Scripting the virtual: Formats and development paths for recent australian narrative 360-degree virtual reality projects
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Since around 2015, an abundance of cinematic, short narrative virtual reality (VR) projects utilizing an immersive 360-degree format have emerged at film festivals around the world and on online platforms. While this medium is one that is increasingly being adopted by established, traditional 2D filmmakers, the specificity of the form gives rise to a number of challenges for the screenwriter when considering screen grammar, script formats and the writing process. This article begins to address a gap in knowledge in this area by reporting upon approaches to the script formats, development techniques and methods of collaboration utilized by three Australian practitioners working in this format. This research includes a study of the physical expression of a screen idea (recorded on the page or elsewhere) and an exploration of the working conditions within which these ideas are shaped to provide some insight into emerging practices. I draw upon detailed interviews with the three practitioners, and in doing so, I open up a discussion on how their approaches to 360-degree VR differ from traditional forms of screenplay writing.
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