Once upon a time Sean Stewart was a science fiction novelist. Then, one day, he got a call asking if he wanted to take part in a little world-building project. One based around a Steven Spielberg movie.
That movie was A.I. and that project would become known as "The Beast," the first Alternate Reality Game. Now Sean works for Magic Leap, the secretive company in Florida that is working on augmented reality. But we're not here to talk about that. We're here to talk about making participatory stories.
Sean plays Jedi Master to Noah's padawan learner. This is a very, very good episode.
Last week your host, Noah Nelson, was in Qingdao, China for the Sandbox Immersive Festival. This week he's back, solo, to talk about some of what he observed there and about the emerging thinking around XR -- the term being given to all of immersive technology -- and how that relates to live immersive.
This being Noah talking into a microphone, you know that we get into a few tangents, including thoughts about what it means to become a bit jaded as a reviewer, and what incoming designers need to be thinking about when they approach immersive work for the first time.
At the heart of many an immersonaut's journey is #SOMEDND, the "DND" being Dungeons & Dragons, and as it just so happens that hashtag stood for a recent livestream extravaganza called the Stream of Many Eyes.
Now, why is NoPro talking about live-streaming D&D?
Well for one, the lead up to the stream was a multiverse hopping alternate reality game (#NoStoneUnturned) that called upon the powers of transmedia producer Emmett Furey and puzzle designer Elisa Teague, who join us on this week's episode to talk about the ARG, mixing tabletop gaming with escape room like puzzles, and the renaissance in roleplaying games.
Look: we always knew it was going to come down to Dungeons & Dragons. It's almost a surprise it took this long to get here.
Our hard-hitting reporters have revealed a nest of bloodsuckers in the beating heart of Los Angeles. This den of the undead appears to the outside world as the lobby of one of those newfangled "escape rooms" co-owned by a woman named Rachel Foti. Our intrepid host dares to enter this lair of sin and uncover the secret origin of this nefarious gathering point for a "micro-community" of the vampire's mortal pawns.
Follow us into The Count's Den if you dare.
There's something magical going on in Downtown Los Angeles. Something simple, and oh-so-needed in this day and age.
It's called The Silent Play Experiment, and it is exactly what it says on the tin. Host Noah Nelson sits down with its co-creator Olivia Hamilton to talk about the experience, the company that gave birth to it, and the road to embracing play.
She's bringing her experience as a producer of immersive and interactive events to one of the biggest travel destinations in all of Southern California, and taking our friends at Think Tank along for the ride. This episode is a barn burner: art, augmented reality, and how theatre kids are stealth taking over the world. Okay. That last one is implied. We don't say it, but it's soooo there.
Brought to you by the generous support of Meow Wolf (!!!!) and our amazing Patreon backers.
This edition replaces the messed up original file.
From how to handle spoiler discussions online to designing for discovery after the fact, this conversation is all about the unique problems that face immersive entertainment of every form -- from live theatre to escape rooms to Alternate Reality Games.
Good thing we've got people who specialize in each of those on the show today!
It's no secret that we have LARP roots here at No Proscenium, specifically VAMPIRE LARP roots. So when we heard that there's a "blockbuster" (aka bespoke) Vampire LARP coming to Texas in November -- part of the relaunch of Vampire: the Masquerade which is happening all year long -- we got very, very intrigued.
Which is how we ended up talking to Matthew Webb of Jackalope Live Action Studios, the company that is putting on this event called The Night In Question.
That's not all Jackalope is up to, as they're working on the Cyberpunk license and more, looking to introduce an emerging style of play to brand new audiences.
Break out the fangs, we're going in.
Just time for a real quick update about a few things.
Director Spencer Williams (Walk The Night) and music producer Andrew Heringer have created a unique music experience in the form of The Guest & The Host: Make Music, which will be debuting alongside the Hollywood Fringe Festival this June in LA.
Plus: Noah's initial thoughts on the Oculus Go.
What happens when two immersive theatre companies meet at a bar in San Francisco?
They make a show in LA, that's what.
Rochester, 1996 is a collaboration between Capital W and DryCræft Los Angeles that will be hitting this year's Hollywood Fringe Festival. We talk with Lauren Ludwig & Monika Miklas of Capital W, and Thaddeus Shafer of DryCræft Los Angeles whose life as the son of a pastor provides the inspiration for the show.
All that plus a touch of the usual shenanigans.
Every fan of immersive in Los Angeles know the name Jon Braver: he's the creator of the wildly popular Delusion interactive horror theatre company.
Each instance of Delusion is an event into and of itself, and Jon has been creating his dark wonderland in our reality for years now.
This week Delusion goes virtual, with the cinematic VR version of Delusion: Lies Within debuting at The Overlook Film Festival. We talk with Jon about that, the future of the LIVE Delusion shows, and just about everything else under the sun in this, our first full interview with Jon.
Don't worry, we save the pie for afterwards. But it is one of THOSE episodes thanks to the beer. In fact, it's officially an NoPro After Dark.
We get into process in this one, so you know I love it.
John MacInnes and Remington Scott met while making Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, kicking off a collaboration (MacInness Scott) that is exploring the bleeding edge of photorealism. But these two are about more than brain melting tech that can turn Hollywood actors and politicians into digital humans: all that is just the groundwork for exploring the art of storytelling on the immersive digital frontier.
Host Noah Nelson talks with John and Remington about the history of their collaboration, their work for Netflix on an Altered Carbon promotion, and just where all this is headed.
The madmen went and did it.
Last week the creative team behind The Tension & Lust Experiences announced that they were taking on new partners, a company called AGBO -- which is The Russo Brothers' new company.
You know, the guys who are directing Avengers: Infinity War.
So yeah, that's some big news. And Tension creators Darren Bousman, Clint Sears, and producer Gordon Bijelonic sit down with host Noah Nelson to talk about what all this means for The Experiences now and in the future.
Oh, and Joe Russo calls in during the show to explain why and how he got mixed up with all this.
Plus: a word about our editorial policy updates.
Our dear friend Bryan Bishop of The Verge has just come back from a once-in-a-lifetime experience at SXSW. There he was one of just two participants in an elaborate, four day long immersive experience called a "Simulife" by the creative think tank known as Interactive Deep Dive.
Host Noah Nelson, who walks in clueless (What else is new?), journey's with Bryan into the heart of what made this so special. The answer: Soylent Green. (I mean, from a certain point of view.)
Well that and a wide ranging conversation about how he landed in the business, writing, and more.
That plus a #NoProGoesPro campaign update.
You may not know Justin Denton's name, but you certainly have heard of his work. He's the director of the much buzzed about LEGION FX activation at last year's San Diego Comic Con (which had an encore at FoST Fest in NYC) and part of the core team at Here Be Dragons, the production studio that has helped put VR on the map.
Get ready, because Noah and Justin are about to have one of THOSE conversations.
This is my favorite episode in a long while.
Plus: we sing the praises of our SXSW crew, and detail the NEXT STEP in our March NO PRO GOES PRO campaign. (GIVE US YOUR MONEY!)
Aaron and Austin Keeling of E3W Productions join Noah to talk about their new show Bitter at the End and how their surprise debut -- the absolutely wonderful In Another Room -- came together in the first place.
Keep an eye on these guys, they're got the touch.
Plus: the first part of our NoPro Goes Pro campaign BEGINS.
Kathryn sits down with Taylor Myers of Roll The Bones to talk about his storied career (Sleep No More, Then She Fell, Grand Paradise) and the upcoming narrative feature film Hamlet in the Golden Vale an adaptation of Shakespeare's play.
Actor, poet, and entrepreneur Terence Leclere joins host Noah Nelson to talk about how he became an immersive person, and just what he's up to with his company Metaforyou, which offers immersive and interactive services for hire in the LA area.
Philosophy with a side of business. Plus: Noah totally gives a reading list at the end of the show. What? I know.
Join the conversation at the NoPro Slack.
Creator Nick Rheinwald-Jones & Creative Producer Lyndsie Scoggin of Safehouse '77 invite Noah to the safehouse for a chat about how the show came to be... and how it is returning to LA.
That plus: a but about this week's LEIA Town Hall in LA, and a shout out to our friends at the A.R.T. Artist Real Talk podcast, who are kicking off their second season with a bang!
Brought to you by our amazing Patreon backers.
Alison S. M. Kobayashi joins Kathryn Yu to talk about Say Something Bunny, a feat of theatrical documentary that draws audiences into the lives of a New York Jewish family in the 1950s. It is quite unlike anything else on stage in NYC, and it drew the attention of our New York team.
Plus: Noah without his coffee.
Our friends from LA's Speakeasy Society return to talk about two -- or is it three??? -- upcoming projects including their take on The Wild Party, which is part of The Broad Stage's 10th anniversary season.
This episode is dedicated to Prof. Mohammad Kowsar (1943 - 2018).