CEO: GUY GADNEY COUNTRY: UK STARTED: 2015 CHARISMA ENTERTAINMENT
What’s your origin story? My name is Guy Gadney and I am the co-founder and CEO of Charisma Entertainment. Charisma’s origins are steeped in creativity, allied with advanced AI technologies. This combination has built an innovative form of immersive storytelling, where audiences take part in the narrative. Viewers can talk directly to characters and have them speak back to them – like an interactive movie. We spotted this opportunity a few years back, building on our interactive storytelling work on Sherlock , Downtown Abbey and Peaky Blinders , then set about creating the technology that would power our vision. The BBC and Sky were our first clients, followed by Warner Bros (working on the Justice League and Steppenwolf ) and a number of media companies around the world. We also bought the rights to adapt John Wyndham’s novel The Kraken Wakes as an immersive story, which we will release later this year.
What are you working on now? We were recently awarded funding from Epic Games to link Charisma to their incredible MetaHumans technology. It is our vision that all virtual characters will be powered by Charisma. This win is an important step towards the company being a player in the future of characters in the Metaverse. After all, we want our worlds populated by interesting and engaging virtual figures, not chatbots. As if that was not enough, we have also connected Charisma to the world of robotics, so if anyone out there is making a real version of Westworld , let’s talk!
What’s next? The evolution of AI is to unlock forms of
storytelling that were previously impossible. This could be characters that can have conversations
about any topic under the sun, or stories which can weave in dynamic news, or even plots that evolve based on how audiences react. Sitting behind this is a simple desire to become closer to the stories and experiences that we enjoy. Indeed, Netflix’s rapidly growing investment in games and interactive narrative shows how the lines between linear video and interactive worlds are blurring. If you could have anything right now, what would that be? There is a small number of books and TV series I would like to adapt.
The rights to those – and an unlimited budget – would turbocharge a new creative movement. Are you listening Neil Gaiman, Jonathan Nolan?
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