Below are some thoughts inspired by what I was hearing at the WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE symposium hosted by Jerry Zucker at the Samual Goldwyn Theater (and presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts: Science and Technology Council).

Some are things I heard and scribbled down, some of what is below are just thoughts I’m having. The presenters were Alex McDowell, Science and Technology Council member and production designer (“Minority Report”), Ed Lantz, immersive art and entertainment expert – particularly with Digital Dome Movies, Eric Haseltine, neuroscientist and former NSA expert (among several other interesting occupations and the most riveting IMHO), and Jordan Weisman, transmedia storytelling expert who offered a lot of fresh ideas and enthusiasm. Many people left before it was all through (as this may have been a head-splitting evening for most) but if you missed it, here are some take-aways that I found valuable to think about:

The FUTURE of Transmedia Storytelling & Storytelling in general.

*We will see a mostly “3-D web” interactive environment (and even more games) all of which will be customizable by the user. I.e. stories generated by the user. *“Mixed Reality” can be a term to classify the varying degrees of innovation coming from Augmented Reality to Virtual Reality that will affect our “Real Reality” — if I can call it that. *Spatial immersion displays such as Digital Dome Movies will become the norm, and preferred until technology allows an immersive experience at home. This will also lead to new side-effects from watching more intense, realistic stories — on our brain chemistry and psyche. *Holographic Audio – an arrangement of speakers that delivers sound to all points of the room (imagine hearing the drop of water on screen right next to your ear) is coming shortly. *Screens themselves will become only one method of consuming content, and screens will also be an instrument of the past. Most images will be holographic. All the speakers nodded their heads when “Screens will become an instrument of the past” was said.

The kinds of Transmedia Stories we will see/could make: *There are at least 4 types of stories that can be told. Linear (as we know movies), Branching – like a tree of experiences and stories (as we know games), Audience Driven “Sandbox” stories (as we know a game like Second Life), and Virtual Worlds – where audience creates stories within the creator’s parameters. *Audience helping to tell the story is true Transmedia. *Story will and should become pervasive and happen at all times in the user’s experience. *Younger audiences will demand explorative/collaborative stories over traditional fare (like films. Sorry films.) *The big question is: how do you get audiences to tell stories to each other? *When it comes to gaming, or any interactive experience — we’re not in the technology business, or even story business — but the business of human behavior. *People are looking for: Intelligence, Ubiquity, Realism/Quality, a Social experience, and Novelty. People are really looking for: Simplicity / Simplification, New Experiences, Enhanced Relationships, Mastery. All this applies to Gaming, the Web, Interactive experiences, and Transmedia.

Technologies and Human Behavior

*Moore’s Law states that every 18 months in Technology — performance either doubles, or costs fall by a factor of 2. And most tech companies expect Moore’s law (which has been around for over 40 years) to be in effect for another 10 years. After that, no one knows. Can you imagine what technology we will see therefore in 2020? *The idea of brains being connected to technology – physically – is here. It is being used in stroke victims, but imagine the implications once medicine is through? *The creator of the web has stated that he expected that the largest companies on it will do the following 1) simplify (Google) 2) socially connect (Facebook) 3) satisfy sexual urges (Porn). Most of the internet would be dominated by these 3 factors – he predicted. *Monoculture loses, Diversity Wins. This is coming from an evolutionary biologist. For creatives this means that add diversity in what you are doing / can do — to survive. I.e. create many things at once, not just one. We are encouraged to spread ourselves thin, rather than focusing on only one thing. *Our children’s brain chemistries are/will be different than our own. Their cortex structure is different. They have the ability already to watch television, be on the computer, and text and talk on the phone at the same time. This is unthinkable for our grandparent’s generation – even when they were the same age as our children today. This is because their brains were not wired to allow it. Our children’s brains are being wired in a new way. Our children will be the first to come into a fully interconnected world. *When the phone arrived, it used to be “What happened to letter writing?” Now that text is here “What happened to talking on the phone?” and we’re writing again. Note this cycle. * Also note that so far, no new technology has completely replaced an old technology when it comes to art/entertainment.

December 2, 2010