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What’s next for the screen industries? Research students’ perspectives

We're kicking off our series of interviews by hearing from current PhD students on their thoughts about the future of the screen industries.
A group of students sit around a table working on their laptops
© University of York; Mary Stewart-Davis; Simona Manni

Over the last two weeks we’ve looked a little bit at the history of the screen industries, and thought about how we consume media in the present day. This week we’ve been thinking about the future of the screen industry, what we think that will hold and how the industry will develop, both in terms of technology and content.

In this and the next few steps, we’ll be hearing from a number of people involved in the screen industries, including current PhD students, academic colleagues from the University of York and those who work in the industry.

After reading these short interviews, we’ll ask you all to discuss your own thoughts.

Mary Stewart-Davis is a screenwriter and PhD student studying Live Performance in VR

What content are you currently really into? And why?

“Immersive entertainment. Once we break out of the constraints of the VR headset, VR/AR is going to be a really exciting storytelling medium. XR puts you in the storyworld and gives you agency to direct your own story”

What future developments in the screen industry are you most excited about?

“5G is up there in terms of making VR and 360 film available/accessible on any device. But immersive, interactive entertainment is the most exciting, bringing together narrative games design, 360 film, immersive theatre and Live Action Role Play, allowing film and theatre makers to abandon the frame forever!”

If we gave you £1M to develop the screen industry, what would you spend it on?

“Ha! I’m a writer, so I’d spend it all on teaching screenwriters how to write for VR and Narrative Games Designers how to write for film”

Simona Manni is a participatory filmmaker and PhD student researching interactive filmmaking

What content are you currently really into? And why?

“I really enjoy content focused on communities and documentary films that explore current societal issues. They help me dive into the thick of realities that I might not be part of, to better understand others and value what makes us human.”

What future developments in the screen industry are you most excited about?

“I am very excited about future developments of interactive filmmaking to produce responsive and personalised content that can adapt to viewers’ preferences and choices.”

If we gave you £1M to develop the screen industry, what would you spend it on?

“If I had £1M to develop screen industry projects in complete freedom, I would spend it to develop platforms for digital inclusion through which people from all walks of life would be able to direct and produce their own stories and turn them into films, webseries, and games.”

© University of York; Mary Stewart-Davis; Simona Manni
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