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As technologies emerge that make shift perspective, making a viewer feel like they're somewhere, letting one shift perspectives, story forms and conventions will change as well. at RYOT we're interested in how to play with these to compel people to take action in their world for good.
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home landmark only a few changes
and both the wonderful
but good morning I'm very
excited to be here today but my body's convinced it's still 3 AM and last until so if I yon excuse me so it's been a long couple weeks on that so as this in mind landscape and the CEO of by what is now called Huffington Post right we're acquired a couple weeks ago by having imposed well which I'll talk about a little bit but I want to start 1st by talking about a story but that kind of spurred me to keep doing the work that we're doing explains a little bit about what right does and why we do what we do so I graduated college which is now quite a while ago and I had no idea what I was doing I I had about 10 different jobs thing as a moving man a ranch hand good mexican food I was like a bad poet and a lot of things that were not very interesting and never really stuck and 2007 came across a in the United States and old professor from college decided to run for president which was broke obama as a guide to try my hand at this the sounds kind of interesting they hopped on the Obama campaign no idea what was what I was
doing and kind of as my mom job the time it's kind of like joining the circus way this kind of show up and do all these different things and it was it was an experience was it was fun and it didn't really I get to me until a certain point where I was in Texas was in Houston Texas and in this town called Tyler Texas and we were having the primaries
and caucuses there and a long story short this woman came and who had never voted before never participated in an election and she came and said I wanna help like OK great like you
can make some phone calls you can you show up here and and do that and use it OK she came back the next is the wells 21 go great you can go knock on some doors and talk to voters and she came back every day for a couple weeks and this kept asking to do more
and more and it turns out she was you know a single mom I think you 3 kids she was working at a fast food restaurant to pay your bills you know barely surviving and use taking all her free
time to come and and do this and to participate in in the selection and it turned out he ended up being what you know going in kind of helping run this voting site and in the US so we have these kind strange primary talker selection things that and I'm sure some of you know about where sometimes you going to vote and sometimes you go like sit in a
room like this and literally move around which way you're going like through voting for Hillary Clinton you're there British centers instead there and
this woman ended up in this tiny Baptist
Church airman was like up this little dirt road outside of town and she called me from the cock site and said they're trying to steal the election you talk about events elections like no no like they're they're like they're they're changing the rules are saying we don't have more there's like 40 of Austin like 4 of them but they're cheating and so were doing a set and it was as crazy as a OK I'll get in the car I drove out there and I walked in this
tiny southern church in the middle of the woods and there were like literally you know 45 African Americans sitting on the ground with their arms linked just refusing to let the but
coccus go forward and there's a like for older white people sitting over there being non no we're doing it a flat and I remember I walked up to her and she said no the rules here say that if we we have more we can keep going in there so called please the saying yourself like if these are right right as I had to that OK and she stood up and she said no we're doing this and from that moment seeing
the power that that a little bit of information so change someone's how they saw their role I was a comedy this forever and some of the political organizer this is amazing so I tell that story to start off a little bit
by talking what right does so where an immersive media company we make documentary films we run a news website and then we've branched out during the doing a lot of virtual reality in 360 video and we do it because not because we think like the content matters to us and we're very interested in the content in and of itself or also doing it directly activate change and we're started by humanitarians full of organizers were not really journalists in the traditional sense were folks who decided that there has to be a new language and a new way to tell stories that activates people a change that makes them actually feel empowered as opposed to disempowered and I think you can spend a lot of time reading the news minimum each of the 11 but not really knowing what you can do to help what you can do to help change the world or participate in it and we're really inspired by this them OK quote which is the right of the language of the unheard this notion that when there's no other way to actually get your your voice out there you have to start a riot and so that's what we've done
so what right does is we're trying to change both both kind of how you change stories how news is told what's considered important and we spent a lot of time in the past couple years working on who's actually getting to tell the stories and so for us that means making sure getting cameras in the hands of people all over the world who want traditional ones were telling stories and so we talk about about is like fewer people like me making films and more people like
these from Alaska Natives who we gave an iPhone to and said make film we've made foot 5 6 films all based on iPhones
we have 30 40 filmmakers the world who which is equipped with these little tiny iPhones throughout the shooting their experiences what they're doing and I think what what's important us is this again
it's who gets to tell the stories and that the changes is is both who's making them who's telling what those stories are and making sure that there always humanized right there's there's a lot there's all these stories out there
and he it's so easy to get stuck on the stories that are kind of these big numbers of things and these big world issues and we always focus on those the human level of like as a human person the person what story can you
tell that does that with a film last year that was nominated for an Academy Award about this wonderful Montgomerie who was found on the body for a viewable outbreak and for us it was again can you tell a story that's just about her and her experience and and what what is that what like and I think the other thing is like learning learning to listen as well so it in education and in how
were choosing to say what stories matter and how they matter and learning to listen to different stories because the conventions of how a telling stories and this is certainly for 360 in the ah like were used to certain stories the PAC is a certain way that look a certain way and I think the more we've worked with filmmakers and journalists around the world it's actually learning to bend ourselves in the more comfortable saying all their their way of telling a story is just as important even if it looks different and so with that we get into what were very excited about which is like the democratization of all
that's the idea that a cell phone I mean this this kid sitting here with a cell phone has the power to publish has the power to take images to make
films to talk to the whole world and a few years ago didn't have that and said suddenly that cell phone is as powerful as the newsstand was a decade ago or 5 years ago and you can sit there and you can be in the middle of anyone the world in going the Facebook alive and suddenly talk to people and that's really exciting and the technology to do that is very exciting and the technology to do that with 360 in virtual reality also very exciting we for a long time wanted to shoot in the R and were able to because the cameras were incredibly both union have a camera operator and were kind of in incredibly cheap and send out these tiny crews of 1 or 2
people and last year
finally you know they started making these go
prose that were in 3 D printed cases and we took 1 Paul the day after the earthquake and made 1 of our 1st pieces that and again with
that it's a bit the democratization of who's going to be able to tell the stories and how do you get up and do that and
so what what where we would we get excited about this is that anyone can do it yeah those that barrier entry is removed from and and it's yet and so this brings us
to some yeah the 360 in our doing that we raise 3 success said partially because again these tools and the technology is exciting I get excited by it finally geek out on it is not nearly as schools how choosing to use these tools and I think for us the big thing and what we focus on going forward is it's great these things exist but we actually responsibility of how we're using them and how we choose to use them
and all of these tools aren't necessarily inherently good you know these new cameras in the new iPhone is like it's it's neat in and of itself but are we saying and we demanding that the stories were telling me you were creating the content that we're making actually from has this has that has a right to say we we needed to be more important and by that it's like it's not window dressing I think a lot of times people say 0 you guys are the good space you make stuff that's like you feel good or you making it for an NGO or working with an NGO and and I think it's it's more important a step back and say there's a real need that we're doing this and it's not it's not this kind of fluffy at the and actually when you look at the world you have the biggest issues we have whether it's the refugee crisis whether it's climate change the ability to connect people and tell the stories and have people kind of lower the gods is what I think is going to help save us and help move us forward as a planet and without
doing that it's very easy to have the same old story lines in the same barriers pop up but that make it really hard to engage with people and get to know them it's very hard the kind
of look at someone we've seen for 20 minutes of film or you could spend a day or the day with in a virtual reality space watching a young girl go to school seeing what it takes to actually make it you know walk 5 miles to school each day to not kind of open your heart to them and and feel the compassionate to them and so then they talk about that thought about empathy this is a film we made up of about wonderful woman what
is a climber in the Paul also on iPhone and and it's to the idea that she's able to were able to tell stories on iPhones in ways that you used to take 20 40 200 thousand dollars of equipment and to do this is a film we made in Aleppo so we took over 360 camera on the end of a very brave journalist and he went to a level last year and kind of film what it was like to really be in
Syria to see what it's like to be on the streets as the kind of countries destroyed around you 360 in the ah I think you know and there's a lot of excitement about it we focused hugely on making a ton of it some of it's good some of it's not so good you know you try your best arm and make we can but the ideas you know both they can get you there and shift your perspective on and I think for us it's also very important that that if it is still an evolving story fuel but so given the so and a kid and it can in a chain could get it gets you there the best
it's it's also an and something we've we're pushing hugely on now is it's not just about the headset experiences for us the headset is an amazing experience it's very interesting I love it but it's also what you can do on your phone and I think that a mobile-first approach to 360 Video is incredibly important because all of you imagine have cell phones your pockets that are all now 360 uh enabled and we can be out a mass audience and distributed and even 6 months ago that wasn't true but now a Facebook 360 and YouTube 360 it's there and we all have the power to do
that and so they're getting people to these places whether to disaster zones to war zones is now easier and you can actually take
people there you can show the most stories and it's critical that we start to do that more and more as the stuff pops this is my friend may by he's a really good guy on and this is actually a a few hours
after I met him from I was in the UK Serbia Croatia last fall doing reporting on the refugee crisis in their higher and that's his
cousin Mohammed that solid they are all Syrian refugees who were walking across the border and before they're settled in Vienna and I handed him
that I iPhone and I was like a you know you can play with this and 5 months later my heart has made a whole document kept the iPhone you he recorded something like you know like 300 hours of his life and their life as they settle in Vienna from getting the residency cards to cooking an omelet to to getting their hair cut
this kind of very intimate portrait of of what it was like to settle down is 25 26 years old 1 of millions but
someone who was able through just of you just having a phone axis that to tell his own
story from and uh and I think speaks to what we're talking about the power of democratization it's getting these tools in the right hands of deciding what what what what's important so his film is almost done it's coming out in in a few weeks very exciting and but it's simply as simple as that but this
is the ball and again when you talk about getting people to a site on this is 360 film and saying we made their what's it like to be in a disaster zone if if we were thinking and and this is again where I get back to where it started with the notion of participation were not were were were our whole thing is were kind of activists
uh I use that term lightly but like we want people to take action i don't we I don't want someone just to say 0 I read that article that was really interesting or even to say 0 I
experience that I have empathy for them and if he is is is a wonderful thing in a wonderful feeling but it's not actually going to get us where we need to go we need people to take certain kinds of actions and so with something like this
and taking people to the ball the goal is both to have them have that reaction have an emotional connection and also to do something with it taking up the wall in making a donation for sharing it so that other folks can see it for choosing to do something in their hometown of that involves being active all of the content we create is meant to take it further that next step from as opposed to just the way and that's not enough this is the film that we made in Alaska with the Sierra
Club that's about climate change parliament and the whole idea is is you know can you see these classes can you experience what it's like to be standing
as his greatest received and then can you do something about it can you actually say there's no that there's something I can do and I have a clear ask and I know what that looks like and then as a wrap useful taking questions on this is a bunch of stuff I wanna talk a bit about as I wrap of like the notion of content living everywhere and our whole idea and was
part of what we're doing itself of having a post is this notion that because we because were there and the way we think about ourselves whether it's right or wrong I don't know it's like that were making
stuff that was is trying to get people to to do things we want to be everywhere we want to be ubiquitous we wanna be on every platform and the platform a gnostic and and the more eyeballs
the better but we think of a kind of is like you were infiltrating you know it's like if you can make it palatable last and make a cool enough looking at then all of a sudden you can kind of be comfortable in people's living rooms and on the cell phones of people around the world and so that is our goal going forward of more action more content that kind of makes you feel certain way made by more people and truly democratized in the sense that there shouldn't be so many gatekeepers saying this
counts in this doesn't count for this is film is worthy of this because the chart on this those rules kind of should apply anymore and if some young kids in Haiti or 1 can have a 400 dollar Rico theta handheld 360 they're going to make a film is just as good as what we can make right now and let someone else than a million dollars to make and having a way to get that out to the world is actually the important steps
so with that I think of the questions if there are any would be great the FIL B I had no think you I remain in the here and to climb um documentary producer and I have 2 questions actually 1 is how long are films that you're making and 2nd to there have been like many doll collapse where there's immersive soul rooms and yeah and my experience is that the documentary film-making it's more about the stories stand and an immersive and film-making is rather about the immersion so at the end of the day it's about this story
on kitchen comment and then yeah I think I will try to but I think in terms of our the documentaries that we make will the bilinear docs not the 360 were chirality ones we make we we make all sorts we make you know full length feature ones we
are a sweet spot actually tends to be about 10 to 20 minutes and and we're we're very big with very short documentaries because we think that that you can make them you can you can make 20 of them in the time it takes to make 1 feature it's not saying that but that's better I think for us to just 6 more with what were
excited about and and works I think in terms of the immersive stuff I do I wanna because like we see that the technology of 360 of R is interesting but like as soon as a are gets better alike will be telling stories with that so the 2 year point is about the ability to tell stories in new ways that is exciting thing to us more than the technology in and of itself but and I think that you know the the fun part is it's not it's not written yet you know who's that you know I saw a film that some friends made recently in in in Burma Myanmar but that wasn't the yard that to me was the best documentary I've seen in 360 because of some things
they were doing it's enough it's a wide open field no ones like the you cracked it's fun to
wake up every day and get to try to be part of you know a bigger group of people all of the world's writing this language and but there's a lot of room to experiment and the the story still have to matter I think that you don't get that feeling just the if they're just kind of poverty porn or disaster porn postcards it's not eliciting the same response if actually telling a story that's deeper and that's the challenge in making any kind of content the fact that you're making it something real that's valuable that's nutritious that's not just candy I think it goes both ways whether making an action film we're making a documentary thank you
very interesting what you doing now 1
question how do you find your audience I understand you not in the business of doing viral videos so and the topics are quite have so how do you find the audience is right such a strong label that everybody wants to see the new riot documentary
on our arm yeah where do they come from that's a great question but I think you know we spend we spend a few years building up around audio
so we have a distributed model between our website our Facebook ever to go on Facebook and like a story publish a lot of things and you to what have you own so we really work to build up that Brandon and and that thing in this next phase we were excited that with Huffington Post and as kind of partnering up with them is that we're going to be able to use their audience and their broad reach as well as a wells to get these stories out I think it's also like we trying to tell the stories in a way that it is heavy stuff but making it palatable and digestable so it's not viral from all that we've done you dig to build our audience we certainly made our fair share of like horrible viral content of which were now happily not doing that but it's like everyone else there's a fight and how do you do it and how that how gets out there I think we were really we've been excited to see those platform Justin with 360 but there's a lot of
room out there for just for content creators and and there there is enough content yet that's happening in the 360 VR space at the at that kind of 360 Video level so there's an appetite for just great I but and I wonder and what what what type
of revenue streams to you have what you would you wanna tell us something about huge have stream is that have advertising play a role or do you focus on selling the things to that and if the latter which that once would that be just eat their 0 yes so what we have in terms revenues we have a creative a creative brain studio
and so whether it's a non-profit and earn an NGO that we work with or a different brand we make stuff for them and that keeps the lights on sometimes and and yet so it's it's less advertising I think when we see especially as it's gone to the distributed model with needing to publish on snapped at Newton published here and there but it makes more
sense to make that stuff and and and then use the money to tell stories like that we want and
I I I I I was wondering to what percentage of or to what degree the
people who recorded stuff all of the other to which degree there are included
in the final product of the movies cost for now I'm understanding that some
body and the naipaul the courts that and sensor material what you guys and your editor team basically makes a movie out of it so down all much of these people involved in the final product but it depends what some of them some of the stuff that people are shooting at an editing and sending it to us and we and package adjusted is on the kind of film some of that like with may ha if you asked him he has tons of notes every day about what gets in and what doesn't get in and they also have the ability of with a lot of the folks in a different way they choose when they turn the camera off you know you can work with them you can work to reduce it but it there's there's a nice line there and we spend a lot of time making sure that it's not just the content has a certain appeal to it but how we make it matters as a kind of form social practice where there were were there on the ground or going into a place to do it so much of making stuff like this can be feel very extractive and we work really hard to make sure that were not operating like that but it completely depends on the project and I think that 1 of the things we're excited right now were were building
up is really making sure you know really working around the world to build up a large network of 360 shooters part to tell news tell quickly that's a very
360 operators of the complexity of and that's very exciting us because we know that gets really quick earlier and make it but also like any freelance network you know we're we're going to shake some of it and like as I said they were biased we have opinions were pushing an agenda like very much so we we don't we don't play by that we don't we don't have the same standard rules of journalism like we decided and not to those are wrong for us but we're trying to accomplish something and were very clear effect that were printed of
aluminum small and I'm very much into new media and new forms of
journalism but the and I'm I'm almost have no word about right the fall but I I know I've read a lot of times Huffington Post yeah I read and don't do it anymore because I'm I'm curious about the but of I've really um may old-fashioned view of the of of being a journalist and um could you comment on how you see yourself in the Role of someone who is responsible was not only telling stories but who's responsible on how uh you'll stories of the stories you publish the food and have an impact on the society I hope this would this clear what my questions some I will try to answer that I and I mean I think making anything or existing in the world you have responsibility of of kind of how your actions and who you are ripple throughout the world so part of that is at the end of the day a personal set of values that you that you govern your actions by whether you're baking cakes for your a school teacher or a cab driver there's some responsibility I think in media there's certainly more and if you're trying to push things out but yeah I mean I think that's where it lies select were upfront about what we're trying to accomplish you know if we're going out making a film about a bowl of and trying to raise money for an orphanage but were telling you what we're doing it's pretty it's pretty clear and pretty straightforward so responsibility I think you know it's both in the my criticism that you make in terms of making content what it looks like I don't think that In old-school journalism is necessarily and I don't mean this is a not it's always hard it's always and of the things we
beating up journalists and like this never the goal of like like that they make a lot of decisions they never recorded right if you're going to a story
there's all decisions they make getting up to the moment where they're interviewing somebody I think with documentary film which is mostly the kind of approach that we used versus traditional kind of news journalism there's you know there's more latitude to play with their but were not anymore yeah I don't think we have more responsibility than than they do so and events other miniature questionable all but I think any I think whatever you're doing it matters how you do it so you should be nice 2 people so will thank you very much thank if there's a
thank you the family in the