a16z Podcast: Building Worlds with VR, Art, and Narrative

Once upon a time, Robert Stromberg got a phone call from “Jim” Cameron (aka James Francis Cameron of Terminator and Titanic fame) about a little project called Avatar. Before he knew it, he was responsible for designing the organic world of Pandora, from bioluminescent plants to lush mountaintops. That was when Stromberg realized how much more technology could do, when ready, for creating more such virtual worlds. He’d actually been creating such worlds for ages, from drawing monsters in childhood to doing matte art, production design, art direction, and more for films.

In this episode of the a16z Podcast, the two-time Academy Award winner (for production design on Avatar and Alice in Wonderland) and director of Maleficent shares his views on the evolution of filmmaking, narrative, and virtual reality. Stromberg directed the VR gaming experience based on The Martian (which received a Cannes Silver Lion award) and co-founded The Virtual Reality Company, which is re-imagining the film studio for the next generation of tech.

What challenges do we face in an immersive medium, what will narratives look like, and what new (or even retro) techniques will we need? All this and more in this episode — along with a16z partners Kyle Russell, Hanne Tidnam, and Sonal Chokshi — continuing our series on new medium storytelling.

image: Wikimedia Commons