WHY DID WE START THE VIRTUAL REALITY 'WAYBACK' PROJECT?
If you know somebody living with Alzheimer’s, you'll know that they can often feel very vulnerable and helpless. As friends and loved ones, we do our best to give them the reassurance and support they need. But we believe we have found a way with virtual reality to go further and do much more to help.
We are a group of friends that teamed up after seeing people in our own lives face Alzheimer's. Determined to help, we believe that new technology could be put to good use towards improving the lives of others living with Alzheimer’s. This is how The Wayback Project was born – an innovative to way to support and care for people with Alzheimer’s using virtual reality (VR). We just need your help to get it off the ground, so we can share it with the hundreds of thousands who would benefit.
WHAT IS ALZHEIMER'S?
Alzheimer’s is a form of dementia, which is the biggest health challenge this country faces – costing more than cancer or heart disease. 225,000 people in the UK will develop dementia this year alone. Worldwide, there are an estimated 46.8 million people already living with dementia in 2015. This number will almost double every 20 years, reaching 74.7 million in 2030 and 131.5 million in 2050. And 1 in 3 of us born after 2015, will develop it at some point in our lifetime.
Alzheimer's affects a person's ability to remember, understand and communicate. often resulting in severe memory loss, where people are no longer able to recognise friends and family. Often, they can vividly remember the distant past, but struggle to remember more recent memories. For those of us who have seen its effects up close, it can be a heartbreaking and devastating time.
A number of care professionals believe that triggering happy memories from the past can work wonders when caring for people with Alzheimer’s. They can improve physical wellbeing and bring comfort, as these memories help to reinforce a sense of identity and feelings of self-worth. Progressive care homes use props from the past to try and trigger memories that stimulate conversations. This creates an atmosphere of positive connections. We see Virtual Reality as an extension of this approach.
WHAT IS THE WAYBACK PROJECT?
The WAYBACK project will be a series of virtual reality films that faithfully recreate popular, positive moments from our collective past - taking the viewer back to a familiar time and immersing them fully for a few minutes using Virtual Reality.
We believe virtual reality (VR) can be hugely beneficial in helping people with Alzheimer’s to remember and relive positive moments from the past - enhancing their wellbeing and triggering connections with loved ones and carers in the present.
Now we need your help to fund the first VR short film in The WAYBACK series.
We would like to transport people back to a moment firmly in the UK's national conscience; the Queen's Coronation in 1953. A moment that typically evokes very fond memories for those alive at that time. We want to make the VR experience as enjoyable and realistic as possible - so we will actually recreate the chosen scenes in exact detail; from the location, the costumes, the props and the atmosphere. The viewer will be able to fully explore the scene, overhearing conversations and music from the time.
We anticipate the film to be 3-4 minutes long, and will be free to view through any smartphone. We will make it publicly available through Youtube’s VR platform. All you need to experience it is a pair of Google Cardboard VR Goggles (or similar), widely available at £2-£3.
A WORD FROM THE EXPERTS...
“All we have is the present - but recalling the past is one of the ways we can create new positive moments for people living with dementia. THE WAYBACK PROJECT is special because it will help connect people to the past - using the wonders of new technology today." – Dr David Sheard.
We involved Dr David Sheard, founder of Dementia Care Matters and consultant on Channel 4's award-winning series 'Dementiaville', in order to get professional feedback and input on the project. David has helped us to ask the right questions along the way and introduced us to the residents and staff at Huntington House, a progressive care home for those living with Dementia. This is where we tested a virtual reality headset with staff and residents. Having the opportunity to talk to such dedicated carers and seeing the positive feedback was invaluable in developing The WAYBACK Project.
"We are all made up of our emotional memories. As we experience dementia we are at risk of our world seeming to shrink inwards. Holding on to who we were on the inside is a way to hold on to who we are now. Anything in dementia care that offers the opportunity to connect and be reached is strongly welcomed.” - Dr David Sheard
WHERE WILL THE MONEY GO?
Creating this project has been a real eye-opener into how kind and willing people can be when they believe in a cause. We have been overwhelmed by some of the best film-making talent in the UK donating their time and expertise for free to the project.
But there are hard costs we cannot get around - such as hiring a location, camera equipment and a detailed art department to make our location look and feel authentically like June 2nd 1953. The money you donate will go towards the cost of producing the first Virtual Reality film in the series, which we will make available for all to access. Should we exceed our goal the funds will be invested in the production of the film and taking it forward to potential partners to fund further memory films from different decades.
Our aim is for THE WAYBACK to become a series of Virtual Reality memory films from each decade freely available to people and families living and dealing with dementia. This will need more investment and so we will be seeking partners to take the project forward on the strength of this pilot version. The better we make the pilot, the more we'll be able to help others see its potential.
WHO WILL BRING THE WAYBACK TO LIFE?
Creative Team: Dan Cole, Andy Garnett, Howard Green We are creatives working at Grey London. We decided to create The Wayback after each of us found that our families had been affected by dementia & Alzheimer's. The project is intensely personal to each of us and we're determined to bring it to life. But we couldn't do it without the incredible work, generosity, kindness and brilliance of the people and companies below:
Thomas Thomas Films Our production partners, without whom this project would not be possible. Thomas Thomas Films is a film production company based in London, New York and Los Angeles who bring over 25 years of experience in film production - including relationships with directors of photography, production & costume designers, location scouts, make up artists, post production and sound facilities who can contribute their skills to this project to deliver a highly immersive VR experience.
Director Kevin Thomas Award-winning creative director, commercials director and now film director, recognised at Cannes, D&AD, BTA and collected an Emmy in 2004 for outstanding TV campaign of the year. He is joint owner of Thomas Thomas Films with Philippa Thomas and was awarded the Charles Saatchi Award for contribution to the industry.
Producer: Trent Simpson Trent is Head of Production at Thomas Thomas Films. Trent has worked on over 100 commercials plus two Australian feature films, Razzle Dazzle (2007) and Cactus (2008). He has also produced numerous short films for directors Kevin Thomas (Sunday Roast), Kim Albright (Edward’s Turmoil & Albatross) to name a few. These three short films all premiered at the BFI London Film Festival.
Exec Producer Philippa Thomas Philippa started her career at Ridley Scott Associates producing high profile campaigns for Ridley Scott, Jake Scott and David Bailey. In 1998 Philippa co founded the production company, Godman, and achieved the accolade of Production Company of the Year. Thomas Thomas was set up with Kevin Thomas in 2000 and the company has won numerous awards to its name including an EMMY for best TV campaign.
Producer: Emma Fasson Emma is a freelance Senior TV Producer who has produced a number of award winning campaigns for clients such as Lucozade and Gillette. Most recently she produced a huge campaign for Bose where she emptied central London for some epic shots in an empty Piccadilly Circus & Regent Street. "Whilst I’ve never had a loved one be affected by Alzheimer’s, I was inspired to help with this project because I believe this is something that will probably touch my life at some point."
MPC London One of the world's leading visual effects companies, behind blockbusters such as The Jungle Book & Harry Potter. MPC London will be providing production support across all of the project, to ensure that the creative ambition of the piece is met, while also ensuring that the finished film is of a significantly polished standard to be effective for its desired therapeutic use with dementia patients. MPC will work alongside the production company and will be advising on the suitable 360 camera rig to ensure that the creative of the script is achievable within the 360 space. In addition MPC will be providing a 360-specialist Creative Director and 2D VFX-Supervisor for the shoot itself, to advise and support the director on any technical or creative decisions. After the shoot this is where MPC will take over the project in terms of completing all the post-production and how the VR experience will come to life for the end user. Once all the post work is completed MPC Digital will develop a VR player ap within which the experience will sit and will be accessed using VR Headsets.
MPC Executive Producer - Dafydd Upsdell
My reason for wanting to be part of this amazing project is for personal reasons as my grandmother suffered with Dementia towards the end of her life. Seeing my best friend in the world succumb to something I knew very little about broke my heart and I’m doing this for her and for all the other people who have been through the same as me. The rest of the team all have similar experiences and we’re here not just to try and to raise awareness but to make a difference through the technology that's out there.
GREY London Original supporters of The WAYBACK since day one. With several members of the team employed by Grey London in our day jobs, we're eternally thankful to everyone at Grey and Greyworks for their continued support for this project - giving us the time, expert advice & facilities to help get the project this far.
Strategist: Dr. Elisa Chami-Castaldi
Elisa was inspired to bring the project to life, having personally witnessed a loved one battle with Alzheimer’s. She has a PhD in Consumer Behavior, which meant she was able to support the project by researching the potential of VR on caring for people with Dementia. She has worked both for Deloitte (in business & technology consulting) and for Grey London as an advertising Strategist.
750mph Music & sound are crucial in triggering memories for those living with Alzheimer's. So getting the best in the business on-board is a massive boost. 750mph is an award winning audio post-production company with studios situated in Golden Square, the heart of Soho, London. They have won numerous awards for everything from IKEA, Army, The Guardian, Nike, Heineken among many others.
The Quarry One of the most creative and talented edit houses in London, The Quarry have assisted us in creating our Kickstarter filmand continue to support the project.
We welcome any help - this has and will always be about trying to make one of the most difficult diseases less painful for all. We would use any additional Kickstarter funds to go into development and research so we can move forward to create a catalogue of experiences from different generations so it can help a broad cross section of people effected by dementia.
THANK YOU FOR STICKING WITH US THIS FAR. WITH YOUR SUPPORT WE LOOK FORWARD TO STARTING THE WAYBACK.
Risks and challenges
Making sure we help and support people with dementia, specifically Alzheimer’s, in the right way: It is a very complex disease and requires a great deal of care, understanding and know-how to make sure that people can be supported in the right way. We want to make sure that as we develop this pilot film and virtual reality experience, that we do so fully equipped to navigate all the complexities and the needs of people with dementia of different stages. Thanks to the dementia care professionals who we are working with – Dr David Sheard and Huntingdon House Care Home – we believe we have the right experts behind us to make sure the project can deliver a positive experience and further enrich the quality of care received.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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