ReelwUrld’s building blocks for the Metaverse, Investor Louie Nguyen, Netflix and Trying to Enter The Matrix

Netflix’s Money Heist Experience is a step toward the audience-led future of cinema ReelwUrld is building.

In the past few weeks since Facebook’s metaverse announcement, colleagues have been asking me about how ReelwUrld is connected to the metaverse. The Metaverse is a subject I’ve been planning on writing about for a long time. I aim to express a unique perspective that I hope will cut through the noise that any trend creates in the hearts and minds of the masses. Perhaps with the building blocks ReelwUrld is offering, entering the metaverse won’t feel like me banging my face as I attempt to enter The Matrix.

But first, here’s an quick synopsis of the last two weeks since we launched our equity crowdfunding campaign on wefunder.com/reelwurld:

  • We were interviewed by WeFunder investor and film producer Louie Nguyen. The video is at the top of our profile, which includes some great questions for us that will help any financial mind and entertainment executive see the bright future we’re building together.
  • In news about our first show produced with a community via our app, Justice For Hire:
  • A cosplayer announced to the world that JFH is “a total flex to a niche community”. If you’re not up on the latest lingo, that means we’re the coolest kids on our block. We’re going to apply our model to every niche fandom community. ALL OF THEM.
  • We sent boxes of goodies to each JFH Scene Remake Competitor courtesy of WarnerMedia’s Urban Action Showcase and they each made unboxing videos.
  • One of our top content creators came to film a short episode with us in LA. This shared experience is one that we will be expanding upon with our global community next year and beyond.
  • To that point, look how we catalyze story-driven content from our JFH community with the new Mission just released.
  • Further to that last point, take a look at the live narrative Money Heist experience Netflix just started and imagine how our app and production ecosystem will augment injecting the audience into a scene as characters.

Back to the metaverse. To frame where I’m coming from with ReelwUrld, I have something to confess. I don’t believe in “entertainment”. I believe in programming. Whether consciously chosen by us or unintentionally absorbed, I believe every one of us is brainwashed, it just depends on what you wash your brain with. I believe in the ultimate power of thought, and how word and deed must align with it to truly optimize a human, and thereby society. Hence, my work is focused on programming, starting with myself, on how to live my most authentic and most exciting story, and help others do the same.

Whether it’s the metaverse, NFTs, blockchain, etc., when something gains popularity, the noise around it increases, and lots of people get skewed ideas and make suboptimal decisions. All of the aforementioned achievements in technology come with them the unchanging reality that adoption takes time, and sometimes doesn’t happen on the scale that was claimed during moments of cultural fervor.

“The Godmother of Virtual Reality”, Nonny de la Peña, offered me a VR production deal in 2015. While the opportunity to work with her was a great honor, I politely turned it down.

Why?

Because all the hype around VR that year ignored the fact that VR had not evolved since the mid-90’s when I was a kid. There was NO REVOLUTION happening, because a revolution requires adoption BY THE PEOPLE. iPhone was a revolution because it added immediate value to our quality of life. Regular people didn’t see value in VR in their immediate future, so that wasn’t going anywhere fast. VR simply proceeds as it’s meant to, slowly but surely finding its way.

It’s important to remember, culture is cyclical, based on patterns we can observe to predict many aspects of the future. In media, often a celebrity or person of status excites a small group of people and then that expands out to the media machine amplifying a message. Sometimes that message sticks, especially when it activates our personal sense of narcissism.

Oftentimes, the media acts as the folks in Hollywood often act, which is to spin themselves on the narratives they’ve constructed for masses, limiting themselves to the extent of their own stories.

I like to call that “the high school effect”, because the pattern is a cliche of the cool kids in school and the rumors and stories around them.

Or, another way of putting it is that the inmates are also the prison guards.

When my dear buddy at a prestigious PR firm told me he’s betting all his chips on metaverse, I had a lot of feelings. Walking me through a space he just launched for one of the world’s biggest brands, I had to point out what I was seeing is something we’ve seen in culture for decades — that most “metaverse” experiences look like a 32-bit gaming console right now, and knowing some top players in the virtual meeting space, the tech is still far from having the average person actually care to bring it into their daily life.

Even watershed moments like Pokémon Go simply raise the bar after the novelty dissipates. Then the new standard has to be integrated in meaningful ways into all the things we already like to do as people.

Again, that’s why iPhone was a revolution.

I believe the metaverse, with all its hype, is a key component of our future, and will progress faster than VR (since it’s not limited to a headset experience), but it will still be in search of a watershed moment that perhaps none of the big players in the space have, not even Mark Zuckerberg.

I don’t NEED to be in the metaverse. I NEED to be a better person. I NEED you to be better too so the world can stop falling apart and start prospering.

The current pitch of the metaverse is a transfer of our current state to a virtual world state. With the excitement shown by many, the conversation often leaves out that the problems of our current world will be transferred over to the metaverse. I’m not the first to say this, but it was my first thought when the trend started bubbling.

My same PR buddy called film a 20th century art form (gasp!) to frame the metaverse as the next thing, and that kids will want to play more in the metaverse than in the real world.

Therein lay the challenge with the metaverse conversation.

The perception of what the metaverse is has been skewed.

If people knew what it was, the conversations would be more sober. There would be less extremes.

The metaverse can be a step toward balance, but to be that we must first look at the foundations that make us human. We must look at the mechanics of our stories.

Culture often overlooks the weight of the tools at hand. We must all look deeper into what we already have so we can truly use the shiny new things properly.

That means looking more deeply at:

  1. what we had
  2. what we have, and
  3. what we’re going to have.

Past, present, and future.

Movies are NOT used in the same way today as they were used 20 years ago.

Serialized mega-narratives such as the Marvel Cinematic Universe are what the youth and pop-culture flock to these days.

Stay with me here…

The most important components of mega-narratives are:

  1. Character growth.
  2. Diversity of characters and stories.
  3. Conscious Unity of all characters and stories within the framework of the mega-narrative.

It’s no surprise that the rise in social media parallels the rise of cinematic mega-narratives.

The metaverse is a clarified, visualized space for mega-narratives. Ones that currently exist and ones to come.

Movies are now, more than ever, a mirror for our hopes, dreams, and aspirations.

With the empowerment of user-generated content in the metaverse, narratives will expand into mega-narratives that will unite our stories, both fiction and non-fiction, like never before.

But that future will need optimization.

Mining the storytelling mechanics of movies and shows for personalized templates of character growth is the key.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences frames movies as the most popular art form in the world (not true, music is, but for the purpose of my writing, yes movies).

The world’s foremost transmedia producer and my dear friend, mentor, and advisor to ReelwUrld, Jeff Gomez, has often said that technology has advanced, but storytelling has declined.

The language of cinema has story formulas for our growth as humans that have been awaiting the existence of the metaverse to be told.

Therefore, I see a future where the metaverse and movies have one core function: to train you to become a better you.

(That will lead to virtual production studios being packed full of UGC creators making content for the metaverse sponsored by studios a la the aforementioned Money Heist Experience. Surely, studio real estate czar Michael Hackman will be happy with that future.)

This is the future I’ve consciously worked toward at ReelwUrld for over 7 years. I’ve focused not just on researching formulas, but implementing them in community projects like our first show Justice For Hire, and automating these processes so that anyone can use them in an app.

Colleagues have been telling me that ReelwUrld has been a “metaverse company” since before metaverse was a buzz word.

The only value in a buzzword for me is helping people connect the dots to a shared goal of a better future for all.

There. That’s my metaverse writing. If you want to be a part of building a strong foundation for the metaverse, consider joining me and my team in any of the following ways:

Thanks as usual for the consistent love and support as I refine my thinking on what I offer to the world.

Sending love and happy holidays to all.

Jan L.

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Film, Tech & Tai Chi. CEO at ReelwUrld and Creative Impulse Entertainment. 2nd generation comic book philosopher. I also rap.

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Jan Lucanus

Jan Lucanus

Film, Tech & Tai Chi. CEO at ReelwUrld and Creative Impulse Entertainment. 2nd generation comic book philosopher. I also rap.

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