Always & Forever Computer Entertainment celebrates year 1. There’s a huge update to aaf.nyc with all new work.
My first virtual reality project, called Playthings, lets you play music with junk food.

Leaving Google

It took five years to work up the courage to leave my job at Google. Saying goodbye to all of my incredibly gifted coworkers who taught me so much, leaving the security of one of the best jobs I could imagine — that was the most terrifying choice I’ve ever made.

Inaugural members of Google Data Arts Team, 2010. Doug Fritz, yours truly, Jono Brandel.
Dennis is a code driven music video that explores what it means to let people “see” a song.

First Steps

Time to exercise my newfound freedom: I had a big personal project to get off my chest. In June of 2015, I launched dennis.video, a music video for popcorn_10. I saw Dennis as the spiritual successor to George & Jonathan III, a deeper exploration of what it means to use musical data to control animation — to let people “see” music.

Learning.

I felt like I was growing too. Inspired by my closest friend and eternal colleague, Jon Baken, and his work on Cool 3D World, I’m learning new 3D modelling software (of which I’ve historically been terrified.) Knowing VR was around the corner, I set out to learn Unity as well.

An early Cinema4D experiment
Infinite Will, a collaboration with popcorn_10, has been watched over 9 million times, lol
Just six white boys in Bushwick. The studio sends its love. Left to right: Neil Cline, Gabe Liberti, George Michael Brower, Dave Rife, Jon Baken, Beau Burrows, and Cortana too.

The Active Space

Working among other creative people has been huge. In spite of my general “leave me alone and let me work” disposition, I found I really missed having “coworkers” after leaving Google. Now I’ve learned that I simply need other people to stir my brain / “till the soil” / have fresh thoughts. A steady influx of new people to react to my work is indispensable, as is having someplace to get up and go. That said, I’ve probably taken it a bit too far (current tally of days off in 2016 stands at 5).

All of a sudden my tools resemble a game designer’s instead of a web developer’s. Cinema4D and Unity have supplanted Sublime Text and Illustrator.

Playthings & Virtual Reality

I remember saying I wanted to be the first one of my friends to become a drooling VR-addicted pool of flesh. Turns out VR is totally capable of the opposite. From the moment Beau put the controllers in my hand, my arms starting swinging like a toddler’s, my mind started teeming with ideas and it really hasn’t stopped since.

Playthings at TriBeCa Film Festival. George fawning over his own work. Photo: Neil Cline
Attempts at eating virtual food are surprisingly common. Photo: Neil Cline

Next season

When I formed my LLC (through LegalZoom) one year ago, I saw it as little more than a tax necessity / excuse to make logos. I’m just “one guy” after all. Being a “company” is weird — but I’ve stopped trying to correct the emails addressed to “George and team.”

TriBeCa Film Festival, hour 36. “Hi, have you tried VR before?” Photo: Neil Cline

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George is the creator of Playthings and founder of Always & Forever Computer Entertainment, a studio for VR and interactive media. http://aaf.nyc

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