Jaunt taps three ex-Lucasfilm executives to run its new VR studio

by Will Mason • April 28th, 2015

Jaunt has been creating some of the more widely known VR experiences for the last year, from Paul McCartney’s concert to movies like Kaiju Fury. Until now, these experiences have, for the most part been passion projects and demos to show off Jaunt’s technology. But Jaunt’s content strategy changed significantly today as they announced the foundation of Jaunt Studios – a new arm of the company that is solely focused on developing, producing and collaborating on liveaction VR.

To lead Jaunt Studios, the company has hired Cliff Plumer, former CEO of Digital Domain and CTO of Lucasfilm and Industrial Light & Magic; Plumer was also an early advisor to Oculus, back in the Kickstarter days and has been a board advisor to Telltale Games. In addition to Plumer, the company has recruited Lucasfilm alumni and entertainment industry veterans David Anderman and Miles Perkins. Former COO and General Counsel of Lucasfilm, Anderman has joined Jaunt as Chief Business Officer to lead the growth of Jaunt’s business and help the new content studio meet the significant demand for custom VR experiences. Anderman was named Variety’s Dealmaker of the Year in 2012 for his work on Lucasfilm’s acquisition by Disney. Lucasfilm and Industrial Light & Magic veteran and Head of Corporate Communications, Miles Perkins, has joined Jaunt as Vice President of Marketing Communications.

“Entertainment and the way we consume content of all kinds, from film to music to sports, is evolving quickly, especially with the proliferation of smartphones. Virtual reality is already playing a huge role in the future of media and this is just the beginning,” said Jens Christensen, CEO of Jaunt. “Jaunt Studios will allow us to put more specific resources and expertise behind creative content, while at the same time the Jaunt team in Silicon Valley can continue to build best-of-class technology.”

For the studio’s launch, Jaunt has entered into a partnership with Condé Nast Entertainment. The two companies will be partnering up to create two virtual reality series that will explore “travel, lifestyle, fashion, sports and technology content.” Says Miles Perkins, “this is going to be a fantastic opportunity to do some things that are out of the box.” Right now details on what the series will be and what other projects the studio is working on are sparse, but we do know they are negotiating with  “other top content partners” and they plan to announce more partnerships soon.

Like Beetlejuice, if you say ‘former Lucasfilm employee’ three times around me, you’re going to get a question about Star Wars. I asked Perkins whether they had begun any discussions about a VR addition to Disney’s expanding universe, and he told me they had not yet spoken about it but that he wouldn’t be surprised if Disney went that route at some point in the future. As a big Star Wars fan, I can’t wait for more news on that.

This new studio is one of a few content studios emerging in the space. The time in the industry is ripe for studios like these, trying to pave the way for a huge amount of content to be in place in time for the consumer releases. Content will be the determining factor in whether VR succeeds, this year or any year, so studios like this and Oculus Story Studio are a growing need for the industry.

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