MEGA Experience: An Interview With John Cabrera

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Over the past decade, John Cabrera has worked as a writer, director, and actor at the Hollywood studio level as well across a range of newly renovated and brand new areas of the Entertainment Industry. He began his career as an actor, making over 40 guest star appearances on such shows as “CSI”, “NCIS”, and “The Office”, and is most known for his supporting role as Brian Fuller on the hit series Gilmore Girls.

Since 2003, he has written, directed, and produced a number of interactive and digital projects. In 2006, he shifted his focus more heavily towards writing and directing and has recently completed production on his newest series “H+“, which he developed at Warner Premiere under the guidance of Bryan Singer and his team of producers at Bad Hat Harry Productions.

As a guest speaker for MEGA Startup Weekend 2012, John answered some questions about the effect of mobile technology on Hollywood and the robotics industry:

How is mobile technology changing the landscape in Hollywood?

Well, I’d say from the audience’s perspective, it’s making the content easier to access, organize, consume. Right now, mobile seems to be the new DVD collection or the cabinet doors to a DVD collection that lives on the cloud. We’re also seeing a rise in mobile as the new TV network. All of this is, of course, changing the economics of motion picture entertainment, and in particular TV… so I think from the creator’s perspective there’s a mix of fear and excitement. Like, “Oh no! Will this make it harder to make money the way I was before?” and “Oh yes! More opportunities to tell stories!”

How is mobile technology changing the role of short form film on YouTube?

I think it’s going to be shrinking its role, actually. Cats playing pianos will always have a place in our lives, but a new trend is on the rise. That’s longer content that has substance of story or information. And video is such an integral part of mobile now, that I do think we’re going to see people staring at video on their tablets and phones for longer spans of time like reading a few chapters of a good book. I can even see mobile replacing cable boxes and TVs becoming nothing more than monitors for when we want to plop on the couch or watch while we cook.

Do you think big movie studios are losing control or are they just sitting back and watching?

Good question. I think a bit of both. Social, mobile, streaming, download is all bringing about big change in Hollywood. But remember, all the big studios are owned by parent companies. The Viacoms, TimeWarners, Sonys… and those guys aren’t losing control. They’re big and wealthy and they can gobble up when the time is right. But the physical studios themselves are staffed by a lot of people who frankly don’t understand the new forms of Internet distribution. And they’d love to see consumers buying DVDs for another decade. But that’s not gonna happen. So they’re trying as best they can to hold on, learn the new methods, save their jobs maybe. But it’s not easy.

Regarding your newest series H+, when do you think computers will begin to be implanted in humans?

They already are! In 2004 a paralyzed man moved a mouse cursor with his thoughts using a big clunky computer implanted in his head. That was 2004! Fast forward to 2012 and we have Google announcing Project Glass. I feel pretty confident we’ll have H+ style computers interfacing the nervous system by the middle of the century.

Do you predict that robots will take over the world at some time?

Depends on what you mean by “take over”. In some ways you could say they already have taken over. I mean, they’ve taken over so many aspects of our functioning world. In a good way, though. Street lights, assembly lines. Do I think they’ll pick up guns and start a war against humans? No. But that doesn’t mean we couldn’t go extinct before the machines… and that they couldn’t go on “living” without us. Which would be sort of natural. We could also evolve with the machines… become the machines. That’s also a kind of “take over”, right?

What is your opinion of the state of robotics? Why do you think this is a good time to be a robotics entrepreneur?

First off, I think someone desperately needs to unlock the holy grail of robotics… a pro level breakdancing robot. Secondly, I think that robotics + wireless internet opens up an enormous amount of potential consumer applications, particularly in the home. We’re just at the beginning of all that, so if I was a robotics entrepreneur, I’d have a notebook full of ideas. Heck, I should probably fill a notebook with ideas anyway and just find me a robotics engineer. Maybe I’ll find one this weekend.