Virtual Reality is a Renegade Technology That’s Disrupting The Creative Process By Resh Sidhu

Framestore VR Studio creative director Resh Sidhu on the questions, challenges, and creative opportunities in VR storytelling.

Fantastic Beasts VR experience [Photos: courtesy of Framestore]
I’m far from the first person to suggest that creative companies are currently at a crossroads. Everything around us is shifting, from the media and platforms we’re expected to navigate, to the kinds of ideas our clients expect from us. And it seems that increasingly, we’re falling short of those expectations. Why? A failure on our part for not changing the creative ways we work with technologists and partners to come up with fresh ideas.

Fortunately, another parallel revolution is taking place inside the creative process itself, and it’s being driven by the still-emerging medium of virtual reality. The sheer amount of problem solving, rule breaking, and inventiveness the VR production process demands is reshaping the way creative and technologists do their work and work together, setting the stage for never-before-seen kinds of creativity that will push storytelling forward.

There is always a rocky period around the birth of a new medium, when naysayers decry the loss of the old and work to minimize the potential of the new. But it’s clear at this point that virtual reality has been a gift to the creatives who are pioneering it. Old ways of thinking bring the same old results, but when you are working in an undefined space, there is no tried-and-true process to fall back upon—new ideas and experimentation are the only ways to succeed. VR has forced us to work outside our comfort zones. Our parameters and our structure have been wiped away, no longer are we producing our work from straightforward scripts and storyboards, or only worrying about what’s inside the frame. Years from now, we will be experimenting with something that was sparked by VR, and we will be reshaping the creative process again—a cycle that should be nontraditional in its roots, just like what VR is bringing in our creative processes with clients today. But only when we aren’t scared of the big “what if?” and embrace the moonshot thinking required to work in VR will we be able to help move this medium forward to its full potential.

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