AN AFTRS PODCAST SERIES
Lumina is a podcast about the future of creativity — the ways technology is changing the way we tell stories, and the place they have in the world.
Fenella Kernebone speaks to leaders from Australia and around the world to explore the unique opportunities for creative industries at this moment in time.
Season 2, is about the business of storytelling — how to thrive as a creative in Australia’s evolving economy. Season 1 looks at how tech is challenging and shaping the way we share stories.
Lumina is produced for AFTRS by Audiocraft, with Selena Shannon and Jess O’Callaghan. Our sound engineer is Tiffany Dimmack, and our Executive Producer is Kate Montague.
As the economy changes, the value of creative work is increasing. Over five episodes, you’ll learn how to spot creative opportunities in non-creative business, hear from people applying storytelling skills to social problems and explore the role creative industries play diplomatically and economically on the world stage.
Guests include: Russel Howcroft (PwC, AFTRS), Zareh Nalbandian (Animal Logic), Wendy Zukerman (Gimlet Media), Erika Soto Lamb (Comedy Central) and Greg Basser (Gentle Giant Media).
Episode 1: The Value of Creativity
What are your creative skills worth to the future Australian economy?
Hear from Russel Howcroft and Dr Georgie McClean about AFTRS Creativity Manifesto and a new approach for thinking about the role creative skills can play in traditionally non-creative arenas.
Episode 2: Old Problems with Creative Solutions
How can I spot creative opportunities in non-creative business? Skills like problem solving, lateral thinking, storytelling are valuable outside traditional creative industries — learn about how practitioners can seek opportunities out and approach old problems in new ways.
Hear from James Boyce from Grumpy Sailor about their collaboration with the TAC, tackling the ambitious goal of zero deaths on Victorian roads with technology, experience and storytelling.
Episode 3: Social Problems with Creative Solutions
How can creatives make work with a real social impact? Creative skills can have economic value, but they can also have real social value. Hear from Comedy Central’s first head of social impact Erika Soto Lamb and filmmaker Christopher Nelius on his initiative the Lion’s Share.
Episode 4: The Value of a Creative Idea
How can I harness, and protect, the value of my intellectual property? Creative ideas are valuable. But as a creative it can be hard to know what is worth protecting and when it’s worth sharing IP to get things made. Hear from Wendy Zukerman of podcast Science Vs, who sold the idea to US company Gimlet Media and Animal Logic’s Zareh Nalbandian, on why IP generation is good business.
Episode 5: Creative Ideas in the Global Economy
How can creative work influence Australia’s image on the world stage, and why should practitioners care? Australian Hollywood producer Greg Basser (Gentle Giant) explains the value of thinking of your creative career as an international one — and the economic, diplomatic and social benefits of being major creative players.
Guests include: Mikaela Jade, Indigital Tea Uglow, creative director of Google Creative Lab, Nicky Birch, head of Rosina Sound (UK), Peter Clay, programme director of Smooth FM, Justin and Charlton, heads of Uncanny Valley, Bella Castle, biometrics lab technician at SARA, Chris Panzetta, co-founder of S1T2, Hannah Lehmann, creator of The Out There, Chloe Rickard, CEO of Jungle, Natasha Pincus, director and screenwriter, Scott O’Brien, CEO of Humense, Toby Walsh, Professor in AI at UNSW
Episode 1: Telling Stories in New Ways
“For me, the projects are most successful when people say ‘Sorry you’re doing what? Why?” and I say that I think this will make more sense in a few years time.” – Tea Uglow
Since the first time someone told a story around a campfire a lot has changed about how we tell stories to one another. In this first episode of Lumina, Fenella Kernebone talks to two creatives rethinking the way we tell stories; Tea Uglow, Creative director at Google’s Creative Lab in Sydney and Mikaela Jade, CEO and founder of augmented reality company InDigital. Both think screens are just a stepping stone on the way to a world full of interactive stories we can barely conceive of yet.
Episode 2: The Essentials of Story
“I’m interested in the technology and how it can be pushed and squeezed as much as the story and the narrative itself. You’re testing out what the tech can do as much as being interested in the narrative and the story and the drama behind it.” – Nicky Birch
The way stories are delivered and experienced is changing, becoming less linear, more interactive. But even in these new forms, there are good stories and bad ones. What sets a story apart, keeps someone turning the page, watching the TV show or answering their smart speaker? Nicky Birch from BBC R&D has found that even the weirdest of interactive experiments need a few storytelling essentials at their core.
Episode 3: Can't Get You Out of My Head
“What we’re concerned about is having computers listen to music and extracting emotional data from that music: the melodies, the harmonic structures, the level of energy, the type of emotion, and then taking all that data and doing interesting things from it. Including generating music itself.” – Charlton Hill
Do machines have what it takes to create music that taps into human emotion? Tech is increasingly aiding human creativity, but is there an x factor to great stories and art that machines can’t replicate? The team at Uncanny Valley shows us how they’re teaching computers to understand human emotion, and Peter Clay tells us about the human intuition at the heart of programming feel-good station smoothfm, where he’s head of programming.
Episode 4: Immersed in the Story – Part One
“We don’t have to be a better film, we’re not trying to be a better book. We still use all these old traditional forms of storytelling and they’re not going anywhere… The limit with linear stories is we’ve reached our capacity to view our world, and learn from it, when it’s coming from one point of view.” – Chris Panzetta
The story is all around us—more than ever before we have the power to make stories that engage multiple senses, and toss the audience into a whole new world where they feel they’re part of the action. But does immersion using technology like binaural audio, virtual reality or augmented reality lead to a great connection to story? Chris Panzetta from S1T2 explains the difference between a gimmick and an engaging immersive reality and Screen Audience Research Australia measures audience reaction to immersive experiences.
Episode 5: Immersed in the Story – Part Two
“It’s so funny when I put people into Virtual Reality and introduce them to a volumetric video person, they’ll stand at the correct social contract distance away from that person. Even though they could walk on top of them – or through them!” – Scott O’Brien
Sink deeper into the world of immersive storytelling—now that we know an immersive story, well told, can make us feel ‘present’, can these stories bring us closer to each other? Can experiencing a story using immersive technology increase our empathy for people with stories very different to our own?
Scott O’Brien thinks so, he’s the founder of VR and AR company Humense, and sees this emerging tech (when used well) bringing us closer together.
Episode 6: Coming Back to Craft
“It’s a major challenge of the arts to ever know when you’ve gotten anywhere, because there’s no destination, there’s no career path, there’s no course. And of course if you’re an ambitious person you’re always shifting the goal posts anyway.” – Natasha Pincus
When change is so constant and tech so alluring, it can be easy to forget the skill at the core of every good story. How can practitioners of all creative industries look past the tech and just get really good at what they do? Filmmaker and screenwriter Natasha Pincus loves to experiment with all sorts of new technology, but carves out time to hone her craft.
Episode 7: The Stories Formerly Known as TV Shows
“The attention span people have these days is short. For the audience that I’m creating for, these are people who are used to watching lots of pieces of short content constantly throughout the day. When I go onto Youtube to watch a series, I think ‘ooh it’s 5 minutes, I don’t know if I can dedicate that much time’, because that’s the nature of the beast.” – Hannah Lehmann
We may not watch them on the box in the living room anymore, but the show runners, writers and directors behind great Australian TV are creating some of the best screen-based entertainment around. What’s the secret to creating and pitching a great TV show in 2018, when the gatekeepers are platforms like Netflix or Stan (or gone entirely)? Hannah Lehmann (The Out There) and Chloe Rickard (Jungle Entertainment) share their secrets.
Episode 8: Artificial Creativity
“This next 50 years could be the second Renaissance, the machines will take the sweat and free us up the time to appreciate the things that are important to us.” – Toby Walsh
Can artificial intelligence create art that’s as good as a human’s? And if they could – would we even care about it, without that beating heart, that authentic human experience at its core? Professor Toby Walsh from UNSW and CSIRO’s Data61 explores the capabilities of AI-composed stories, and whether we will care about them when they get here.