This is, as the title should indicate, a big important post. Don’t worry. It’s not a “we need to talk” post, or an “I just spoke to the Doctor” post. It’s a cool one. An exciting one. It’s also one that is a little difficult to know where to begin. Firstly, you need to know about a person and you need to know about a thing. The person is this guy:
That guy is Doctor Abraham Campbell (Abey to his friends). Abey is a computer scientist currently lecturing in University College Dublin’s Chinese school in Beijing (UCD has a big campus) and probably Ireland’s foremost mind in the field of virtual reality. He’s also a buddy of mine. That’s the person. The thing is this:
In case you haven’t heard of it, that’s the Oculus Rift, the first real, high-quality, no-fooling, virtual-reality headset that is going to be commercially available for sale in early 2016. Now, there’s no way of knowing whether Virtual Reality is going to be just a weird little technological gimmick or a game changer like the smartphone. But we’re going to find out. Soon. This is happening. Abey, who incidentally is the smartest human I know by a significant margin, is betting on the latter. His goal, as he’s told me before, is that one day he’ll be able to hand a headset to someone in Sub-Saharan Africa that will contain an entire third level education. He’s also working on a holographic version of himself that he can broadcast to China so that he doesn’t have to leave home to teach his classes and yeah, I’m just going to play the music now.
So, why am I telling you all this? Well, because there’s no point in buying a SNES if there’s no Super Mario to play on it. The platform needs media.
Last year, the readers of this blog helped to fund Joanna, my play about a vigilante who savagely murders rapists as an avatar of the breakdown of civilized society caused by the betrayal of the social contract inherent in the justice system’s complete impotence in dealing with the crime of rape (It’s a comedy). One of the people who saw that play was Abey, and he approached me with an extremely exciting idea. Short version:
We’re turning Joanna into the world’s first full-length, mature virtual reality film.
This is potentially historic. This could, quite literally, be The Jazz Singer of the Virtual Reality era.
This could, quite literally, be the Steamboat Willy of the Virtual Reality era.
Throughout the summer Abey, myself, our extremely talented cast and crew and our director Jeda De Brí have been shooting tests scenes and experimenting with how this whole thing works. I’ll be doing follow up posts where I talk about the challenges of filming in 360 degrees and what we’ve learnt but the short version is this; we are now ready to create something that is thrilling, terrifying, and totally unlike anything else you’ve ever seen. And what’s more, you won’t need an Oculus Rift to view it (although that will certainly give you the best experience). With a decent smartphone and headset you will be able to experience Joanna for yourself. How do you get a headset? I’m getting to it (told you this was a long post). Below you can see our Kickstarter video. The Kickstarter page hasn’t gone live yet so you guys are actually the first outside of the production to see this. (Oh, and there’s some guy we hired to stand in for me because Abey thought that anti-rodent prejudice might affect our ability to raise money and like a coward I listened).
Abey, Jeda, myself and our associated henchpersons have set up a Kickstarter page so that you can give us your money to fund this exciting endeavour. For as the Bible says, is money not the root of all evil? Better off without it, I say, we’ll take care of it for ya. And, as is customary, we will be offering rewards for donations. These are cumulative, with a new reward added to each level which I’ve put in bold. They are as follows:
So yes. I’m asking you for money. And as usual, that can only mean one thing:
On November 23 when the Kickstarter page goes up, I will post the 12 movies and TV series that have been selected to compete this year, along with a guide as to how voting will work this year so be sure to check in for that.
So. Yeah. I know it’s all a lot to take in. Also, please share this far and wide. Know somebody who’s interested in VR? This is a really inexpensive way to get their hands on some cutting edge tech, so let them know. Know someone who’s big into gritty female-led drama? This might be for them. Please help us get the word out make this as big as it can be. Any questions, let me know.
Thanks guys, Mouse out.
A big thanks to Gillian Greer over at Meg.ie for her very generous review of the show. See? Your money did not go to waste!
I’ve been writing for a good few years now but I’ve never actually had anything I’ve written reviewed before. And this is kind of a good way to start! Joseph Kearney of No More Workhorse has written an absolutely glowing review of Joanna which is running all this week in the New Theatre. I’m putting up a link HERE, partially because I’m a huge narcissist but also because it was your kind donations that
paid for the bribe that got that review made this show possible. Thanks guys.
Check out this interview that I did with Oisín Boyce of Belfield FM, where I talk about League of Volunteers, Joanna and of course, Unshaved Mouse.
And it looks pretty awesome he said humbly. With thanks to Jeda De Brí (camera/editing) and Donal Sharpson (Music).
Well everyone, that wraps her up and I am delighted to say that thanks in large part you guys we have reached our funding target for Joanna! And now I can freely admit that there never was such a play, and I am absconding to Mexico with your donations to live like a filthy pirate king. Good times.
In the meantime though, here is the list of people who donated and an approximate date for your review to go up. As I said in an earlier post, I will try to keep to this schedule but sickness, holidays, computer failures or family emergencies may result in your review getting pushed back and if it does, lo siento mucho. Also, while I did originally say I would be putting up the names of the movies people requested but I think it might be more fun to surprise you at the end of each review so instead I’ve put down the date, the name of the donor and my first reaction on being asked to review that movie. Here we go.
30 January 2014- Amelia Mellor (Oooh. Heard it’s really good.)
27 February 2014- Ryen Rasmus (Oh FUCK YEAH!)
13 March 2014- Michael Tyndall (Ugh.)
27 March 2014- Alan Fowley Doyle (AAAAAAAARRRGGHH)
24 April 2014- James Egan (Ah, that’ll cleanse the palette.)
05 June 2014- Ian Tait Doak (Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee…I am thirty fucking years old I should not be this excited.)
03 July 2014- Darragh Ó Bradáin (Okay, you are one of my oldest friends so I will review this movie for you even though it’s not actually an animation and also I did have the theme music played at my wedding reception so okay.)
31 July 2014- Andrew Russell(TETSUO!!!! KANEDAAAAAAAA!!!!)
11 September 2014- Fleur Farwaji (No, no, no, look I can’t review another live action movie you’re donating how much? Okay then.)
09 October 2014- Eamonn Sharpson (You’re lucky you’re my brother or I would punch you in the mouth.)
20 November 2014- Lurking Lurker (Sorry, looks like it’ll be your second choice. Couldn’t find a non dodgy/legal/inexpensive way of getting your first choice)
04 December 2014- Callie Arendt (Yeah. I’ve known I’d have to do this one since the Aladdin review.)
18 December 2014- Veronica Trump (So it’s The Big Sleep with cartoon cats?)
01 January 2015- Zoe Faulder (I really hope Zoe picks a movie otherwise this will be a really dull review.)
15 January 2015- Conor Kelly (Haven’t seen it but I think this one may cause me to chop onions.)
29 January 2015- Úna Hennessy (Studio Ghibli is always a safe bet, right?)
12 February 2015 – Daniel Austin (They may not dance, but they sure as hell can play the keyboard.)
26 February 2015- Melissa Gola (When they find out I think this one is overrated I am so dead.)
12 March 2015- Sean Egan (How the hell am I supposed to do a funny review of a movie with no dialogue?)
26 March 2015- Juha Tilli (God I hope I can track down a Region 2 copy of this before then.)
09 April 2015- Juha Tilli (again) (What the..What and the Midsummer What?..Huh?!)
23 April 2015- Esther Ní Dhonnacha (Oh God…Ireland’s curse.)
07 May 2015- Chinyere Breitner-Nwizuzu (What is that? A Francis Ford Coppola Yakuza movie?)
21 May 2015- Samantha Doyle (So it’s back to the Bluthiverse…)
04 June 2015- Jacob Charlet (I will review this movie. Because I’m an athlete.)
18 June 2015- Juha Tilli, who by this stage is basically executive producer of this thing. (Ducktales Woohoo!)
02 July 2015- Jennifer Seggio (My, don’t we like to cut things fine?)
Now, these are the people who’ve specifically requested a review. If you donated but didn’t get around to asking me for a review and would like one please let me know in the comments and I’ll add you to the list. Or if you did ask me for a review and it somehow slipped through my meticulous filing system (ha!) again, let me know and I’ll fix it. And lastly, if you wanted to request a review and didn’t get a chance this time, don’t worry. I’m pretty sure I’ll be doing this again next year as
Mexico is surprisingly expensive we’ll probably be doing another production which I’ll tell you about closer to the time. Anyway, thanks so much to everyone who donated on behalf of myself, my wife and the cast of Joanna. I promise we will work our asses off to make this play the best that it can be and to justify your support and faith in us. Thanks guys.