative in VR). Anyway... Is this an issue???? VR experts pls chime in...

Kirsten Spalding

VR is supposed to mimic real life and real life interactions. Think as it this way; If you're in a meeting at work, are you going to look directly at the speaker the entire time they are talking? Probably not. You're going to look around. Maybe someone is falling asleep somewhere in the back of the room. Everything within the environment drives the narrative forward. Also, when you're wearing a headset (like Oculus Rift or Samsung Gear VR) , it's much more fluid and natural (as it would be in real life). I would recommend trying out the Rift or Gear VR and understanding how it works before writing. Best of luck!

Jeff Lyons

Kirsten--Thanks for comment :) Yeah, I've tried the gear... unbelievably cumbersome. These devices are going to have to get very much smaller to be useful. I don't think the "real life" argument works for entertainment (movies/TV)... directors all talk about how they are concerned about controlling the eyes of the viewer... they want to direct the audience, not have them go wherever they want... that's like reading a book and randomly picking chapters out of sequence. Doesn't work. Not saying there isn't an answer to this, but it's not in the current tech. Headsets are too big and the narrative format is exhausting to watch. IMO

Stuart Wright

I interviewee Eric Darnell (of Madagascar fame) about the challenge of VR storytelling ... I post a link in the open thread

Semira Chan

I've worked with VR a couple of times and while I agree with the fact it could be distracting to the narrative if someone wanders around - I think that could be solved with the narrative itself. Make everything in the environment relevant to the story. Maybe the viewer turns to the left and someone is staring at the protagonist - make them part of the story in a small way so that it call connects. (because chances are, with VR they will look all around)

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