In a time where technology–from dating apps to VR headsets–is allowing for more disconnected physical social interactions, LA-based virtual reality studio VR Playhouse set out to create a 360-degree short video series that would experiment with the emotional intimacy and storytelling power of the new medium. What has emerged is a tender, touching, sometimes funny, sometimes painful examination of romance and relationships in the modern age. Just in time for Valentine’s Day, VR Playhouse launches the first season of “First Person.”
The series is available via the “First Person” app, and for free on Viveport, Steam, Daydream and Oculus. All episodes are available on YouTube 360, Facebook 360, Littlestar and Vimeo. The app will also provide users with automatic access to all future seasons and episodes.
The immersive series drops viewers into the first person perspective of a man re-entering the dating scene after a painful divorce. Viewers will feel the palpable awkwardness of those first dates, the tremulous excitement as love blooms and everything in between, experiencing not only what is being seen by the main character, but also what he’s feeling and thinking.
With combined theatrical backgrounds spanning director, writer, dramaturg, artistic director and acting coach, the VR Playhouse team approached the series with an immersive theater perspective. Actors were given loose plot guidelines and were coached to improvise a bulk of the scenes, resulting in dynamic and natural performances that allow viewers to have an authentic sense that they are peering into someone’s life.
VR Playhouse has crafted a wide range of immersive entertainment experiences, with pieces selected for Sundance, SXSW and Cannes Film Festival and collaborated with the likes of Stan Lee, Ken Burns, George Clooney, the Lion King on Broadway, YouTube, Mountain Dew, Toyota, Jack In The Box, Mercedes and Boost Mobile, among numerous others.