What I have learned in the past six months doing virtual reality demos is that doing them well is an art form. When I initially started demoing “I Am You”, I really hated it. The interaction between each person felt really awkward and I wasn’t prepared for the bombardment of questions like,
Is the film in 360 degrees?
What kind of cameras did you use?
What made you even attempt to make a film in virtual reality?
However, when I look back now I feel much more confident and below are some of the the reasons why.
1. It’s a Big Opportunity to Meet Your Audience
Watching a film in VR is a very personal experience. Each person watches the film individually, so what that means is you get two chances to converse with each person, before and after they watch the film. This type of interaction is certainly rare for the average independent filmmaker.
2. You Get to Work on Your Sales Skills
Usually you will be demoing at an event where there are other content creators demoing their experiences, so when people walk by this is an opportunity to engage with them. It doesn’t take a lot for people to want to watch your content, but you would be surprised how many people will just walk by if you don’t engage with them first.
3. You Get to Work on Overcoming Your Shyness
Trust me, this one’s a big one for me as I had to figure out how to come out of my introverted shell and interact with people. Striking up casual conversation is not my forte, but when someone is waiting in line to watch your film for ten minutes, you figure out pretty quickly how to keep them engaged.
4. You Get Direct Feedback on Your Work
It my experience people get extremely honest about what they’ve seen in VR and as a result, you can see right away whether people enjoyed what you made or not. This is a good thing, because you can take away what worked and what didn’t from people’s reaction and then integrate that feedback directly into your next experience.
5. It’s Fun to Meet New People
It’s really hard to meet new people, but demoing my VR film gave me the opportunity to do just that. Not everyone you come across will be receptive to you, but you don’t know if you don’t try and it’s certainly been working for me.
VR demoing is certainly an art form and this was something that I clearly witnessed when I went to Oculus Connect this past September. The people who were assisting with the demos were friendly, helpful, and enthusiastic about VR. I think content creators need to be the same way as the energy they project on the viewer will resonate either positively or negatively on others, and my opinion will have a big impact on whether VR succeeds in the mainstream.
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