What Would You Like To Learn In a VR Storyscaping Class?

I’m starting to plan a VR storyscaping class that I want to teach at CoMotion Labs. If you were to sign up for such a class, what would you hope to learn? I welcome your feedback via Facebook or email.

This field of study is so new that I don’t even know that we can call it “storytelling.” In a recent lecture held by Northwest Film Forum, Daryle Conners shied away from the term “storytelling” and suggested that VR creators make “storyscapes.” I like that term a lot. It emphasizes the importance of place and presence.

2000px-Freytags_pyramid.svg
Freytag’s Triangle, as seen on white boards in writing workshops. Is this storytelling model even applicable in VR?

Stories are typically constructed from a few basic elements–character, setting, plot, dialogue. These are of course interrelated. VR storyscaping upends the expectations that have been ingrained in us by literature and film by offering more immersive settings and giving agency to the observer. What’s disorienting to us right now is that settings have become more powerful at the same time that we’re losing our power to dictate plots.

There is a certain degree of letting go of what we know as storytellers that we’ll need to do if we are to master VR as an art form. That can be a difficult process, as we tend to derive a lot of our self worth from our perceived expertise. If we’re to create storyscapes in this infant medium of VR, we must cultivate an almost infant-like, spongy receptiveness to it. The medium itself will teach us what we need to know about it. So it behooves me to better understand what the VR community wants to know as I start designing the class.

My aim with the class is to create a vibrant workshop environment where we can learn together, where I’ll be more the guide on the side than the sage on the stage. If you’re interested at all in learning about VR storyscaping, let me know what problems and questions you’re puzzling over and anything else you think would be useful. I appreciate the feedback, and I’ll be sure to post here with updates on how the class is shaping up.