Planning for Animated VR - A Proposal for New Approaches in Screenwriting and Scene Construction - Hannes Rall
Virtual reality (VR) challenges the traditional cinematic approaches to screenwriting and storyboarding: in the fully immersive environment of VR the user can freely choose their point of view instead of being focused towards a single screen. This highly complicates the telling of a linear story and requires a modular and multi-layered approach in screenwriting that considers notions of non-linearity and interaction to support the communication of the narrative. In similar ways the classic form of storyboarding does not easily fit the requirements of planning for VR. The concept of framing is all but gone in VR because the spectator ‘becomes’ the camera and therefore the director does not have control over the composition of the image anymore. What are possibly new approaches that can replace or adapt the traditional concepts for VR? This presentation explores this question through the case study of ShakesVR – a VR adaptation of the major Shakespeare texts of Macbeth, The Tempest and A Midsummer Night’s Dream - carried out in close collaboration with the Shakespeare Institute in Stratford-upon-Avon, namely its director, Prof. Michael Dobson. The investigators experimented with a variety of methods that considered the specific requirements of VR for story development. In the end a hybridized approach emerged that merged several planning tools to achieve a satisfying outcome. The researchers hope to contribute towards the creative practice and scholarly investigation on VR storytelling. The research for this project is supported by the MOE Tier 2 Grant“From Print to Digital - Re-Defining Narrativity for Digital Interactive Media”.
Hannes Rall (aka Hans-Martin Rall) is a tenured Associate Professor at the School of Art, Design and Media at Nanyang Technological University Singapore and the Coordinator of the Digital Animation area. He is also a successful director of independent animated short films: his films, primarily animated adaptations of classic literature, have been shown at over 650 film-festivals worldwide and won 65 international awards. His conference presentations include FMX, ACM SIGGRAPH and the Annual Conferences of the Society for Animation Studies. In 2016 he was the Chair of the 28th Annual Conference of the Society for Animation Studies The Cosmos of Animation in Singapore. Hannes has published essays, articles, book chapters and books with renowned publishers like Routledge, UVK Verlag Konstanz and Julius Springer. His book Animation: From Concept to Production (CRC/Focal) was published in December 2017. Hannes is a member of the advisory board of the book-series Animation: Key Films/Filmmakers and the editorial board of the forthcoming book series Palgrave Animation. He has recently completed a script for an animated feature film adapted from the German national epic Die Nibelungen and is writing the book Adaptation for Animation: Transforming Literature Frame by Frame for Focal/CRC Press for a June 2019 publication date.