Virtual Reality Storytelling - how to create compelling VR experiences | Nisha B. | Skillshare

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Virtual Reality Storytelling - how to create compelling VR experiences

teacher avatar Nisha B., Filmmaker. Marketer. Creative.

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Introduction - You can tell great stories in VR!


    • 2.

      Why Now is the Time For Virtual and Augmented Reality


    • 3.

      What storytelling and VR does to your brain


    • 4.

      The three main elements of transformational stories


    • 5.

      The Hero's Journey Applied to VR


    • 6.

      How immersive storytelling is different


    • 7.

      Technical Elements to Identify and Leverage in VR


    • 8.

      Storytelling Through The Environment in VR


    • 9.

      Identifying Your VR/AR Target Audience


    • 10.

      Scriptwriting for Immersive Storytelling


    • 11.

      The Future of Marketing - from Passive to Interactive


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About This Class

As marketers, creatives, business owners, and entrepreneurs, we know the importance of telling stories that are impactful and engage potential customer's emotions. Imagine being able to engage your audience on a dramatically deeper level.  Imagine being able to bring your potential customers into an experience rather than passive content. With Virtual and Augmented Reality this is possible!

At this point, you are probably aware of Virtual and Augmented Reality technologies and their dramatic rise in popularity and adoption. However, you may feel unsure of where your place is in all of it.

If you are not on the 'techie' side of things how do you cross over your knowledge about marketing and storytelling to the new medium of immersive technology? This class will help you to begin navigating your way through this question. The truth is skilled storytellers and marketers are VITAL to the success of any VR/AR project.

Key Concepts We Will Explore in This Class:

  • The difference between immersive storytelling and traditional media like film, print, and 2D gaming

  • The power and potential to immerse users in experiences like never before

  • How to tell the right stories for this medium

  • How to properly storyboard and script for immersive experiences

  • What key elements you can use to guide user focus within VR

  • How the 'hero's journey' applies to immersive storytelling

  • And so much more

This class will give you specific examples, case studies, and assignments to guide you on your way and help you become an immersive tech marketing pro!

Feel free to contact me with any questions and let's connect on LinkedIn! 

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Nisha B.

Filmmaker. Marketer. Creative.


Hi, I'm Nisha, a Filmmaker, Marketer, and Creative Director.

At his point in my career, I want to help you take a DIY approach to building, marketing, and promoting your brand!


I'm creating courses on:

How to get more comfortable on camera Building your own website from start to finish Making a cinematic video all on your iPhone Utilizing Virtual & Augmented Reality to market yourself How to stay productive and balanced as a creative And so much more!

Make sure to follow me to get updates about when all of these classes are live!



I'm passionate about creating digital art,  building strong businesses, branding, utilizing cutting edge technologies, staying productive, and helping... See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction - You can tell great stories in VR!: Oh, hi there. As a marketing professional, you might be interested in new and dynamic ways to tell engaging stories and reach more of an audience. And by now you have probably heard of virtual and augmented reality, Seeing as they're gaining a lot of popularity, there's a lot of investment happening, and more and more people are being attracted to these new mediums. However, also, as a marketing professional, you may feel that this highly technical world is hard to know how to break into and what role you serve in telling stories and virtual on women. Reality. Well, I can really understand that, because my path to VR and AR was through a background and film making and marketing, and when I first started to become interested in these technologies, I felt unsure of where I really fit in the world of developers and people that were working on the back end side of things in creating these experiences. But you need to know that marketers and skilled storytellers are more needed than ever in this evolving medium and this new landscape of virtual reality storytelling. And so that's why I created this class to give you an in depth. Look at how stories are told in this new medium. It's different than film. It's different than gaming. It's different than books. It's it's complete, own medium. And so stories need to be told in a specific way for this very immersive, very engaging medium. Just having the new technologies doesn't mean that you're gonna be able to create a great experience. You really need to have an understanding of how to tell the right stories and the right experiences for virtual and augmented reality. So in this class, we're gonna learn just that. We're gonna learn what types of stories you need to be telling this medium, how to reach and engage potential users and clients through virtual and augmented reality technologies and how to tell powerful and compelling stories that work in this medium. So we're gonna have tons of case studies and lots of assignments to get your creative juices flowing in this new direction so that you're able Teoh, bring your marketing skills, bring your storytelling skills and bring your creative skills into virtual and augmented reality until amazing immersive stories that are sure to excite and engage your users. So with that, let's begin 2. Why Now is the Time For Virtual and Augmented Reality: By the end of this class, you are going to have the information that you need to tell ethic immersive stories and through this dramatically increase your customer engagement and retention. Why now is the time for storytelling in virtual and augmented reality? Well, it's easier than ever to give users a memorable virtual slash augmented reality experience. Most people are walking around with augmented reality capabilities right in their pockets, and that is through their smartphones. Furthermore, headsets have become dramatically cheaper and they have better ergonomics than shown in this GIF right here. So users are more widely adopting these technologies. And it's an exciting time to begin to tell stories using these very engaging mediums. At the same time, according to Adobe and goldsmiths, seventy-five percent of marketing leaders are failing to understand shifting consumer behavior. So as marketers, we may not be aware of the current trends as well as we think we are. And it can be easy to have a blind spot when you're so immersed in the old ways of doing things and the old marketing strategies. So it's really time to up our game and to be early adopters and these new technologies so we can become industry leaders. I want to dive right into a case study. This experience is called Autism TMI, and it's in virtual reality. Right now you're seeing it in a 360 view on a flat screen. But when you put on a virtual reality headset, you are immersed in the perspective of a young child that has autism. As the virtual experience progresses, you see how a, what would be normal day at the mall is very overwhelming. For somebody with autism, you can visually see how mundane experiences are very high-end and auditory noises are amplified to a very uncomfortable experience. Now, VR has been named the empathy machine because of its ability to put you in someone else's shoes. Although there are limitations, of course, how deeply we can really understand the experience of another. Vr can definitely give the audience an embodied different perspective. You are able to see subjective, internal experiences in a unique way like this case study. And I would argue that this experience works not only because it puts you in the point of view of someone else, but it also tells a story. So the elements of a good story and general and a good story in virtual reality are an embodied character, a definable arc, a clear conflict, actual resolution, and a clear theme and emotional tone that you want the viewer to be left with. So in this case study, the embodied character is the user. And they are seeing life directly through the eyes of a child. And there even at the same height as the child would be. And seeing the worlds like I discussed earlier, being amplified in a way that we might not usually experience. There's a definable arc in this story. The setup is that the kid is in a mall and he is having a bit of a panic attack and things are getting more and more intense. So it's getting, moving towards a climax of external stimuli. And it has a resolution, which is that his mom then takes them out of the mall and helps calm him down. So within that, there's a clear conflict environment is the conflict of the story. And it's very clear. And there's an actual resolution which is removing him from the environment, the conflict, and having his mom calm him. The theme and emotional tone that the viewer is left with after experiencing this is understanding that even mundane places can be battle zones for people with autism and leaving with a deeper empathy for the experience that others are having of reality. So before we go any further, I just want to introduce myself. My name is Lisa, and I'm going to tell you a little bit about my journey into augmented and virtual reality. I started off with a passion and film-making. I major in film and film at Bard College, and I had internships in short films at Sundance can, and many other festivals. And so through that, I really got a deep understanding of storytelling and storytelling structures and how to properly construct stories in the film medium to be able to have audiences enjoy what they're watching. Then went on to major in Digital Arts at the University of Oregon. And this really sparked an interest in interactive media and marketing for me. I was so glad that I continued on this path because I was able to work in a more interactive space and see how audience participation could hate him engagement. And also understand the psychology behind marketing and what really makes marketing campaigns work. So I then went on to co-found reflective brands and we are in immersive tech agency. And we specialize in immersive technologies and helping brands and companies understand how to use these new technologies to best showcase their brands and their brand stories. I also co-host design reality, which is an event series that explores all things immersive tech. And each month we talk about different subjects within the immersive tech industry and all of the different areas that it's being used in. Healthcare, real estate, education. There's just so many applications. So we bring industry leaders from those fields working with virtual and augmented reality to talk and explore more deeply how these technologies are being used. So that's my journey. And through all of these different elements in this balanced perspective, I am really passionate about the potential of storytelling using immersive technologies. And I hope by the end of this class, you are just as excited. So the bottom line is that as a smart marketer, you need to understand this new landscape of storytelling. With this knowledge, you can invite users into experiences that were never possible before and engage them on deep levels. So let's take a deep dive into immersive storytelling. 3. What storytelling and VR does to your brain: Alright, so let's explore your brain on stories, why and how storytelling works with your mind. Did you know that from as young as three years old, you begin to tell yourself stories to make sense of the worlds. Well, this is because the brain is hardwired to continually search for stories. You're able to go days without drinking water and weeks without eating, but only about 35 seconds without your brain scanning your surroundings and creating meaning IE stories out of what you see. What happens is that your hippocampus automatically begins pulling up memories and filters them through the story that you are being told. Within milliseconds, the brain runs through scenarios to try and figure out the best response in any given story and situation. Why is this? Because by running these scenarios, I E stories throughout the day and in our dream time, you are able to better figure out how to maneuver through your own life and avoid possibly harmful situations. When you tell a story, you give your audience a chance to vicariously experience a scenario and learn a lesson through it. In a Princeton study, it was shown that when a woman was telling a story, her listener's brain activity actually went into sync with hers. So that is an amazing thing because it illustrates how storytelling can actually bring listeners into the experience so deeply that it's as if they're actually living the experience themselves. Now virtual reality takes us a step even further by working in the brain in a whole new way that actually we weren't even entirely sure of yet. So let's talk about your brain on virtual reality and how virtual reality affects the brain. Through the last decade, neuroscientists at the University of California have been studying the neural activity of rodents in virtual reality settings. They've been recording the brain signals from the rat's hippocampus. And they've been learning from that, those recordings, since RAT neurons and human neurons are remarkably similar, understanding how the rat brain activity is impacted in virtual reality could translate to a better understanding of the brain process in humans. Humans and rats both have neurons that acts like a GPS system in the brain, and this helps them locate where they are in space and time. And so a big part of the study is to understand how does virtual reality affect how the brain locates where it is in space and time. And what was found was that 60% of the neurons in the rat's hippocampus was shut down during the experiment. So virtual reality is ability to shut down this area of the brain may actually be rewiring the brain in some ways. Pathways in the brain can be formed and reinforced through repetition. Like being in virtual reality repetitively. And this raises the question that must be answered about how the positive and negative effects of long-term 3R US work within the mind. So it's good to think about all of the implications. But on a positive note, virtual reality can lead to treating disorders and really helping people. We need to study this more to understand the effects. But in a recently published study in which chronic stroke patients who suffered from physical impairments and loss of mobility and some of their limbs. They were trained with a VR based computer interface to regain mobility in those limbs. This experience tricks the brain into embodying the attributes of an impairment free avatar. So in the virtual space, they were looking down at their bodies, which was an avatar of virtual avatar. And the avatar was moving its arm and it helped to train the brain to be evil for their physical bodies to regain motion of that arm. So the power of virtual reality is huge and we need to use it wisely. 4. The three main elements of transformational stories: Now let's talk about the narrative transportation theory. This theory states that when you are completely immersed in a story, your attitudes and intentions change to reflect the view point of the story. So Reacher research has shown that the transported traveler can return actually changed by the fictional journey. And this creates a transformational experience, and the effects of that are strong and very long lasting. With virtual reality, you transport users to other worlds in ways that before were not possible. They have a sense of actually having been physically present within the virtual world that you created, and therefore the memories created in virtual reality are long lasting. And before we go too deep into virtual reality storytelling, let's talk about why we're spending a chunk of this online class talking about storytelling foundations in general and story structure, even though in marketing storytelling congee a buzzword, Sometimes the actual substance and rules of storytelling can be unknown or overlooked, and by having a firm understanding of the elements of a good story, were able to tell better stories in film school. I was drilled into me that you have to know the rules before you break them, and that way you can break them intentionally and with purpose in order to command attention. So a lot of the VR and air experiences that I've tried that I've found boring or unsuccessful were missing a strong story. They relied solely on the wow factor of this new technology, which actually gets old really quick. So if you want people to stay in your experiences, then you need to know how to tell a compelling story. One way to do this and a good example of breaking the normal formulas is to surprise the user. When you know the rules, you can surprise the user by breaking them. So sometimes tragedies air more compelling and teach a valuable lesson that could catch the user by surprise rather than just a traditional heroic journey. What if you created a VR experience that when the person thinks the whole time that they're walking in the shoes of the hero on Lee to find that their choices have loved them down the road of tragedy and into the shoes of a villain? That unexpected twist could create a much more long lasting, memorable experience that really sticks with them and teaches them a valuable lesson. So I want you to do this first assignment with me. Watch three VR phones, either on a virtual reality headset if you have that, or on YouTube. If you don't have a headset and identify these story elements within the VR pieces, what is the theme? What's the underlying message that they're trying to convey? The theme is really the soul of your story, so don't overlook it, even though it can be easy to want to jump to the plot of what happens and what sequence. But the theme is a feeling and message that the user walks away from the experience with This is the impact of the piece, and this is what's going to stick with users long after trying your experience. Next, you can go ahead and take note of the plots that they're exploring in the stories that you're trying out. And the plot, like we all know, is what most people focus on. Its what happens and in what sequence. But again, without understanding the underlying message and how the plot is being used to inform and speak about that underlying message, you're really missing the mark and you might have a story that feels kind of flat. The third thing that I want you to study while you're watching these three examples is the character arc. How does the character grow or develop in the story? Who is the character in the story is the main character, and is it a hero's journey, or is it a tragedy? And just as a side note, the difference between a hero's journey and a tragedy are that when the characters faced with the biggest challenge, they can either choose to release and change their old self destructive ways of being, or they continue to act as they always have. If they release and change, then they have, ah, heroic outcome of heroic resolution. But if they continue to act in their stuck ways, then it becomes a tragedy. And this is an important lesson for all of us about changing and growing throughout life. So go ahead and do this assignment and make sure that you download the digital workbook that is a resource for this class. So go ahead and download if you haven't already the workbook, and you can put your observations and answers in there 5. The Hero's Journey Applied to VR: dive into the hero's journey. This is a very ancient story structure that has been used by cultures all over the world but also was coined by Joseph Campbell, and it's more complex than a traditional three act structure. Yet it holds a lot of similar elements to that. So to begin with, the hero gets a call to adventure, and this call is a single that beckons them into a new way of being. It comes either from a situation that's external in the world, shifting or changing in the calling, deeper within themselves, to a new way of being to release a stuck part of themselves internally. So then the hero, once answering this call, encounter some threshold guardians, and they are there to test the hero before they cross over into the deeper journey to make sure they're ready for this undertaking. After that, the hero meets the mentor or the guide, and this character plays the role of assisting the hero through their ego deconstruction that's yet to come and helping them with a specific gift that they give them for when the hero gets into the abyss to help them understand how to deal with that. So in marketing, we know that a lot of times it's best position the brand as the guide rather than the hero , because most people knew themselves as they hear of their own journeys. And so it's confusing when the brand tries to be the hero as well, within virtual reality and augmented reality, there's an even deeper potential to be the guide by directly putting your users in the shoes of the hero. So I'm gonna talk more about that later. But just think about the role of the guide and how you're gonna guide your users through the experience of creating. Next, the hero goes into the abyss, which I also call the Low low. And this is a moment when everything seems like it's completely hopeless in Rahm columns. It's a moment when you see no hope for the two main characters to ever find love with one another. And this is where the hero must completely let go of their old ways of being to start a new . So they choose to be positive and to shift their stuck habitual patterns. And again, this is where it can turn into a tragedy if they don't do that. So then they return and cross back over into the known world into their own worlds. And they have to meet again another test to make sure that they really learned their lessons. And they really integrated that lesson that they got in the low, low moment. And when they do that, then they are able to go back into their worlds, completely changed from their old ways of being, and this leads to the freedom to live without the hindrances that they had before they embarked on the journey, their whole and content. And so now let's look at the how the hero's journey could be applied to augmented and virtual reality. How can you call your user into adventure? So that's this call begin before they even put on a headset or pick up their phone. Is their messaging that they encounter before they go into the experience? Or is it a way of establishing the world that they're entering and inviting them to make the first move or trigger an unfolding action of the story? Virtual nominee reality. They're great mediums because they give users ah, high level of agency, so allow them to take hold of that agency and to answer the call. Next. What are the threshold guardians you put in place in your experience? Now, I don't want you to make it too challenging or block users from being able to advance in your experience. But give the moments to pause and reflect on the journey that they're about to take. Don't just push them into it really quickly because they might become disoriented. Who, who is their guide and how is this guide presented? So by the mere act of creating a virtual world, you are, in effect, guiding people through the experience. And we're going to expand on this subject mawr throughout this class. But for now, just start thinking about how you want to guide your users within the experience to help them get through it. What's the low low that you're gonna take the users to? What emotions do you want the users to experience now? I'm not saying to give them a scarring or traumatic experience or one that's really intensely hard, but make sure to have some sort of conflict that allows the users to reflect on the stuck behaviors in their own lives and how shifting them could lead to a positive change. And what are the user's gonna come back with after having used your experience again? This is the transformation that we want to invoke through creating virtual and augmented reality experiences. If they have some sort of transformational experience, they're going to remember that for a long time. So you can help give them a change in perspective or a solution to a pain point that they could take back into their lives. And then your experience is going to stick with them even longer. So let's dive into another case study about putting the users somewhere unique. This is a little clip from the free solo experience, which allows you to go along with Alex Honnold while he free climbs. El Capitan, a movie was made about this, and also a 3 60 video was made about this. And so it uses some voiceover narration and explores his motivation for why he goes to so such extremes as free soloing El Capitan and he has in it explains how he has to put aside all of his fear and be 100% focused while he's climbing. So the reason why this experience works in virtual reality is because it gives you an embodied, a sense of scale from a perspective that most of us will never experience were able to see from the terrifying heights that he experiences. But in this, in the same mindset is him, but without the fear of falling, because we know we're safe. And so you leave the experience with a deeper appreciation for the magnitude of what this man goes through and a person, first person view of that. And at the same time, you also get an appreciation through the tone and theme of this film about the natural world and the Majesty and awe inspiring beauty of pushing yourself this way and seeing from this perspective. So, look, let's look at the hero's journey elements of this story. The call for Alex is a call to a challenge, a new adventure of pushing himself further than he's ever been before. The golfer the user is to experience something new that they'll never probably see in real life unless there really amazing free solo climbers themselves. So that's the call that's beckoning the user. Try out this experience, So Alex's guardians are the danger of it. The threshold guardians that are questioning about if you really wants to do this is the sheer danger of trying to take on this feet and the users Threshold Guardians might be a fear of heights, but also when they're in the experience, it gives them time in the beginning before going on the climb to hear Alex's perspective, as well as to think for themselves about the journey that they're about to go on. So Alex's voice over really serves as the guide. It gives a look inside his head and also guys the users through the arc of the story and through the feeling of what's going on and understanding, step by step. What's happening and the low low slash challenge is death and being so close to it. So being so close to just one slip and you fall off a cliff side is a big challenge. The environment again is a challenge in this experience and the resolution no spoilers intended but is that he makes it to the top. He doesn't fall thankfully, and so the user gets to experience that resolution with him and the sheer joy of having made it to the top. There's plenty of time to take in the view from the top and reflect upon the journey that the user and Alex just took. 6. How immersive storytelling is different: We'll look at why we need a new formula. Why immersive storytelling is different than other mediums. Really. When each medium comes out Viet film or books or theater, they are different from the ones that came before it. For example, film is not just a theater piece on the screen. Creators had to figure out how to use cuts and how to use angles and close ups to really play to that medium. Strengths. So, similarly, you don't want a virtual reality experience to feel like passively watching a movie with a headset on. Users need to be embodied in ST in some way, even if that's just the ability to look in all directions and 360 degrees. Put them in places where there's things for them to look at within the space and to move their heads around, give them a reason to explore the environment. Like I said before, I've tried out quite a few 3 60 videos that have felt like a traditional film that was just arbitrarily put into a 3 60 space, and it was not very engaging. Ironically, even sometimes is less interesting than being in a film on within a headset because as a user that is immersed in the experience. You get more board because you're being folk, you being forced to focus completely and be completely present, a space that you don't want to be in. And that's not entertaining. So the stories would have actually that I tried that didn't like very much would have been more interesting as traditional films where they could have used quicker cuts and they could've used B roll to tell the story. You can't really do that in virtual reality because too many cuts will jar the user and make them feel uncomfortable. So you can't use the same techniques that you do in film in virtual reality. So you really need to think about how to play to the strengths of this specific medium. But not to worry. You have options. There are quite a few options and the styles of stories you can tell using immersive technologies. There is the first person style where the audience is the protagonists and directly experiencing the story. Remember the autism example I gave at the beginning of this class? That's a first person view of the experience unfolding in front of them. There's 3 60 films where the story is being filmed and 360 degrees. This can be a first person point of view, but it can also like we saw in the free solo example be a fly on the wall or the user is watching the main character having actions and having their story unfolds. You could have experiences that explore environments, maybe environments where most people don't get to explore again. Like the free solo example, Climbing up the side of a giant mountain is an experience that a lot of people, but to explore. But you can also take them to outer space. You can take them to another country. You can take them underwater. There's so many places that we don't necessarily get to go in everyday life. So really, use that to your advantage that in virtual reality you can transport people to specials places. Another type of experience you can create is a puzzle, a story that requires the user to solve puzzles or challenges to advance the story and kind of have a gaming experience of the story. There are stories that contain a lot of action, a high amount of action, where the user is constantly on the move and this can you really engaging in a virtual and augmented reality space. There's a choose your own adventure style, which is a branching storyline that we're gonna explore later. And it depends on the choices, own actions of the user on how the story unfolds and progressives. So this might encourage users to do it more than one time to see all the possible outcomes from doing that adventure. There's also product demonstration showing how your items air made and allowing user to examine the products before purchase or in ways that they wouldn't be able to see Otherwise , there could still be elements of stories within this product. The demo style, too. And there are special tours and shop experiences where you can bring your user into a factory of workplace showroom store locations. Again, this idea of bringing people places that they might not get to go, maybe even just cause they live far away from it and transporting them over there. But again, think about how you can create a story out of that rather than having it just be a flat experience. So let's consider these things. How can you bring the user in? How does this space reaction? I want you to think about this when you are constructing and choosing your virtual environment. How do you invoke a feeling in relation to the place that you've created? Is there progress feeding progress? Gating is when you give people a way to get something out of the experience. But they have to solve, say, a puzzle, or they can't move forward until they solve a problem. And do they have a skip option? This may be funny to think about, but a lot of times again, with long 3 60 experiences, you, the user might want away too fast, forwarded to move a little bit quicker through the experience. Where some other users might want to stay in place is longer, and so again it enables the user tohave agency and get what, out of the experience, what they want to get, not feel trapped. So it would be we were valuable to let the user skip some sections if it's a long experience, rather than just leave the experience altogether. So think about those things when constructing a virtual environment. The next thing I want you to think about is connecting users to their bodies with thoughtful gestures. Virtual reality can really help connect us to our bodies, as they talked about in the beginning. It can even help us regain motion in our bodies, so don't lose sight of that. Allow the user to have unique gestures, like flying or swinging a sword or picking up a cup. These little things will make them feel a lot more engaged and have an even deeper level of immersion. What makes some of your experiences feel more immersive than others? Well, that is by creating a a connection between your body and the virtual experience. So when you move your riel hand, if a virtual hand moves in the same way, or you see something and touch it with your virtual hand and you feel it in real life, too, that is going to create an even deeper level of immersion. Linking visual stimuli in VR and real world sensory stimuli helps the user feel more embodied in that environment. This might not always be possible, but it's exciting because there are a lot of advancements in hand tracking and haptic feedback within virtual reality right now. And so the technology is providing more and more opportunities for users to have many of their senses engaged and feel fully immersed through the sensor sensory stimuli. So here's a good case study about having bodies engaged while in virtual reality. This is a project that reflective brands my company actually created, and it's a virtual reality bike tour through a master planned community in Hillsboro, Oregon. So we created this experience for this company called New Land Co. And reads Crossing was the project they're working on. It's a large housing community that homeowners need to be buying homes to before the communities all the way belt out because it takes 10 to 15 years to build the full community. And so, in order to sell this community, they wanted to give potential home buyers a chance to try out what the community be like 10 years down the road. And biking is a big part. They have a central great greenway that goes throughout their housing development, and so we created a virtual bike tool where the user sits on a physically mounted bike and they put on their headset and they peddle through what will be the future community in virtual space. So this gives them again and embodied interaction of actually riding a bike while being in virtual reality. And the two combined together really helped the user to have a heightened state of presence and immersion within the experience. So for the next assignment, Assignment number two, I want you to make up a virtual reality experience. As if budget and technical considerations were not an issue, I want you to think as wild as you can right now. What would your theme be? What is the plot? What is the space or environment you want to put users in? What point of view with the user and body, would they be first person? Would they be watching somebody else do something? And how would you have the user have agency? How could you get their bodies involved? So again, you can write these answers down in your digital workbook and just start playing with this and use your wildest imagination to create the world and experience that you want to create without limitations, first, just really focusing on the elements of theme plot, environment, embodiment and point of view. 7. Technical Elements to Identify and Leverage in VR: the new medium of storytelling a great way to better understand how storytelling in virtually reality works is to try as many experiences as you can. That way you can really see what works and what doesn't work. And by doing this study and really researching for yourself, which we are, experiences you and joy and doing in an analytical way where you really analyze how they're telling the story, you're going to start to get a really good feel of what works in virtual reality. So there are some technical elements that are really important to identify when telling a story in virtual reality. One of them is the use of light. The human eye naturally gravitates towards the most brightly lit thing in the room. So you really can use this to your benefit and virtual reality by using light to guide the user rather than text and narration, which are other Romans you can use but really to have visual cues. It also aren't just arrows pointing Look this way, but suddenly direct the viewer to where they're supposed to be paying attention. That, I think is text written words can be helpful, but too much text actually doesn't work very well and virtual reality. People don't really enjoy reading, and we are that much. And so don't overly rely on text to guide your users and to tell the stories get creative and how you can do that. Another element you can uses audio similar to the use of light audio cues are powerful way to direct users attention. If we hear somebody say our name behind our heads will immediately turn around to look at them, the same is true, and we are. If you have somebody behind, the users say, Hey, the user most likely is gonna look back in that direction, so make sure to use audio in order to guide your audience. Another thing is gestural or visual cues. As humans, we learn gestures is a way to communicate and are subconsciously even influenced by them. So again, somebody might say, Hey, it was somebody might point in a certain direction and that pointing will again inevitably lead the user to look in that direction. So let your characters in the experiences that you're creating guys your user through the story, through gestures, through saying things and through having the light guide them rather than just really on the nose text or some things that might not feel very natural. Another element that you need to have in your VR experience is conflict, some kind of antagonistic force like like we've experienced and you looked at before. In this course, it doesn't need to necessarily the villain or a character that embodies the antagonistic force. It could be the environment itself. It could be elements within the environment. But there needs to be something that is getting in the characters way of so so many of their goal. And so if you have the main character being a character with in the VR experience that isn't the user, then have them come up against some kind of antagonistic force. But if it's the user themselves, then have to be some kind of friction or challenge that they need to get through in order to create a little bit of conflict and make the experience more engaging. And furthermore, we need a gold determined for the protagonists. What the external goal is, have them have some kind of achievement that they're going to get so again for the experience of the free solo the goal was getting to the top of the giant mountain in the experience of the autism. The goal for the child probably was getting out of that space, and by the end, the mother, the parent, does take him out of that space. So in those two examples, there's really clear on and gold that happens and you're able to in those experiences. They're both 3 60 video, and so it's a bit more passive, but you're able to passively come with the character to the reaching of the goal. In other experiences that are more active, you can also have a really clear goal, an outcome that state into the beginning so that the user knows what they're working towards throughout the experience. And the last thing that you need is a resolution. This is an element that is lacking in some money VR experiences. We need resolution for a narrative form of storytelling, and people crave a resolutions. A lot of movies you might have washed even that felt flat at the end. Perhaps they didn't have a good resolution. Make sure not to fall into this trap and just have the experience and abruptly or end kind of on a whatever. No. You know, you really wanna have people feel like they achieved something or like something was achieved in the experience and what came out of that achievement, So really give thoughts to what your resolution is going to be. Another thing you want to give is give people time to anger in and figure out the space users action a little extra time than you might think to really encourage the space that you've created for them. And so if a story begins really quickly before they have a chance to orient themselves, chances are that they're gonna become quickly lost and get frustrated in the experience. Remember the call that we talked about within the hero's journey? We'll think about that. Can you give them chance to trigger the beginning of the experience through answering the call, so to speak? The first moments of your experience should really be triggered by a user action of some sort. And if it isn't more passive experience and at least give them time in the space to sink into it, it's like a credit sequence in the beginning of a movie. Before the film starts, right out to give audiences a sense of the tone and style of video before it fully begins in the story. 8. Storytelling Through The Environment in VR: another thing you want to contemplate or what are the rules of the world that you're creating for your users? Are they similar to the rules of our own, or do they have magical powers and abilities? You know, you could have a pro up, which could act as the guide again. Think about the guide from the hero's journey, and the prologue can quickly get into the rules of the world that you created. They don't need to the same rules as our rules in our waking reality that we experience every day, but they do need to be consistent. So if the rules aren't consistent, if in one moment the users able to walk through walls and the next they're not, that's going to confuse and frustrate there all of these questions about what your world is gonna be and how your world and the user is gonna be able to interact with it. Those are questions you need to be asking yourself and answer. And before you put the user deeply in this story, so now we're going to look at another case study, and I've named this one learning through low fidelity. It may seem counterintuitive to utilize low fidelity experiences to understand immersive storytelling. But it's exactly what Stanford STI School and the National Film Board of Canada adds that independent filmmaker Peasley Smith. They conducted an experience prototyping technique, and they took an analog approach, and through that they were able to quickly learn and make it orations on the go without the need for VR developers and artists and a lot of production. And so they mimics the constraints of virtual reality by having vocals on the participants heads that limited their peripheral view. And those goggles had a camera attached to them that recorded the head movements of the participants so they could go back and review where the uses were looking later. So things that they learned are that if reality is constricted, details gained meaning. So what happened in the first experiment that they conducted was at the field of view of the participants was limited to 90 degrees, and when they did this audience scan the space for details, giving them clues into the story, the restricted field of view made the audience really get obsessed with five details and in the specific experience there was a plate of cookies sitting on the table in the boys room . We'll all of a sudden the cookie, strangely, took on all of this, meaning that the creators did not intend to have the audience. Members really tried to understand why the cookies were there, why the boy in the scene wasn't eating them and why the cookies were crumbling in the way they were. So it was pretty ridiculous how much story the users were creating out of this plate of cookies. But as we looked with the braid, studies on how the brain works with story telling our brains air constantly standing situations to create meaning and gained stories out of them. So the cookies stole the show, which is a really important lesson that the more restricted field of view you have your users and the audience have. The more small details will take precedent. So really make sure everything you place in a scene is deliberate. And make sure that the users aren't making meaning or gaining story out of something that you just happen to play somewhere. You want to be deliberate with where you are putting things in your scenes. The next thing that they learned is that people's bodies mean that they are someone. So in virtual reality there is no neutral observer. When you put somebody in a place, the space matters. And for this they really saw this example when they put the user in the front of a classroom. Suddenly, the users were compelled to pay attention to the teacher and act like a good student. And they even felt anxiety about being in the front of the classroom and as they got ages, as if they were really standing in front of a classroom and expected to give a presentation . Another example is that when they placed the participants in the middle of the boy's bedroom, as you can see in these stills, the users felt anxious and uncomfortable because they weren't sure how to behave in a private space like a bedroom of a stranger. So it's important to understand how the audience will feel socially in the spaces that you put them in. And if you want them to feel comfortable in those spaces, ask what you could do to make them feel comfortable, and you can use that in the reverse, too. If you want someone to feel a bit anxious in your experience for a storytelling reason. Didn't think about putting them in social situations that I might not normally encounter. Another thing that was learned from this experiment is what people look at is what they're doing. So because of the nature 3 60 video, you can't control where the audience is gonna look. And if this scene has more than one focal point, the eyes is gonna have to choose where to look. This could really be distracting toe audiences and make them feels if they're missing out on something important by looking the wrong direction. But it can also and licit the desire to go into the experience more than once if there's a lot to see, and they feel like they want to pay attention to something else and the next time they run through the experience. So just think about how you're using that and think about how many elements of president present in the experience that you're creating for them, so to review, if reality is constructed, details came meeting their bodies mean that they are someone wherever you put them in. The space means that they're going to take on those social cues of being in that space, and what they look at is what they're doing. What they look at is how they're participating in a 3 60 video. So further into this experiment, they discovered that the more you see, the less you remember. And in this test they had. Audiences only have 90 degrees of vision as you remember. And when they did that, the audience schools could remember almost every detail in the space. However, they did another version where the audience, the viewer, had 360 degrees of space to view so they could look all around them. And when they did this, the users recollection, after getting out of the experience was dramatically decreased, and they didn't remember details as much. So to really illustrate that the main characters name and this experience was Taro. And in the 90 degree version, everybody remembered his name. All of the participants were asked afterwards, remembered that was his name. But in the 3 60 version, almost no one remembered the boy's name and just referred to him as the boy, so his name was delivered by audio. Somebody said Tara, what are you doing? And that points to another important point that in 3 60 when there is so much to look at and so much to take in, audio is less focused on than what they can, what people conceive visually. So make sure not to overload your audience when having 360 field view. And also just like in real life, the brain is gonna filter out information. So if you have too much going on in the audio and visual and all of the elements, people probably aren't going to remember everything. Another thing that they learned is that ambiance is a storyteller and 3 60 So they participants of this experience described the stories being told mostly through a feeling created by the choices in the lighting in the tone. And they discovered that the more fully present participants felt in the scene, the more likely they were to rely on abstractions and to pick up on feelings, whereas when they were in on Lian 90 degree field of view, when they could only see 90 degrees, the details are really what pulled the story when they were in 360 degrees. The tone of the story and the ambience and the setting is what told the story. So think about that when you're constructing your experience and how you want people to feel present within it and what you want them to pay attention to. So for this assignment, I'm going to have you storyboard one scene. I want you to use the examples below to draw up how you would set up a virtual reality scene. Where would you place the camera? And if it's the person, that is, if it's a 3 60 video, the camera is gonna be the subjects point of view. So where are you putting subject in the space? Where would other key elements be within the space? And what details do you want? President of Space? How much can participants see? Is their field of view limited? Can they see everything and what are they seeing and what effect are hoping to get from these choices? What tone are you trying to set? What do you hope participants will walk away from by setting up the scene in this way and by thinking about it and story boring it beforehand. So in the book that you've downloaded, there's a space to draw out how you're going to set up. You're 3 60 we are seeing. So go ahead and do that now and then we'll come back for the next lesson. 9. Identifying Your VR/AR Target Audience: Now, as marketers, we know the importance of knowing one's target audience. So just like any other marketing effort, it's really important to have a good understanding of who your target audience is for your virtual or augmented reality experience, it will shape the type of experience that would be best suited from who you're wanting to engage red. For example, whether you have a more passive or active interaction level in your experience will actually depend a lot on if you're who you're holding to reach as an audience. And if you're hoping to reach a younger age group or unaltered age group, it's been shown that people that are college, age and under are being told what to do about society with not that much agency in their day to day lives. So they need experiences that allow them to have agency and to make decisions and thus more interactive experiences appeal to them, whereas adults and spend all day making decisions. Older adults feel that they want a bit more of a passive experience because sometimes they need to just relax. So really, look at the psychology of your core audience and understand what type of experiences mess, most going to be suited to them and most appeal to them. Here's an example of an augmented reality storytelling app, wonder scope that's used for education. So rather than being completely immersed in another reality, augmented reality provides the ability to cross over from stories that we're witnessing on a screen two stories that we live with as our own within a space and moving through in this reality, not cut off words. Nbr. Your field of view is completely isolated into the experience. In almond reality, mediated through a tablet or a smartphone, you're able to still interact with your real reality with a virtual overlay. So this app allows Children to learn through kin, aesthetically exploring their environment, moving around their environment so you can see how for the child age group if this would be a popular application because it's very active. Also, looking at this as your educator is probably going to be your target, cause kids aren't gonna be getting this app themselves, but parents or educators and school would be getting this exact for their students. The educators goals are to make learning more fun for their students, spark imagination and to use technology to spark curiosity in the real world. So perhaps educators know that kids really love tablets and really love smartphones and interacting with them, so they know it's a good technological interface for people that age. At the same time, they don't want them to just be glued to the screen. They want them to get more curious about their surroundings and about the environment. So you can see how the creators of this application really had those things in mind when creating this A. Are they really had their target audience clearly defined in understanding what would appeal to that toe? Have them go ahead and get this. So I have an assignment for you Now. I want to identify your users internal goals. Do they thirst for more excitement? Really, brain store users goals in life and help me satisfied by interacting with the experience you're creating. Do they need more connection? Do they have control over something? We've a list of the top three bulls that your user has and how experience helps to meet the tools. It's just important to other stand what the internal goal of the being character ends in a fictional story and similarly seeing what the main goal of your user is and why they're going to experience why they would want to use it. And the interminable is really a thorough psychological reason, a motivation for action. So we see that in storytelling, where the character may have an external goal of saving the princess in the tower but the into mogul off, perhaps feeling like they have more excitement in their lives. Or like they need connection or love, or they need to feel like a hero. Those goals are really what closes stormed forward. So think about that for your users and do this assignment, and then we'll come back and look it more, but really clear what will use its goals. 10. Scriptwriting for Immersive Storytelling: Section seven is scripting for virtual reality. I hope that your scripts don't feel like bada bada, and we can, through pre planning and really scripting out of great experience, be mindful of story, not just jump into production, not just jump into the thrills and thrills of creating, using this new technology but having a really thought out script. So we're gonna go over how to format scripts for virtual reality. Final Draft recently launched the event Vargas Immersive Play, and this is a template that includes key elements to blood. It better explain space and actions in immersive experiences. So here's an examples from it. There is Theis SFX description, and it's italicized and enclosed within brackets like this below. And so this helps people to know where things are coming from and used to describe sounds and ambience and special of fax that are taking place within the scene. Another element is three audience P. O. V, and it signifies what the audiences point of view is. So the audience point of view options are first person, where the audience is the protagonist, antagonised or other characters. There is the first person is yourself, which is engaging the narrative world. There is a lawyer watching the narrative unfold without interacting with it, so there's lots of options. And then there is also the mini slug, and this element is used to describe where people and objects are in the space, which is really essential for 3 60 storytelling. So you can just like we saw in the last class, where we looked at story boarding in the script, you can also say where elements are gonna be present with into 3 60 space, So that's how you write that out. Another element is the interactivity element, and this element is used to signify how the audience can interact with the space, since it is a medium done enables a user to interact. Really don't overlook that and let them have a little bit of interaction with the environment. If that's possible, the other thing that I want to talk about here is story branching. One of the ways that immersive technology and immersive storytelling can differ from films is that it has the ability to have many different story branches, and this is kind of like a choose your own adventure book where a story can branch depending on the user's decisions. So this is really cool, because you have the ability for the user to create different stories within the same experience through their choices. And this is how you begin some different and ends different story branches, so you can signify that within the story. So if you want to have a tool to be able to start writing scripts and virtual reality, this is a great one to know about. But either way, you can use these annotations in your script, even if you're just doing it in text of it to signify what different elements are present within your experience. So another experience that I want to talk about is called Wolves in the Walls. This is an amazing example of storytelling nbr. It actually won an Emmy if that tells you anything. It's one of the first VR experiences to do that. And what's so amazing about it is that you're interacting with an NPC and non playable character called Lucy. She's a young girl, and she's actually a artificial personality, a k a virtual being that uses a combination of Miss Machine Learning and AI to remember interactions that you had with her throughout the experience, and she then later references those interactions so that you develop a strong emotional connection with her because it's as if you were interacting with another really being. Another thing that is really remarkable about this project is how they use light and what is highlighted and what is in darkness to show where the user should be focusing in different scenes. And so think back to how is talking about techniques you could use when you wash this experience. Either do it NVR or you can watch somebody else playing through it on YouTube, and I have a link to that in our class. Resource is but really noticed how light and framing and different artistic styles to are used to keep the user engaged and to guide them through the experience without explicitly telling them how to do it. Another thing that I want you to notice when you're either doing or watching this experience is how there's elements of interactivity interspersed throughout, and this is a great storytelling structure to be able to really get the user engaged throughout the story in the medium of virtual reality, so really pay attention to those things. Another thing to think about while you're watching. This is how they would have scripted this piece, since the section is about scripting. Think about what we just went over about the different annotations and techniques you can use to note where things are in space, to note what is interactive and just really imagine into how they might have scripted this and how you could script something using those different annotations and techniques. Another thing I want you to think about is with this level of interaction and personalization. It's known that 87% of marketers have reported measurable boost from their customization efforts. So imagine what an experience like this could do for marketing efforts to have it be so personalized and have it be so engaging. An interactive. But I want to give a little bit of ethics disclaimer before I go further and say that this is a bird industry. So we must be aware of the foot side on the ethics of all of this, and it's clear that more work or isolated in our culture, and so brands need to question the ethics of hard before deep bond with Allah tars over other humans in forming relationships with A. I can be all too easy to manipulate people the feeling that the brand is their closest companion into a false sense of community all well but further isolating the person in real life. So we're walking the tight rope and need to be collection interests of all of this. Another thing to consider is that since we are is a very lived medium, it's possible to induce real travel to Bertel experiences by putting people into about it experiences. So it really affect people on a different level. Was watching something they feel like they're actually in it. Be mindful of the experience that you're creating, how it might affect people on a deep level, and the last thing you want to do is travel ties. Your protection tested it. The last assignment that I wanted to Dio is trying your hand at writing a branching narrative script. So right one scene that can play out in two different ways, depending on the user's answers to the situations that you're putting in front of them and their actions of how they're reacting to situations. How did the two different options provide different lessons. Do they illustrate the same theme or different beings, depending on what the user selects? Are they both heroic dreams? Or is one option a tragedy like we talked about for certain choices? You characters down the road of tragedy, even if they thought they were heroes to begin with. So try your hand at just two branches of a branch of narrative script it could be drawn to , in short. But really just think about how you would construct that and try your hand at writing something like that, cause interactivity is such a big part of we are. So I really want to get the potential of interactivity, do this assignment, and then we're gonna come back for the watch list. 11. The Future of Marketing - from Passive to Interactive: I really want to drill in the point that this is a distinct platform. You can tell stories that can't be experience anywhere else. So really used that to your benefit. Free solo climbing in Yosemite is excuse worth visiting. Seen from the eyes of an autistic child is a perspective worth feeling. And interacting with a virtual being is an experience worth happen? All of these experiences were in virtual reality and worked in virtual reality because they were unique experiences suited to this media. The question that you should be asking as you are thinking and generating experiences is business experience one that the user could have had in any other way. If so, you may need to question who experience and really dive into why we selected this interactive immersive medium for that story. Just as movies aren't plays on film and video games aren't novels on the computer. Each medium has its specific function and what makes it unique. So really think about these examples when you're starting to craft your stories using immersive technologies and think about the why of why are creating and using this medium. The audience has choice, like never before. It's the job now of creators to build worlds that invite in audience participation and thus allow the audience to create story from themselves. As a creator, you embed spaces with conscious meaning-making cues and clues and the audience, please detective with them. So you are the guide. You are guiding them through your experience by putting these clues, remember the details and how focused people can become on details. Put those clues there, but then take a light approach to it, a light handed approach, and let the audience co-create a story with you. In film and object in a room is just a visual prop. But in virtual and augmented reality, that object, object becomes a chance for the user to shift and create the story and to really interact with it. So don't deny them that pleasure that join an experience that I found endless joy out of it. It was very simple, was when I was in a room and there were all these objects from the table that I could pick up and throw and move and do things with and just getting to play in a virtual space and have agency over the environment is so novel. And so really don't overlook that ability. Here is an experience that VR scouted for a bunch of seniors trying virtual reality. And read the subtitles here. So this space had a dreamlike quality and you could experience ultimate freedom in it. One man just now said that it made him feel like superman. You can experience total freedom just by touching. It made you feel like Superman. So I want you to think about this. Remember from the beginning of this talk when we were looking at the hero's journey. And after the hero went through the trials and tribulations and returned with the gifts received from that. They had the freedom to live without hindrances. They had a four, they started on the journey. So virtual reality really gives the user a freedom to live the experiences they play. And in, do that in a space that feels very real. Whereas in this reality, people may feel stuck or limited. In virtual reality, much like a dream, the possibilities are endless of what you can create for people and what people can do in it. So really think about giving users three Danner, to go beyond the limits of what they can do in this reality. So the marketers role in immersive technology. We need people in the field right now that know how to tell impactful stories. It can't just be developers or people that are more technically minded as marketers and storytellers. It can be intimidating to understand where you fit in with all of this and where to begin. But there are several ways to start creating. You can hire freelance developers. You can learn how to develop yourself and how to create experiences yourself. Or you can also hire a skilled team and work with them. And that's where I'd say that at reflective brands, we are a team that has really specialized and thought a lot about immersive storytelling and created a lot of amazing immersive experiences using virtual and augmented reality technology. We also created a little something extra for you as a thank you for taking this class. I'd like to offer you this 101 guide by going to reflective dot design slash virtual reality for marketing. You can download this free 101 guy that has built with more technical information about producing VR experiences, as well as more general information that I didn't get the opportunity to cover in this class. Go download that e-book guide. And a few enjoyed this class. Please leave a nice review. That means a lot. Share with your colleagues, your work colleagues who you think may benefit from this information. And it can be a great tool to be able to help and show your team what is possible within this medium. And then go ahead and follow me on the different social media platforms as well as the online course to get updates about future classes because I'm going to be putting a lot more classes out there. And I want to make sure that you know about each one of them. And finally, let's connect I amnesia at reflective design, I'm always available to answer questions, do consultations, and just help you to get better ideas about how you can use these technologies to benefit the message that you are trying to get out there and the audience that you are trying to reach. If you go to reflective dot design, you'll be able to see a lot of our case studies, a lot more projects. And we have a blog that we update regularly with lots of new information articles. So there are tons of resources there for you to continue your journey and exploring these technologies. Thank you again so much for taking this class. It's been really great to lead you through understanding immersive storytelling a bit more. And until next time be well.