Director Ethan Shaftel’s satirical short starring Paul Scheer and John Gemberling makes its public debut.
We’re in desperate need of more comedy within VR. We’ve seen plenty of horror, action, travel and documentaries, but it seems as though creators are still a little hesitant to dip their toes into humorous 360° content. Well popular VR studio and content distribution Wevr recognizes this unfortunate drought and as a result, has released a brand new immersive short sure to have you cracking up in your headset.
Directed by Ethan Shaftel and available now via the Wevr Transport platform, EXTRAVAGANZA is a VR short that blends 3D animation with live action footage to deliver not only one of the more unique VR films this year, but also one of the funniest. The 360° video places users in the shoes of a puppet trapped within an extraordinarily crude show being controlled and viewed by an incompetent executive in VR.
What truly makes EXTRAVAGANZA shine however is its impressive cast of talented comedians. This includes Paul Scheer (30 Rock, The League, Fresh Off the Boat), Will Greenberg (Wrecked, Workaholics), John Gemberling (Broad City, Marry Me) and Annie Tedesco (Granite Flats, NCIS).
“The moment we first saw EXTRAVAGANZA, we knew it’d be right at home on Transport,” said Wevr co-founder and EVP, Anthony Batt. “Shaftel blends the perfect combination of charm, wit, and humor into a uniquely immersive narrative that pushes the VR industry forward, and that’s exactly the kind of brave content Wevr is all about.”
Ethan Shaftel, writer and director of EXTRAVAGANZA, also chimed in: “VR is intimate, sometimes shockingly so. We ask the viewer to step inside the storyworld in a way that traditional cinema does not, and that makes them vulnerable. I wanted to push buttons with the imagery and commentary, but I learned we had to balance that with support and camaraderie from the other characters. Being on Wevr Transport is huge for us, because it means we get to share this world with the loyal audience they’ve built through a steady stream of boundary-pushing VR films.”
Professional funnyman Paul Scheer also commented stating, “I love working in virtual reality because I know some day computers are going to take over, so this is a sure fire way to keep me in their good graces.”
Underneath all the laughs and raunchy behavior in this VR short, there’s still an underlying question given to users throughout: “Do advances in technology affect society in positive ways, or just further highlight the worst in us?” It’s an interesting discussion hidden seamlessly inside the over-the-top experience. So while you may be laughing during your viewing, you might spend a couple minutes contemplating the possible future implications of more advanced, immersive technologies afterward.
The new short joins several other recent additions to the Transport catalog, including IF NOT LOVE, a sobering account of the consequences of anger and intolerance, written and directed by renowned writer and director, Rose Troche (Go Fish, The L Word); Auto, a speculative fiction about the complicated position of a “safety driver” in a futuristic self-driving taxi from filmmaker Steven Schardt (Humpday, Your Sister’s Sister, and Treatment); and Apex, the darkly beautiful apocalyptic experience from artist and musician Arjan van Meerten, which first debuted at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival’s Virtual Arcade.