We continue to celebrate Black History Month, reflecting on and learning more about the sacrifices, inventions, and contributions that were and are made by Black people in America. In addition to showcasing Black creators in Facebook Horizon, we’re continuing to curate a “Made By” content and experiences series that highlights Black creatives and the Black experience in America and beyond. Today, we’re sharing the story of Alton Glass, creator of the IN PROTEST docu-series, as well as a few reminders of upcoming live events in Venues and a new season of Your Attention Please on Oculus TV from Hulu!
First up, a conversation with GRX Immersive Labs Managing Director Alton Glass.
Tell us about your professional background.
Alton Glass: My background is in film and television. I started off directing and producing 15 to 20 years ago. I’ve always been an entrepreneur—that’s something that’s been instilled in me ever since I was nine or 10 years old in Detroit, Michigan. Feature films and television was my bread and butter as a production company and a filmmaker.
Did you always want to become a storyteller?
AG: I wanted to be an actor at first. I was too young to actually work on set as a production assistant. But when I finally got a chance to get on set and understand the roles, that’s when I realized I want to make movies and not be in movies. The power of storytelling fueled my passion to continue pursuing film.
What’s your inspiration?
AG: My kids—just watching them and seeing how imaginative they are. We spend a lot of time working for clients. You create things that are inline with what they want you to create. Sometimes, you have to go back to that untamed childhood. When I’m around them, it makes me think of ideas I probably never would have thought of. Also, collaborating with other people and helping them with their ideas helps me spark new ways of approaching things and re-energizes me.
That’s incredible to hear that your kids inspired you. Is there a particular project you can name that was inspired by your children?
AG: Oh yeah! My very first VR project, called A Little Love, was about a young girl who wanted to spend time with her mother. I had the opportunity to prototype that with my daughter, and it was awesome to hear and see through the eyes of a kid who wants to spend more time with their parents without knowing how to say it. That was the project that actually got me into Oculus Launch Pad!
When did you start creating for VR?
AG: About five or six years ago, I fell in love with virtual reality and stopped everything else cold turkey.
What inspired you to create IN PROTEST?
AG: Initially it was the opportunity to work with new creators, and I wanted to create an opportunity for us to build together. IN PROTEST offered an opportunity to both make a great project that was meaningful and help other creators build in the XR space.
What do you hope people will take away from watching IN PROTEST?
AG: Understanding that your voice matters. There are a lot of unsung heroes out there that people don’t know about that are just like them. Whether you’re on the front lines as an activist or you’re a creator behind the camera, use your voice in whatever way you can.
How can VR change norms and ideals in the future?
AG: One thing we really wanted to lean into was to discomfort—understanding that discomfort can create discourse and conversation. How do we shape our reality with virtual reality? The VR camera is a tool to bear witness for generations to come, and VR, in a sense, is a time capsule and digital record of history.
What is your vision for the future of VR?
AG: In VR—we’re not asking for a seat at the table, but we can build a new table. We should focus on building a diverse portfolio of experiences, opportunities, and training so this can be a new framework and economy, an opportunity for everyone to participate in the fruit of this immersive economy.
Do you have any advice for future VR creators?
AG: Prototype. If you don’t know what story to tell, tell yours. And don’t be afraid to fail. Fail forward.
Celebrate Black culture with iHeartRadio’s Living Black!, now streaming in Venues on the Oculus Quest Platform. Catch innovative performances from Roddy Rich, Jhene Aiko, Kirk Franklin, 21 Savage, and more, live DJ interludes, and curated break-out segments that honor Black culture, helmed by some of today’s hottest entertainers and cultural power players. Subscribe to the event here and jump into the experience anytime between now and 11:59 pm PT on February 27.
Next, join the creators of IN PROTEST for a special edition of the Build for Inclusion Developer Series on February 23 at 12:00 pm PT. We’ll discuss today’s social justice movement and the making of this important VR docu-series. The panel will be moderated by the CEO of REVOLT Media & TV Detavio Samuels, one of corporate America’s youngest executives, streaming on Facebook Live and in Venues on Quest. Click here to subscribe to the event.
Finally, celebrate Black History Month as we honor Wayne Embry. Catch the special tribute during halftime—exclusively in Venues on Quest—when the Orlando Magic take on the Brooklyn Nets at 4:30 pm PT on February 25. Click here to subscribe to the game.
Hulu recently launched Season 2 of the popular series Your Attention Please to showcase inspiring Black artists, talent, and voices. Hosted by Craig Robinson, the series spotlights contemporary Black Americans whose unique, groundbreaking, and impactful actions and accomplishments will influence generations to come. Normally, you would need a Hulu subscription to watch these episodes, but Oculus TV on the Quest Platform is hosting all four 2D episodes for you to enjoy for free for a limited time!
Check out Oculus TV on the Quest Platform for more content Made By diverse creatives including athletes, musicians, storytellers, and developers.