Rachel Joy Victor: A.I., Emerging Technologies, and a Look Into The Future Laura PursleyRachel Joy Victor:

[Interview by Women in Media Executive Member Laura Pursley, a marketing specialist for emerging media technologies and Global Marketing Director at TVU Networks.]

Weaving the Fabric of Storytelling’s Future

Rachel Joy Victor is the co-founder of FBRC.AI, a company focused on creating AI-supported tools for the future of content production–from films to games to location-based experiences. Rachel’s work as a designer, strategist, and worldbuilder for emerging technologies (XR/AI/web3) focuses on creating cohesive narrative, brand, and product experiences. She designs multiplatform narratives and gaming experiences, tools and platforms, spaces and cities. Her clients have included Disney, HBO, Technicolor, Vans, Ford, Nike, Havas, Meow Wolf, Niantic, JPL, and many more.

Laura: The term “worldbuilder” is interesting to me, because I know it’s meant to signify someone who uses cutting-edge tech to create visual stories that may be experienced on multiple platforms – and yet it also makes me think of past show creators who conceptualized unique environments and rules for the characters to experience plot. Gene Roddenberry (Star Trek) and JJ Abrams (Lost) come to mind. What does “worldbuilder” mean to you?

Rachel: Gene Roddenberry and JJ Abrams brought a lot of worldbuilding into those examples, yes, and from another angle, so do franchise leads like Kevin Feige (MCU producer) and Kathleen Kennedy (Star Wars producer). Look at how George Miller has expanded the Mad Max world in recent films with built out subcultures having extensive narrative and visual lore behind each of them.

At its most fundamental, worldbuilding is about understanding there is a complex world that stories spawn out of, and designing from the world outwards. Worldbuilding doesn’t need to happen all at once or just through one person–I think the best worldbuilding projects are flexible enough to grow over time and take in a diversity of viewpoints.

The definition of worldbuilding that I use to describe my work more closely aligns to certain production designers. One example is Alex McDowell, who was brought in early to work with scientists and technologists to shape the rules of the future world in which the movie Minority Report took place. Alex and his team conceptualized that characters might be able to drive vertically, and then the vertical aspect of the world added complexity to a chase sequence in the film.

When I think of worldbuilding, I typically think of multiple layers of design and production:


  • Volumetric World Design: This aspect explores translating the spatial design from maps to 3D architecture–ideally in game engine, so the designed world can then support production needs across formats (virtual production, gaming, location-based entertainment, etc.).
  • Narrative Design: The specifics of how the world shows up in each of these formats is different–narrative design shapes how the world can add richness to each format and influence the experience of the viewer/player/user. For example, in films, the world exists through production design, but also through the behavioral scripts of characters. Narrative design is understanding the affordances of each medium, and shaping the way that narrative and world intertwine through each.
  • Data Systems Design: If you want to design worlds that change over time and can respond to input, they have to have a data logic behind how they operate. That’s both the logic of how entities in the world can evolve, and the logic of how individuals change as they interact with the world.
  • Transmedia Strategy: Now that you have a world that can support interaction and production across formats, you need to understand how it plays out across mediums. What is the logic behind which stories in the world play out in a game versus which play out in the story? How do you think about which fans are watching what and how to build collective understanding of the story over time? How much are people willing to pay to access story in each of these formats? All of those things are part of transmedia strategy.


  • The systems design of the world: This is about understanding how the economy, government, culture, etc. all operate within the context of either the real world, or the fictional world that we are designing.
  • The story of the world: This is where the systems design is played out in a more temporal way–when we understand the characters and lore that have shaped the world over time.
  • The spatial design of the world: The stories that have taken place in the world over time can only be fully grounded when we understand how they play out over the physical geography of the world.

How do your projects for clients in aerospace/architecture/tradeshows apply to filmmaking?

Rachel: Depending on the context in which you apply worldbuilding, its focus can look a little different. The breakdown above is focused on applying worldbuilding towards narrative ends, but it can also apply towards other disciplines.

When you think about architecture and urban design, for instance: master planners want to know that the buildings they design are future-proofed. So understanding the systems of the world and how they are evolving – as well as how behavior plays out across space is important for them. In addition, their world is also becoming more intertwined with volumetric and data representations, either at the point of production (CAD, Houdini, Rhino, etc.) or the point of implementation (digital twins, edge computing, spatial computing, etc.). So a lot of the skills that are used for worldbuilding for narrative ends are useful for these worlds – albeit translated through a more functional lens.

That must be so engaging to work across multiple disciplines! How did you get started in this work?

Rachel: When I graduated high school, I had actually applied to film schools. I got into a couple of programs but realized that I wasn’t as interested in learning production as I was in understanding how we relate to stories – especially in the context of technology. That shaped my educational journey: I got a B.S. in Computational Neuroscience (to understand AI/robotics, but also the human experience of technology) and an M.S. in Spatial Economics and Data Analysis (to better support the spatial data side of worldbuilding).

I was really lucky to have done both of these degrees at USC, which has a strong media research focus. I joined a bunch of these labs and worked on projects related to storytelling in immersive media, transmedia strategy, and worldbuilding – which set me up to do what I’m doing today!

Tell us about the founding of FBRC.ai.

Rachel: When I graduated high school, I had actually applied to film schools. I got into a couple of programs but realized that I wasn’t as interested in learning production as I was in understanding how we relate to stories – especially in the context of technology. That shaped my educational journey: I got a B.S. in Computational Neuroscience (to understand AI/robotics, but also the human experience of technology) and an M.S. in Spatial Economics and Data Analysis (to better support the spatial data side of worldbuilding).

AI and data had always been a part of my work in some way, and I had been tracking how it was evolving. Around 2022, it finally felt like it reached a point where it could be operationalized really well to support the creative process. (When I talk about AI, I should clarify that AI is a really broad area. Only a small part of what I’m interested in is related to generative AI. Machine learning and procedural AI have also expanded as well in order to become great support tools for creators).

I wanted to shape AI in a way that supported creators, especially in this formative time for the industry. I had supported AI LA, a nonprofit founded by my friend, Todd Terrazas, for a number of years, and we decided to join forces. Todd had been creating education around AI in this space for 8 years, building up a 15,000+ member community – and now wanted to see how to use that platform to support the M&E and creator community. We also partnered with our friend Eric Wilker, who came up in production and worked at Warner Brothers and Amazon for nearly 20 years, to bring a studio perspective into our work.

Recently realized your company’s name is pronounced “Fabric”, and I appreciate the imagery that conveys. What is the FBRC team working on currently?

Rachel: Because of our deep knowledge of AI and film and content production, we’re able to have a really targeted understanding of how this space will evolve. We support startups that are building AI tools for film/media production through our cohort and broader network – offering them product and positioning advice, and connecting them with partnerships and opportunities to scale. We also consult with studios and production companies that are trying to better understand the role of AI in production workflows. We bring it all together with a focus on events that educate creators on where AI will intersect with their work. Most recently, we produced the 800+ person AI on the Lot conference that had a whole day of programming around AI’s evolving role in entertainment.

AI on the Lot was a stimulating conference! Something I observe about AI events is that they attract a diverse set of participants. The relative newness of AI compared to filmmaking in general suggests there are fewer legacy barriers for underrepresented groups to hurdle. And also, as much as AI has the potential to shape how we make movies, its transformative allure extends to so much beyond the filmmaking world. What do you recommend for Women in Media members wanting to explore AI in filmmaking and other visual realms?

Rachel: For understanding generative AI specifically, I always say that it helps to start with the surface level things and then go one level deeper.

So obviously, start with Open AI’s ChatGPT and Midjourney and Runway to learn what those tools can generate. But then use Open AI’s Playground to understand better what the parameters of the model are, and how its logic is shaped. Or use ComfyUI to explore what control looks like with visual models. Going one level deeper helps you understand why the output from generative models looks the way it does–which helps you understand its constraints in a tangible way.

Beyond that, it also helps to understand at least a little bit of the logic of the technology–again to understand its constraints and where it’s going. But also use LinkedIn and Twitter to follow creators in the space like Dave Clark or Jon Finger, who are using the tools and constantly pushing the limits of what AI can do.

Thank you for sharing your insights. What are you watching these days?

Rachel: Quick hits recently: love the philosophical commentary about gaming and architecture by Jacob Geller on YouTube, have been really enjoying the headdresses and costuming in Bridgerton, and really appreciated the combination of political commentary and action in Monkey Man!

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