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Collision sees technological transformation of creativity

The Collision tech conference brought 25,000 attendees to Toronto to gain insights on startups and VCs from all over the world. What may have surprised the audience at the Enercare conference centre was the amount of emphasis placed on creativity at Collision.

During his keynote on Collision’s centre stage, AdultSwim’s CMO Michael Ouweleen emphasized that it’s important for creative minds to stop tech from getting in the way of the creative process. But the tools to enhance creativity being discussed during Collision show there’s a lot of promise in the world of creative technologies.

Hit Record on creativity
During his kickoff on Collision’s first full day, Joseph Gordon-Levitt set the tone around creativity and technology for the rest of the conference. Beyond his illustrious acting career, Gordon-Levitt has been working on Hit Record for years, a platform for collaborative creative projects online and has recently secured VC funding to grow the company.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt speaks at Collision 2019.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt speaks at Collision 2019.

The platform allows its 750,000 users to come together and collaborate on media projects, and to dispense revenue from successful projects based on the work each user contributed. Hit Record grew from a basic html passion project that Gordon-Levitt’s brother helped the actor build, before evolving into a fully-fledged creative community out of its original PHP message board. Building a collaborative platform was never the goal behind Hit Record, said Gordon-Levitt, but it is a transformative outcome for a community devoted to creative projects.

The actor turned entrepreneur stated that just listening to music or watching movies online isn’t that different from old media, but creating something with a disparate community of creative people via the internet is new behaviour that humans couldn’t do before.

Now with an Emmy for Outstanding Creative Achievement in Interactive Media to its credit, Hit Record is a full-blown production company testing its limits and trying to include more people. Gordon-Levitt emphasized the values of the organization in his keynote, stating that the company intends to stay “focused on our community and a sincere depth of affinity with that community.”

Collision startups show creative spark
The startups on display at the conference showed a similar commitment to creative energy and the effort to channel it through new forms of technology that Gordon-Levitt emphasized. A collaborative music marketplace, VR tech and AI for writers were all on display.

Collision 2019.

Collision 2019.

Similar to Hit Record, but specifically for music, startup OmMuse is looking to launch a platform for creating music together. Through a cloud-based web platform and a mobile app, OmMuse wants to bring musical artists of various skill sets together to create music in real time.

The startup also intends to take some of the pain out of compensation and rights issues across streaming platforms, allowing artists to decide on crediting and compensation on granular aspects of the music’s monetization.

As cofounder Vivek Patel put it after the event, “The goal will be able to provide creatives the full rights to their work and ultimately be their own record label. Talent and art will not only be recognized, but create an opportunity for compensation through our open marketplace as well as distribution to other streaming services.”

Collision 2019.

Collision 2019.

With 110 artists signed up globally, and the beta to be launched in a month’s time, OmMuse could be an interesting sign of the state of music creation online.

Startup Granthika showed off its AI-enhanced writing tools at Collision. The company has just launched a beta of its intelligent writing platform which allows writers to track elements of their work throughout the creative process, and create useful databases, timelines and graphs to enhance the details of their work planning. At the heart of the project, said Granthika’s Yasmin Yishay, is understanding the workflow of writers, and how to offer tools for both those who plan out their work and those who don’t.

Granthika hopes to take care of the inane bookkeeping that goes into keeping track of content within drafts and edits as part of a writer’s regular routine. This kind of tracking of details is ripe for AI and machine intelligence, and Granthika’s team hopes to develop the platform’s tools in order to allow the writer to “be able to concentrate more on what really matters in a narrative: the people, the plot, the emotions, the themes.”

Collision 2019.

Collision 2019.

Thanks to the rapid innovation of VR tech, the quality of virtual reality content is increasing, and access to those experiences has never been easier. Contraverse is an end-to-end VR production and distribution startup based in Toronto looking to boost access to VR movies.

The company started out of Ryerson University, got early funding from Indiegogo, and is now providing its services to film festivals like Hot Docs, Sundance and SXSW. Contraverse currently has an app featuring their three original movies, and is creating a streaming platform, the Contraverse Cinema, hopefully to be released later this year. The emphasis is on getting narrative VR projects out to the public, and making sure that quality VR experiences are at the heart of the medium.

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