Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be INSIDE a movie? I’ve been chasing that dream for my entire life. As a filmmaker, I’ve used every tool and technique I can find to make my own work as immersive as possible, so when Virtual Reality technology became available, I jumped right in.
The MetaMovie project is an ongoing series of experiments exploring immersive, interactive storytelling inside the virtual reality metaverse. We combine cinema, video games, interactive theater, and role playing activities like D&D to create an entirely new way to experience a story: from the inside. In a MetaMovie you don’t just watch the story, you’re part of it.
Using room scale VR, audiences transport themselves into the world of our story and star in a live, interactive, immersive movie utilizing all the magic of the metaverse.
Our project is at the initial stages of research, development, experimentation and testing. By backing us you are helping to discover new ways to tell stories and new ways to entertain. If you have VR equipment, and even if you don’t, there are many ways you can support us, and we hope you will!
Our funding goal is $10,000, which will allow us to continue to perform our first MetaMovie, an exciting thriller called The Heist, throughout 2019. Additionally, we will create two other MetaMovies: a supernatural drama called The Bright Side of the Moon, and a sci-fi horror piece, Alien Rescue. Backers of the project have the opportunity to experience these in several ways: as exclusive VIPs who “star” in the performance, as less interactive Fireflies, or, simply, as fans and supporters of the project.
As the VIP, you have the chance to not just watch a movie, but experience it, from inside the magical world of the story. We’ll give you an avatar to wear, one you’ll get to keep and use for as long as you like. We’ll meet you in the Metaverse, give you some basic instructions about the character you will be role playing, and then we’ll let you loose and you’ll enter the world of the MetaMovie. You’ll soon encounter other characters, and the story will begin. You’re always free to do and say anything you like, the characters around you will react and respond, and the story will unfold around you. Depending on which MetaMovie you choose you might find yourself in the middle of a dangerous bank robbery, or pulled into a supernatural mystery, or on an exciting and frightening rescue mission on an alien planet. Because every VIP is different, every MetaMovie is different, so you’re guaranteed to have a unique experience every single time.
As a Firefly, you’ll experience a MetaMovie in a different way. We’ll give you a small Firefly avatar, only about 10 inches high, which allows you to fly above the action, or sit on a countertop, or gaze up at the world from the ground. We’ll ask you to be silent during the performance so you won’t distract the actors or the VIP, and when the show begins you’ll get to watch from wherever you like. A Firefly is less interactive than a VIP, but it’s equally fun as you fly, zip, and flit around the action. And, because we can host many Fireflies at a time, it’s a great way to experience a MetaMovie with a friend or a group.
Our first MetaMovie, the Heist, is an exciting twenty-minute action/thriller set in New New York. As a VIP, you play the role of a teller at the Metaverse Savings Bank and begin the experience on your lunch break at a local diner. The action takes off when Hardy, an undercover cop, pulls you aside to break some bad news: a gang of ruthless criminals is set to rob your bank, this very afternoon. Soon you find yourself in the middle of a dangerous game, and you’ll need to keep your wits about you in order to survive.
The Heist is designed to experiment with dozens of technical and conceptual challenges. Some of the questions we are asking are: how stable is our virtual environment with ten-twelve avatars inside a fairly complex world? What internal platform-related glitches are we experiencing? How does avatar locomotion help or hinder our live performance? How best to integrate live music and sound design? What are the challenges in rehearsing live performances in VR? What types of interactions to VIPs prefer? And many more. Every time we run a performance, we discover something new. So when you're the VIP, you're not only having a great time, you're also teaching us more about what a MetaMovie can be.
A small town is experiencing a strange and mysterious phenomenon: the sun has disappeared, replaced by endless night and an unnervingly large full moon. As the VIP you play an astronomer, hired by the town officials to investigate. What you soon discover is that this moon might be responsible for a host of troubles the town’s inhabitants are experiencing: depression, hallucinations, voices in their heads. As you meet the citizens and learn of the towns dark history, you must decide for yourself what is real, and who can be trusted.
Bright Side allows us to look at some very specific areas of interest, primarily around VIP emotions and sensations. With a scaled down cast and more intimate story, we are looking closely at acting and performance in a VR environment. Questions we are asking include: How difficult or easy is it for a VIP to experience an emotional connection to the characters or story? How can we encourage suspension of disbelief? How guided or unguided does a VIP want their experience to be?
Bright Side also allows us to experiment with how much the VIP can or should affect the outcome of a MetaMovie. Do we want to be influenced by the 'choose your own adventure' model with multiple branching storylines? Or do we keep things more traditional and linear with a script that allows for fewer story branches? Bright Side was designed with a major easter egg hidden inside, one that, once discovered, will give the VIP enough agency to seriously alter the world of the story and turn the ending of the MetaMovie completely on its head. Will it work? Will it be something our VIP's want to discover? There’s only one way to find out: help us fund the project and try for yourself!
You and another VIP find yourselves on the desert planet Palnetter in the middle of a vicious sandstorm. Soon you’ll meet a band of four alien eco-warriors determined to rescue the rare and endangered Zibanejor, a creature with the most toxic blood in the galaxy. It turns out the crew has been expecting you, and together you’ll have to break into the formidable Kelosite Research Facility, navigate the dangerous corridors inside, and face a host of outrageous, terrifying and deadly encounters with the mysterious inhabitants of the lab.
Alien Rescue will be so exciting and fun we can barely wait to launch it. It will feature our largest world, our most complex and detailed designs, our most beautiful and creative avatars, and our most intense story to date. It will also mark the first time we are attempting to run a Dual VIP experience: Alien Rescue is designed for two VIPs to experience the performance at the same time.
Other ideas, techniques and challenges we are exploring with Alien Rescue have much to do with environments, avatars, and what we call scripting. Scripting allows us to add extra animations on, around, and with environments and avatars. Think of it like visual effects in a movie. If we want to hack off an arm of a scary alien and have it spray weaponized blood through the air (do we really want to do that??) then it’s done with scripting. We’re also exploring new types of environments - underwater, for example. We’ll use Alien Rescue to really push the envelope of avatar design in terms of complexity, locomotion, and animation. But we can only create Alien Rescue with your help!
High Fidelity is the revolutionary open source social VR platform that is our home base in the Metaverse. Without the High Fidelity software, and more importantly, the High Fidelity community, the MetaMovie project wouldn’t exist. High Fidelity allows us to build our worlds and work as a collective even though our team is located all over the world. To experience our MetaMovie project you’ll use this free app, compatible with Mac and PC, available from Steam, the Oculus store, and on the High Fidelity website. As the Metaverse takes shape, High Fidelity is right at the center, and we’re incredibly thankful and excited to host our project on this platform.
One of the most exciting things about a MetaMovie is that it’s possible to think big. And if we somehow can raise double our original goal and hit $20,000, we will use the additional funds to unlock our insanely ambitious, larger-than-life epic MetaMovie, code-named Everest. Everest will push us to the very limits of what we know to be possible in live interactive VR performances: the storyline, length, worlds, avatars, music, sound, lighting, design and overall VIP experience will be like nothing we have done.
We’re not ready to divulge very much about Everest, yet. But starting at $10,001 we will begin teasing this MetaMovie. With every $500 raised past our initial goal, we will share important information about the project: poster art, log line, main avatar tease, storyline tease, etc. If our backers really want us to make Everest, then bring it on and watch us go!
Risks and challenges
The MetaMovie project is all about risks and challenges: we love taking risks and we embrace the challenge of doing something as ambitious as live virtual performances. But in terms of risks for our backers, we think we have things pretty well under control. We can’t guarantee that our performances will be glitch-free, but we’re sure you will have a lot of fun.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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