A Night at Gatsby's AR

                                                 I'm going to tell you something about my life.

A Night at Gatsby’s AR app will be a 3-minute augmented reality playlet to serve as an online marketing tool and demonstrate a future AR version of the adaptation. The app begins with voice-overs of Gatsby’s guests repeating some common rumors about him, followed by Gatsby telling even more lies about his life. His monologue is interrupted when the faces of Daisy and Tom appear to confront Gatsby’s affair with Daisy. The faces disappear and Gatsby concludes with his steadfast love for Daisy.

The AR app is generated from a live actor into a photorealistic 3D digital model that is controlled and recorded by the actor through motion capture technology to perform the app’s lines and exhibit appropriate body motions, facial expressions and vocal inflections. The downloaded app may perform in living rooms, classrooms or any indoor/outdoor area with an open floor space.

Unlike virtual reality which completely immerses the viewer in a totally digital world but requires a somewhat bulky headset, augmented reality imagery can be seen as part of the real world through a smartphone, tablet, computer display or AR glasses. Not limited to superimposing 2D data and images over the physical world, AR can create 3D objects with full-motion and spatial audio that are anchored in the physical world and can be walked up to and around.

Gatsby Augmented Reality Production

The computer-generated text-to-speech-to-video of Jay Gatsby in the top image is a preliminary headshot in the A Night at Gatsby’s AR app. In the novel, Daisy tells Gatsby that he resembles “the advertisement of the man. You know the advertisement of the man —” which many assume is the popular 1920s Arrow Shirt Man ad. The actor portraying Gatsby in the app will resemble this Arrow Shirt image.

The middle image illustrates the four-step app production process. The human actor with outstretched arms is mapped into an articulated digital skeleton that has 91 flexible head, face, arm, hand, torso, leg, and foot joints. The skeleton is imported into a robot mesh which is a volumetric representation of the actor’s body. A photorealistic 3D model of the tuxedo-wearing actor is created from a complete 360° set of overlapping digital photographs and the resulting digital “skin” is mapped onto the robot mesh. The righthand graphic shows the AR app set (against a black as opposed to a passthrough physical world background) with a standing Gatsby, green dock light and the speaking images of Daisy and Tom above him.

In the bottom image, the AR Gatsby (represented by just the robot mesh) will now follow the actor’s body motions and facial expressions as the script lines are spoken and performed.  

                                        A Night at Gatsby's AR Script  

The AR image of Jay Gatsby in a tuxedo with head slightly bowed is standing with a distant green light to his right. This digital set of Gatsby and light is positioned by the viewer within the display frame of a smartphone, tablet, computer, or AR glasses onto a nearby physical floor. As the app launches, some low-volume background party talk and laughter and the fox trot “The Japanese Sandman” are heard along with the following disembodied voices.

FEMALE VOICE 1. Somebody told me — Somebody told me they thought he killed a man once.

FEMALE VOICE 2. I don't think it's so much that. It's more that he was a German spy during the war.

FEMALE VOICE 3. I heard that from a man who knew all about him, grew up with him in Germany.
FEMALE VOICE 2. He's a bootlegger.

FEMALE VOICE 1. You look at him sometimes when he thinks nobody's looking at him. I'll bet he killed a man.

The background sounds end. Gatsby raises his head and speaks with appropriate gestures directly to the viewer.

GATSBY. I'm Gatsby. I thought you knew, old sport. I'm afraid I'm not a very good host.

I'm going to tell you something about my life. I don't want you to get a wrong idea of me from all these stories you hear. I am the son of some wealthy people in the middle-west — all dead now.

I was brought up in America but educated at Oxford because all my ancestors have been educated there for many years.

Gatsby turns to his right and points to the green light.

If it wasn't for the mist we could see Daisy’s home across the bay. She always has a green light that burns all night at the end of her dock.

Daisy didn't like my party. She didn't have a good time. It's hard to make her understand. She used to be able to understand. We’d sit for hours —

The faces of DAISY and TOM appear behind Gatsby.

TOM’S VOICE. By the way, Mr. Gatsby, I understand you're an Oxford man.

GATSBY. Not exactly.

TOM’S VOICE. Oh, yes, I understand you went to Oxford.

GATSBY. Yes — I went there. I only stayed five months. That's why I can't really call myself an Oxford man. It was an opportunity they gave to some of the officers after the Armistice.

TOM’S VOICE. I want to ask Mr. Gatsby one more question. What kind of a row are you trying to cause in my house anyhow?

DAISY’S VOICE. He isn't causing a row. You're causing a row. Please have a little self-control.

GATSBY. I've got something to tell you, old sport —

DAISY’S VOICE. Please don't! Please let's all go home. Why don't we all go home?

TOM’S VOICE. I want to know what Mr. Gatsby has to tell me.

GATSBY. Your wife doesn't love you. She's never loved you. She loves me.

TOM’S VOICE. You must be crazy!

GATSBY. She never loved you, do you hear? She only married you because I was poor and she was tired of waiting for me. It was a terrible mistake, but in her heart she never loved anyone except me!

DAISY’S VOICE. Please don't. There, Jay. Oh, you want too much! I can't help what's past. I did love him once — but I loved you too.

GATSBY. You loved me too?

TOM’S VOICE. She's not leaving me! Certainly not for a common swindler who'd have to steal the ring he put on her finger.

DAISY’S VOICE. I won't stand this! Oh, please let's get out.

The faces of DAISY and TOM disappear.

GATSBY. I don't think she ever loved him. Of course she might have loved him, just for a minute, when they were first married — and loved me more even then, do you see?

Gatsby pauses, looks out and gestures to stage right.

You know, old sport, I've never used that pool all summer?

I suppose Daisy'll call.

Well, good-by.

Gatsby stands still with head slightly bowed.  


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About us

A Night at Gatsby’s is a reimagination of The Great Gatsby that preserves the novel’s voice while breaking the fourth wall and immersing viewers in one of Jay Gatsby’s unforgettable parties to relive his story from the initial rumors and lies about Gatsby, through his reunion with Daisy and confrontation with Tom, and ending with his lonely farewell.


Photo of OHEKA CASTLE by Elliott Kaufman Photography