Devon Lyon: What is augmented storytelling?

By Laura Fosmire, September 11, 2014

With TEDxSalem mere days away (who else is excited?!) we are delighted to announce the last in our talented speaker lineup: Tigard-based storyteller and film producer Devon Lyon.

devon-headshot-250x250Lyon is the founder and force behind Lyon Films, a production and media company based in the Portland area (Lyon himself grew up right here in Salem). After graduating from Linfield College in McMinnville, Lyon went on to work in communications in the Oregon legislature, ultimately serving as communications director for the Speaker of the House.

“That was fun,” he said. “When I was pretty young, though, I always wanted to go to law school and so that’s what I did.”

Lyon headed down to California, passed the bar exam and began working in business and entertainment litigation in Los Angeles. But it wasn’t long before he missed Oregon.

“I wasn’t born here, but I moved here when I was four,” he said. “So everything I can remember is from here and I wanted to get back to the Pacific Northwest. That was like, 10 years ago, and I wanted to hone in more on visual communications. So nine years ago, I started my company.”

Lyon Films does commercial production, from everything to music videos to national commercials (including a recent spot for Intel, filmed right in the Portland Airport).

But for TEDxSalem, Lyon wants to explore the intersection of his interests, including technology, communication and storytelling.

“Brian Hart approached me and said I might be a good person for TED talks because of my background,” he said. “There’s been a big technological change and democratization of the way production works. But I wasn’t interested in a nuts and bolts speech, so I asked, what if I did a fun, imaginative talk?”

The topic of Lyon’s TED talk will be augmented storytelling (it’s his term). We won’t give away too much here, but the way Lyon sees it, there’s a number of exciting and imaginative possibilities in the convergence of virtual reality, Google glass and augmented reality gaming.

Not familiar with augmented reality? Developers have been creating video games based on live, direct views of the real world with computer-generated sensory (like sound or video or graphics) added on top. It’s quite literally a technologically-supplemented version of your reality. And Lyon wants people to use their imaginations and explore the possibilities as it relates to storytelling.

“It’s still kind of a niche thing, but I’m just really interested and curious in it,” he said. “All this technology is converging in this way, but we’ll have to wait a little longer to see the horsepower. Most people get Google glass, but I want to kind of get their imaginations going as all this technology continues to converge.”

It’s not too late to get your ticket for TEDxSalem! Tickets are available here at http://goo.gl/pI3UJ2 or at the Elsinore box office.