Antonio Bolfo


[ 00:00:19 ] A background in fine art I was drawing and painting my whole life went to art school Rizzi where I majored in animation and film. From there I went into the video game industry to work for a company called harmonics. We me a lot of music interactive video games. You know one of one of them being Guitar Hero which you know became a huge franchise and they eventually went on to develop rock band as well.

[ 00:00:45 ] But you know after that kind of a career path I went into journalism and I became a photojournalist and brought kind of my my ability to see and my just my visual background into the journalism space but also because I had an interactive background I wanted to tell more interactive visual stories which very soon I realized was incredibly expensive and time consuming to do. And a lot of my colleagues wanted to do the same thing. But you know the publishing houses we just couldn’t afford to spend money on these. And on these interactive platforms per story. So I do a lot of assignments for the New York Times magazine for Time magazine Newsweek and many others. And we just constantly saw that we were pasting what was in our magazine pages and site copying what was on magazine pages and pasting into a computer screen.

[ 00:01:37 ] And I figured there has to be a better way to tell stories online. But there wasn’t a way to do it affordably. There wasn’t a way to do it in a time effective way because the news we’re talking about. And so I you know looked around for four for these platforms and nothing existed.

[ 00:01:56 ] So I decided to take it upon myself and my co-founder who I met at Rizzi and we developed verse and it’s a do it yourself interactive video player and video platform that allows anybody not just journalists but filmmakers brands advertisers to make these really cool compelling interactive stories online things that we always wanted to do.

[ 00:02:17 ] We can finally finally do it without the cost of the insane cost without the time needed to code these things from scratch. So all we really think and we are seeing it drive the needle in a huge way in multiple industries journalism advertising the brand space filmmaking.

[ 00:02:37 ] I’m really excited to see how this actually transforms the video experience.

[ 00:02:42 ] You know in the future you know so it’s just you said that right.

[ 00:02:53 ] Because if you take a step back and kind of look at what is like film what is video. One of my favorite quotes is omission is the act of creation. Right. So you know people in the video space know that sometimes it’s actually hard to tell a shorter story than a longer story. That being said if you want to tell a long story with all these pathways that you’re talking about then yeah you have to you know create all these different pathways that your audience can choose from. However you know we’re always shooting so much. 95 percent of what we shoot what we make gets left on the cutting room floor. So yeah you might have to put a little bit more editing time in but that’s a lot less painful than seeing your babies kind of like cut from the final scene. Right. And that’s what you see in linear video always constantly is if you like I have all this amazing footage. He’s a great character. And all of a sudden like boom all that awesome stuff is cut to a really short piece because we’re talking about the Internet here right. Sure. Like I love my Amazon Netflix accounts mean HBO specials.

[ 00:03:55 ] I can sit down and watch an hour show on my living room on my couch in my living room. But now you know during the day where most of my waking hour takes place. I’m consuming video online.

[ 00:04:07 ] So now I know I’m incredibly distracted right. The internet has programmed me to click this click that choose this choose that. And the issue with the video. Is it still incredibly linear.

[ 00:04:20 ] So when I press play I am forced from being an engaged viewer to now be in a passive you’re And that’s a that’s a very tough juxtaposition that you know people are faced with. We are trained to be active users on the Internet and everything on the Internet. But we still have to be passive viewers when it comes to video.

[ 00:04:38 ] So you know if you see a lot of the stuff we actually produce with partners like the Washington Post who else the north face a lot of ad agencies like a gray blink you know Jaguar you’ll see that you can take you know really cool stories and you can make interactive experiences without having to do a massive amount of shooting. So like the Washington Post they just won an award for a series. It’s just that with us where they took six interviews of voters and just let’s let the audience choose what voter they want to see. Right. Right. Just on the page in the video player it’s not. You know rocket science to say that people who actually choose what content they want to see are actually going to stay and watch that content. So we’re really giving back the authority to the viewers to kind of choosing click and decide what part of the narrative they want to consume.

[ 00:05:39 ] So this is I love this conversation because now we’re moving away from technology into into creation. Right. So we just provide the technology and the tools for people to be creative. Now you know looking towards the future I’m really excited for these kinds of interactions. Right. What does the future of interactive video mean. I’m not going to sit here until you know exactly what it means because it’s a medium. We have not been able to explore because it was too expensive and again too time consuming to go through the development cost plus one is really expensive. You can’t take risks. Right. If you’re going to drop $150000 on a story you’re going to make sure everything is laid out the storyboards are perfect. The timeline is perfect but with something like verse we just upload your upload your your video assets and you play around with them. If it doesn’t work you go back to the drawing board you play around with them a little bit more. So I think as a community you know we really needed something like verse to allow us to actually take risk to explore these creative thoughts and processes right. So to your point absolutely. Yeah. Like it you’re adding things you’re taking things away. Some some films and TV shows you want to have all you know alternate endings some you don’t. That’s really up to you know the director or the producer marketers. So but the point is now they have the opportunity to actually have these discussions. And I think that’s vital to any evolution of an artistic medium.

[ 00:07:22 ] So I think you know this new medium that we’re talking about interactive video.

[ 00:07:28 ] You know you first need to have access to be able to build it too. You first need to have access to this. You know these tools to develop interactive video in order to start thinking about how to tell interactive video stories because you can sit in your in your in your studio all day and come up with ways to tell interactive stories. But if you don’t actually have the technology to do it it’s a moot point. You know the art of storytelling is still the art of storytelling. Right no technology is going to make you a better storyteller. That is something that comes from experience from you as a creator your own experience is what you feel about the world what you have to say about the content. So I think verse allows you to have access to new ways of telling these things from inside of you and telling stories that you want to tell in new ways. But at the end of the day you know storytelling is is a human thing.

[ 00:08:30 ] It’s not technology so versus an interactive video platform that allows anybody to make really rich engaging interactive videos online whether you’re a journalist a filmmaker a brand an advertiser you can now take all your video assets your photo assets put them into verse and literally play around with them like Lego blocks to build a really cool engaging experience for your viewer. No no longer do they actually have to click on a video and sit back and possibly watch. They can now choose inside versus what part of the content they want to watch. So you know I think what’s really cool about verse is we’ve been around for only a year and we’ve been able to talk to a lot of these companies who you know wanted to tell interactive stories for a long time but just couldn’t afford to do it. So you know some of these companies we work with are the Washington Post discovery communication the New Yorker or the Atlantic many many others who’ve been wanting to do stories in this new visual medium. But again we’re Privett that we’re unable to just because of the cost and the death time associated with the with the with the the old way of doing interactive content.

Thought Gallery Channel:
Backstage Conversations
Backstage Conversation Season: 2017