“It makes you see the world differently.”
– Josh Brolin
The Messy Truth VR Experience is an original virtual reality series that puts viewers in the shoes of people from other walks of life, in communities that may be unfamiliar to them. The Messy Truth VR Experience adds immersive VR to similar, but all new, stories, to create a powerful feeling of empathy and “being there.” Users have described viewing the episodes of The Messy Truth VR Experience as being visceral and eye-opening.
TV host, activist, and Magic Labs Media co-founder Van Jones created the 4-episode series. Episode 1 (Winston Duke) and Episode 2 (Brie Larson) are complete. The creators are actively raising funds to produce Episodes 3 (Josh Brolin) and 4 (Zoe Saldana).
Episode 1 features actor Winston Duke, who played M’Baku in the the Oscar-nominated film Black Panther.
Utilizing VR, the viewer sees through the eyes of a 12-year old African-American boy as he and his dad are pulled over by the police. The scenario is based on a real life incident, with research provided by Time Magazine.
On January 30, 2019, the Advanced Imaging Society awarded The Messy Truth VR Experience the Social Justice Award at its 10th annual Lumiere Awards ceremony. The Lumiere Awards recognize outstanding achievement in the creation of immersive storytelling using advanced visual technologies, including Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, High Frame Rate and Stereo 3D.
In August 2019, The Messy Truth VR Experience With Van Jones, Episode 1 was selected as a Finalist for Outstanding Innovation in Interactive Media for the 71st Emmy Awards.
The second episode in the series stars Academy Award winner Brie Larson. In it, the viewer utilizes VR to see through the eyes of a waitress waiting for her performance review as her boss uses it as an opportunity to abuse his power.
The scenario is based on a real life incident that was advised and researched by The Restaurant Opportunity Center United, a not for profit organization with a mission to improve working conditions for the nation’s low wage restaurant workforce.
The user is sitting with their co-worker, Gina (played by Larson) as you wait for your performance review. Your manager shows up late and makes condescending comments to you and Gina. Eventually Gina leaves and your manager begins to talk about your performance. He quickly turns the conversation into a chance to flirt with you. While making inappropriate comments, he gets closer to and closer. Eventually reaching his hand under the table to squeeze your leg. Insinuating that if you want to get a raise you have to, “play the game.”
The Messy Truth VR Experience uses sensors that track your hands, so when you put on the headset you more fully experience another person's world.
Episode 3 (in development) features Academy Award nominee Josh Brolin and Episode 4 (in development) features Zoe Saldana.