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We’ve got to stop thinking about, “How do you replicate what we did in the live world, in the digital world?” Because as a storyteller at heart, I’m going, “The last thing you want to do is remind people of the thing that they love, that they don’t get to have.”
–Bob Bejan
Bob Bejan
Microsoft Corporate VP of Global Events, Production Studios, and Marketing Community Bob Bejan discusses the lessons learned from Microsoft’s shift to virtual events, and how those lessons can apply to the broader developing world of virtual and interactive entertainment.
Cortney Harding
Award-Winning XR Producer and Friends with Holograms Founder and CEO Cortney Harding discusses how XR can be used to tackle difficult topics and build empathy.
How Four NFT Novices Created a Billion-Dollar Content Ecosystem 
// Rolling Stone

The Bored Ape Yacht Club is a collection of 10,000 cartoon apes, sold as NFTs, that has garnered legions of fans and followers (including celebrities such as Steph Curry and Jimmy Fallon) and generated $1 billion since its launch in April. As its fame has grown, collectors have started monetizing their apes in ways that go beyond sales, turning them into virtual celebrities in their own right: Timbaland has founded a Bored Ape record label, and bestselling author Neil Strauss is writing a novel with an ape who recently signed to CAA. Whatever your thoughts on the cultural merit of NFTs, it’s clear that we're witnessing a paradigm shift in content creation, the true impact of which is yet to be seen. And if you’re still scratching your head about why digital cartoons of hipster apes are worth anything at all, check out this excellent primer on how NFTs create value from the Harvard Business Review.
In the Creator Economy, Small Creators are Big Business
// TechCrunch

There was a time when YouTube was one of the only major websites with built-in infrastructure to support independent creatives and help them monetize their work. But that time is long passed: today, a whole industry of tools and platforms exists to support this burgeoning creative class, and their ascent into the mainstream is threatening to disrupt not only the economy of online content, but also age-old conventions of how the business of media is conducted. 
When the Blockchain Calls, How Will Social Marketing Answer?
// Ad Age

The advent of NFTs has proven that blockchain technology has the potential to massively impact not only the economy, but also mainstream culture. For brands and marketers, it’s critically important to understand what those impacts will look like moving forward and how to leverage them. This article explores a few key ways in which the blockchain may affect social platforms and content, and gives advice for how to best position your brand for a blockchain-enabled future.
What Are You Going to Tweet After You Die? // Wired
Over the past two years, two institutions of human existence have vastly increased their presence in our lives: death, and the internet. The increasing tendency to take meetings, meet with friends, attend events, shop, and carry out a host of other activities online has transformed the metaverse, once a concept of pure science-fiction, into a looming reality. But as our lives become increasingly intertwined with the internet, should our deaths follow suit? This article examines that question through the lens of two high-profile celebrity death announcements—those of Chadwick Boseman and MF Doom—and makes a good argument for why you may want to consider how your story will be told online after you’re gone.

 FoST exhibitor Within is being acquired by Meta as part of a push to expand their VR and metaverse offerings.

 FoST exhibitor Niantic released its first brand campaign showcasing how its AR games encourage players to get outside and explore.
 FoST exhibitors Félix & Paul, known for their award-winning VR work, will open their first in-person immersive exhibition in Houston in December.

 FoST exhibitor Baobab released the official trailer for its upcoming VR film, Namoo, a narrative poem written and directed by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Erick Oh.

Slowly but surely, the world is opening back up. Below, find a list of some of our favorite virtual storytelling experiences to check out, plus one socially distanced in-person experience. Shoot us an email if you come across any that should be included next month!

Create Surreal Images Using A Neural Network
NeuralBlender is a free, web-based tool that uses an advanced neural network to generate images based on text prompts. It’s been around since July, but exploded in popularity in the past month, with internet users sharing their creations based on everything from song lyrics to nonsense phrases to celebrities rendered in the styles of famous painters. Click here to see what NeuralBlender thinks “the future of storytelling” looks like.

Explore a Virtual Museum Designed by Radiohead
Originally planned as a physical exhibit/installation and reimagined thanks to COVID, Radiohead’s Kid A Mnesia is a video-game-like virtual space where you can wander, listen to music, and enjoy art in commemoration of the 21 years that have passed since the band recorded their seminal albums Kid A and Amnesiac. Even if you’re not familiar with the music, the piece stands on its own as an excellent example of immersive digital art. Kid A Mnesia is available for free on Mac, PC, and PS5.

Listen to a Radio Play About Defining Artificial Intelligence
Even experts occasionally have trouble determining exactly what counts as artificial intelligence. To help explain the technology’s nuances, MIT Technology Review created a short game-show-themed radio play where contestants ask questions to identify whether a technology is, or isn’t, an example of AI. For a deeper dive, check out the original article that inspired the radio play.

Journey to the Bottom of the Ocean in Brooklyn
If you’re a fan of deep sea exploration, self examination, or surrealist art, don’t miss Bottom of the Ocean, a new immersive theatrical production running in Bushwick. This much-hyped, feature-length, large-scale experience takes 5 visitors at a time on a powerfully intimate journey that plumbs the depths not only of the sea, but also of the mind & soul. Tickets have been going fast, so if you can't snag one, make sure to join the waitlist – this show will certainly be sticking around.

Pay a Visit to the Boundless Library
Over the past few years, the rising popularity of board games, escape rooms, and immersive storytelling have converged to produce a new medium: the story box. Among a growing field of companies producing these novel, home-delivered immersive experiences, The Boundless Library stands out thanks to its artful design, emotional heft, and preference for storytelling over puzzle-solving. You have to apply for a library card before you can order one of their pieces, but it’s well worth it: these stories, freed from the confines of a book, screen, or stage, are sure to stick with you.
Copyright © 2021 Future of StoryTelling, All rights reserved.

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