#StoryFirst Live is a series of episodes featuring recordings of live events conducted via Twitter Spaces with story-centric Web3 and NFT project developers, thought leaders and others. In many cases, these individuals have been featured on previous episodes of the #StoryFirst podcast.
For this edition of #StoryFirst Live, we were joined by Doug Thompson, well-regarded Metaverse thought leader, and co-creator of Echocore, a unique "narrative adventure where [community] contributions have a direct impact on the [story]."
During the event, Doug and others participating in the Spaces focus on and how storytelling is evolving in Web3, parallels to Web2 innovations such as World of Warcraft and Second Life and other topics.
Doug also appeared on a previous edition of the #StoryFirst podcast. Listen to his episode here.
Speaker 1: Welcome to story first, live the production brought to you by story prima Dow in our live series, we bring the topics from the story first podcast to life, through discussions, with thought leaders, builders, and creators in the web three space.
Speaker 1: Yeah, everyone. Uh, thanks for joining and listening. Um, please do raise your hand if you want to get up on stage, we'll just go ahead and get right into it. Like I said, we're recording. So, um, yeah, Doug huge. Thanks for joining us today. Um, you are not only, um, a guest on the hashtag story first podcast, but you're also an advisor to us at story prima, uh, and a fan of our, uh, first incubated project, legends of ciphers. So really honored to have you here today. Um, you know, for some of the folks hopping on, um, likely didn't get a chance to catch the podcast. So I'd love to start with your, uh, origin story, you know, tell us about, um, your life as a digital nomad and your, um, yeah, your background with the metaverse. I think it's fascinating and wanna make sure everyone in the audience hears it year. Is it
Speaker 2: My first experience with the metaverse? I was 19 years old. We talked about this. I think I was playing an Ms. Do version of SIM city.
Speaker 2: And we realized that these worlds brought together creators of all types. So everything from, I used to do a lot of work with an architect, we did the coolest ex architectural experiments, did something called reflective architecture. We built spaces, uh, that brought veterans and civilians together in a space of healing, all kinds of cool projects. So, so it was this time when all these disciplines were coming together and trying to figure out how to tackle the metaverse and how to make it real and how to make it interoperable. And, uh, we thought mostly it was a technical challenge at the time, and I would propose that actually it was mostly cultural and then something happened. And the thing that happened that took the metaverse kind of off track was this thing called social media. And this app called Facebook. And the irony I keep saying is that, you know, the current hype around the metaverse is partly because Facebook has shifted so much of its energy to the metaverse.
Speaker 2: And, um, and we're, I feel like we're back at that buzz moment. I mean, we're, there's so many creators. I mean, look at the creators in this room. And for me, I don't know if everybody else feels like this, but if I just have that buzz of little communities coming together and creating stories, creating art, uh, launching NFT projects, launching books, launching graphic novels, and we're building this from the ground up, we're building it from the, like, I call it, building it from the Adam up. So it's exciting time. I feel like, and back, you know, 15, 16 years ago, I'm tr I've time traveled. The tools are a little bit different. Uh, but the, that vibe is the same.
Speaker 1: Love it. Yeah. I think it, it's really interesting to think that, you know, where would the, metaverse be? It's kind of social media, didn't take it off track. And, and if social media hadn't taken, frankly, the entire internet experience off track,
Speaker 2: Yeah, I think there's two. I, I actually think there's three big, um, things that have converged at the same time. Maybe more let's just start the list and see where we end up. Um, the first is the devices. Um, so I'm not, I don't believe that the metaverse exists so solely in VR. Um, I think, you know, you'll be able to use a tablet. You'll be able to use your computer, can use a VR headset, or you can use AR glasses. So there's, the devices are better and better and lighter and lighter, and they're giving us, you know, better experiences. The next is, uh, bandwidth 5g, and just being able to deliver this kind of huge amount of content, uh, to make them metaverse fun and immersive and accessible and easy to log in. So that's two, um, and three, I think is blockchain because I think the thing that we were partly missing, uh, actually we weren't missing it 15 years ago.
Speaker 2: Um, but it wasn't widely distributed and it was this idea of economies in game space. And the big example from that time was world of Warcraft. And you had academics coming in and teachers and people saw that there were these huge communities in world of Warcraft, uh, doing activities. So you think of it as a game, or you think of it as an MMO, but they were doing activities and they were farming for herbs and turning those herbs into potions and selling those potions on marketplaces. And a couple of really smart people looked at that, including a guy named Edward Castronova. And he wrote a book called synthetic worlds. And in it, he proposed that these economies had so much potential that they had the potential to dwarf the real world economy that the real world economy was under threat from these digital economies represented by spaces like world of Warcraft.
Speaker 2: And most people didn't listen to 'em. Um, it was pretty crazy. Uh, it was wild to think that there were factories in China at the time where the thing, Chinese gold farmers, gold farming baby. And I think I mentioned this on the podcast, but I don't know if people know that Steve Bannon, the famous Steve Bannon of us politics got his start, uh, heading up a gold farming initiative in world of Warcraft. Right? Yep. And he saw that he saw that as this, uh, way to digitally hack economies and cultures. And he took the lessons from that into different places than maybe we would want. Um, but you know, the problem was the problem was back then you couldn't take your gold from world of Warcraft and take it over into another game. Right. And, and so what the blockchain has is doing, I think is several things.
Speaker 2: One of them is that it's creating economic incentives that transcend any particular silo. So that's the real web three part. That's the decentralized part. That's, that's the thing that says, if I get a P uh, pallet in Mount, in world of Warcraft, I should be able to take it over into another game. It should be mine. Um, Ryan Gill, it's ownership. Yeah. It's ownership, Ryan Gill at open meta, where I also I'm I'm head up their marketing. He, he talks about, there's gonna be an awakening where gamers, who, who maybe they resist NFTs today. But one day they're gonna wake up and realize that they should have the right to own this stuff. Like, why is it if I play FIFA and I pay for all of these upgrades, why is it that all that stuff gets wiped out when the next FIFA comes out? You know?
Speaker 2: So, um, that's one is this ownership incentive piece, but the other that I'm even even more excited about is that it's actually just it's programability and it's this idea that NFTs can contain other NFTs stories. I could take a character, I could create a character as an NFT, that character can be embedded in a graphic, novel NFT. And then the revenue streams, ownership, all of these things can kind of flow into each other and create this really interesting two things, economic incentive, one, but two, a new toolkit for community creativity. I think in a way that I can't think of any other, um, magic, I don't know, like it's magic dust for storytelling.
Speaker 3: Well, you, you know, something, Doug, something comes to mind, um, like you mentioned that these things are programmable and if they're programmable, that means they're not static. Right. They can change. Which kind of means they're alive in some ways. But it means that if they're not static, our favorite stories from Lord of the rings to Harry Potter, snow crash, to pride and prejudice, they don't have to stop.
Speaker 2: Yes.
Speaker 3: Like they can continue and it grant granted that's a different experience and that's neither good nor bad. It just is. But like you, our worlds can live forever, which is as for somebody who's been reading since I was like three, I think that is an amazing concept.
Speaker 2: I frigging love that. I think we talked about that. Didn't we, I can't remember if we talked about that on the podcast. Like I would love know a couple of like dream things. One is I would love to create a world in the metaverse that is built on a thousand year time scale where things in that world change like incredibly slowly, um, and use that as a way to almost get people, to think along generational lines and to tie that, you know, to tie that into narratives that help us to think about our humanity. Think about our place in the world. How do we wanna treat the planet? How do we wanna treat each other? Uh, what does change look like on millennial time scales? So imagine, imagine that in the metaverse and then attach that to story, attach that to people telling stories about that place. Um, I think it's profound. I think the things that could be done oh, and that was the, that was actually the fourth, uh, thing. I think that's coming in, that's coming to play. So all of, you know, it's, it's the devices, it's a lower latency, it's the blockchain. And I think the fourth one is AI.
Speaker 3: Um, it's Bruce,
Speaker 2: You know, and AI it's, you know, is, uh, I can't keep up with how profound it is, to be honest with you. Have you guys seen these Dolly images? Yeah. Oh my God.
Speaker 3: It it's, uh, you know what procedural generation is, I assume. Yeah. Yeah. Like video games. So like, have you read Andrew's game?
Speaker 2: I've seen the movie
Speaker 3: I haven't yeah, no worries. There's there's a, so God, it was written in the eighties, maybe so well before a lot of this, but, uh, there is in essence, a procedurally generated world that is AI. So very, very smart in access to all information. And for the main character, it creates an immersive world, uh, that pretty much doesn't end and it respond to hi, the character's needs and wants and physiology and psychology and all that. But the, the dream, at least for me, is a procedurally generated world that is endlessly fascinating. Like currently that doesn't exist. Most games that have, that are, you know, you, you bump up against the limits pretty quick. And the humans have to create the good stories and the quests and all that. But at some point as with the Dolly images, you're gonna get, uh, Sally generated worlds that are, that are as fascinating as those created by humans.
Speaker 2: So yeah, I, I think Noman sky is probably the closest isn't it? That gets to that. Yeah.
Speaker 3: That I, do you remember how it started though? It got crapped on by everyone when
Speaker 2: I first came, oh, it was terrible. I bought it and hated it, but apparently it's really good now. Yeah.
Speaker 3: I also,
Speaker 2: The other, the other piece to this that I think is super interesting is scanning. So there's procedurally generated worlds and then there's scanning and it's like Niantic launch lightship, uh, world scanning. So that basically the entire world has been scanned because of, you know, you're using your phone to take pictures of the Eiffel tower. So those pictures have been captured. And, you know, there's a, there's a really good 3d scan of the Eiffel tower, but the same is true of your local park because when you were playing Pokemon, your camera was actually capturing an image of that perk. So this idea of, of a procedurally generated B machine learning, being applied to scanning so that I could scan my shoes, I could turn my shoes into a digital object. I could bring them into the metaverse
Speaker 1: The films, the film studios hop in there.
Speaker 4: Hey guys, uh, sorry. I, I just have to hop in and, um, you guys just got me really excited, uh, to join this space because you guys are talking about exactly. Uh, you know, like the kind of world that I envision, um, you know, for, um, for D films and, and what we're trying to do, we're basically, we're trying to build a gaming VR experience, uh, and film kind of like metaverse where the community continues, the stories, right? Like the community, um, because it, it, it, it it'll all be can, um, the, the community basically, uh, continues to add to the story of these, uh, films that we're shooting or games that we're making. Uh, so it's, you know, what you guys are talking about
Speaker 2: We gotta meet, man. Let's meet. We gotta
Speaker 4: Talk. Yeah. AB absolutely. Yes.
Speaker 2: Yeah. Like part of what we're doing with echo core. Um, so echo core is a narrative. It's the story of Ian SDEL, who, uh, grows up in San Francisco, total Cisco total, like child genius programmer opens a company in his parents' garage when he is like 13 or something like that. Uh, in his spare time, he hangs out at the local skate park, you know, where he kind of kind of escape his brain, hang out with his friends. He invents this device when he gets older called the echo core and the echo core lets you synchronize your brain to a quantum computer. And so you can enter the metaverse and there's no screen because it's actually your brain, right? It's a brain interface and you enter this quantum, metaverse where all kinds of crazy things are planned and are and will happen. But underneath that is, uh, a story on chain model, which really picks up, I think a little bit on what you were saying to film, which is this idea that the community itself.
Speaker 2: And I loved that you mentioned cannon because the big and Canon, because a big part of what we're doing is we're trying to, we're trying to create the tools to allow an interplay between Canon and fan art modeling, you know, graphics, memes, all that stuff that can surround a project, but not be part of it and not be rewarded for those contributions. So if I, if I, when we get into the metaverse with echo core and you participate in gameplay, that gameplay will influence the story, uh, your characters can become part of a Twitch stream. It can become part of a graphic novel. And so the, so what we're trying to do behind the scenes, the thing we're building behind the scenes, the techy geeky on chain stuff is a way to link player activity, storytelling NFTs in one full system that, um, that elevates fan art that allows you to elevate fan art into Canon. If you choose, um, that allows fans to like run off with maybe one of their own stories, cuz they love a particular character. Like this is exciting, isn't it? Oh man.
Speaker 3: Wow. You know, in, in some ways it's, uh, it's, it's streamlining the UX, right? The UI for like, you know, I don't code, I can't code, it's impossible. It's magic to me. But for people that do it, it's kind of simple, at least to some degree, they understand it. At least if you take your average user and once the infrastructure and the UX UI is in place, that's simple to use, then anybody can participate, you know? Yes. And then the blockchains, the blockchain enabled ownership gives them, you know, ownership of whatever they can easily create. So
Speaker 2: Absolutely. Yeah. Exciting stuff. I mean, I can't wait to share more as we start to build out this, as you say, the interface to storytelling.
Speaker 3: Yeah.
Speaker 2: Yeah.
Speaker 5: So I have this, um, I have this idea about, um, the metaverse it fits, it seems to fit really well to those who enjoy online gaming and world building. And in fact that is a, you know, a kind of blend of storytelling and gaming. Um, so you know, these architects who will build these places and make up their own rules for them, the metaverse is very significant, um, because they get to, you know, benefit from the production of their own, um, of their own, uh, intellectual properties. Um, and they see get to see these things expand endlessly, um, as more and more people come in and, and experience what they've built. But I can't help thinking that from a social point of view, I can, I can only ever arrive at, at, at two, two, um, conclusions with the metaverse and maybe you guys can, um, try and convince me otherwise.
Speaker 5: So one is that, um, it's, it's, it's entirely dystopian, but not entirely, but certainly there's a dystopian element to it where people begin living an alternate method of our life. And in some cases it might be more fruitful and um, and, and uh, you know, more, more, more profound. They can have experiences that they either couldn't afford or, or, or didn't have the, um, the courage to, to experience in real life. Um, and then the other, the other line of thought that I have is that people are already having an unreal experience through social media. Um, I don't know if any of you guys spend much time on Instagram, but it's kind of a trend now to create very unrealistic landscapes and yeah, like deep, fake, deep fakes are like super interesting and kind of dystopian and scary. You know, you can imagine your, your politicians or your news readers being deep fake, and, and it taking, you know, you know, weeks or days or hours at least to reveal that it, that thing, they said wasn't, wasn't real, but a lot of people would already be DED. So you have these kind of like, okay, either either we're heading to a world, um, we're heading to a social metaverse where people live, um, unreal lives that may consume more than 50% of their waking time, or we're already living unreal lives. We're already accepting of unreal lives. And we just need to switch to a web three format of distributing. So what do you guys think of that?
Speaker 2: Wow. Hold on. It's 10 20 here, dudes.
Speaker 2: And so this, this idea that, um, the brain doesn't actually differentiate necessarily between physical and digital reality. So therefore, where is that line? Where do you draw that line between physical and digital reality? So is it any less real to have a beach house in a virtual world where you hang out with, I don't know your, your wife who maybe you've never met in physical person. Why is that any less real? Uh, it's just a question I'm not taking a, I'm not taking a stand either way, but the third, the third thing, which I think is actually more important is something that jar Lania talks about. And, and what he talks about is the dangers of PR of giving privilege to technology. And his main point is, for example, we treat AI like this thing that belongs inside of the circle of being human. We, we, we, um, give it properties that it actually doesn't have. We give it a sort of like a magical power and that we tend to bring technology into the circle of empathy is what he says. And that's the real danger. The real danger is when we embody these digital spaces, embody our phones, give our veer headset. When we give these things, when we bring them inside of the circle of empathy, when we give technology more of a privilege than it deserves, it's just a thing. It's just a tool, you know, it's just a inanimate object and it's
Speaker 5: Doug. I completely agree. I completely agree. But I would, I would just counter that with, um, um, just a, a personal experience. Um, my, my youngest niece one once asked why don't, why, why, why don't I have one of those or why wasn't I born with one of those? And she pointed to a phone because everyone had one in their hands. So,
Speaker 5: Yeah. Um, I think, I mean, I, I, I really, I really do, um, I really do agree with, with your, um, with your hope that, um, people don't let go of, of the real world because yeah. Um, it is fantastic. It's visceral. And also I agree, you know, with, um, or rather sort of
Speaker 2: Yeah.
Speaker 5: I see
Speaker 2: Some hands up. I wanna give the four over. I just wanted to throw in one last
Speaker 5: Point.
Speaker 2: Absolutely. Yeah. I just went throw in one last point, which is, um, oh no, I've lost the point. Oh, uh, I'm sorry, this it's this idea. It's this idea. And I hated this term. I think it was Mark Anderson. Who said it? He said, when you, when people say that about the metaverse, they're probably coming from a position of reality privilege. So he would say that you're reality privileged because you can't imagine people having a better time in the metaverse than they would in, in, in their physical life. And his point is like, there are large, you know, huge numbers of people around the world who would love that experience of being able to, you know, fly around in the metaverse because their lives are so awful. I thought it was a philosophically horrible thing to say. I, I just bring it to the table to say that, um, one of the things we certainly learned 15 years ago, for example, we did a ton of work with people with disabilities, who there was one person who couldn't even move at all. And he actually had three people help him, uh, move through virtual worlds. So I, you know, I just wanna kind of just make that little subfoot note about diversity.
Speaker 1: Yeah. Uh, to films. It, is it Melan?
Speaker 6: Uh, mutiny.
Speaker 1: Mutiny. Okay. Yeah. I see it now when I click on okay. Muy, let's love to hear you jump in there.
Speaker 6: Uh, yeah, I guess, um, off the, the back of that, I wanted to, um, suggest that a lot of the time when we're talking about this metaverse, it seems to be full immersion. A lot of the time, um, a couple of really awesome experiences have come up for me recently, where it's kind of more layering digital experience into our, uh, reality in a way creating new, um, wild, magical atmospheres. So, um, recently I went to see an exhibition by Sarah Maya. Who's like a AR filter artist. And, um, she did like a performance where there was live sound and she had a phone hooked up, um, to her face that was then projecting on a screen in front of us, her face with a filter. And then she like imposed her filter and all the members of the audience. Um, so that was really cool way to see, um, it done.
Speaker 6: And then recently, uh, Abba have released their, um, their performance called Abba voyage, which they've been working on for some years now, where they have motion tracked Abba, recreated them in this incredible cinematic way where it's, they're being projected on a transparent screen in a concert hall with live musicians, playing the sound live. And you can actually in this moment, experience Abba as they were in their primes. So I just thought it was incredible that you could have this very real, very believable experience. Um, you can experience parts of history or people that don't exist anymore or times that don't exist anymore. So I think that as a tool is just really, really interesting. Um, and maybe another way to think about it, because like I said, I, I feel like a lot of the time we're always just thinking it's someone on a couch with, uh, a headset on, uh, in a room, but, uh, it can be so much more than that. Uh, if we just kind of start a lot more experimentation, um, between the different like media forms. Uh, yeah. Yeah. So that's kind of my little add on there,
Speaker 2: By the way, I'm a huge fan. I just love see your tweets and all I, I, I, John Richardo was at awe uh, today and he was presenting about his division. He's the head of unity, which is one of the, you know, game engines that a lot of people use. And we, we on, on our podcast and during the space, we often talk about the metaverse, we're talking about the immersive metaverse, but he makes the point that it's actually, there's actually gonna be different flavors of metaverse they'll include AR. So that's putting digital filters over the physical world. As you walk around, AR glasses are certainly on the horizon. I think within five years, you'll be able to walk around your neighborhood with AR glasses, uh, the more immersive spaces, um, where you may use a VR headset and, um, you know, so there, I think there's different flavors and it's that blending of physical and digital, the ultimate blending of physical and digital realities. And so you could enter that in a fully immersive way or in a very light touch and often super artistic way, too, which so I agree with you.
Speaker 6: Mm. And then I was also thinking kind of on top of what you said about people who might not have mobility. It also occurred to me fairly recently cuz my grandma's in palliative care that like, if I were in that situation, of course I would wanna be fully immersed in VR the entire time if I couldn't move my body. And if I was on my way out, I think this would be, uh, the best way to enjoy it. You know, there's people there that are stuck watching TV all day, at least, uh, in this space, they might have choice at what they get to consume. So, um, I'm, I just feel really thankful that that's gonna be available to me when I'm in that state. Um, because you know, aged care and things like that in this time, it's, you know, extremely unpleasant. And I do think that, uh, you know, VR can make this a lot more pleasant, uh, than what it is.
Speaker 2: Yeah. And, and not just, I love that. I love that image. You just painted such a beautiful picture, but there's also something coming back to the blockchain and this it's the ability we used to call virtual worlds like the, they were the digital equivalent of a nation of shopkeepers and it was this idea. Like, I, I sort of got my start in the metaverse making houses, believe it or not. And I made a pretty good, I had a full-time job. I was running a pretty big agent agency at the time, but at night I would go home and I would make these houses and sell them to other people for like, I don't know, five bucks a piece, maybe three. And I was making, I don't know, a couple thousand bucks a month selling these houses. And I started meeting, like I had somebody who approached me and said that they would be my real estate agent helping to sell these houses.
Speaker 2: And I think she was making a little commission. So she was making maybe making 150 bucks a month. I don't know some small amount, but she was in Brazil at the time. And for her, that was actually a lot of money. And I met all kinds of people like that. Like people who had no other place that they could bring their creativity or skills and they could make a little bit of, you know, make a little, make a living. And I think web three in particular is really opening up those types of possibilities and opportunities for people. And there'll be jobs. Like there'll be everything from event hostesses and hosts to modelers, to story writers, to graphic artists, and you'll be able to join Dows and you'll be able to sell stuff on marketplaces and, and all of it, I think, enabled in large per because of blockchain.
Speaker 1: Edward, cut your hand up, man.
Speaker 7: Uh, yes. I just wanna say this, uh, really great conversation. Um, Doug like yourself, I'm a digital nomad. Uh, but the thing that I want to, to kind of touch on was the idea of, um, making these spaces, making the metaverse accessible to everyone. So I had an interesting experience recently where, um, I made a, a new friend on, on Twitter, but it was because she asked me to explain a gift I had posted, um, because she was blind and there was no alt image data for her to understand what it was. Um, and I ended up onboarding her into a, one of the, uh, web three communities I'm in, but it just made me really aware of how, especially as artists. So audio's very accessible, but, um, how accessible is the written word and how accessible the images that we're producing, um, to everybody and what could we do in coding to actually make it accessible? So she has a, a reading app, for example. So depending on how a text is written, she might be able to read it. Um, but that how our web three books are being coded. Um, so that's just something I thought is, is worth thinking about and talking about as we, as we move into this and I'll step down now,
Speaker 3: You know, I, I think Edward, like, it's, it's all so new, like technology, right? However you wanna define technology, but digital technology and the ability to access the brain in some rudimentary fashion. Like we've had stuff for, I don't know, a decade or two where you can, you can control things with the brain to some extent, right? You can move a little tiny drone around and now the new stuff with neural link. But I think for someone like your friend, um, at some point they'll be like AR or VR devices, they' literally tap into the optic nerve that you can see without your eyes. Right. It sounds like pretty futuristic, but I don't think it's, I don't think it's implausible. And I think that will come about and all be part of whatever the metaverse ends up being. So,
Speaker 2: Yeah, I've been an advisor to, um, an AR VR safety initiative. Um, that's primarily looking at things like, um, making sure that these devices don't turn just into a surveillance machine on your head, uh, especially because meta is like the, you know, number one thing, and it collects all kinds of information like gyroscope and heartbeat. And so there's the safety initiative, but the other side that they're looking at is accessibility and I've written, I've actually blog about this a little bit, um, which is that there's a real potential here for further, um, stratification, you know, you guys will come up, you know, the word, I can't think of the word, but social stratification because I have a pair of apple glasses. So I go into a coffee shop and my experience at that coffee shop is different and I'm, I have access to information and things in the environment and entertainment and data that you don't.
Speaker 2: And so there's this real challenge. I think that we've got ahead go, you know, looking forward that like, what if the metaverse does become Jason Wong from the Nvidia believes that the metaverse will have an economy that's bigger than the current world economy. That's like a that's mind blowing if that's true, but if that's true and the metaverse is a huge trillion dollar economy, we better make sure that everybody has equal opportunity to tap into that economy. And I do think web three is a, uh, strong, uh, resource community ethic, like potentially to keep us all honest as that happens.
Speaker 3: Jennifer, I'd love to hear you hear your thoughts and thanks for joining.
Speaker 8: Yeah. Thanks so much for having me. Um, yeah, just to kind of build on the point that you just mentioned. Well, first of all, the accessibility thing is I think, um, a lot of people are starting to talk about that now because NFTs don't really have that quality in them right now. So it does eliminate a lot of people that are in the are, are, you know, in that are not able to, uh, see here and, you know, it's, yeah, this doesn't seem so great, but I think people are working on that as well, but I wanted to move into, so acknowledging you for that, um, just wanna move into the conversation about the commerce. You know, I'm actually finding the, the use cases where the metaverse right now, like Toland sandbox, and a lot of them are, I, I just feel like we're replicating, um, like we're building houses and things like that, but I don't find it very stimulating to go into a metaverse walk around, try to jump, get to the top floor, dance around and maybe go to a marketplace and buy something or whatever it is.
Speaker 8: I'm not finding that to be stimulating. And it feels like we're just sort of replicating the real world or we're trying to in the metaverse and then sell things. Um, I'm fascinated with a lot of you guys also, uh, instead around what we can explore, what the world, like, I wanna do time travel, I wanna experience a transition. Like, what does it feel like to go into the womb and actually not, you know, listen to the outside, uh, voices of, you know, people talking while I'm in there and the water or whatever, the fluid, whatever. But I mean, I wanna experience things I can't experience in regular life, but I'm also seeing that we're really just caught up in sort of replicating. What are your thoughts on that? Who's building something fascinating. I know gaming is sort of ahead of the curve on this, but tell me where I can go for a better experience.
Speaker 2: I love that you said that I just, I, I often laugh when you hear about these brands coming into the metaverse and they open a frigging store with shelves, you know,
Speaker 2: Can you imagine what a people metaverse location would look like? I mean, that would be freaking profound. I'd love it. Um, there are like, that doesn't mean that the stuff I I'm just gonna kind of make a little point of one experience I had, which is with, with, with that crazy AREAA Grande concert. And there were a couple of moments in there where they did things that were really surreal and quite emotional. You know, there was a part where you were in this black room just with other people and, and I think it demonstrated, I think they helped to push this boundary even from a commercial side that we don't need to replicate. Like why do I have streets with frigging malls? And, um, that's not the matter of verse I'm
Speaker 3: Interested in either, you know, Doug and, and Jennifer, like so earlier Doug and James were talking about the difference between reality and digital and analog. I think I find myself somewhat, uh, on the other side of that, I think that's, I think that there likely is no difference in a hundred years. And I think we have a huge bias towards, you know, quote unquote reality because that's what we've always had, but technology's changing that. Um, and Jennifer, to your point about the, the, the current metaverse situations, like I care like very little about, about it as it currently exists, cuz it's boring and it's not stimulating, but it's also new and I'm so hopeful that, you know, you got some of the smartest people in the world, like objectively working on blockchains and web three, like whatever, all that means. I think they're gonna create some amazing things. So, oh, I, I wanted to say you talk about, uh, one example of something that's slightly meta, uh, there's an author named Lance Olson and I realize just books are not the same as decent ized experiences, but he is written some pretty wild stuff. Uh that's super meta. Um, so anyway, there you go to films.
Speaker 4: Um, well I, I kind of want to marry the, the two points that we've been kind of discussing by, um, you know, making a case for empathy, uh, or, um, the meta bears, uh, you know, becoming a tool for humans, developing more empathy towards each other. Uh, because I feel like that actually ties the, the lack of, of, um, being able to hold somebody else's perspective and ours at the same time, I feel like that's what causes a lot of these issues, which, um, in turn just keeps generating more of the same. Right. So, and this is what excites me about the prospect of, you know, building a, an environment where there are no limits to somebody's creativity. Like that is really, um, you know, like when you stifle creativity, like that creates, uh, an idea in somebody's head that, you know, this is not, um, a possibility for me and, you know, the, the more and more I get into, um, life in general, but really this space in particular, um, I'm seeing that it's, it's not necessarily that, um, black and white, you know, like, so just because something hasn't worked out for, uh, a particular person that doesn't mean that, um, you know, that's not a possibility for anybody and in being able to create these, um, you know, imagine, you know, like, like living a hundred years worth of, uh, exciting or insightful or, or, uh, you know, almost like magical or, or, or, uh, you know, just wonderful experiences that, um, you know, like, um, somebody mentioned something about like being in the womb or, uh, you know, like exploring outer space without a space student, like being able to like create these immersive and, and believable experiences for people, you know, kinda like expands your, your, um, perception of what possibilities are.
Speaker 4: And you're able to like take somebody else's, um, input, I think a little bit more constructively and find ways to work together. And that's how we get out of that loop of, um, you know, we just keep seeing people repeat the same thing, the same thing that worked for somebody else. Um, that's the idea like that is the current definition of, of success, you know, like what somebody else has done without, you know, realizing that somebody has to do it in the first place. So we, we just need more, um, opportunities for people to try new things.
Speaker 3: Yeah. You know, the film, uh, sorry, Doug, just quickly you talk about, uh, the current limitations on creativity. Uh, one thing that excites me about the metaverse, whatever that ends up being is there will not be, or rather the physical limitations will be less. You can, you can go to space, you can go in the womb, you can create things that had never been created before, because physics doesn't apply in the same way. And I, I think that'll be a wild thing to experience.
Speaker 2: Yeah. There was a moment about probably 18 years ago where there, where, where there was this metaverse experience called the, I think it was called the Greenies and you walked, you walked in through this door and you ended up in a kitchen, but you were the size of an, an, like you were so tiny. You were just this tiny little ant in this giant kitchen and you, and it, I don't know, like it's really created this profound impact on people. It was really something. And I'll just share a little thing and I see Marty's hands up, hand up. Who's a, another founder at echo core. Uh, Marty and I worked on a project 16 years ago, where we created a space with an architect and it was a progression of movement through different spaces. It ended at a circle and it had certain sounds in the background and it had a certain feeling to the space and we used it to bring veterans and civilians together to talk about their impressions and experiences of war.
Speaker 2: And it was structured with some therapists, um, to make us all realize that there's all there there's damage from war. And I found myself having gone through this experience that I realized the impact of my grandfather being in, in, in the war, in world war II and that there was some healing that I needed to do around that. And so part of the kind of resolution of this experience was to make us all realize that veterans are not a separate category, that we all have, you know, damage from these experiences. So why do I say that? I say that because we tend to think of the metaverses I put goggles on and I'm ready player one, and I'm, you know, running around killing things or whatever, but that there could be some real human experiences that could change perspectives, lives, emotions that can provide spaces for healing, even if it's nothing more than just sitting around a virtual campfire with friends and talking about your life.
Speaker 8: That's really beautiful. Thank you for sharing that. I think as storytellers, we, a lot of us, um, as a narrative, you know, and storytellers, we really love changing the perspective and seeing the perspective even as readers or movie Watchers and, um, to be able to jump into the avatar world and, you know, put on that suit and look at the world through new eyes. And I think that, that's what I'm, I'm looking forward to seeing. I know it's a big step for developers cuz I know just coding, like just coding ho wearable is, is, is like a it's it's a, on the block on the blockchain is
Speaker 1: Yeah. I wanna build on that. Just, you know, that's part of what, why we're, um, we've formed story Prema it's cuz we believe that, you know, it's an op that the opportunity that, that, uh, decentralization the idea, the ethos behind web three and kind of taking power back from the gatekeepers of, of story and narrative is an opportunity for groups of individuals to come together, to create economies of scale that will allow us to invent the new stories and experiences that, that, that individuals aspire to see without having to go through, um, you know, sets of organizations that have established themselves as kind of the, the premium, um, storytellers in the world, you know, they'll have a place and they're certainly, um, they certainly do good work, but you know, we're, we're really trying to create an opportunity for people to come together and com in the form of community to, to make stories, to raise funds for the stories that we want to tell. So I'm glad that we're here talking about it. That's what exactly what this is all about. And I'll just plug that while I've got everybody that will be, um, will be doing this weekly, uh, every Thursday, 4:00 PM Eastern standard time. So, um, hope you keep coming back, but uh, I'd love to get Marty, uh, Marty's voice that he's had his hand up for a little while.
Speaker 9: Um, I, I just wanted to get it back to something James said earlier. Um, and, um, and I, I think, uh, the conversation as it's, as it's progressed across this discussion, uh, we've seen it is that, um, I, I don't know that there's an inevitability towards dystopian. Um, a as a matter of fact, uh, I'm more optimistic about, you know, especially, you know, some of the stories that Doug is talking about are, you know, relevant to
Speaker 9: Um, there are many, many groups
Speaker 1: Steven by the tick, the world,
Speaker 2: By the way, in case people don't don't know Marty's or media OG. And if you've ever heard of the magic school bus that's, uh, that's Marty,
Speaker 1: Heck yeah. Classic Steven from CTA world. Um, wanna jump in there.
Speaker 10: Yeah. Um, yeah, Marty definitely agree. And I think that, like, going back to Jennifer's point from earlier, like, how do we keep metaverse from being just boring? Cause so for a lot of what I have seen too is kind of like, okay, we have some land you run around by like, what do you actually do there? And I think that, you know, part of it is just the we're early in the space, right? There's the natural progression. You have to lay the, the foundations first. And right now the foundations are kind of just figuring out the basic technology that will facilitate the metaverse world. But I think that that's where the power of story comes into play. And that's what, um, so Syco world is a project that my partner, Ray and I are, are launching thats very much focused on storytelling for web three and recognize that there is a lot of need and opportunity out there for web three brands and metaverse brands to start building out their own storytelling and storytelling can to take many forms.
Speaker 10: Um, it can be, it's not always just like a novel sort of story though. It could be sci-fi or fantasy or that sort of thing, certainly for a lot of brands, but it can also be, um, the story of why the brand is there, you know, think of brands, maybe like, um, apple, um, or min mobile or something where it's kind of more focused on a persona that, that founded it, or Henry Ford riding Ford motor company could be the story of like the customer journey, you know, where you kind of personify a customer, give them a name, give them a certain, um, category or living situation and be like, okay, meet Jill or that's where kind of, you know, customer, um, success stories come into play. There's a lot of ways to build story elements into your brand. And I think with, um, a lot of metaverse and, and web three brands, there's a lot of potential for that.
Speaker 10: Um, just on a practical side in terms of building community and customer retention and stuff like that. But in terms of like with metaverse stuff, like you need a reason to be there. Like in real life, we don't just stand around something just cuz it's cool. Maybe other than you go for a hike, if it's really cool, but you don't usually just stand around looking at things and jumping
Speaker 2: I love that. I love that. I'd love to chat more. Maybe we could do a little CoLab between echo core and you guys, that would be amazing. Yeah, because there's a couple things that just jumped out. I just, I do want to kind of talk a little bit about echo core because we do have these, I do encourage you guys to jump into our discord. You know, we're exploring a particular story. The end game here is to bring it into the metaverse and just have a lot of fun, but the, the sort of profound things that we're trying to do, a couple of them one is that narrative is often secondary to the gameplay. So the narrative just sets up the reason that you're going on the quest rather than the narrative of sometimes being, uh, like an actual mechanic. And I think what's possible with web three is that we could turn, we could turn story into, into collaborative mechanic. And I don't mean mechanical. I just mean something that's programmable in a really super interesting way. So that behind the scenes, we're, we're trying to be able to build these toolkits for projects like your own. So I'd love to talk more about that. And uh, if you guys wanna jump into our do and learn about our NFTs and all that stuff, that would be great. We've got a skateboard collection that's coming out in early July. You feel like skating with us.
Speaker 9: So, uh, I'm gonna just jump, jump in for a second, um, because neither Doug, nor I know how to pin, well, maybe Doug does, but if somebody, uh, could pin the echo core IO, um, you know, address, that would be great. And if you go there, there's a link directly there, uh, you know, to the discord. So, um,
Speaker 1: I'm gonna work on that. I'll figure that out here in the next minute, man.
Speaker 9: That would be great. Stay tuned. Cause I'm, I keep looking at the top and waiting to see, you know,
Speaker 2: I think they turned that off.
Speaker 9: Actually. I heard no, no, no. There's it back on again.
Speaker 1: All right. Let me, let me see if I it's done here. You guys keep talking, I'll work on the I'll work on the tech here.
Speaker 9: I wanna just add, uh, one thing, uh, because, um, uh, a colleague of mine, she cryptos in the room and, and frankly, from what I can see, she's the only person here from the film three, um, world and, um, you know, which I've completely submerged or myself in over the last couple of months. And what I love about this discussion is that we are talking about narrative. We're talking about storytelling. Um, but we're not saying that the resolution of that activity will then be a TV show or a movie, or, you know, we'll use NFD, we'll raise money, and then we'll be able to have something we can bring to a film festival. Um, I, I, I'm the most excited about the kind of energy and creativity that's in this room. That's gonna lead to taking storytelling into a web three experience and environment that has its own unique and singular film grammar that isn't sitting in a movie theater,
Speaker 10: Yeah. Sorry. Could you say, yeah, I was just gonna add quick that I definitely agree with what you're saying there at the end, Marty, and that's where I'm so happy actually, that web three is evolving and blockchain along with metaverse. So like, it might be a good thing that metaverse, didn't develop too much, 15 years ago or so, and that we had Facebook's interruption because otherwise I think we'd be seeing metaverse that is much more centralized and that would be the thing that would scare me the most about metaverse and virtual reality and all that, not the fact of it being digitized, but more the fact of if it were all under centralized control and then the long term ramifications, what that can mean in terms of how it influences our, our brains or trains us. And whereas I think with web three, there's true potential. At least now we'll see what will come in true fruition, but there's true potential for it to be more decentralized, more independent, where you actually kind of own your own experience and you have more choice and part of doubts and things like that. And you aren't locked into any one, you know, platform that can kind of sensor and control what you do. So I think that that's just something that gives me a lot of hope and optimism for, for the future of all this,
Speaker 8: You
Speaker 10: Know, let your pin tweet up there, Marty
Speaker 1: You mean like how to articulate what you want, the
Speaker 8: Vision. Yeah.
Speaker 1: The vision of how it should come to life in a, in a virtual world.
Speaker 8: Yeah. I mean, I know like studios have like all the tools, but as a, a creator in web three where I'm not, I don't have the tools as accessible. I haven't been, you know, producing animation or any of those things, um, you know yeah. In, in my, you know, in my world, but, uh, yeah, I mean, working with these project, these developers that are just absolutely killing, like so smart, they can build bridges and inoperability and you know, they're talking 3d and this and that. I'm like, oh my gosh, how do I, I guess you have to use an illustrator. I, you know, what are the building blocks? Does anybody know? And is this a conversation we should start or maybe continue another time?
Speaker 2: I think I, I'm gonna, I'll give a little pitch in here for story prima actually, because I think that, that, as I understand it, that will be part of the mission of story prima is to ease that transition to ease, you know, because I think there's a lot, a lot for us to learn. Um, together. I also work with open meta. So at least there's a community there that people are just sharing notes with each other on different topics, everything from virtual production to game development. Um, and I will say that there's, you know, the, the gap between creatives and the more technical people is one of the hardest, it's a skill set, being able to bridge that gap and it's, and it can, and I empathize with you. It can be really tricky. It's not quite an answer. I know it's not quite the answer you're looking for, but I can maybe it's maybe it's good. Just to know that you're not alone, that you're not the first person who's felt that way.
Speaker 8: Of course, of course, definitely. Um, I just wanna have a, you know, you know, there's a part of it is like, as soon as like, I mean, Hollywood's already in film and entertainment's already really good at this, you know, they're good at building famous communities, loyalty programs, you know, everything, because they've been doing this forever and, you know, so just wanna have like a little help for the little guy. That's actually like a story architect that is working directly with a builder, you know,
Speaker 1: Yeah. Yeah. From, you know, from, yeah, to, to, to Doug's point at story pre we're definitely building one of, one of the pillars and we are very early days in it. Our primary focus right now has been on more of the media arm and bringing awareness, um, that there's a huge opportunity in the web three space to, um, make storytelling the center of, uh, the center of things. And, you know, so we do have some experience with our own work on legends of cipher. Um, really trying to translate, you know, the, the, the idea of this, that massive world we've built from, you know, the conversations we have as a team, um, from the writing we do and sort of a narrative prose right through to the visual. And so there is something in the, in, you know, my background, um, uh, as well as banking marketing for banks.
Speaker 1: Um, I actually went to school for, for filmmaking myself. And so I found, I find, um, the art it's a, the art of screenwriting, the screenplay, and that discipline can really help because you're really articulating the, what, what, what the artist, what you see in your head that you want the artist to create without kind of influencing the artist to the beauty that it could possibly become. So you're kind of maintaining a balance of what, what is necessary for you to shake your story so that your artist can have the creative freedom to visualize it in ways you couldn't have imagined. So that's actually something we spend a lot of time working through on the legends of cipher, but I think the discipline of the screenplay, the idea that you're writing, what you see, and then thinking of that in a virtual space, you know, you just gotta get better at that. So it's not, not, not writing for what you might see in a two dimensional picture, but what the entire three dimensional picture might be. Um, so, and then having somebody kind of visualize that through storyboard or some artistic interpretation so that the developer can build it, there's definitely a, a value chain, um, from, from yourself as a story architect through to someone visualizing through to someone developing, um, there's certainly process that support that
Speaker 2: I'd love to actually learn more about the struggles that you're having. If you wanna drag me a message, maybe we can have a little chat.
Speaker 8: Yeah. Thanks so much. Yeah. I mean, it's just learning the language so that we can tell stories, knowing what's even capable. Um, cuz we know what's capable with film. We know what's capable with like writing a book or you know, screenplay, but like this is another language where yeah. You're creating worlds that they're not able to necessarily build yet. So. All right. Thank you. I will connect.
Speaker 3: Hey Jennifer, have you read neuro answer?
Speaker 8: Uh, no, but um, I'm gonna write the two books you recommended already. I'm gonna write 'em down in notes.
Speaker 3: Yeah. So neural man was written by William Gibson, like maybe in the eighties, but he coined the term, the matrix and I think cyberspace and uh, like Deb was talking about screenplay. Right. And what he's really getting at. So, so screenplay is like a book with like specific, specific instructions for like how things look. Um, I'm sorry, just saying that out loud. Probably know what that is, but I, I think the way to really get something across is like what science fiction does, uh, science fiction creates worlds that don't exist. And then it literally influences the way technology is developed. Like you have futurists, you have uh, oh, there's so many smart people like Neil Stevenson is a good example. Um, like some of the stuff he like made up in his brain, other people took those ideas and then turned them into real things. So I think one way it it's much more nebulous than like telling somebody to build something, but one way to create a new product or a new world is to build it out in fiction and then let people kind of interpret it. Um, so, and I know that's somewhat amorphous, but uh, I think that is a tool that is useful as a good, as a good story. Creator can create a world that other people can then join with their imagination. So anyway, thank you. Yeah. The film.
Speaker 4: Um, yeah. I, I also wanna throw in the, uh, the option of, um, using unreal engine to kind like render out frames. Um, you know, like it's, it's a free, um, tool that you can use up until you make a million dollars in sales, which, you know, by that point, who cares if you had to pay anything, but, um, so you can download this program. Um, you can run it at the, you know, super basic settings and um, I mean we're doing a lot of virtual production stuff and it's just so easy to just, you know, like screenshot, whatever you're working on and sending it to them that way, or, or even finding, uh, images for reference, you know, like in the marketplace or in, in, um, you know, like asset marketplaces where you can just find, you know, like if you're looking for, uh, like a Roman palace, like you're, you're, um, able to, you know, just like go Google that on the marketplace and uh, you know, share visuals that way.
Speaker 4: Um, I, I think it's, it's a really powerful way to kind of like get familiar with, uh, a technology that's gonna be a big part of, of storytelling down the road. I think that, uh, virtual production, um, you know, is getting better and better with unreal engines. So the more familiar people can get with that software, even though it's, it's a little daunting in the beginning, but once you get, uh, familiar with it, then it's just gonna be a huge asset, um, to be able to speak at a, both a technical and, you know, creative level. I mean, you you're able to both show people what you mean. Um, and, and you're like, you, you have such a good, uh, understanding of what it is that they need to do that you'll also be able to give better instructions. I think
Speaker 11: I, I just wanna pick up on something that, that Jennifer was saying, um, in, in terms of, you know, uh, this Thursday afternoon session or evening session, I know it is,
Speaker 3: You, you know, Marty, um, I think that, uh, you mentioned that the Jennifer also like the gap between creatives and technicals. I think like what the film brought up is things like under engine five, but then you also include things like, uh, social media filters, what that represents if you extrapolate that technology and make it, you know, more powerful, bigger. So that's basically, you can make a new world on your phone, right. You can make some new imaginary setting, but all that technology combined. So all that technology is web three and then you bring in the creatives and you make it easier for creatives to create digital things. Right. So new fictional world. Um, yeah, I think it's, it's headed that direction slowly. We're fast. Depends on how you look at it, I guess, but it's, uh, it's pretty cool to think about how one day I can make a movie, even though I can't code or, you know, I have no idea what I'm doing, so, but it'll be easier.
Speaker 1: Yeah. Just wanna, um, jump on and read or, or what Marty said. Yeah. I would love to see everyone come back Thursday and continue the conversation and, uh, respecting Doug's time. It is almost midnight there. Um, kind of want to bring this, uh, great conversation to, to a close in the next five minutes. So, um, any last questions or thoughts from our speakers before? Um, we give Doug a final word. Okay. Well, thanks everybody for joining Doug. Any, any, any final thoughts? I mean, we'll, we'll talk again for sure. But, um, any final thoughts for this evening's call?
Speaker 2: This has been really invigorating. I don't know. I just have loved the love, the discussion. I mean, I'm, I'm really, um, I hope you guys do take some time to join us in Epicor. Um, I just think it's a great story, but, but B you know, we're really trying to figure out the tools of storytelling. Like what are the tools that we need to make some of this stuff happen? And I love that this is really this conversation to me is just proof that story, the story prima do is needed. So I'm glad to be part of that as well. Cheers.