From technology to entertainment, a panel of multi-talented industry leaders discussed the future of entertainment and technology with Comic-Con attendees.

San Diego, CA – For this year’s Comic-Con 2020 at Home, eager fans watched virtually to learn from industry leaders on the “Future of Entertainment” panel. The conversation included Ted Schilowitz (futurist at Paramount Pictures), Cathy Hackl (Futurist and 2x LinkedIn Top Voice in Tech), Leslie Shannon (Head of Ecosystem and Trend Scouting at Nokia), Leigh Steinberg (Sports Agent at Steinberg Sports), James Pearse Connelly (Emmy-winning Production Designer), Phil Quist (Music Agent at Creative Artists Agency), and Ilyasah Shabazz (Community Organizer and Author). The panel was moderated by Travis Cloyd, futurist and co-founder of Worldwide XR.

Discussing the vastness of the virtual world, Ted Schilowitz said, “I was thinking about the other part of my life that spends in virtual spaces. There’s an awareness of the largeness of the crowd where people don’t actually physically have to be in the space to derive the energy of the space. The virtual and the real are coming together more and faster than people are expecting. If you look at a company like Microsoft, Google, Apple, they take something that used to only exist in real life and put it into a virtual world. They have figured out how to build a virtual layer on top of a physical reality.”

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Cathy Hackl spoke about her role with technology and what is needed in the technology industry: “I need to look at the trends and the technology but also how it affects humanity and society – that’s what futurists need to do. We need to consider the behavioral and economic impact it has.” One of the things that’s incredibly important is that we have people that are diverse, of different ages, different backgrounds, prototyping the future. I am Latina, for me, I have a lot of young women reach out to me. If I can help at least one woman have a career in technology, then I’m doing my part. I want to make sure everyone has a seat at the table and is crafting this future together.”

Leslie Shannon talked about the accessibility of technology: “5G is just an enabler. The really important stuff is the processing you attach to 5G. As a result, we’re now getting into ‘I can build a reality and I can change it!’ Building a reality that may not exist or rebuilding a reality. People are already used to living in these virtual worlds. Let’s gamify my real life.”

Leigh Steinberg began to discuss how sports are now going virtual: “The first challenge is we can play the games, but without fans, how do you replicate crowd noise that brings energy to performers? Do you simulate fans in the broadcast? How do we make a contribution in the wake of everything and stimulate young people to go into sports? How do you bring fans together?” With this uncertainty, he spoke about how to begin innovating: “Reading as much as you can will allow you to visualize a future that’s not there. That’s the challenge.”

With the pandemic posing an interesting situation for live and filmed entertainment, James Pearse Connelly said, “Ever since March, I must talk about virtual audiences every day and what those solutions are. For television, there is a creativity that’s possible to embrace to replace the audience. The challenges of television are a little lighter than sports. Are we acknowledging in the program the fact that we are under a pandemic? We are looking for a way to replace the positive energy [from audiences]. We’re thinking of skyping people in or laugh tracks for sitcoms.”

With music being at the forefront of the virtual world currently, Phil Quist added: “Livestreaming. Before, people weren’t used to live streaming because of live shows but now it’s become a big thing that I think will continue because of the pandemic. BTS just did [a livestream] and sold almost a billion tickets. You can be in a chat room and communicate with other people from around the world.”

Discussing how to bring diversity into technology, Ilyasah Shabazz said, “I think this is great because we want to see different images. We want to see different people reflected. We want to see truths and people cohabit together. The most important thing is to make sure they’re transitioning to how the future is moving and that they’re represented. It’s important to me to see young people happy…to know that they have opportunity, that they’re represented, that they have the opportunity to feel good about themselves.”

Virtual Comic-Con attendees now have joined these industry leaders in examining the future of entertainment and where technology will take us next.


About Impact24 PR:

This panel was produced by Impact24 Public Relations and its team members. Impact24 PR is dedicated to capturing the spotlight for the talent behind-the-camera and behind-the-curtain, and supports many of the industry’s leading creative artists, including composers, cinematographers, VFX companies, production designers, makeup artists, VFX, and more. For more information on the company and panelists, visit or on Facebook ( Impact24PR) and Twitter (


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