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“Escape The Asylum” and the promise of Interactive Entertainment

Attempts at allowing the audience to dictate the action–games based on VHS or laserdisc, or nominally interactive arcade titles like Dragon’s Lair—have mostly failed to capture audience imaginations over the past couple of decades. There’s a good reason for that. The interfaces were clunky, the options were limited, and the production values, in most cases, were low. Then video games such as Grand Theft Auto came along and earned a billion dollars, stoking Hollywood’s obsession with non-linear storytelling. That’s mostly led to bad movies based on popular video games, and vice versa.

But as technology matures, and viewers get more sophisticated ways to interact with whatever it is they’re watching, the experiments are getting interesting again. Even some big players are joining the fray: Netflix has launched an interactive kids’ program, Puss in Book: Trapped in an Epic Tale. And next month, HBO is debuting Steven Soderbergh’s Mosaic, a film starring Sharon Stone and Garrett Hedlund, via an interactive app that revolves around the viewer’s experiences.

While Chatterbox is more “movie” than “game” in the end, there are strong elements of both contained within the first episode. And ultimately, the question of whether film or gaming is the dominant entertainment medium might become quaint in a few years. With VR technology immersing the audience/player, they could end up being the same thing. That’s Morgan’s expectation for the future, and she’s excited about the way that film and games can converge going forward.


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The Shazam for art is like having a docent on your smartphone
In a magical future, whenever you come across a piece of art you know nothing about, all you have to do is aim your phone at it and you’ll get its name, a short blurb, and perhaps even an audio criticism to listen to.

The role of AI in creative industries
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has fast grown to prominence in recent years across the technology sector. Accenture expect the innovation to double the annual economic growth rates of 12 of the largest developed countries by 2035. It’s potential has in some sectors been overhyped, but in Robert Berkeley’s view, it is set to play a crucial role in creative disciplines.

A day in the life of... MD of an augmented reality company
Everybody loves a bit of augmented reality – an exciting technology tipped to have a big impact but not yet having realised its potential (Snapchat and Pok?mon aside).

Why Apple Will Win The Augmented Reality Race
Tim Cook is betting big on augmented reality (AR). The Apple chief executive officer has been publicly bullish about the technology. He has likened the disruptive potential of AR to that of the smartphone upon which Apple has built its $800 billion business. Although analysts do not expect mass consumer adoption for years, Cook has said that AR will eventually become as ubiquitous as “eating three meals a day.”

Why AT&T could put the TV advertising revolution on hold
Like an army amassing troops on the border, AT&T is inspiring a lot of speculation about what it plans to do next. Once the Time Warner merger is complete, will the company sell CNN, forever altering the cable news landscape? Will it snuff out the creative spark at Time Warner, forcing HBO to produce short, mobile-friendly episodes of beloved shows?

White men still dominate behind-the-camera jobs in TV
For all Hollywood’s talk about diversity, the major broadcast networks have made little progress this year in hiring more women and minorities, according to data compiled by Bloomberg and confirmed by the companies.

Facebook, Apple, and Google will hasten the next era of TV
Not long ago, everyone saw Hollywood and Silicon Valley as opposites. The news that Apple, Google, and Facebook are all going to make multi-billion-dollar investments in producing scripted video entertainment may seem ludicrous—a folly launched by frustrated nerd-dom.

Market analysts see a coming boom in virtual and augmented reality
The battle to build a new generation of virtual and augmented reality experiences is already well underway, and if a new report from International Data Company is correct, the stakes might be higher than you might expect.

Steven Soderbergh has a new plan to make Hollywood movies outside the control of big studios
For most of his career, Steven Soderbergh has tried desperately to stay out of the movie studio machine.Though his biggest financial successes have come from Hollywood, he’s been most comfortable being an independent. But Soderbergh craved more control as the years went on, and frustrated he couldn’t get it, he retired in 2013. Four years later he has returned with a movie and has full control over it.

In a Heartbeat: the story behind the animated gay love short that's gone viral
It’s not every day that a wordless, four-minute animated short about two young boys falling in love goes viral. But when recent college graduates Esteban Bravo and Beth David posted their senior thesis film on YouTube, that’s exactly what happened.

Is the future VR ... or AR?
Google isn’t trying to hide what it’s doing with virtual reality. The long-term goal, said Google VR boss Clay Bavor on the latest episode of Too Embarrassed to Ask, is rethinking “any experience with sight and sound.”

VR ads are almost here. Don’t act surprised
Imagine, for a moment, that you’re inside a virtual reality world. You look to your left and an open door appears, beckoning you to walk through it. You enter and suddenly find yourself in the middle of an advertisement—a branded world you can explore and manipulate. Forget banner ads and auto-playing videos. The advertisement of the future is immersive, almost game like. And it's nearly here.

Netflix's secret weapon isn't reboots—it's genre movies
Before this year, Netflix had never brought a project to Comic-Con's largest, most prestigious venue. And it had certainly never promoted a genre movie. But by the end of David Ayer’s presentation, which highlighted both Bright and the forthcoming manga adaptation Death Note, it had sent a clear signal to Comic-Con's favorite studios: there's a new kid in the Hall.

What should music TV look like in 2017?
It’s testament to the nation’s fondness for Top of the Pops that not even Jimmy Savile and Dave Lee Travis have managed to entirely taint it. The nostalgists may be cheered by the news that the BBC is to air a new primetime music TV format this autumn. Does this fill a much-lamented hole in the schedules, or will it be an irrelevance in 2017?

Jane Campion: ‘The clever people used to do film. Now they do TV’
Jane Campion, one of the world’s great film directors, has had it with the movies. It is eight years since she last made a full-length feature (the Keats biopic Bright Star), and 14 years since her sexually explicit thriller In The Cut almost did for her career. Now she is having a Norma Desmond moment: she’s still big, it’s just the pictures that got small.

Hollywood is using social causes to sell movie tickets
The boundaries between films and social causes are blurring in today’s on-demand, streaming-centered cultural landscape. “Movie studios are now aligning with good causes to support the release of films in ways that they never used to,” says Cynthia Parsons McDaniel, a former Head of Marketing and PR at three different film studios.

Disney joins AR fray with $200 Star Wars AR headset
At its D23 fan event in Anaheim, CA on Sunday, July 16, Disney announced that its LucasFilm subsidiary and Lenovo are developing a smartphone based augmented reality headset which will feature Star Wars games like Holo Chess, along with a peripheral Bluetooth Light Saber.

These are the latest VR experiences coming out of Comic-Con
Ever wanted to fight like Deadpool, escape the Demogorgon like the kids from “Stranger Things,” or take a peek at Los Angeles’ future, as portrayed in “Blade Runner 2049?” The audience at San Diego’s Comic-Con has been able to do all of that and more, thanks to a number of virtual reality experiences shown at the event.

What is Growth Hacking and how does it work?
For the last couple of years the marketing world has drastically shifted and gone from traditional marketing, such as newspaper prints, fliers, etc., to online marketing. Recognizing the importance of taking advantage of the Internet to promote products or services is an important way to grow your business. Enters growth hacking.

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