Ted Schilowitz is Futurist in Residence at Paramount Studios where he is an expert on emerging technologies, focusing on virtual reality and augmented reality. He determines how entertainment can leverage these latest technologies to shape the next generation of film entertainment. Previously, Ted worked as a consulting futurist at 20th Century Fox where he combined art and science to create the film experience of the future.
Notably, he has been an essential contributor to emerging technology, altering the direction of cinema. As a founding member of RED Digital Cinema he developed the RED Camera which shifted the industry standard to a high-resolution technology. He also developed G-Tech, advanced hard drive storage used by professionals. Previously, he launched the Macintosh desktop video division of the AJA Video Systems.
While working with Barco Escape, he developed an immersive theater experience which added right and left screens to movie theaters. Barco Escape projects include STAR TREK BEYOND, THE MAZE RUNNER, and THE SCORCH TRIALS.
You’re invited to see into the future with Ted Schilowitz on November 11th! We look forward to seeing you – in the future!
Real perspective in a pretend industry
Written by Roslin T. Real
Paramount Studios’ Futurist Ted Schilowitz was our special guest in November, taking note of the similarities he found with NCCers during introductions, and expanding upon them as he talked about his created position. Enthusiastically embracing input from the Salon attendees, he started off by sharing that he constantly lives in the “maybe this might be something world.” The NCC was lifted by his openness, and accepted his offer to be taught juggling at the end of the night – something he had never done in his numerous presentations to date.
Ted shared that his open mind has kept him going through challenging times by looking at what is possible instead of the existing circumstance. Growing up in Florida he was exposed to Disney World, which solidified his optimistic perspective at age seven. This led him to be more comfortable with change than in keeping things the same, as well as to continue trying if something did not initially go as intended.
He advised NCCers and all creatives to get into the mindset of looking for the next inspiration, not the next job, instead “You’re looking for the next thing that is going to help you help your neighborhood, help your city, help your country, help the world. And that’s kind of an interesting path…you’re swerving around instead of trying to take this direct path…The job hopefully will come.” Creatives must remember to keep a light and flexible attitude toward Hollywood because at the end of the day “this is a pretend industry, we make pretend things, in a pretend job where we make pretend.”
Though Ted worked as a director, producer and in production for 25 years at places like Disney World, Nickelodeon, and PBS, upon arrival in Los Angeles he thought, “I’m not even a fish in this pond!” Yet his curiosity led him forward, and to a position that worked with technological advancement. For seven years he helped build desktop video for computers. He brought along his Disney work ethic, asking the question, “how do I make this happen?”
Through his contacts at Apple, he was introduced to an enigmatic individual trying to build a cinema quality camera that didn’t require loading film. They teamed together, and Ted was the person unafraid to get in front of an audience in support of this idea. Eventually the industry-shifting Red Camera was created out of their partnership.
After this success, he was open to trying something new, and was contacted to be an official explorer of unknown territory at 20th Century Fox. The studio appreciated he was the guy who had “no business being in this business” and wanted him to create for their studio – they called him a Futurist. Since then he moved onto Paramount Studios and continues his forward-thinking. “I call myself a futurist in training. I’m always learning.”
The burgeoning new technological frontier he tests explores the integration of simulation and real life. He shared that there would be a point where the two would be indistinguishable, becoming available to the wider public in roughly ten years. This would come in the shape of wearable technology, and he has been diving into virtual, extended, and augmented realities. As a forever-optimist he supported these frontiers, saying that they can be used to support humanity. Already he shared how he was able to create a 360 degree experience of Burning Man, and that a woman able to experience the presentation wept in appreciation for finally getting to attend.
Through Ted, the NCC witnessed the power of his optimism and the good that can come out of these new advancements. Collectively inspired, we also learned to juggle in FIVE minutes.
See you at the next Salon, the possibilities are endless!