Tag Archives: SB projects

Steve’s VR Startup

I began working with VR in 2002, with a software development kit for children, the CDK. The Creative Development Kit allowed inexperienced children AND serious game developers to create games and projects, using our models and commands. The CDK was studied by the Singaporean Ministry of Education and used in schools throughout Singapore, as well as in the Singapore Science Center.  I took a hiatus from VR to write books, one of which has become a best seller in Singapore. I also  began research f0r a book on digital cinematography/VR/art, co-produced/curated SPOKEN, a virtual gallery with Eugene Soh and wrote/co-produced/starred in a 360 short film called Beach Road. In the middle of 2016, I decided that the time was right for my VR ideas. This blog is filled with posts about research , seminars, meetings etc. I am now refining my pitchdeck for presentation to investors/VCs. I would prefer to bootstrap, but for this company, at this time, that is a challenge that would seem to take a long time to solve.
................... Here are the basic questions investors want answered: What is it? What problem does it solve? Who is making it? Potential audience? What work has been done? How will it grow? Business projections Resources needed Reference Schedule Describe yourself Skills Here is what I can share publicly at this time. Potential audience? One billion (yes, that is a 'b') What work has been done? Extensive pre-production  including: research, research research, paper mockup, paper grey box mockup, troubleshooting  bootcamp with trusted associates, started theoretical command sequences for programmers, UI design(fonts, layout color patterns) How will it grow? I have compiled a list of personal connections and carefully selected industry leaders (mainly bloggers and journalists). These people would form a base for testing. Additionally, when the time is right, a press release will be sent to the VR media and notification give to VR social media groups. The user base will grow through these channels as well as through word of mouth. Other methods of promotion have been planned. In addition to meeting a need, the project is fun to use. Though the project is simple and functional, the user experience will feel like the best parts of a five star restaurant, Cirque Soleil and driving a Ferrari. Business projections: Huge If you would like to know more or be a beta tester, feel free to get in touch. Onward!   SB      

Touching Johor Bahru 1

I've plenty of notes about this place, as well the nights I've spent with the present owner at the 123 Cafe... http://johorkaki.blogspot.com/2012/01/indian-curry-puffs-salahuddin-bakery-in.html?m=1 https://m.facebook.com/pages/Salahuddin-Bakery-Jalan-Dhoby/151382781582630 https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g298278-d7139589-Reviews-Salahuddin_Bakery-Johor_Bahru_Johor_Bahru_District_Johor.html

Stephen Black: VR startup in Singapore. Why?

An outline of reasons as to why Singapore is the place for Stephen Black's planned  VR startup.
  1. As Creative Director/Producer for the CDK, a CG-generated VR project for a Singapore-based joint venture, SB became very familiar with Singapore's working environment, including government policies and business practices. (The CDK is described more fully elsewhere on this blog.)
  2. As a long-term resident based in Singapore since 2002, and the author of a bestselling book about Singapore (i ate tiong bahru), SB has a familiarity with Singapore as well as a personal and professional network.
  3. The government of Singapore provides support for VR and VR-related startups. https://www.spring.gov.sg/Nurturing-Startups/SEEDS/Pages/spring-start-up-enterprise-development-scheme.aspx VR in Singapore
  4. As a teacher of VR-related educational software in the Singapore educational system, SB has experience "in the trenches", regarding the demands of institutions, schools, teachers and students. The Singapore Ministry of successfully tested the CDK and  presented the results at an international educational symposium.
  5. Singapore is a regional hub, with strong connections throughout Southeast Asia,India, China and Japan. This fact, combined with SB's living experiences in Japan, Hong Kong, Paris, New York and Bali create a strong  possibility for an active beta network that will be an influential force for global take-up.
    two male avatars in a very red gallery

    Stephen Black and Eugene Soh in the virtual lobby of gallery.sg, the location for the SPOKEN exhibition

    6. Safe and stable, Singapore has trustworthy legal and business infrastructures. 7. English: yes! Other languages? Yes, yes, yes and yes! 8.Singapore's multicultural population is also very smartphone savvy.

stephen black start up

Two hundred percent. Ten thousand percent. Whatever it takes.... I am finalizing a pitch deck now and calmly, but urgently, looking for a Unity/C# person who works hard and dreams harder. VR and more. NOW.

Stephen Black: VR, Art, Books and Singapore

This blog post chronicles some of the activities I have been involved with since 2002, when I began being based in Singapore. Previous to 2002, I lived in Manhattan,Tokyo, Paris and Hong Kong.I have a BFA degree in Photographic Illustration from the Rochester Institute of Technology, with a minor in Film and Video and have been employed by companies such as Fuji TV, Cartoon Network, Fox, MTV, France 2 and Turner Classic Movies. I have directed, created promos and written scripts in addition to my activities as a photographer, artist and writer. 2002-2007 Creative Director, Producer, Cameraman, Instructor and Writer for WalkerAsia/Compudia/Blacksteps This story is quite cinematic but to simplify, the CEO who was the guiding force of WalkerAsia and  Compudia passed away unexpectedly, without a succession plan in place. The business plan of WalkerAsia was to be something like Youtube--but at the time we were unaware of Youtube, as it began 3 years later, in 2005.The business plan of Compudia was to create a platform that included email, chat, character licensing and a very very powerful educational/gaming SDK that was both simple enough for inexperienced children and advanced enough for professional game designers. CDK Landing pageI formed Blacksteps to to carry the project forward. However, despite the fact that Compudia had been set up with over $3 million dollars worth of funding and had positive, working relationships with the Singapore Ministry of Education, the Singapore Science Center  and other Singapore agencies, as well as the beginning of public acceptance, issues surrounding the IP made further successes impossible. I then decided to spend more time with art and began writing books-- a lifelong dream of mine. (My father was a book salesman.) I was certain I would return to VR once mobile technology stabilized and VR headsets were finally accessible to the public. Details about the books I wrote can be found elsewhere on this blog. The titles include: The Agaricus blazeii Murrill Notebook, Obama Search Words, Furikake, Contact With Shadow, Bali Wave Ghost and i ate tiong bahru which is a national bestseller in Singapore. The following projects are VR-related Secret Donut World is a collaboration with David Severn a British artist/resident of Japan. The Secret Donut World characters and the world they live in are designed specifically for VR. We are now reviewing SDW in light of recent stabilized technologies, such as those which made Pokemon Go and Job Simulator possible. We are preparing materials for partnerships, licensing and investors.
lance from Secret Donut World

Flame Magnet is go! Art by David Severn

SPOKEN www.gallery.sg Inside of a virtual gallery(Unity) built by Eugene Soh are a number of works which I curated. There was also a writing component. Participants were from all over the world, some very famous, some not. More details can be found on this blog.   Cinematography 8.0 light and motion in the age of VR, AR, AI, 360, 8K and drones is the title of a book work in progress. Information is available elsewhere on this blog.cinematography_cover_221116_576_1024_v3   3how: the Riverwalk Session As co-founder of 3how, I am fortunate to work with exceptionally talented people of all kinds. The musicianship on this album is outstanding and the recording technique provided valuable experience for future audio projects, VR included.
a circle with veins

3how: a table in front of a wall

Lee Wen: Ping Pong Go Round and Seasons Without Seasons Although SWS is not 360, the idea of 360 space was one of the concerns while shooting and editing Beach Road Produced with Hiverlab, this short film was featured at the 2015 Brisbane Film Festival and nominated for Best Experimental Film at the 2016 Las Vegas VR Fest.
360 video still

Stephen Black sits in a parking lot. Image is in 360. Beach Road is a coproduction between Stephen Black and hiverlab

Norm Black was the name of a photo exhibition and the public debut of Beach Road. 3how performed. 2015 ay4ya-woman-with-vr-goggles The Sudden VR Fest at Ay4ya art space at Isetan, Wisma Atria, Singapore.2016 Informal and full of surprises, the Sudden VR Fest was organized by Stephen Black and included the participation of Hiverlab, Lionel Chok/ImmersivelyPicture Perfect Productions,  Jo Joshua/Viziofly and Aram Pan. Related post:  http://www.blacksteps.tv/the-2016-sudden-vr-festival-360-videos-on-youtube/ jo-joshua-at-the-sudden-vr-festival   w-lionel-chok-at-isetan jo-joshua-pointing-at-jane-the-sudden-vr-festival  

Crowdfunding Success… or is it?

This post outlines my current crowdfunding campaign: why it successfully went over target within three days and why that is somewhat of a mixed blessing. Background For my third attempt at crowdfunding, I planned a campaign for glassware to be engraved with the phrase i ate tiong bahru, the name of my book, a national bestseller in Singapore. Prior to this, I had created a sample of the engraved glassware and it was met with support. One store had immediately expressed great interest. A successful crowdfunding campaign would allow me to do two things: 1. Create an edition of 88 numbered and signed glasses for art collectors. (I consider iatb to be a conceptual art project, but to explain why would require a separate post.) 2. Conduct a small marketing test. The amount was set at $650 dollars, which would allow one hundred glasses to be purchased and engraved. Procedure I made a video, prepared my budget and rewards. I chose to work with Zingohub because I had happened to meet Sayantan Das, the co-founder. I was impressed by him, as well as Zingohub's focus on Southeast Asia. (I should mention that Tiong Bahru is a community in Singapore.) Because Zingohub is new, I would be one of their earlybirds, meaning more attention would be given to my campaign than if it were one of the thousands on Kickstarter or other bigger crowdfunding sites. There could have been some of those unforeseen downsides that come along with a new IT company, but all went well. If anything, I was the weakest link as I decided to start a campaign very quickly during one of the busiest times of my life. Finally, I should mention that Zingohub includes an online store, which is a great idea. So with input and assistance from Zingohub, I had my rewards and video prepared. I then wrote to about twenty people that I thought would be interested in the glassware, either as an artwork or just as a simple fun household item. Then we went live. What happened... Well...within three days I went over target by 30%! Number one of the first glass in the edition of 88 was sold, for $589! I thought that the lower numbers in the edition, which sell for $59 (including a book) would be purchased first. Plus, 4 people wanted the package which includes a coffee session with me. Finally, one person pledged a very welcome dollar to be mentioned on my social media pages. Am I happy? YES.... BUT... What needs to happen next...
I really had not put my full campaign into action. I thought that of the twenty people I contacted, some would respond and the campaign would look positive from the first day. I never thought I would meet my goal so quickly, let alone exceed it.
So, now I am following through with the rest of my campaign plans. My rewards are, I believe, a good value and now I must push this value as a reason to participate. The "fun" of being part of a support team is now somewhat diminished. This is bittersweet, as it is a great feeling to be part of a team that struggles and slowly achieves success.Now, those who support my campaign are probably doing so more because the rewards, rather than because of the thrill of supporting an uncertainty. In any event, I am very thankful for any support, existing or incoming in the next two weeks. I hope that I can find at least another six supporters. Sixty supporters.... As it is now, I'm asking myself if six people are a crowd... The i ate tiong bahru glassware campaign is here. The book that started it all is on Amazon.

Tiong Bahru Mouth (images)

This gallery contains 8 photos.

… will require time to write about these…

Jakarta Menghubungkan !?

Halo. Nama saya adalah Stephen Black.
Saya mengirim pesan ini
berharap untuk terhubung dengan
seniman , penulis , wartawan , musisi , 
dan siapa saja yang tertarik bertukar ide
Saya melakukan banyak hal .
Berikut adalah galeri maya saya buat dengan artis Eugene Soh
Saya telah menulis sebuah novel tentang Bali disebut Bali Wave Ghost .
Beach Road adalah nama dari 360 film saya telah membuat .

Saya memiliki lebih banyak seni dan menulis proyek , 
tapi saya berharap untuk mempelajari lebih lanjut tentang apa yang Anda lakukan . 

Aku akan berada di TIM sampai sekitar 20:00 hari ini .

Email aku! bookmerah  AT Gmail 
or on Facebook 
Terima kasih!

  Halo! My  name is Stephen Black. I send this message hoping to connect with artists, writers, journalists, musicians and anyone interested in exchanging ideas. I do many things. Here is a virtual gallery I created with the artist Eugene Soh. www.gallery.sg I have written a novel about Bali called Bali Wave Ghost. Beach Road is the name of a 360 movie I have made. I have many more art and writing projects, but I hope to learn more about what you do. Email me! bookmerah  AT Gmail or on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/baliwaveghost/ Terima kasih!   Stephen Black

MegaJakarta 2

MegaJakarta 1 is here.
megaJakarta 2

megaJakarta 2

I have lived in and written about Bali. To live in Bali is to live amongst the tourist industry, the Balinese form of Hinduism and the battle between man and nature. The image above was created at the Jakarta Airport. Noise is the brushstroke of digital photography. Eight links... Tourism in Indonesia It seems to me an interesting idea: that is to say the idea that we live in the description of a place and not in the place itself, and in every vital sense we do. -Wallace Stevens This quote is used in the introduction to "Landscape, Writing and Photography" by Sarah Hill Enlightening Enounters: Photography in Italian Literature Traveller's Visions: French Literary Encounters With Japan 1881-2004 An Archaeology of Architecture: Photowriting the Built Environment Stephen Black video interview on the writing  of Bali Wave Ghost Henry Rollins on Noise and Wolf Eyes “People ask if, as a photographer, I try to relate pictures to particular pieces of music. In the case of Glenn’s albums, we were both concerned with creating a compelling image, without reference to a specific repertoire.”
Legendary photographer, Don Hunstein recalls collaborations with Glenn Gould

MegaJakarta 1

The introduction to the megaJakarta project is here. Jakarta blur plants edited   Embracing the impossibility to fully understand the moment before me. Utilizing technology, choreography and chance to create a two dimensional model and monument. I came to Jakarta with "only" a smart phone. I had a few questions about my relationship with photography. Reflecting upon the time and place captured by the camera as well as the subsequent processing of the image resulted in the statement above. One of my intentions with the megaJakarta project was to find eight links that would offer insights into each image. And so...
  1. Ohio smartphone surrealism
  2. From nothing to this...
  3. Cikini
  4. From nothing to this 2
  5. Delete by haiku
  6. http://www.culturemobile.net/bio/personnalites/paul-virilio
  7. From nothing to this 3
  8. H.G. Wells
On my Facebook page I have posted almost a hundred images taken for the megaJakarta project. Only one or two have been modified, the rest are "unattractive". Here is a sample. The "before" image of the one above.
megaJakarta 1, from camera

megaJakarta 1, from camera

MegaJakarta 2 is here.