The CMW Digital Media Summit on Virtual and Other Realities | VR Life

The CMW Digital Media Summit on Virtual and Other Realities


The imminent influxes of different types of VR (Virtual Reality) experiences form one of the subject matter at the afternoon sittings of the Digital Media Summit that took place as part of the Canadian Music Week.

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A Toronto-based agency that won an Emmy for its Sleepy Hollow VR experience, Secret Location, contributed to the discourse while sharing some of the challenges it faced designing for a medium so new that there are little established conventions if any.

It is a common knowledge that VR has been faced with barrage of criticisms recently to the extent that people are thinking that it may be doomed permanently. However, the Secret Location presenters have a different thought and they were quick to point out that any new innovation will surely come with some budding pains. Just as the current cinematic experience did not come fully formed, so also today’s VR experiences can be likened to the Lumiere Brothers’ 1896 film of a train pulling into a station (which was exactly that – a film of a train arriving a station).

John Textor’s presentation also dwelled on VR alongside Augmented Reality (AR). Textor is an authority in the industry being the one responsible for resurrecting Tupac and Michael Jackson for the 2012 Coachella Festival and 2014 Billboard Music Awards respectively.

His opinion that as the technology advances and VR representations become more realistic, there may be the need to spend longer time outside of traditional reality, for it would be too disorienting and not sociable enough to do so now. AR, however, will soon be everywhere; with holographic representations moving from the territory of dead pop stars to hold more conventional roles like teacher and assistant (think Siri with a body).



The afternoon meeting was concluded with two very special sessions.


First, it was Jeffrey Hayzlett, exceptionally entertaining and overwhelming (he shouted non-stop for almost an hour on the topic of ‘Think Big, Act Bigger,’ and I was in the front row). By doing this, Haylett was challenging the contemporary expression of ‘Fail fast’ displaying a bold declaration ‘Failing’s for losers’. In his presentation, he dwelled on five causes of organizations’ failures, drawing support from a different tales from corporate America.

If you do not feel comfortable listening to a white male business executive showing you how to succeed, then, the session on Youtube and Branded Content might catch your attention. Two YouTube stars, Sara Lynn Cauchon and Jasmeet Singh, shared their behind-the-scenes secrets, from the money they make ($5,000-$30,000 per video in partnership payments) through how they decide their partners (alignment between partner and personal brands) to how many partnership offers they get per day (three or more).

Cauchon and Singh believe it is important to integrate partnered content in a way that brings inquisitiveness around an idea or experience, instead of simply ‘advertising’ a brand name. They both cherished intimate relationships with their audiences, and would hate doing anything to endanger the genuineness of that bond.

All sessions exhibit unique excitements.  Interestingly, the young startups (Secret Location, Youtubers) and the older experts (John Textor, Jeffrey Hayzlett) were charitable in the way they share their knowledge and experience to the extent they left the audience more curious than ever about the digital future.

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