ETC Student Challenge: Future of Creative Media Resources

The latest Entertainment Technology Center student challenge launched on October 5. Technology and processes in the entertainment industry are changing rapidly, yet the goals of the entertainment and experience industries remain the same. Students from the schools of cinematic arts, engineering, business, communication, and innovation were asked: How can we forge alliances between the legacy community which has a deep knowledge of the storytelling arts and the rising filmmakers and creators helping to shape new tools and resources? How would you like to access these amazing legacy talents as you develop your own storytelling skills using new tools? How would you like organizations and institutions around you to support your ideas?

Students were given three weeks to submit a short essay or short video articulating their idea for addressing this group of cross-generational questions. The 11 student responses to the challenge are embedded below.

Bridging the Gap
By Maxwell McIntosh, graduate student in Integrated Design, Business, and Technology at the USC Iovine and Young Academy

Summary: In 3 chapters plus epilogue, McIntosh discusses the importance of relatable role models, understanding why decisions are made, and the value of both mentorship and reverse mentorship.

A Reddit-Style Application
By Lorène Delpuech Turière, senior majoring in Public Relations and the Entertainment Industry at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism

Summary: A Reddit-like site where pre-qualified, credentialed participants can exchange ideas, pose questions, and ask for feedback in an informal, safe (no trolls allowed) environment. The student’s short overview is available online.

Define Needs and Find People with a Goal-Oriented Engine
By Toby Yuheng Zhao, Senior Interactive Media and Games Division major at USC School of Cinematic Arts

Summary: Proposal to develop a “goal oriented engine” that uses an “AI plus Human” tag system to match a person with a “need” to people who can help them address that need.

The Future of Media: Communiverse
By Carmen Cordova, Maram Finnell, and Diana Valdes, graduate students majoring in Integrated Design, Business, and Technology at the Iovine and Young Academy

Summary: Communiverse is a new social media platform that focuses on trust, meaningful engagement, and collaborative support to connect legacy talent and rising creators. The text includes a proposed business model.

By Alex Nimrod, senior in the School of Dramatic Arts, and Maximus Jenkins, senior studying Cognitive Science (both with minors in Cinematic Arts)

Summary: Indie-stry is a proposed marketplace for developing and staffing media productions, as well as community-building and problem-solving. One piece of it is a mentors area where experienced creators can post their profiles, schedule conversations with less-experienced creators, and connect with potential interns and team members.

The Creative Nexus: Bridging Generations in Entertainment
By Joyce Zhou, freshman majoring in Computer Science at the Viterbi School of Engineering

Summary: “Storytelling Circles” are curated virtual gatherings that bring together legacy artists, experienced filmmakers, and early-career talent. In addition to structured matchmaking, a “Mentor Roulette” feature provides serendipitous matchmaking. A brief description is available online.

Imperfect Pitch: Think Tank Platform for Creatives
By Olivia Sui, graduate student in Games, Media, and Health at the School of Cinematic Arts

Summary: Imperfect Pitch is for storytellers to share asset-first pitches and collaborate to puzzle-piece innovative, yet perhaps incomplete ideas to fit with the latest current technologies or techniques in the field. This online community is for creatives of any tech-savvy level who are looking for the right technology or narrative to bring to life a project that would otherwise have been shelved. Details are posted online.

A Cross-Generationally Led Skunk Works Team
By Terry Loyd, graduate student in Integrated Design, Business, and Technology at the Iovine and Young Academy

Summary: Create an intergenerational team to freely innovate within a time limit. Alternatively, create workshops led by paired junior and legacy facilitators. All participants are encouraged to contribute regardless of background and level of experience.


By Jaden Kirshner, junior majoring in the Business of Cinema and a minor in AI at the USC Marshall School of Business

Summary: Jaden proposes starting a USC club for students from across the university who are interested in the intersection of AI, entertainment, art, design, technology, and business. He is seeking executives interested in potentially speaking at club meetings and interacting with students.

How Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality Should Be Integrated within Forms of Media, and How Entertainment Can be A Driving Force of Empathy in Social Issues
By Jensen Tan, senior at the USC School of Cinematic Arts

Summary: VR and AR productions should be introduced in movie theaters to leverage the medium’s empathy-building power and motivate audience members to become activists for social good. For more details, check out Tan’s short essay.

Biome Buddies
By Riley Hernandez and Kiki Tolles, seniors majoring in Business Administration at Marshall School of Business

Summary: Help children overcome “climate anxiety” and empower them to feel confident in their knowledge of the planet and their ability to fight climate change. Hernandez, Tolles and company will achieve this through a series of enjoyable and informative books and adventure games about natural systems, ecosystem services, and solutions — all based around characters called Biome Buddies. Their short presentation is available online.

For additional information on ETC student challenges, or to provide feedback, please feel free to contact Phil Lelyveld.

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