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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

MIT Announces 'Center for Future Storytelling'

MIT's Media Lab announced a new research group today, the Center for Future Storytelling. From the New York Times coverage:

    Arguably, the movies are as entertaining as ever. With a little help from holiday comedies like “Yes Man” with Jim Carrey and “Bedtime Stories” with Adam Sandler, the domestic motion picture box office appears poised to match last year’s gross revenues of $9.7 billion, a record.

    But [former Paramount executive David] Kirkpatrick and company are not alone in their belief that Hollywood’s ability to tell a meaningful story has been nibbled at by text messages, interrupted by cellphone calls and supplanted by everything from Twitter to Guitar Hero.

    “I even saw a plasma screen above a urinal,” said Peter Guber, the longtime film producer and former chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment who contends that traditional narrative — the kind with unexpected twists and satisfying conclusions — has been drowned out by noise and visual clutter.

Oddly, the piece doesn't mention that the Media Lab has had similar initiatives in the past, like the Interactive Cinema group and the Media Fabrics group.

Here's the official press release from MIT. A snippet from that:

    Research will range from on-set motion capture to accurately and unobtrusively merge human performers and digital character models; to next-generation synthetic performer technologies, such as richly interactive, highly expressive robotic or animated characters; to cameras that will spawn entirely new visual art forms; to morphable movie studios, where one studio can be turned into many through advanced visual imaging techniques; to holographic TV.

Funny that it the Center is launching without a Web page of its own...

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  • Certainly the appeal and the demand of the long-form narrative film will slowly decrease. However this may turn out to be a blessing as it will slowly erode the studio system and allow more players at the table. Then all we have to do is find a niche.

    By Blogger Tristan Lindsay, at 10:33 PM  

  • Very interesting! I'm really looking forward to seeing what comes out of this research.

    By Blogger Unknown, at 9:40 AM  

  • Try exnarrative as opposed to
    narrative, as Nassim Taleb
    suggested, in his book The Black Swan, that we're shallow
    and superficial by intentionally
    not knowing it.

    By Blogger Unknown, at 5:38 PM  

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