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Songwriting and the
Future of Music

Singer/songwriter Aloe Blacc sits down to talk about what makes a song “evergreen,” how he writes his lyrics, and the potential of machine learning in art.
The 4 Elements of Transformative Experience

Margaret Kerrison, former Disney Imagineer and writer for immersive experiences, shares insights from her new book, Immersive Storytelling for Real and Imagined Worlds: A Writer’s Guide.
Where My Characters Come From: Haruki Murakami 
// The Atlantic 
Celebrated novelist Haruki Murakami shares his beautiful reflections on the art of creating characters. Murakami writes about the imaginative enterprise of storytelling: how he shifts perspectives using the third person and creates space for characters to emerge from the flow of a story. “Characters who are—in a literary sense—alive will eventually break free of the writer’s control and begin to act independently... the story moves forward by itself, and the novelist ends up in a very happy situation, just writing down what he sees happening in front of him.” This rare essay contains transcendent wisdom for creators of all kinds.
The Bizarre Duality of Meta's New Quest Pro VR Headset
It's been a consequential month for Meta, which released its high-end Quest Pro headset and shared sobering and stubborn updates about its extremely costly metaverse-building efforts. In this piece, Lauren Goode reviews the $1,499 prosumer headset as a lens to understand Meta's wider vision for the "next computing platform." The virtual and mixed reality device is a reminder that  "something could be mind-numbingly cool and still not have a place in real life; that Mark Zuckerberg’s metaverse vision is worth paying attention to, while also being premature."
Worldbuilding Pt. 1: Worlds are the new brands
// Dirt
In this incisive essay, Dirt's senior writer Terry Nguyen offers her perspective on the role of story in worldbuilding — from Homer to Walt Disney to Taylor Swift's Midnights metaverse. Today, the development of branching, persistent, immersive storyworlds is essential for everyone from novelists and filmmakers to brands and musicians. It's now commonplace for pieces of pop culture to be transformed into elastic IP, activated and commodified across multiple channels. Nguyen observes and challenges this trend, calling for a renewed focus on substantive storytelling.
How TikTok Ate the Internet 
// The Washington Post

Drew Harwell offers a comprehensive and sharply reported account of how TikTok became the lens through which “a whole generation is learning to perceive the world.” More than a billion people engage with TikTok worldwide—as a news source, search engine, shopping platform, entertainment channel, creative outlet, and social network. More than 100 million users are in the United States, and the average American viewer watches TikTok for a staggering 80 minutes each day. The Washington Post lucidly explains exactly how TikTok did it—and what it means for global culture, politics, and technology.

 Vince Kadlubek, co-founder of Meow Wolf, gave a powerful talk at TEDxPortland entitled “Dream Is Destiny.

 teamLab has announced its latest permanent exhibition, Massless, in Beijing. The project opens to the public on November 14.

 Founder of Story Rachel Shechtman has been named the first Entrepreneur in Residence for the Brooklyn Museum. 
 Moment Factory has opened its first Lumina Enchanted Night Walk in the United States. The Astra Lumina experience is located at Anakeesta adventure park in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee.

 Hasan Minhaj premiered his new comedy special, The King's Jester, on Netflix.

• HaptX has introduced the G1 gloves—the most advanced haptic gloves on the market, intended to support the enterprise metaverse.

Below, find a list of some of the storytelling experiences and events we recommend in November. Shoot us an email if you come across anything that should be included next month!

Experience Delusion's Interactive Horror Theatre
Jon Braver is the creator of Delusion—the vanguard of interactive horror. His newest project, Valley of Hollows, is now open in Pomona, CA, just in time for Halloween. Guests play the role of Deprogrammers—those meant to help rescue people from the influence of cults. Under the cover of fog and darkness, you will infiltrate The Hollows and uncover the truth behind one of the most disturbing cults in American history. The show will run until November 20. 

Get your tickets and enter discount code FOST2022 for 20% off.

Step into CARNE y ARENA and The Infinite in the Bay Area
In Richmond, CA, just over the Bay Bridge, two remarkable immersive experiences are on view at the Craneway Pavilllion. CARNE y ARENA is an award-winning project created by Alejandro G. Iñárritu—the conceptual immersive experience explores the human condition of immigrants and refugees with virtual reality and first-person storytelling.

The Infinite, just next door, transports guests to the International Space Station in an experience defined by wonder, surprise and delight, and exploration. The collaboration between Félix & Paul Studios, TIME Studios, and multiple international space agencies is the world’s largest interactive and social location-based virtual reality experience.

Wander through Hand-Painted Wonderland Dreams in NYC
Wonderland Dreams by Alexa Meade is now open in Midtown Manhattan and earning rave reviews. The immersive experience brings to life the story of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland through incredible hand-painted art installations, creating a whimsical world that plays with our perspective of art and reality. Fall down the rabbit hole into a world of secret rose gardens, mad tea parties, and a living gallery that puts you inside the frame. Book your tickets here.

Create Your Own Version of an Iconic Artwork
The Female Gaze is a web-based immersive XR experience that subverts the bias of the male gaze by empowering users to reimagine the perspective of a 19th-century artwork. Developed by Meta, Kunsthal Charlottenborg, and Make Me Pulse, the experience lets you create your own version of the iconic art piece Young Girl Preparing Chanterelles (1892) by Danish artist Peter Ilsted. By changing the lighting, angle, backdrop, body language, and facial expressions, users can create a multitude of interpretations and entirely change how we analyze an image. 

Explore CAMP’s Disney Encanto Experience in NYC
Family experience company CAMP and Disney have created an immersive portal into the world of Encanto—a real-life Casita, complete with secret passages, interactive magic, live music, and surprises behind every magic door. All kinds of merchants have cooked up custom-made, exclusive goods inspired by the world of Disney’s Encanto, from chain-stitched apparel to handmade flower crowns that you’ll only find at CAMP.
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