The Digital Hollywood Experience

The Digital Hollywood Experience


Monday, January 8th, 2018

Session I - DH7

LVCC, North Hall, Room N258

1 - 2 PM

VR/AR as a Branding Strategy

The advertising and VR/AR industry was a partnership waiting to happen. The immersive experience on all platforms, from smartphones and tablets to headsets and a vast array of holographic experiences may in the future be the best relationship between brand and consumer ever devised.

Ryan Pulliam, CMO and Co-Founder, Specular Theory

Keith Soljacich, VP/Director, Technology, DigitasLBi

Gabe Garner, SVP, Business Planning, Firstborn

Guy Bedov, CEO and Co-Founder, Sidekick VR

Zeda Stone, Head of Business Development and Innovation, RYOT, An Oath Brand

Moderator - Bill Newell, CEO, North South Studios LLC


Keith Soljacich, VP/Dir, Technology, DigitasLBi: As VP Technology at DigitasLBi, Keith specializes in the technologies that power innovative marketing and advertising campaigns for our clients. At DigitasLBi we work with iconic brands

like Whirlpool, AMEX, MIllerCoors, Disney and PlayStation to develop the next generation of digital creative technology. With a background in Production and CGI, Keith specializes in immersive technologies like AR/VR and AI . Meanwhile, in the Lab, he oversees a steady stream of research and development, prototyping and experimentation to find the next innovative solution for our clients.


Ryan Pulliam is the co-founder and CMO of Specular Theory, an award-winning immersive media and entertainment company based in Venice Beach, CA that creates premium virtual reality content and experiences using innovative storytelling and proprietary technology. Ryan brings extensive agency and client-side experience in digital marketing and brand strategy. As a next-generation thought leader on digital media strategy and a gatekeeper to large networks in the entertainment, technology and new media sectors, Pulliam is consistently creating opportunities for long-term growth and value from customers, markets and relationships. Pulliam is a published expert in the Seven Pearls of Financial Wisdom, which was named Top Business Book in 2012 by The Library Journal. She is a frequent guest speaker on a number of industry panels including Further Future, TEDx, Singularity University and CES. She is also a member of The Women’s CLUB of Silicon Valley, MaiTai Global and Summit Series. Specular Theory has won numerous awards for its virtual reality and 360 work, including the 2016 Streamy Award Winner for Best VR and 360 Experience for MatPat’s Game Lab in 360 series. The studio has also created the most talked about pieces at the 2015 and 2016 Sundance Film Festivals for their “Perspective VR” original series that ignited a global conversation around empathy and using VR for Good.


Zeda Stone is the Head of Business Development and Innovation at RYOT and the Creative Director of RYOT Lab. He is charged with identifying emerging technologies and formats to utilize and enhance the already robust storytelling platforms that RYOT uses. Prior to joining RYOT full-time, Zeda served as a technology consultant and with his company, he helped to build out RYOT’s early technology stack and giving platform. He also started and sold an interactive flash-based video technology company, Hotclick Video. While in the investment banking world, Zeda formed BlueFire Renewables, a cellulosic ethanol startup that received an $80M grant from the Department of Energy to build the first ever cellulosic waste to biofuel facilities in the world. Additional passion projects include, Kinship, a digital time capsule for families and friends and The Great Escape Project, a program for children receiving cancer treatment that leverages the power of immersive formats for temporary escapes to new worlds. Zeda also sits on the Board of Directors for The Friendship Shelter, a year round shelter and rehabilitation center for homeless adults.


Gabe Garner SVP, Business Planning, Firstborn: Gabe Garner partners with new clients from the start of the pitch process to the final execution, consulting with Firstborn’s creative and technical teams during production to ensure that the user experience matches the project vision. Gabe brings over 15 years of experience in digital development and production to the table, including roles at high profile agencies such as Hilllman Curtis and Attik. He has leveraged this holistic technical history into translating business goals into digital experiences for clients such as Rolex, Keds and Supercell. His love for all things digital is eclipsed only by his passion for Dungeons & Dragons, which his wife assures us is only a phase.


Guy Bendov is a co-founder and the CEO of Sidekick VR, a developer and publisher of cutting edge games. Since 2010 Sidekick has been creating games for and with leading publishers and tech leaders such as Disney and Rovio as well as Intel, LeapMotion, and Google. Guy is an interactive entertainment serial entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience. Prior to Sidekick, Guy founded Double Fusion, a leader in the in-game advertising space, Cellular Magic and Click! Online, a casual games studio. In addition, Guy serves as the Chairman of GameIS, the Israeli games association.


Bill Newell, President, North South Studios, LLC: As a founding partner of North South Studios, Bill Newell brings more than 18 years of corporate and entrepreneurial experience to the company. Bill has been involved in production and multimedia from its early days and has had key roles in establishing many of the business processes that today are often taken for granted. Bill's areas of expertise include finance, technology, production, and operations. Bill's ability to increase productivity without sacrificing quality has been proven time and time again and is a key asset to the company. A longtime associate of his partner, Sarina Simon, Bill came to North South Studios from the Knowledge Kids Network where he served as Chief Operating Officer for five years. Bill co-founded the Knowledge Kids Network and was instrumental in defining its business objectives, operational processes, and company structure. His thorough planning and oversight launched the KidsEdge websites. This network of award-winning websites contained more than 250 games, thousands of articles, and had the capacity to support 3.5 million users. During his tenure at the Knowledge Kids Network, Bill also executive produced a 12 minute animated movie entitled, DotzWorld, which premiered on the AOL network and featured 25 original characters. Bill's insightful finance skills were invaluable to the company in its negotiations with AOL and other prominent partners. Prior to joining the Knowledge Kids Network, Bill was Vice President of Production for IXL Los Angeles, a NASDAQ listed Internet services company with more than $12 million in yearly revenue in the Los Angeles office alone. As VP of Production, Bill oversaw all aspects of production and provided sales support for IXL's west coast offices. Always prolific, he supervised and managed the design and implementation of over 100 projects including assignments for Polygram, Fox, Warner Brothers, NewsCorp, Baker and Taylor, Mazda, Kawasaki, Universal Studios, and Technicolor, among others. Making use of his extensive finance background, Bill brought financial discipline to his production team and productivity increased over 200% during his tenure at IXL. Before joining IXL, Bill was Vice President of Production for Digital Planet, an Internet services company that was later acquired by IXL. As VP of Production, Bill provided direct management of technical, production, and creative teams. He also oversaw all proposal submissions, bids, technical analyses, and creative treatments for media, technology, and consumer companies including Intel, Mattel, the US Postal Service, Disney Online and Allstate. Bill is also a veteran of the multimedia pioneering company, Philips Media, where he worked for four years as an Executive Producer, managing two in-house production groups. In this executive role, Bill directed a 35 member staff and produced six educational CD ROM products. He also directed the localization of numerous products for the Japanese, English, Swedish and American markets.