ICYMI: Zero to Hero

Written by Kyle Mariano

In case you missed it, on October 21, Matt Medney, the founder and CEO of Hero Projects and Hero Records made his fated return to NYU’s Wasserman Center to give the third installment of his five-part lecture series Zero to Hero. I had the privilege of attending Matt’s first lecture, “Writing Your IP (Intellectual Property)” last month, where he outlined some of the fundamentals of taking your creative ideas such as script ideas and developing them into tangible products and deliverables. Matt’s most recent lecture “The Intersection of Technology and Pop Culture” brought a fresh new perspective to what it means to be a creator in the newfangled landscape of digital media.

When I heard that the title of the lecture was “The Intersection of Technology and Pop Culture,” I thought that the lecture would be about how digital media and social media have shaped the landscape of popular culture. However, I was pleasantly surprised by how Matt deviated from common trends concerning technology and pop culture, and chose not to talk about YouTubers or Instagram influencers. Rather, Matt opened his lecture with a couple questions: “Who has seen the Coachella performance where they brought a hologram of Tupac to perform?” and “What could be the consequences and implications of this technology in live entertainment?” 

Matt challenged our notions of what entertainment traditionally is and also challenged our creative thinking skills by asking us how we could integrate new technology such as augmented reality, virtual reality, and holograms with traditional entertainment such as movies, museums, and live music events. 

If I had to come up with a few implications and applications that I could take away from Matt Medney’s visit, they would have to be:

1. Create or conceptualize as many touchpoints for your IP/product 

If your goal is to get your product out there, then you need to create as many opportunities for engagement as possible! What are the various channels that your product can be interacted with? Does it have a page for each social media platform out there? Do the promotional materials exist both in digital and physical channels? There are so many types of channels out there, so try to utilize as many as you can, whether it is a toy, augmented reality experience, an app, and so forth!

2. Get creative with emergent tech!

Don’t just stop at social media! With the advent of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies, there are so many new and exciting ways that media and entertainment can interact with pop culture. Even if they are not accessible for everyone, try to brainstorm and conceptualize the potential ways that your product can look like in the future.

3. The rise of emergent technologies does not mean old media and entertainment are going anywhere.

The existence of technologies such as AR and VR mean that the future of digital media and entertainment is almost upon us – it is just a matter of time until they become easier to synthesize with existing forms of media and entertainment. However, that does not mean that entertainment experiences such as museums, movies, and live events as we know them are going anywhere. The truth of the matter is that people love authenticity and even antiquity, hence the popularity of vintage. Years from now, regardless of what emergent technologies become popular, people will always embrace old media and entertainment.

If you are looking to meet and talk to a stellar entrepreneur and develop your creative ideas into something tangible, then I suggest you attend the next entry in Matt’s Zero to Hero lecture series: “From Idea to Product.”

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