I have complicated feelings about Amazon. I worked there twice, from ’98-’00 and ’04-’07, first in Customer Service, then in Media Merchandising. It has taken me literally a decade to sort out my feelings about what I experienced there, and I have enough material to keep a psychotherapist employed for years. I’m going to set aside that whole ball of wax and just address what this job posting means.
It’s interesting that the job is based in Santa Monica, as part of Amazon Studios, and not in Seattle. I interpret this to mean that Amazon is accepting the conventional wisdom that Hollywood will be the production center for VR content. This assumes that VR content is an outgrowth of film. I’m convinced VR content has more in common with video games. Seattle isn’t a film production town, it’s an indie gaming town.
I have argued on this blog that we can create a robust VR content industry here in Seattle. This isn’t about competing with LA movie studios. It’s about encouraging studios that are embarking on VR initiatives to open offices and production facilities in Washington State, so that they can be near the companies that make the hardware and software that make it possible for them to create content.
I sit across an aisle at CoMotion Labs from some film geeks turned VR pioneers called Mechanical Dreams. I got to talking with one of the Mechanical Dreamers last night about efforts by the local film community to make Seattle a better place for VR content production. A passionate community of cinephiles is hard at work on this stuff. I’m excited to talk more with these VR envisioners. There’s a growing chorus of creators in Seattle who want to develop cinematic VR experiences in this town. I’d love to hear from Amazon or studios in LA who are interested in helping make that happen.
(And it’s worth mentioning again that the Summer Cinematic VR Challenge is getting underway tomorrow, and I believe there’s still time to sign up and be part of this unique weekend of content creation and 360 video.)