The Digital Hollywood Experience

The Digital Hollywood Experience


Tai Crosby is the founder and CEO of SilVR Thread, specializing in first-person POV virtual reality technology. With its patent-pending camera systems, SilVR Thread is pioneering POV VR to create learning and marketing experiences that trigger stronger, more meaningful, and more memorable emotional and physical reactions than standard virtual reality through the eyes of another person. The company is on a very specific path to create the best technology to capture and replay human experiences as well as transport you into the scene with human body awareness. /Under Tai’s leadership, SilVR Thread most recently created Lionsgate’s Nerve VR Experiences - which allow you to embody the stars’ characters in action scenes that transport you onto a skateboard tied to the back of a moving cop car, and onto a ladder suspended between two New York City buildings. The team is currently creating learning experiences targeting corporate training for Fortune 500 companies. Tai has most recently authored and co-authored op-eds in world-renown journals and magazines, including his latest in IEEE’s Consumer Electronics Magazine.


Albert “Skip” Rizzo received his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the State University of New York at Binghamton. He is the Director for Medical Virtual Reality at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies and has Research Professor appointments with the USC Dept. of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and at the USC Davis School of Gerontology. Dr. Rizzo conducts research on the design, development and evaluation of Virtual Reality (VR) systems targeting the areas of clinical assessment, treatment and rehabilitation. This work spans the domains of psychological, cognitive and motor functioning in both healthy and clinical populations. In the psychological domain, the Virtual Iraq/Afghanistan project has focused on the creation of a VR exposure therapy application for combat and military sexual trauma-related PTSD with OIF/OEF service members and veterans. This system, now available at 55 clinics, is now being retooled for a stress resilience/coping strategy-training application for use at prior to a combat deployment. His cognitive work has addressed the use of VR applications to test and train attention, memory, visuospatial abilities and executive function. In the motor domain, he has developed VR Game systems to address physical rehabilitation post stroke and Traumatic Brain Injury and for those aging with a disability. He is also involved with ICT collaborators in the creation of artificially intelligent virtual human patients that clinicians can use to practice skills required for challenging clinical interviews and diagnostic assessments (sexual assault, resistant patients, etc.) and for creating online virtual human healthcare guides for breaking down barriers to care in psychological health and TBI. He has also investigated the use of VR for pain distraction at LA Children’s Hospital and has conducted research on VR applications that use 360 Degree Panoramic video for role-playing applications (anger management, etc.), journalism studies and digital media art creation. In spite of the diversity of these areas of research and development, the common thread that drives all of these applications involves the study of how VR simulation technology can be usefully applied to serve the needs of clinical users in a manner that goes beyond what is available with traditional 20th Century tools and methods. In his spare time, he plays rugby, listens to music, rides his motorcycle and thinks about new ways that VR can have a positive impact on clinical care by dragging the field of psychology, kickin’ and screamin’ into the 21st Century.


Eric Gradman is the CTO of Two Bit Circus, a Los Angeles-based experiential entertainment company. Most recently the team launched STEAM Carnival, a modern re-imagining of the midway to inspire kids about science, technology, engineering, art and math. Previously he was the on-camera inventor for the ABC TV show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. Eric Gradman, Mad Inventor and engineer new forms of high-tech entertainment, from crazy physical games to augmented reality to immersive theater. He's been a circus performer, professional whistler, and roboticist.


Julian Sarmiento, Creative Director & VR Content Creator for Digital Domain:  Julian Sarmiento, Visual Effects and Special Projects Supervisor started his careers 15 years ago in the entertainment industry. Since then he has contributed in multiple areas of computer graphics to some of Hollywood biggest blockbusters. His work can be seen in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Terminator Salvation, Oscar winner- The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, National Treasure: Book of Secrets. Animated films: Beowulf, Monster House, The Polar Express, Oscar nominated- I, Robot and Gullermo Del Toro’s Pacific Rim to mention a few. His background as a technical creative artist has led him to some interesting roles in areas of technology and innovation. This worked as a perfect platform for his work in interactive media (VR / AR). For the last past  3 1/2 years he has been working at Guillermo Del Toro’s, creative production house Mirada Studios, where he had the chance to immerse himself  in the world of Virtual,  Augmented and Mixed reality while staying in the heart of Hollywood and true to Mirada’s story telling DNA. One of his major roles is to research, development and explore new technologies with interactive media in mind. Julian now calls Digital Domain home, as Creative Director & VR Content Creator/Director.


Lynn Rogoff is in the forefront of groundbreaking multimedia content. Rogoff works as a game producer, director, writer and professor. Rogoff, founder of, AMERIKIDS USA is launching our VR 3D Endanger! game series for Samsung VR, Open Source Virtual Reality (OSVR)/Google Cardboard/Mobile/ PC. Now you can take action by playing our Endanger! game to end Endangered Species from extinction. Endanger! is the first 3D VR/mobile/PC game to virtually and socially find & save endangered species and their habitats. Experience their habitat loss and poachers traps from the animal’s point of view, immersing in forests and jungles, around the planet. Presently, we are developing Save Edu the Elephant in VR;  Our mission is to engage young families in social media activism and branding while having fun with green planet issues. The GreenKids Media© Endanger! vision is on  Facebook, Flipboard, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, Tumbler and Linkedin. We design VR games that are both illuminating and entertaining, focusing on 36 endangered species, worldwide. AMERIKIDS USA® began GreenKids Media© to develop social media products and to design VR games  to focus on conservation, environmentalism and social media engagement, connecting gamers worldwide to make change. Dr .E.O Wilson and Dr. Stewart Pimm, renowned Conservation Scientists organization, Saving ( ), have partnered with us to enable citizen conservationists to become pro- active, globally. AMERIKIDS USA ( been in the game production business since the 1990's. We raised $1.5 million in 1996 to become the flagship product for the launch of McGraw Hill Home Interactive ( ). This game, Pony Express Rider ( ) won numerous awards ( ) and outstanding reviews.


Sun Jen Yung, Managing Director, Headwaters MB: Sun Jen Yung, Managing Director, joined Headwaters from Nightwood Capital LLC, a middle-market boutique advisory firm that she founded in 2009. Sun focuses on Digital Media & Internet and Media Growth companies. Her experience of 20 years in investment banking includes corporate finance coverage of Media (cable and entertainment), Digital Media, Internet and Software companies at Oppenheimer, Deutsche Bank , Lehman Brothers and J.P. Morgan. Sun also has experience in Equity Research at Lehman Brothers. She has completed over $38 billion in public (IPOs and follow-ons) and private equity, equity-linked and debt financings and M&A transactions. Sun serves on the Board of Directors for the YWCA of Greenwich (CT). She received B.A. degrees in Economics and International Studies at Macalester College in St. Paul, MN and an M.B.A. of Finance from Columbia Business School in New York.

Tuesday, October 18th, 2016

1:00 PM - 2:15 PM

Track II:  Ahmanson Hall, Live Webcast

Unlocking Intelligence: Education within Technology and Virtual Worlds - VR-AR-Immersive

Albert “Skip” Rizzo, Ph.D., Director, Medical Virtual Reality - Institute for Creative Technologies, USC

Ariella Lehrer, Ph.D., CEO and President, Legacy Interactive and Legacy Games

Eric Gradman, ‎Chief Technology Officer, Two Bit Circus

Julian Sarmiento, Creative Director & VR Content Creator, Digital Domain

Lynn Rogoff, founder, AMERIKIDS USA

Tai Crosby, Founder & CEO, SilVR Thread

Sun Jen Yung, Managing Director, Headwaters MB, Moderator

Ariella Lehrer, Ph.D., CEO and President, Legacy Interactive and Legacy Games" A well-known game industry veteran, Ariella has dedicated her career to creating unique interactive experiences that seek to expand the overall gaming market. Her growing portfolio of products has consistently engaged new game players, in particular women and children, for more than three decades. Lehrer currently serves as CEO of Legacy Games, which she founded in 1998. Located in Los Angeles, Legacy Games is best known for licensed games, including Tarzan, Criminal Minds, Law & Order, etc. Legacy has also developed four award-winning Crayola creativity apps, and is currently working on a Google Tango project with augmented reality. Lehrer has a PhD. in Cognitive Psychology from Claremont Graduate University.