Today’s Podcasts Are Finally Proving They Can Turn a Profit

Podcasts have the potential to be intimate, captivating and entertaining. The recent podcasting boom began in 2014 with “Serial,” a true crime drama that changed perceptions of how big podcasting could be. But it wasn’t profitable right away and took millions of downloads over time to get there. The question became: could podcasts similar to “Serial” be replicated on a commercial basis? It seems that they now have the potential. For example, news sources such as The New York Times and Vox are proving that there can be big money in daily news podcasting.

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HPA 2018: Imagining the Future of AI and Storytelling in Media

At the HPA Tech Retreat Wednesday breakfast roundtables, program director Yves Bergquist led a discussion on the work he is doing at ETC on storytelling and artificial intelligence. “We’re doing a lot of research around how to create a more semantic understanding of narrative structures and create a machine-readable understanding of storytelling,” he explained. HPA Tech Retreat regular Jim Burger, an attorney who sat at the table, engaged in a conversation with Bergquist about the copyright infringement potential of AI and storytelling. Continue reading HPA 2018: Imagining the Future of AI and Storytelling in Media

GDC 2016: Reporters Face Unique Challenges Covering eSports

During the “Storytellers of eSports” panel at this week’s Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, creative execs and journalists for Twitch, Yahoo Sports, Team Liquid and 1UP Studios discussed how they cover eSports, and how their approaches differ from coverage of traditional sports. The challenge for writers is to bring life to a sport in which the players barely move, but their hand and body twitches translate into incredible feats within the game. The stories are more about eSports personalities, and less about the actual gameplay, than traditional sports. Continue reading GDC 2016: Reporters Face Unique Challenges Covering eSports

WSJD Live: James Cameron on Virtual Reality and Cinema

Speaking at the WSJD Live global tech conference in Laguna Beach on Wednesday, filmmaker James Cameron discussed how his upcoming “Avatar” sequels will be influenced by virtual reality, noting that he now directs his cast using VR headsets and is increasingly involving CGI designers more closely during the scriptwriting process. While he does not anticipate his three films to be viewed on VR headsets, Cameron envisions a future in which VR devices will impact how audiences experience movies. Continue reading WSJD Live: James Cameron on Virtual Reality and Cinema

Atlantic Develops VR Content for Oculus Rift, Project Morpheus

Adrian Pennington forwarded us news that British television producer Atlantic Productions is developing virtual reality narrative content, including documentary, CG and drama pilots for Facebook’s Oculus Rift and Sony’s Project Morpheus. Atlantic Productions is the company behind noted nature documentaries such as “Galapagos,” “Kingdom of Plants” and the BAFTA-winning “Flying Monsters 3D.” Atlantic hopes to bundle some of its VR content with the Oculus Rift when it becomes commercially available. Continue reading Atlantic Develops VR Content for Oculus Rift, Project Morpheus

USC Cinematic Arts Professors Installed in New Endowed Chairs

In a ceremony at the Ray Stark Theater on USC’s Cinematic Arts campus last Thursday, Dean Elizabeth Daley joined George Lucas in welcoming three USC film professors to their new endowed chairs. Made possible by a generous gift from Lucas, the three new chairs — The Sergei Eisenstein Endowed Chair for Cinematic Design, the George Mélies Endowed Chair in Visual Effects, and the William Cameron Menzies Endowed Chair in Production Design — are now held by Bruce Block, Michael Funk, and Alex McDowell respectively. Continue reading USC Cinematic Arts Professors Installed in New Endowed Chairs

Moto X Owners Treated to a Pixar Experience on Their Phones

Owners of the Google-powered Moto X phone had an unexpected cinematic experience waiting for them on the home screen earlier this week when a red sombrero icon appeared. Motorola teamed up with Pixar to create an animated narrative for the mobile device that flaunts the company’s newest platform with high-level technology. And the intention is to not only redefine what it means to create a narrative, but how and where users experience it. Continue reading Moto X Owners Treated to a Pixar Experience on Their Phones

Walt Disney Imagineering Redefining Alternate Reality Games

“The Optimist,” developed by Walt Disney Imagineering, is the latest take on the multi-platform experience known as the alternate reality game (ARG). Linked to the Damon Lindelof and Brad Bird film due in 2014 called “Tomorrowland,” the new ARG is part of Disney’s efforts to create new interactive experiences that place its audience members directly in the action and reach beyond the niche ARG audience to attract more people. Continue reading Walt Disney Imagineering Redefining Alternate Reality Games