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Eric Darnell, Udacity Talks

“It is all about the content.”

So says Eric Darnell, Chief Creative Officer of Baobab Studios. Coming from a film director—which Eric is—this may not be a surprising sentiment. But Eric is in fact one of the preeminent visionaries leading the still-very-new field of Virtual Reality filmmaking, and is unquestionably at the very forefront of technological advances the likes of which we can still hardly imagine. But despite all that innovation, it’s still about the content.

Eric Darnell is our guest for this week’s episode of Udacity Talks, taking place on Wed, June 20th, at 4pm PDT.

DreamWorks Days: Antz & Madagascar

Eric is uniquely positioned for the role he now occupies. He directed DreamWorks Animation’s very first animated feature film “Antz,” which means he’s been honing his craft at the crossroads of technology and storytelling for nearly two decades. He was also director and screenwriter for all four films in the “Madagascar” franchise. These films have together grossed over $2.5 dollars. If anyone is in a position to move VR to the mainstream—with both its technology and its content in tip-top shape—it’s Eric Darnell.

Live Chat featuring YOUR Questions!

You can only imagine our excitement when we confirmed Eric for our next episode of Udacity Talks. The idea of Sebastian Thrun and Eric Darnell sitting across from one another, taking on questions posed by our students, seemed almost too good to be true, but true it is, and it’s happening this Wednesday, at 4pm PDT. RSVP today, submit your questions, bookmark your video chat link, and start preparing to have your eyes opened and your brain expanded!


We created Udacity Talks as a way for our students to engage directly with some of the most important and influential thinkers in Silicon Valley. Recent guests have included Jess Lee, Co-founder & CEO at Polyvore, Astro Teller, Captain of Moonshots at X (Google), and Tony Fadell, Co-founder & former CEO at Nest (Tony recently stepped down from his role at Nest, and will now be an adviser to Alphabet and its chief executive, Larry Page). The format is a live video chat, with our own Sebastian Thurn in the host’s seat. Submitted questions comprise the bulk of the event content—these question come in either in advance via the event RSVP link, or in real time either through the YouTube comment feed, or via social media using the hashtag #UdacityTalks. You can access archived episodes here, and you can RSVP today for Wednesday’s episode with Eric Darnell.

Invasion! New from Baobab Studios

For a sample of Baobab’s latest project, please enjoy this preview of “Invasion!” (which was the very first VR film accepted as an official selection for the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival):

See you on Talks!

“Unlike when watching a movie, the VR audience can look where they want to look and pay attention to whatever they want. But good storytelling is often a function of pacing and timing. I may not want to pause the story while the viewer is busy watching the clouds roll by. As a VR director, sometimes I have to think like a magician and inspire the audience to look when I want them to look at something specific. The choice is always theirs to make. I just have to design things so that the viewer makes the choices I want them to make.”
—Eric Darnell, from an interview with VR Film Pro

Chris Morell
Chris Morell
Writer, content creator and storyteller dabbling in code. Tweet me with your favorite coffee brewing techniques and/or quotes from The Wire.