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  • Writer's picturerobe santoro

Pandemic, now what??

At the end of January ’20, I was eager to finally extend on the Blending Pixels project, really.

We were working on the new production “Hamlet” at Arena di Verona, and every piece of the puzzle was coming together wonderfully. I built the new website and contacted the leads, new clients, new projects, and collaborators. Everything was moving as I wanted and as I expected.

Then the COVID Pandemic arrived. The theatres were closed, and all the live/real entertainment show-biz just stopped. I felled a strong sense of anxiety, also listening to my colleague’s thoughts. All the people involved in the event production field were spreading in all directions, searching for something to sell to their clients; Virtual Sets, Virtual events, Virtual Fairs, Virtual everything, trying to imitate what happens for Real into the Virtual world.

Some of them succeeded, some of them failed. But the success was just in “selling the product,” not in the outcomes. A 5-day convention in a beautiful European city became a 5-day Zoom Virtual conference, invalidating the attendees’ Real experience and not considering how much the low level of engagement can ruin the brand image and communication.

Actually, nobody knew what to do, and I didn’t too. Our stability as a team was in a challenging situation, and everyone was steering to their own most comfortable zone, splitting the group apart in search of smaller freelance projects.

So I started again from scratch, on a white canvas, re-imaging what we would become as a team, as a collective, as a brand. A brand has a vision, then a mission. I was uncertain about what could help clarify this, so I stopped struggling and started where I left, more than 20 years ago, when I left Computer Science at UNI: coding

I decided to attend a coding Bootcamp for full-stack wannabe developers, working with HTML-CSS-javascript, Vue js, and the LEMP back-end management. PHP, Laravel, etc.

As we design extraordinary experiences for the audience of a show, or an interactive guided tour for a museum, in the same way, we can not ignore that single-user experiences are built differently and ARE different.

This is a crucial concept that will let us evolve to better design an engaging virtual venue that can host a virtual event as event professionals.

And while doing this, if we want to be effective, we cannot forget what people really care about. People need quality and meaningful content to be inspired and want to be part of the conversation, not just a chat room to ask questions.

In the meantime, lots of companies got the same vision, and with the help of super-skilled developers, built different platforms for managing virtual events. I attended NODE20 Forum for Digital Arts — Second Nature. They make pleasant use of to manage the virtual part of the event. This lets people join the event worldwide and bring the most mesmerizing content in the new media art realm, even during the pandemic.

As humans, we’ll love to meet each other for Real again. Still, every little digital gimmick we learn during this pandemic could be implemented in the next future to build a new kind of mixed-events in which everyone can participate and take action.

Now, after almost 2 years after the first wave of Covid19, I don’t regret my choice. I’m taking action, too, bringing my 3D and CGI knowledge to the web to enhance the user experience, or at least I’ll try…

Stay Tuned!

Love You All

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