Julina Tatlock Tells SMPTE Attendees to Combine Creatives and Technologists

Julina Tatlock is a creative storyteller who believes the medium has to fit the message.

At this year’s SMPTE 2018 Annual Technical Conference & Exhibition, the keynote address was given by Julina Tatlock, one of the co-founders of 30 Ninjas. She specializes in producing and directing VR, creating social media and Web-based narrative games for movies and broadcast properties.

“At 30 Ninjas we are a small, creative company with creative technologists,” Tatlock began. “I founded the company in 2008 with director-producer Doug Liman to develop boundary-pushing immersive stories into immersive projects. What I want to talk about today is how do we look forward to what is coming, but at the same time make entertainment for now--and what we have learned along the way.”

She then played some clips from Liman’s films just so the audience would know who he was and what he does.

Tatlock went on to explain that her alliance with Liman had lead them to search for boundary-pushing stories and exploring new technologies to tell them with.

Along with her other two partners, VR filmmaker Lewis Smithingham and Jed Weintrob, Tatlock as CEO of 30 Ninjas has become one of the most innovative filmmakers in Hollywood.

The company, 30 Ninjas, relies on a team of both creatives and technologists to create content.

The company, 30 Ninjas, relies on a team of both creatives and technologists to create content.

Tatlock’s awards include, Two Shorty Awards, three Emmy Nominations (2 Outstanding Original Interactive Programming and Outstanding Work in Long Form Investigative Journalism), one SXSW Nomination (Best Interactive Film/TV Campaign), one TV of Tomorrow Award (Most Significant Content Offering), winner of Gracie Award for Outstanding Documentary, both the Grand Prize and Best Mixed Media Award at the World Internet Animation Festival, and was nominated for Best Animation Award at the Ottawa International Animation Festival.

She was executive producer and a director of the six-part VR mini-series, "Invisible", which earned a place in the Guinness Book of World Records as the first broadcast quality 360-degree VR production.

During her keynote, she recalled that the Vaunt One VR cameras they used on the production were so new that each one was labeled with a production number.

Working that far out on the cutting edge requires admitting there is a lot of learning to explore.

“The creative team has to work with the technology team,” she said, “and understand that we don’t know, and they don’t know, and so you work together to make it excellent.”

Tatlock said it is important to choose not only the right project, but also the right medium, be it film. Interactive video or even graphic novel, through which to express that immersive experience.

After her address I asked her if she could expand upon that theme for readers of the SMPTE newsletter and The Broadcast Bridge.

“What is really important to us at 30 Ninjas is to find the essence of the creative,” she told me, “ and which medium can bring that best to life. You have to find the core of the idea, use that as part of the immersion, and then figure out if the technical can enhance that.”

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