Gada Jane, Research Associate at the GI, hosted a VR storytelling workshop in partnership with Michael Wheeler, Artistic Director at SpiderWebShow Performance. The two-day workshop took place Sept 14-15.
Jane and Wheeler invited playwrights and actors from the GTA and KW regions to learn about VR and develop strategies for using the medium to tell stories. Participants entered the workshop with little-to-no experience with VR and by the time they left they had produced their own VR performance.
The challenge with telling stories in VR is that you have to unlearn many habits of traditional storytelling media. How do you tell a story when the audience is both the screen and the stage? Gada Jane taught the playwrights to think through the form. "We tend to think about VR as a category but we need to instead think about it as an invisible process," Jane says.
In the upcoming video about the workshop, Michael Wheeler explains, "there are stories you could shoot realistically with 360 video, there's content that could be rendered in an animated environment, there are pieces where you're static, pieces where you move, and there's different ways that interactivity could happen. So in terms what VR is, it's a multiplicity of things actually".
Because it is so immersive, VR has profound and powerful storytelling potential. This workshop represents the beginning of a long journey in exploring that potential.