Xander Simms uses creative video to help brands find a unique voice, and more recently has transferred his wealth of expertise into the metaverse space. We caught up with him to discuss his creative practice, career highlights and his hopes for the metaverse.
Talk us through what you do at Digital Storytellers inc?
It's an exciting time. We just pivoted to specifically servicing companies and brands based in the metaverse ecosystem, web3, AI, XR, Blockchain, NFT and cryptocurrencies. I’m the founder and it's been a solo venture, but I’m starting to build a small project-based team due to demand.
We help brands navigate the transition between the web2 and web3 ecosystems through custom creative strategy and production solutions. The most important thing we do is listen and then ask questions. We help get audiences excited and curious about the future and find ways to connect and explore new ideas, concepts and technologies mainly through our video productions. Also, we help engage increasingly hyper-focused communities through value-based content and audiovisual differentiation.
What was your path to working in creative video?
I’m an artist and musician and have a deep love for film’s ability to transcend our reality. Growing up, my family didn’t have the means for many luxuries like vacations, but we had magical moments going to the theatre and seeing movies. Afterwards, we would extend the experience by having in-depth analysis and discussions about the movie.
I started editing videos in high school for our digital yearbook, with the hope of making movies one day. Also, working at Blockbuster through my college years, pre-streaming services, gave me access to as many free movies and video games as I wanted, which was a big deal at the time. Next, I worked in marketing and other creative production roles, and developed strong social media and other web2 skills. However, video is the medium that allows me to combine all of my skills into one cohesive experience. It's the way I best communicate, and it's a valuable business tool.
Lastly, having a pulse on the industry and paying attention to thought leaders explaining what's next for video really helped. Forward-thinking brands are partnering with creative video producers in order to tell stories in more unique ways, and one of the best ways to do that is tapping into more diverse storytellers.
How is video content creation changing within web3 and the metaverse?
There are more diverse mixed-media experiences. Visuals range from 8-bit to 8k and beyond sometimes simultaneously. The user experience extends beyond flat screens and has evolved spatially; we've entered the age of 3D, immersive, and interactive virtual environments. The experience is paramount.
My approach is adopting more of the video aspect in my productions from video games. Also, audio branding and sound experiences add a layer of visceral immersion that deserves the utmost respect and attention.
Digital assets themselves and digital video artists are becoming rockstars. The mograph (motion graphics) and 3D scenes are exploding as NFTs are being more widely adopted. Artists like Beeple is a prime example; his success last year is bringing more eyeballs on the art form and the creators.
What would you consider to be your standout career highlight?
My standout career highlight is what I'm doing next. I'm so grateful for where I’m at right now at this moment. I'm between massive success and being completely unknown. Massive success on my terms includes staying healthy, improving my relationships, spreading love, loving the work I do, being excited about my clients and collaborators, and making enough profit to take care of my needs. Some want to contribute and continue to grow my business.
I’m grateful for my journey and excited to contribute and connect in an authentic way to my community. I always root for the antiheroes, the dreamers, the rebels and the outcasts. Web3 is the place for much more diversity of thought and inclusion.
Are you working on any exciting projects at the moment?
Absolutely! My work with the Ozone Metaverse – an elite metaverse engine that will have a breakout year in 2022.
Also I’m the creative technologist on The Metaverse Show, an audio experience working with some of the brightest minds in the industry (including my good friends Teddy, Lans and Amuray).
My original limited content series is another. Into The Metaverse takes my audience on an inter-dimensional journey into the future and prepares curious minds, business leaders and marketers to explore the vastness of the metaverse.
Into The Metaverse will have 7 parts with 7 guests answering 3 questions expressed over 21 short film mosaics. Also, in an effort to support more diversity and inclusion, in NFTs and the metaverse, each of the 7 guests on my limited content series, Into The Metaverse, will be women.
I’m partnering on a couple of independent NFT projects as well! I've also begun creating NFT display video art. I’ve worked with some gracious NFT holders to create custom display videos showcasing their prized NFT. So far I’ve had the pleasure of creating videos with some of the NFT world’s biggest stars, Cryptopunks, Bored Apes from the Bored Ape Yacht Club, Mutant Apes, World of Woman, and Clone X. There are one or two others I’m excited about but can’t disclose more yet.
What's one myth about the metaverse you would like to bust?
There are actually two I'd love to bust! One is that the metaverse is far off. As Jon Radoff says, ‘Don’t listen to the cynics, they won’t build anything anyway, it exists now...in this moment’.
The second is that it’s unnatural. I hold a belief that technology is organic in a sense. The metaverse is a step towards humans moving from being a physical biological species to becoming increasingly multidimensional. This is more in tune with the rest of the universe in relation to frequency, energy and vibration. I’m fascinated by the technological and metaphysical aspects of the metaverse.
What are your hopes for the future of the metaverse and web3?
Humans are getting to have more fun! A true decentralisation and a more equitable future for all people. There was an alpha quote from Kelly Vero in her spot for Meet the Metaversers, 'Don’t make your metaverse about you, egos are not a priority in 2022. The only way to build a metaverse that we all want to live in is to make your community the architects of your vision'.
Also, I hope collectively, we find ways to connect in the metaverse and web3 to help cure us of the mental anguish that leads to so many people taking their own lives, which is one of the leading causes of death. I hope the metaverse creates more opportunities for people to be reminded they are not alone and connect in meaningful ways to communities that support and inspire them to love themselves, celebrate and share their talents.