Makers of The Metaverse: Vasil Tuchkov of It Remains On The Future Of The VR, AR & Mixed Reality Industries

An Interview With Fotis Georgiadis

Vision: you must be able to visualize what the future of your career, your project will do. You can’t create without the vision of what you want to make.

The Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality & Mixed Reality Industries are so exciting. What is coming around the corner? How will these improve our lives? What are the concerns we should keep an eye out for? Aside from entertainment, how can VR or AR help work or other parts of life? To address this, we had the pleasure of interviewing Vasil Tuchkov.

Writer of fiction. Stories, scripts and film. Vasil is a published Novelist. First book published at the age of 17. Founder of StudioRubik — the Disruptive-Creative Agency. Vasil is also the Co-Founder of a blockchain full-service company. His work includes creative & marketing campaigns with viral reach in the UK, USA, Japan, Brazil. Founder of LivingWEB: Live Display of Digital Space, where Art, Tech and Advertising crossover, to transform branded installations into mind-bending sensory experiences. Vasil enjoys living with ferrets.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit. Can you tell us a bit about your backstory and how you grew up?

I was born in post-soviet Bulgaria but spent my teenage years in the USA. Always been fascinated with creating and exploring the deeper corners of my imagination. I wrote my first novel at 15 and published at 17 with the major fantasy and crime publisher in the Balkan region back then. Got translated into Russian, then spent the next decade writing stories, novels, and scripts. I was involved with installation art, photography and video, then got tired of being broke, so I moved into entrepreneurship (my university education was Business and Journalism/advertising). About 10 years ago I founded a disruptive creative company —, where we focused on creative direction, branding and viral videos, delivering over the years 60+ M views for brands such as Red Bull, Audi, Viacom, and others. Then I took part in an IT company and consulted fintech and blockchain start-ups and scale-ups. I’ve been in crypto and blockchain since 2013 I was always fascinated by the freedom and possibilities it offers, limited only by one’s imagination. I’m very passionate about art, science and adventure.

Is there a particular book, film, or podcast that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

There have been many over the years. I grew up in a time before the Internet, and my first friends and teachers were fantasy and sci-fi books, role-playing games, comics and classic anime. For It Remains in particular, the sources of creative mana have been perhaps Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, Dark Horse comics, Tarkovsky’s/Strugatsky’s Stalker, the old Russian Sci Fi comedy Kin Dza Dza, Dune, Cormac Mccarthy’s The Road, Brian Evenson’s fiction, and the art of Giger and Beksinsky.

Is there a particular story that inspired you to pursue a career in the X Reality industry? We’d love to hear it.

It happened somewhat organically, as my interests and work experience aligned. It merged my interest in fictional worlds, fine art, storytelling, and my curiosity for immersive tech innovation; represented by the coming of Web3 and the dawn of the Metaverse.

I wrote a book: a graphic novel that unexpectedly found a home and audience in the NFT space and has been growing on four continents as a Decentralized Franchise ever since. The X reality industry will do that to your expectations — ideas growing out of proportion and morphing into new unseen forms that continue to live on independently.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began this fascinating career?

Early 2022, I was invited as keynote speaker at the World of Web3 Summit Dubai, where I presented the blockchain-powered NFT Project — It Remains, based on my Beyond Dystopian graphic novel. After the presentation, myself, and our Art Director Anthony (also Art Director of Pixar’s Wall-E, Finding Nemo, and The Incredibles) we were approached by a woman from the audience. At first, I thought it might be one of them usual loonies at expos, waiting to ask, “what are NFTs?” and “can you make me one?”.

However, as it turned out, this lady was a true gem and ran the biggest immersive gallery chain in the world — the one exhibits the Van Gogh and Kandinsky interactive exhibition experiences.

It Remains premiered in their 30k/squared feet venue inside Dubai Mall under the world’s tallest Burj Khalifa. On that night, guests left the realms of the physical and stepped into the pages of a graphic novel come to life through 3d mapping on the walls and floors, presenting the dystopian world of It Remains. The gathering included top industry leadership attendance but more importantly, validated NFTs as high-end Contemporary Art.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

So, I wrote It Remains in my darkest hour, after work-related burnout, after the end of a long relationship, after surgery that kept me bed-ridden for the next four months, and at the beginning of a plague that would scorch the world for the next two years. I spent my quarantine drinking and writing. At some point I showed my friend and neighbor Ed (each of us being the only company logistically possible at the time) who took an interest in the story and atmosphere, and as a talented digital artist put his skills to breathing another dimension to my written words. What I couldn’t or refused to say, Ed expressed through his visuals. It’s kind of how we arrived at the format of choice — fine-art adult Graphic Novel in the spirt of Sandman.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

In my mind It Remains was a personal, even intimate project, meant to provide escape from a harsh reality into an even harsher desolate one. A way to vent for myself and Ed. Ultimately, I was reminded that language is a virus and that stories are contagious. Not before long, the project was out of our hands and carried by several collaborators and investors, who fell in love with the narrative and the artwork and committed to turning it from merely a book to the first Decentralized Entertainment Media Franchise, merging the physical and the digital through original content experiences of AR and VR, into MR.

To say we are grateful for all the helpers and friends we’ve met on this journey would be an understatement. Hollywood industry stars like Anthony Christov joining the core team is just one example of many.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

On a more serious note, we firmly believe in what we do, and we care for the message sent out into the world(s).

Since the characters of It Remains are based on real homeless people, which I photographed in different cities over the past three years, and which then our artist Ed Mattinian turned into signature artworks, the event served as an instrument to raise environmental awareness for plastic alternatives and housing causes. We also plan to donate a portion of future proceeds to community-approved/curated causes and ensure transparency via the blockchain.

It has been a humbling experience for us, no doubt, and the beginning of a legacy in-the-making. Hopefully we can do some good on the way. As one is only as valuable as the problems one solves.

Ok super. Thank you for all that. Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview. The VR, AR and MR industries seem so exciting right now. What are the 3 things in particular that most excite you about the industry? Can you explain or give an example?

The industries are becoming increasingly exciting and further mysterious, with the expansion of web 3 development and computing capabilities.

New opportunities and applications of the tech upon our lives seem to emerge daily. We are all very early, and we are still to witness the birth of the next “children” of the blockchain, the web 3.

The challenge is to stay current and ahead of the curve. This may prove more difficult than we imagined as time in the web 3 space is hardly comparable to “conventional” industry timeframes. In our team, we have found that being fully transparent, open-source, and involving the youngest Degen communities into the process keeps us fresh and updated.

As a team coming from conventional business, what particularly excites us is the freedom and the clear untamed path, enabling creators to skip monopolies and disrupt the status through delivery of uncensored original content directly to the audience. The viewer also becomes a participant and is invited to shape the experience uniquely. To become part of the story — consume, vote, promote, earn, and co-create — a revolution to previous content-consumer relationships.

Another opportunity for unseen improvement is brought upon the education industry. VR and MR alter and enhance the way we perceive, process, and memorize information. It offers new testing grounds and almost the ability to “load game” that only video games used to offer. Surgeons can train and perform in hyper realistic environments, mimicking real life surgery.

Learning experiences for kids and adults become more immersive, engaging, and entertaining.

One example is for such a tool is Microsoft’s HoloLens>, which innovates the way people interact online by allowing for real-life show-and-tell sessions and even importing objects or drawing diagrams. It could also be used as a looking glass, through which people travel the globe digitally, and as realistically as if they were there physically. Tourism, real-estate, agriculture, sex industry — the applications are countless. We can watch and if we’re keen, perhaps take a ride on that journey into the future of mankind.

What are the 3 things that concern you about the VR, AR and MR industries? Can you explain? What can be done to address those concerns?

As the industries are still considered new and there is no general adoption yet, it can be challenging for people to adapt to the new ways of human interaction within the world of web 3. Naturally, some will be opposed to idea of changing the world as we know it. By having for example 40% of what is real and 60% virtual/modified reality plugged in daily, just the same way we all now have smartphones and live on the internet everywhere.

Perhaps the access to proper information, trainings and the introduction of safety measures and milestones would assist us on this biotech journey and would allow the physical and the digital to evolve in harmony, rather than exclusivity.

A topic we explore in the story of It Remains, through the eyes of father and son at world’s end, struggling to hold onto their former world, and learning how to adapt to change, both internally and externally.

I think the entertainment aspects of VR, AR and MR are apparent. Can you share with our readers how these industries can help us at work?

Like I said, the potential is limited only by your imagination. Imagine training in a virtual landscape for jobs like surgery or advanced mechanics. Even telehealth can take a leap forward with these new technological developments. People who are not in the best places or aren’t able to get the standard treatments/opportunities could use this technology to make a huge difference in people’s lives

Are there other ways that VR, AR and MR can improve our lives? Can you explain?

As I mentioned, we are very early still. The technology is young in how we see it how far and deep we can go. But there are always concerns when it comes to the unknown. Live surgery requires highly skilled and experienced personnel, which may no longer demand physical presence in the future. As it may eliminate some jobs, it will open others and cut down on costs, and maybe even the need for surgeons to be physically present at the operation, saving lives from a distance, behind remote virtual stations, for example.

What are the “myths” that you would like to dispel about working in your industry? Can you explain what you mean?

I’ve often heard from People outside the space things like “oh, no, I hate the Metaverse! They want to turn us into robots” or “Skynet is coming, terminator predicted it!” Even though they don’t seem to know which metaverse they are referring to and what exactly it means.

What are your “5 Things You Need To Create A Highly Successful Career In The VR, AR or MR Industries?”

Vision: you must be able to visualize what the future of your career, your project will do. You can’t create without the vision of what you want to make.

Curiosity: You must always leave the door open to learn about new things. New technology, terms, and even cultural movements can change your career in a heartbeat. Being curious and taking the time to do your homework and seeing new developments as they come into existence is a huge part of success.

Madness: you must be crazy to succeed in this industry, people don’t want the basic anymore. They want crazy, popping, something that will stick out in their minds and be a focus for years to come.

Cojones: you can’t succeed without getting your stuff out there, and you have to have the guts to risk it and throw your product out for the public if you have any hope of success. “You miss one hundred percent of the shots you don’t take”. Take your shot, take your chance, and have the will to succeed despite the naysayers.

Thick hide: you won’t be able to please everyone. Some people will look at your product and they’ll hate it, it’s just the nature of the business. You have to be able to weather the storm of criticism and have the inner strength and support to persevere despite it.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Decentralization of authority. hive-mind mentality. pro-active individuality. Let’s bring back the Renaissance human ideal and build upon it.

We are very blessed that very prominent leaders read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

Neil Gaiman. Preferably not over lunch but rather tea party with cats and crows among the participants.

And also perhaps Evgeni Morozov versus Slawoj Jijek at a freestyle rap battle.

Thank you so much for these excellent stories and insights. We wish you continued success in your great work!

Makers of The Metaverse: Vasil Tuchkov of It Remains On The Future Of The VR, AR & Mixed Reality… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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