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ETC@USC Immersive Media Challenge

Sign up below to get information about the Immersive Media Challenge


The Entertainment Technology Center at USC invites students and recent grads to participate in an Immersive Media Challenge.

The ETC@USC is funded by the major Hollywood studios and Tech companies to help them recognize and prepare for “the ‘next‘ next new thing”.

Your challenge is to come up with a pitch for an engaging experience that should be buildable in 3-5 years.

  • Experiences should fit into one or more of these four broadly stated area; city play, for good, for fun, or for health.
  • Why judge submissions in the 3-5 year timeframe? If an idea can be realized in less than 3 years, it can probably be built now. This is not a hackathon, it is a ‘futurist’ challenge. Part of the judging criteria of submissions will be how well the submitter can describe how we get ‘from here to there’; what technology, infrastructure, story mechanic, standard, or feature needs to be developed? The best ideas will have at least one element that is conceptually new and unique.
  • The winning ideas will incorporate new and unique concepts that are not possible today, but that you anticipate will be possible within 3-5 years (we are looking for Tomorrowland, not Fantasyland).
  • Think like a futurist! Part of your pitch will be to describe what needs to happen to get ‘from here to there’ and why those assumptions are reasonable.

All participants will be connected to executives at ETC@USC sponsor companies who will help you refine your pitch.

  • This is an opportunity for you to casually interact with and network through working professionals.

The 3-5 best ideas will get funding and support to create a professional-quality pre-viz or ‘vertical slice’.

You are invited to attend a brief Immersive Media Challenge kick-off Q&A event, with catered food, on Thursday, April 25th, at 6:30pm in Sound Stage E of the Zemekis Center. At this event we will describe the format for submitting your ideas.

If you are interested in attending the kick-off, or would like to learn more about the Immersive Media Challenge but cannot attend, please sign up below.




Data & Analytics Project

The Storytelling Cipher: Mapping Precise Story and Character Mechanics to Box Office Returns

Our Data & Analytics Project held “The Storytelling Cipher: Mapping Stories & Characters to Box Office Revenue” Tuesday, December 6, 2016 at the USC School of Cinematic Arts.

This study leverages the Dramatic taxonomy of film narrative to infer which scene-level character and story attributes generate more box office returns, by genre. We are extending this study to ads and movie trailers.

The project researchers used machine learning to map 70+ story attributes for 300 films to their box office returns to extract which story mechanics or character features in film generated the most revenue. This was the first time granular story and character mechanics have been used to predict box office returns, which opens up many avenues to make more data-driven creative and development decisions throughout the industry.

What’s a good story? The question has been hanging without a scientific answer since the dawn of man. It seems that a story’s lack of clear mathematical structure and universal taxonomy would relegate such classification of stories to the qualitative – and highly subjective- empire of critics and … people.

Until now.

The event presented results from the research, discussed applications for the development and creative process, and outlined next steps.

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