Many times during my childhood in Skagit County, my family took vacations to Vancouver, British Columbia, taking advantage of the favorable exchange rates and to enjoy the strange, parallel-reality candy bars available north of the border. I grew up watching Canadian television shows like Mr. Dress-Up and SCTV, spent high school listening to a Canadian classic rock station that played a lot of Neil Young and the Guess Who, and stocked up on Coffee Crisps whenever we took that drive or ferry ride north.
Culturally, Seattle and Vancouver feel far more distant than they truly are. We’re doing our own things on either sides of this border, occasionally dropping in for a visit, but mostly keeping to ourselves.
I’ve written recently about how we might spark a VR content industry in Washington State. So far I’ve focused on how Hollywood can succeed by collaborating with Seattle’s VR/AR hardware and software companies.
This article in the New York Times yesterday about efforts to forge more tech and business relationships between Seattle and Vancouver had me thinking anew about how we can get the VR content industry cooking here in the Pacific Northwest.
Due to favorable tax policies, Vancouver has become a stronghold of film production. This means the city has a deep bench of talented film and TV professionals. The NYT article noted that Vancouver has relatively few tech companies.
Here in Seattle, we’ve got plenty of tech companies and fewer film production resources.
How can we reach across our border to get Vancouver’s film industry talking to Seattle’s pioneers of cinematic VR? And how can VR be part of the conversation when representatives from the technology, government, and academic sectors get together, (presumably over cups of Murchie’s tea) to discuss collaborations between our two cities?