Frank Rose on Immersive Media

Frank Rose's book, The Art of Immersion, is a must read for 21st century filmmakers.

Even if you're not a filmmaker, and you're just curious about the new tools that storytellers are using to make and market their 21st century projects, Frank's writing about how brands and authors are building immersive worlds is deeply compelling.

If the video (above) has you intrigued, and you want more of the essential insights that Frank Rose is sharing, you might want to take a look at Frank Rose's February 9th, 2015 post to Strategy&.

In that piece, Frank Rose starts with a marketing case study - How every decision made by the creators of Kate Spade Handbags was anchored in an immersive strategy:

"Every decision they made—where to open their first store (downtown Manhattan, in SoHo, in 1996), what color soap to put in the bathrooms, whether to just sell handbags or to also sell flowers in the shop—was part of this story. “It was about this world we were creating, which was about graciousness,” Andy Spade told Inc. magazine in 2013. 'We built it around Kate’s personality.'"

As Frank Rose notes, Kate Spade was not the first brand to realize that an all-encompassing approach to marketing messages, the retail experience and product design could pay-off in sales and loyalty (Frank Rose mentions Apple, Ralph Lauren and Nike as other fine examples). But keep reading. Even in this short blogpost, for Strategy&, Frank Rose examines how creating a successful immersive experience may require a new approach to producing.

As anyone who has tried knows, creating a fictional world is not easy. Just making a short film, a live theater piece, a watercolor illustration of a fantasy world or styling a simple magazine ad can trip up an inexperienced, inattentive or unlucky storyteller. The challenges of creating an experience that works across multiple platforms - the techniques and tools for creating immersive experiences - are often orders of magnitude more complex than what we knew as Old World storytellers. And the techniques for immersive storytelling are still poorly understood.

If immersion is the experience of losing oneself in a fictional world, the ability to create a consistent fictional world that works on mobile device screens, movie screens, and in the real world of stores and marketing messages etc., and that invites immersion...? 

Being an immersive storyteller is hard. It requires a new approach and a skill set that very few schools are teaching. (Is your film school preparing you for this New World?)

In his blogpost, Frank Rose quotes Avatar-creator James Cameron and numerous scientists who are exploring the psychological and neurological reactions to stories. 

Immersion is a fascinating human experience - but how many producers are prepared to create immersive experiences?

The work that Frank Rose is doing is foundational. In my view it is essential for 21st filmmakers (and other storytellers) to understand. 

The techniques available to us to help our audiences to immerse themselves in our stories can be learned. There is still a lot of room for art - but the craft of immersive storytelling is something that can be practiced and improved upon.

We all want "leave our day-to-day existence behind when we enter a story" - Frank Rose is helping storytellers to understand how we can do that.

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