Motorola Spotlight Stories will put a smile on your face

As technology advances and our experiences with entertainment become more interactive, the separation between artist and audience becomes thinner and thinner. However, what happens to the work of art when it’s put into the audience’s hands? With the Motorola Spotlight Stories, the direct audience interaction is not only a part of the story, it also represents the full experience, re-defining what “hands-on experience” truly means. The Motorola Spotlight Stories is a Moto X-exclusive feature that offers a “first-of-its-kind interactive, immersive storytelling experience.” By combining high-end technology with an award-winning creative team, the Motorola Spotlight Series represents a new way of distributing short films that are more than just “short films.”

During our time at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, Virgil and I had a chance to experience the first short in the Motorola Spotlight Series, Windy Day. Armed with a Moto X, we were instructed to simply “follow the red hat.” With full 360 degree control, users must keep the screen focused on a red hat as a mouse spends the entirety of the short chasing after it. Windy Day harkens back to classic silent cartoons full of hijinks and unfortunate circumstances. What’s more, the full environment is interactive. Want to focus on two chipmunks inside of a tree trunk instead of following the red hat? Simply keep the screen focused on them and watch them get into a scuffle. Would you rather find out what happens to a turtle blown across a snowfield by a heavy wind? You can. The short simply pauses briefly while you watch the various easter eggs strewn along the short.

What gives Windy Day and the rest of the Motorola Spotlight Series its charm is the creative team Motorola Mobility has put together. Windy Day was led by Jan Pinkava, a Pixar veteran who won the Oscar for Best Animated Short in 1998 with Geri’s Game, helped on animation for A Bug’s Life, did storyboards for Toy Story 2 and Monsters, Inc., and came up with the story for 2007’s Ratatouille. His background with Pixar certainly helps shape Windy Day‘s all-ages charm, providing a plethora of smiles on every participant’s face that day. Motorola Mobility has also enlisted the help of Disney vet Glen Keane for their third short feature. Keane’s involvement with the Motorola Spotlight Series represents an exciting new frontier for the platform as he has created some of Disney’s most memorable characters, such as The Little Mermaid‘s Ariel, Aladdin, Pocahontas, Tarzan, and Beauty and the Beast‘s Beast.

The sky’s the limit for Motorola Mobility and the Motorola Spotlight Stories, and it’s all possible thanks to the technology behind the platform, referred to as the Advanced Technology & Projects (ATAP) group. Led by Regina Dugan, the system uses the Moto X’s full power to deliver a rich experience. As an avid iPhone user for the past four years, I can honestly say my time spent with the Moto X definitely changed my views on both Android and Motorola smartphones. With the potential for the ATAP system and Motorola Spotlight Stories to feature interactive live-action shorts, we could very well be on the entry level of a whole new avenue for films of all types.

Buggy Night, the second Motorola Spotlight Story, will be released sometime this month, with the Glen Keane-led third short set to release mid-2014.

Geoff Henao

Geoff Henao is a writer/kinda photographer affiliated with the Chicago collective LOD. His interests include film, punk rock, cute girls, graphic novels, video games, and the Chicago Bulls. He's funny sometimes.

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