REFRAMED BLOG: George Butler and Szymon Wyrzykowski on learning from industry experts
Throughout our Reframed Project Development Programme 2017, we’ve asked the residents to tell us about the immersive/interactive projects they are developing, and share their experience of taking part in the scheme.
Szymon Wyrzykowski and George Butler, along with project team member Adas Slezas, are developing Cocoon, an AR / VR experience which delves into the nature of artificial intelligence, and takes users on a personal and unique journey exploring their relationship with technology.
The fourth and last residential of the programme proved to be incredibly satisfying. We met with some fantastic people from the industry and beyond.
Luciana Carvalho Se, Business Developer and Partnerships lead for creative agency Rewind, talked about the company’s work, her personal interest in virtual reality therapy, and the work being carried out at the UCL Immersive Virtual Environments Laboratory.
Later, Nell Whitley, Executive Producer at Marshmallow Laser Feast, a design studio creating ground-breaking immersive experiences, gave us valuable insight into the funding process and the options we might have, as well as telling us about rule-breakers, such as A Colossal Wave, an exhibition as extraordinary as the way the it was funded.
From Jo Summers, digital production and technology expert and founder of Profaniti, we heard about The Sensorama, an innovative, immersive multi-sensory machine developed in the 1960s, whilst independent game developer Robin Baumgartenin presented us with some fantastic inventions, including one-dimensional game Line Wobbler.
Gameplay programmer Moo Yu talked about his experience of funding hand-painted action-adventure game Knights and Bikes through Kickstarter. We learned that one of the most important things in crowdfunding is to focus on a clear message, carefully maintain a close relationship with your community, and make sure that you are not making a plea for pity. Be honest and be visual.
One of the biggest eye-openers was our session with Antony Mayfield, CEO of strategic marketing company Brilliant Noise, who stressed the importance of having a strategy for practically everything you do. As he pointed out, a good strategy is an antidote and the antithesis of wishful thinking. One quickly realises how many projects have been based on wishes rather than strategy. And it doesn’t necessarily need to take much more than a focused approach and discipline to set it right.
After an additional session of simple steps from impact distribution strategist Sarah Mosses, of Together Films, it was great to see how much clearer everyone felt about their vision.
On the final day we had an intense session where we ‘pitched’ our project to the calm and mindful Shahid Kamal Ahmad, former Sony executive and founder of Ultimatum Games. He located issues and holes in our practice pitch, and helped us let go of unnecessary anxieties. Shahid shared his simple, yet simply brilliant, strategy for making sure one is in the right headspace before a pitch – preparedness, alertness, presence, authenticity, passion, attitude and trust. Or as his three-year-old daughter says “papa-pat!”
We then had a presentation by Ju Row Farr, a founder member of pioneering artist group Blast Theory, who spoke about their innovative interactive app, through which you build an uneasy relationship with life coach, Karen. This was particularly relevant to our project, Cocoon, and we talked about the different personality tests used in Karen, such as OCEAN and Myers Briggs.
We all left tired, yet energised, ready to improve, shape and deliver our pitches.
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