Like many freshman, I found the transition to college life overwhelming. My way of coping was video games. Over the course of the year I spent more and more time escaping into virtual worlds. Thankfully, a video production class I was taking at the time provided me a way to gain some perspective on my life long relationship with video games. As a final project, I created a short film called As Real as Your Life. Over a year later I found myself living in Los Angeles, and working with a veteran TV producer to create a richer and deeper version of the original film. The remade A.R.A.Y.L premiered at the 2006 TED Conference, and I quickly found myself at the center of a growing conversation about the potential role of video games in shaping individuals and culture.
Through a striking collage of documentary, narrative, and animation, As Real as Your Life chronicles one video game addict’s experiences and explores the personal and social repercussions of spending more time playing in the virtual world than in the real one. The film brings to light the enormous potential for video games to transform individuals, and aims to start conversations about the role video games play in our lives.
I am still very fond of the original film which I made with no budget and very little knowledge of filmmaking techniques. I shot the film around where I was living in Philadelphia, and I recorded the audio in my dorm room closet, which I sound-proofed with towels.
A perfect drive towards aesthetic complexity and thematic relevance.