A Night at the High-Tech Opera
Not surprisingly Death and the Powers has had a big impact on the production designer, founder of the 5D immersive design initiative, who recently completed Upside Down (an alternate universe love story) and is currently working on Andrew Niccol's untitled film (starring Justin Timberlake) about time as the future currency when the aging gene has been shut off.
"It's really opened [me] up," McDowell suggests. "It had a lot to do with 5D really happening at all. There's the whole art/science thing that John and I have been doing for a long time. Media Lab's right in the center of that conversation: they have artistic people who are great scientists and programmers and computer engineers. They are these multi-talented kids who don't see a difference between one or the other, whereas in our industry, we're going, 'Well, this is art and this is science, and this is production and this is post,' making all these silos and separations."
And what about the future of 5D, whose second conference in Long Beach this fall has been cancelled?
"I'm disappointed that it couldn't happen," McDowell admits. "We're still dealing with the socio-economic climate of things and it's all about the difficulty of putting on a conference per se because 5D hasn't stopped at all in terms of distributed events. We're planning an event at the Immersive Tech Summit at the LA Center Studios on Nov. 21. But conferences cost so much money to put on, so what we're experiencing is a Catch 22 in needing an infrastructure to pull in the sponsorship but without the sponsorship not being able to develop an infrastructure. We're in the process of evaluating where to go next with 5D."
Bill Desowitz is senior editor of AWN & VFXWorld.