The Digital Hollywood Experience

The Digital Hollywood Experience


Morris May is the CEO and founder of Specular Theory, a Venice Beach, Calif.-based virtual reality content creation and technology lab. May has been a Hollywood visual effects expert for more than 25 years, working on 30+ films including two Academy Award winners: Spiderman II and Happy Feet. May is recognized as a leader in the VR community and received national media attention for his VR film “Perspective; Chapter 1: The Party” (by Morris May and Rose Troche), which premiered at Sundance 2015 and was one of the most talked-about virtual reality experiences of the festival. This year, May and Troche returned to Sundance as well as the Tribeca Film Festival with Perspective; Chapter 2: Misdemeanor, a relevant and timely look into interactions between police officers and citizens. Other recent work includes an eight episode 360 series for YouTube creator MatPat that invites fans to immerse themselves in the real-world environments of eight hit video games. May has been selected to speak on virtual reality panels for a number of top industry events including SXSW, TEDx, Silicon Beach Fest, CES, Digital Hollywood, Silicon Valley VR Expo and IDEAS Los Angeles.


Tim Dillon, Executive Producer- VR, MPC: Tim Dillon is Executive Producer of MPC’s dedicated VR team, leading a group focused on the exploration of immersive storytelling across media categories and industries, including feature films, advertising, architecture, entertainment content and experiential event production. A go-to talent for cross-platform pro- jects, he’s overseen many innovative projects produced under the banner of MPC Creative, MPC’s content production divisions. In his role as executive producer he has covered numerous immersive experiences and installations. A veteran interactive designer with deep roots in digital media, Tim joined MPC after a four-year run as senior producer at Nexus Interactive Arts in London, where he worked with some of the best interactive creative, technical and pro- duction talent in Europe to build and extend the studio’s capabilities. During his tenure he helped shape the Nexus interactive portfolio and pushed the scope of innovative projects, focusing on narrative-driven technology in installations, events, digital, film and design. Tim has been a key player in some of MPC’s most notable VR projects. Most recently he helped lead the team that produced the VR experience for the Ridley Scott film The Martian, due out later this year. He was also part of the VR team at MPC that produced a major launch film for the electric vehicle company Faraday Future, which debuted at CES in January, as well as the ‘Goosebumps VR Adventure’ experience starring Jack Black, which accompa- nied Sony Pictures’ box office hit Goosebumps. Other notable VR work Tim has helped spearhead for MPC includes the Ocu- lus short “Introduction to VR” for the Samsung Gear VR and an ambitious piece produced for Apple Music and U2, in collaboration with director Chris Milk and Vrse, that takes viewers on a 360-degree tour of concert venues as they watched the band perform Song for Someone. MPC also collaborated with director Guy Shelmerdine on Vrse’s horror VR short film Catatonic, which premiered at SXSW, and produced Chrysler’s Beneath the Surface, which launched at the Los Angeles Auto Show in 2014. A vocal advocate for the emotional and experiential power of Virtual Reality, Tim has appeared on VR-related panels at such venues as Sundance, SXSW and the NAB Show. And, in collaboration with the artists, producers and tech- nologists at MPC, he’s adept at counseling clients – be they advertisers, media companies or filmmakers – on the creative and technical demands of working in the new medium.


Michael Conelly is the President & Creative Director of Blackthorn Media: A former Digital FX Supervisor, his characters have grossed over two billion dollars at the world-wide box office. Michael’s last film was nominated for a VFX Oscar. A prolific author, designer, and inventor and the creator of the VR sensation The Abbot’s Book. The future of The Abbot’s Book is now very exciting for Award-winning VFX artist Michael Connelly and his team at Blackthorn Media. The Abbot's Book was selected as a participant at the New Frontier program at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. The original VR offering hints at a massive gothic fantasy to come, with episodes planned from 2016-2019. The serial tells the tale of four generations of an Italian noble family, cursed by the corrupting power of an ancient book unearthed from the catacombs beneath their estate. Rich with traditional gothic-inspired mythology, the story follows a scion of this cursed family attempting to shield his heirs from inevitable darkness. British stage actor and multi-talented Hollywood thespian, JB Blanc voices multiple roles As VR will be finding its legs as a mass market medium is confident that they are on the ground floor of the next phenomena in Film. Fantastic image quality will be possible in fully head-mounted displays, with no wires running everywhere.  The image quality will improve dramatically - we'll see light field technology which brings organic depth of field to the VR experience - we'll see a melding of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality - we'll see some wonderful examples of VR as a sustained entertainment experience, adopted by the mass market.  We hope to be leading that charge with The Abbot’s Book. Michael Connelly wrote the original story of the Abbot's Book back in 1989 and have been working on it here and there ever since. He's designed the world, and expanded the concepts into an episodic format and written the treatment for that expansion, and he’s overseeing every aspect of the project's development.  He ordered the original development kit from Oculus when it first shipped back in 2013 and he has working with the technology ever since.  When he founded Blackthorn back in 2013 it was immediately clear that VR was going to play a huge role in the company's future. Connelly is also largely responsible for the look of the finished product, lighting the environments, and making sure the game engine runs smoothly while displaying the highest quality imagery that the filmmakers can put into it. Prior to founding Blackthorn, Connelly was the Digital Effects Supervisor for the movie Snow White and the Huntsman, where his work garnered an Oscar nomination.


TOM WRIGHT, Founder at Tactic. Managing Director at Ntropic: As a founder of Tactic and Managing Director of Ntropic, Tom is responsible for strategic direction, growth and development of the creative production offering across offices in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles. At Tactic, a creative technology studio focused on augmented and VR experiences, real-time visualization, engine-based creative executions, Tom marries the ad world, the brand world, and high-end content with technology and invention. Tom came to Tactic and Ntropic from a role as SVP, Director of Integrated Production at wofifteenmccann, where he led production on Xbox platform and game title work, as well as work across media on brands including HP, The Coca Cola Company, Help Remedies, Under Armour and Annie's foods. In addition to twofifteenmccann, Tom has held Executive Producer or Director of Production roles with Cutwater, Rabbit Content, and Publicis & Hal Riney. During his career, Tom has worked on brands as diverse as Jeep, Nike, Xbox, the Halo franchise, Ford, Sprint, Apple, Amazon, Ray Ban, Brand Jordan and MTV. His His digital and traditional work has been honored by the Cannes Cyber Lions and Film Lions, The FWA, FWA Mobile, the One Show, One Show Entertainment, D&AD, AICP, and the TED Conference.


Jeff Nicholas, EVP, Strategy, Creative & Growth, and EP & Director, VEHICLEvr: Jeff Nicholas - principal of VR creative consultancy and production company CREATE+DESTROY - is an award winning Creative Producer and Director with a passion for creating compelling and engaging VR content. Since the new cycle of high-end VR and 360° content creation emerged in 2014, Jeff’s focus has been primarily on creating these experiences and pushing the boundaries of VR/360° production through original and branded content experiences. These pieces have been developed and released with partners and collaborators such as CBS, Mike Shinoda/Fort Minor, WEVR, Kenan Thompson, Ford Performance, Hoonigan Racing, Budweiser, Hulu, RAIN Agency, Live Nation, VEHICLEvr, A World At School, and a variety of others. Outside of VR content creation, he is most well-known for his work producing, directing and collaborating on a wide array of creative experiences - from music videos, commercials and original content to design, digital and experiential campaigns - for top-level agencies, brands, studios, promoters, labels and artists such as Rihanna, Dreamworks, Justin Timberlake, Bud Light Platinum, Shakira, Apple Music, Jason Mraz, Beats By Dr Dre, Linkin Park, AKQA, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Sony, Foo Fighters, Nixon Watches, Beastie Boys, and many more.

Wednesday, October 19th, 2016

2:30 PM – 3:30 PM - The VR - AR - Immersive Track

Session I: Herscher Hall, Guerin A, Live Webcast from this Room

The VR-AR-Immersive - Innovators & Disruptors - Entertainment, Technology & Brand Vision

Tim Dillon, Executive Producer, MPC VR

Jeff Nicholas, EP, Creative Director, CREATE+DESTROY

Tom Wright, founder of Tactic and Managing Director, Ntropic

Michael Conelly, founder, Blackthorn Media

Morris May, founder/CTO, Specular Theory

Ben Reiss, Director of Business Development, Hologram USA

Micah Ainsley Brown, Chief Executive Officer, Filmfundr, Moderator


Micah Brown sits on the executive boards of two highly innovative companies in the entertainment space, specializing in social sentiment and virtual reality - Filmfundr & Rovido. Micah has worked as a senior level technology consultant in the insurance industry and has worked in commercial, retail and investment Banking at Barclays and within Media technology for Viacom and NBC previous to his current undertakings. "Basically, I challenge you - both people and companies - to explore what you do not know and achieve what do you not think you can with the knowledge of what you do know, all without the fear of failure, because I have failed so much that its made me successful, so surely if can succeed, so can you."