Get Ready to Connect
by Maria Elena Gutierrez
The world is experiencing a paradigm shift. In the wake of a global pandemic, we find ourselves living through a moment of transformation, a time of great change that forces us to ask a fundamental question: how do we communicate with our fellow human beings?
Nowhere is the process of change more evident than in the world of media and entertainment. For example, during the pandemic we all stopped going to cinemas and began subscribing to streaming services instead. Thank goodness the cinemas are bouncing back but there is no doubt that the entertainment landscape has changed forever.
A new landscape means new frontiers. A bonus of the streaming model is that it allows audiences to experience stories in completely new ways. At the same time it gives creators a broader canvas on which to tell stories that are complex and expansive. As a beautiful side-effect, this in turn helps to increase awareness of the importance of diversity and representation, so that we now see a greater variety of people and cultures represented on our screens than ever before.
We are also witnessing a new golden age of animation. By forming new alliances with studios and production partners, filmmakers are suddenly able to tell stories they could never have told before. The result is an explosion of new animated features and short films, with adult and experimental subjects on the rise alongside more conventional family fare.
This paradigm shift is not restricted to traditional storytelling. For many people, following a story-line means playing a computer game or plunging into an interactive experience. As such patterns of behavior continue to take hold, and as technology continues to advance, more and more people will choose to get their narrative kicks in cyberspace.
And the changes do not stop there. The virtual worlds in which people once gathered just to play games now play host to music concerts, product launches and so much more besides. A majority of young people now get their news through social media rather than traditional channels such as newspapers and television. Many people now consider a virtual space to be the ideal location in which to simply hang out with their friends.
A thousand different dimensions, all of them changing before our eyes, all of them gradually intersecting in what many people refer to as the Metaverse. Opinions differ about what the Metaverse will ultimately become, and how it might be constructed and managed. But the possibilities it offers may literally be endless.
What does all this mean for the creators of the future? The answer is simple. I believe there has never been a better time to embark on a career in animation, visual effects, game art, motion graphics, or any of the disciplines related to these highly creative endeavors. The recent boom in production has inevitably led to increased demand for talented artists in countless post-production and creative disciplines. There are even opportunities in the post-human arena of artificial intelligence, from which the most extraordinary ideas and images are beginning to emerge.
But this is not only about people getting jobs. New channels and new formats bring new opportunities for artists and creators to really spread their wings. In terms of creative thinking, the sky is now truly the limit.
So are we any nearer to answering the question I posed at the beginning? How do we communicate with our fellow human beings?
The answer is simple. We connect. This is what entertainment and media have always been about – forging a connection between the storyteller and the audience. Behind this fundamental exchange are the myriad connections between the artists who help bring the storyteller’s vision to life.
Never mind how these connections are made – whether you are making a Zoom call or sharing a coffee in Starbucks – the channel of communication is not important. This is a truth I have embraced in my role as director of VIEW Conference. While I am thrilled to be welcoming so many students, professionals and creative world leaders to Italy in person this year – and I am old-school enough to believe you cannot beat meeting people face-to-face! – I am also excited to open our doors to a global audience through our virtual offering.
Because what matters is that we are all ready to communicate. Ready to exchange ideas. Ready to share our dreams.
Ready to connect.
Dr. Maria Elena Gutierrez is the CEO and executive director of VIEW Conference, Italy’s premier annual digital media conference. She holds a Ph.D. from Stanford University and a B.A. from the University of California Santa Cruz. VIEW Conference is committed to bringing a diversity of voices to the forefront in animation, visual effects, and games. For more information about VIEW Conference 2022 program of events, visit our website: https://www.viewconfe