Job title: Creative Captain, Mammoth XR
Why he’s a 2022 Top 40 Under 40: Shaun Crawford is helping raise the profile of Calgary as a film and media centre through his work creating XR content and his own filmmaking projects.
Shaun Crawford had a career in social services when the opportunity to pursue creative work came knocking. While working for the Calgary Drop-In Centre, he connected with the media company Mammoth XR (short for “extended reality,” a term that encompasses virtual reality, augmented reality, mixed-reality and other forms of interactive media) on a client project. “I came to the conclusion that maybe the best way I could contribute to building a better world was through storytelling,” Crawford says.
Crawford began freelancing with Mammoth XR in 2016, and is now the company’s full-time Creative Captain, a position with duties ranging from writing to directing to producing. He has been an integral part of 360-degree videos made for National Geographic; the Sammy the Snowman interactive video-animation installation at Southcentre Mall; and a new VR game called Jordan Jones Dies in Space.
A prolific screenwriter, Crawford has also written 26 feature-length scripts. His first two produced screenplays A Miracle on Christmas Lake (2016) and Everfall (2017, co-written with John Kissack), were significant achievements on a commercial level, though what he calls his biggest creative achievement to date is his directorial debut, Here & After (2021). Made on a near-impossible shoestring budget, it follows a significant encounter of a man on a day pass from rehab and draws from Crawford’s real-life experiences. “The best thing about my job at Mammoth XR and as an independent filmmaker is having the opportunity to make a contribution to the eternal conversation,” Crawford says. “That’s what I talk about art as being: eternal conversation about a human experience. I get really excited about having an opportunity to play even a small part in that.”
“My wife and kids. The wooligans. MAMMOTH XR and our partners. The cast and crew of any film I’ve worked on.”