Virtual Mark Twain
A creation of Color Concepts & Images
P.O. Box 6290, Incline Village, NV 89450
(702) 831-7451 or (800) TWAIN-VR
Released 29 November 1993
Color slides and prints are available
Virtual Mark Twain, starring the world's favorite storyteller, is a
new interactive multimedia spectacle combining the five most compelling
components of entertainment: special effects, interactivity, humor,
surprise and virtual reality.
Color Concepts and Images, the producers of Virtual Mark Twain,
specialize in transforming computer-generated characters into animated,
charismatic performers, some of whom are based on known people. More
than just cartoons, these multimedia personalities exude human
qualities, interacting in real time, seducing their audiences with high-
tech delivery and old-fashioned warmth.
Most virtual reality experiences require the viewer to wear a
headset with built-in computer displays and to operate a variety of
feedback devices, from keyboards to specially-designed gloves. Virtual
Mark Twain makes no such demands of his audience. Instead, in a three-
dimensional, computer-animated form on any television monitor or big-
screen video, his is "virtually real," with expressions, personality,
movement and a larger-than-life presence, so that audiences ranging from
individual viewers to huge crowds can interact with him like they would
with a real person.
Where Did He Come From?
At the Lake Tahoe-based multimedia studio Color Concepts and
Images, co-producers Gary Jesch, McAvoy Layne and Susan Margolis
restored Twain to his natural vigor.
Virtual Mark Twain employs Vactor (tm) performance animation
software developed by SimGraphics Engineering in California, running on
a PLS Staging computer graphics workstation system.
The behind-the-scenes actor who controls the character, McAvoy
Lane, is a Twain impressionist whose immersion in Twainiana for over 15
years enables him to carry on authentic conversations as the
reincarnated, animated folk hero. Layne's mastery of the written works
and mannerisms of Mark Twain allows him to respond to any questions or
comments that the audience might have. The ability to interact in an
authentic way adds elements of intrigue and electricity to an already
dazzling technology. In fact, Virtual Twain's way of telling a story
and capturing his audiences' full attention and belief is unique in this
new world of virtual reality, where the emphasis usually is on
technology rather than on content.
What Can He Do For You?
Virtual Mark Twain can shrink himself down to share the television
screen with previously scripted material as specific as the client
chooses, or he can improvise like a veteran actor appearing on a theater
stage. He can narrate an elaborate electronic spectacle while calling
up uncanny images (dancing aspirin, baby pictures of the CEO, selling
points, new products), and can interact with those images.
Trade Shows and Product Launches
He can be the whole show or a participant in the show. As host, he
always brings a crowd to life by free-associating with a company name,
or building a simple presentation into a variety show or roast,
personalizing his performance with names, inside jokes and company war
stories. He can give a humor-filled lecture like Mark Twain would have
done a century ago.
Afterwards, the whole show, either in its entirety or in segments,
can be augmented, edited and repurposed for distribution on videotape,
CD-ROM disc or interactive television.
With riverboat gambling now legalized in six states, Twain will
make his way to the new casinos in the Midwest. Because of his ties to
the era of the Mississippi riverboats, he will feel right at home,
interacting with casino customers, teaching poker, judging beauty
contests, running game shows, drawing the winners at a raffle or serving
as Master of Ceremonies in the main showrooms. You might even find him
trying to get his old job back.
Appeal to All Generations
Want to excite children with virtual reality technology, but take
them beyond the shoot-em-up games they're used to? He has a special
appeal for young people who are interested in today's Cyberspace
frontier. With his warmth, wit and wisdom, he coaxes older generations
who are uncomfortable with computers into the high-tech world with
universal statements like, "What's the use you learning to do right,
when it's troublesome to do right and ain't no trouble to do wrong, and
the wages is just the same?"
From a 12-foot by 12-foot videowall or a big-screen TV in a
shopping center, Twain can amuse and chat with mall customers and
browsers like a real person. He can appear larger-than-life on a big
screen, talk to you from a regular TV set or be seen on several monitors
throughout a shopping center at the same time. He tells stories that
people have loved for 100 years and answers questions without the
slightest hint of an electronic delay. In most cases, Twain's
appearance at these venues will be through the sponsorship of a store or
advertiser. Due to the costs involved with bringing such a new and
interesting form of entertainment to life, single-day bookings will be
arranged for about $18,000, with reduced rates for multiple days.
More About Virtual Mark Twain
Unlike contemporary comedians, Virtual Mark Twain does not do
attack-dog, alienating humor. His wit is sharp, but his tone is
endearing. Not only do you hear what Twain was saying when he was
alive, but you also discover what he would have said if he were alive
"Be careful about reading health books," he warns a room full of
book publishers and bookstore owners. "You may die of a misprint."
Introduce him to your best friend or your most important client, and
he's bound to remind you annoyingly, "An enemy can partly ruin a man,
but it takes a good-natured, injudicious friend to complete the thing
and make it perfect."
The 1994 itinerary for the Virtual Mark Twain tour follows his
debut at the New York Virtual Reality Expo 1993 on November 30, Mark
Twain's actual 158th birthday. At venues across the United States and
possibly in Europe (a multi-lingual capability will be added soon), Mr.
Twain will lecture and appear at grand openings of riverboat casinos
along the Mississippi, or in the conference programs of corporate
America, entertaining large crowds of employees. You might even see him
on a big-screen TV at a football game, or as a guest on an evening TV
program. He will work the schools and the malls when he has a chance,
and can be booked for advertising campaigns on short notice.
Virtual Mark Twain stands at the threshold of the public's craving
for new types of entertainment. This combination of rich content and
cutting edge technology will welcome the general public to the world of
virtual reality while they get to know Mark Twain all over again.