December 1st, 2023 (10am-2:50pm PST)

By Zoom: to attend, please RSVP here

Welcome to “Storytelling and Technology” the 11th edition of the Transforming Hollywood conference, an annual summit in which communication and media studies scholars join media industry professionals, creators, producers, talent, and executives to engage in panel discussions regarding the future of online entertainment. This year’s Transforming Hollywood conference focuses on various dimensions of the relationship between technology and storytelling in the age of digital distribution ecosystems given the reliance on data, algorithmic recommendation systems, virtual production technologies, and generative artificial intelligence. We will discuss the scope of these upheavals with some of the industry experts at the heart of these changes, and with internationally recognized scholars working on these issues. 

Panel one, “Innovation in Content Strategy,” examines what happens at the critical moment when projects are selected to become films or shows. Content definition strategies have been profoundly transformed by the use of data and technology. Far from being just a business issue, the new, technologically-equipped ways of assessing what should be produced or acquired have a direct creative impact. Our panelists will shed light on what goes on behind the scenes in this area, which the public doesn’t usually get to hear about. 

Panel two, “Virtual, Augmented, and Artificial Creativity,” considers the positive and negative impact of four different categories of digital technologies on creative labor practices. This includes generative artificial intelligence (AI); virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and extended reality (XR), to support community-based mobile gameplay and online shopping experiences—sometimes dubbed The Metaverse; and the ongoing impact of on-set virtual production technologies, such as ILM’s Stagecraft and its dedicated soundstage The Volume, which was used to deliver Mandalorian (2019-present) as part of the high-profile launch of Disney+. 

Panel three, “Other Visions, Other Realities,” examines modernist avant-garde artists, who use similar digital technologies, such as VR, AR, and/or XR, to challenge the commercial logic of most online media and entertainment formats. Time will tell whether the media industry’s increased reliance on algorithmic software programs, mixed reality technologies, and game engine virtual production tactics designed to keep consumers inside digital ecosystems will enhance or erase human forms of creativity as they redefine the way we live, work, and socialize.


10am: Opening remarks, Denise Mann, UCLA & Michael Renov, USC

10:30am-11:50am / Panel 1. Innovation in content strategy. 

Moderated by Violaine Roussel, Professor, University of Paris VIII/Research Scholar, UCLA

With: Liesl Copland, Executive Vice President, Content Strategy, Participant; Todd Hoffman, CEO, Storied Media Group; John S. Couch, Head of Galvanize Studios; J. D. Connor, Associate Professor of Cinematic Arts, USC


Panel 2. Virtual, augmented, and artificial creativity

Moderated by Denise Mann, Professor, Cinema and Media Studies, UCLA

With: Kim Adams, Director of Art and Production, Pokemon Go, Niantic, San Francisco; Rene Amador, CEO and founder, ARwall, Los Angeles; Alessandro Botteon, Co-founder and CEO, Impssbl, Rome/Los Angeles; Thibault Matthieu, Founder, Wilkins Avenue AR – Immersive & Metaverse Experiences, Paris


Panel 3: Other visions / Other realities

Moderated by Steve Anderson, Professor of Digital Media, UCLA

With: Rachel Joy Victor, Technologist/Entrepreneur/Organizer; Mashinka Hakopian, Associate Professor in Technology and Social Justice at ArtCenter College of Design; Jesse Damiani, CEO, Galatea;

Holly Willis, USC Professor and Co-director, Center for Generative AI and Culture

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Proudly presented by the Andrew J. Kuehn Jr. Foundation