Here Comes The Aigency, a Talent Agency for Robot Actors

Taylor Soper, GeekWire
Taylor Soper is GeekWire's managing editor, responsible for coordinating the newsroom, planning coverage, and editing stories. A native of Portland, Ore., and graduate of the University of Washington, he was previously a GeekWire staff reporter, covering beats including startups and sports technology. Follow him @taylor_soper and email taylor@geekwire.com.
Here Comes The Aigency, a Talent Agency for Robot Actors

Seattle entrepreneurs Forest Gibson and Jared Cheshier today launched The Aigency, a new talent agency for robot actors.

The company connects film production studios, event organizers, and other media groups with robots. The plan is to replicate what traditional talent agencies do for human actors and actresses, but instead for robots and "virtual beings." The company's initial "talent" includes a pair of Boston Dynamics robots named Zero and One.


The idea may sound far-fetched. But Gibson assured that it is for real.

"We figured that the idea already sounds crazy enough to be an April Fools joke so we are just embracing the timing," he said.

Gibson and Cheshier are co-founders at Pluto VR, a Seattle virtual reality startup. They have years of media production, gaming, VR/AR development, and marketing experience.

The Aigency Launch Trailerwww.youtube.com

The Aigency is part of the Boston Dynamics early adopter program, which helped the firm land a pair of four-legged Spot robots.

Media producers pay The Aigency to provide the robots and built out any additional technology needed.

"We handle the logistics of getting the robots on set and into character for their performance," Gibson said. "We then support the media and promotions of the production via social media, red carpet events, and press tours with our talent. This is similar to how media producers would go about casting actors represented by agents."

Robots have been around movies, TV shows, events, and more for decades, from Metropolis to Star Wars. But developments with both technology and human-robot interaction have created a different environment.

"We believe there is an opportunity to tell positive stories on how robots will play ever increasing roles in our daily lives alongside us," Gibson said. "This new wave of generalized robotics allows them to walk/roll/hop off the set and onto the red carpet with the rest of the cast. This adds a whole new dimension to how viewers and fans can engage with robotic personalities."

The Aigency makes money by taking a percentage of what the talent is paid for their performances.

Gibson said the company had several live appearances lined up at events before the COVID-19 outbreak forced cancellations and postponements.

Gibson and Cheshier are self-funding the company for now. They are still leading Pluto VR, which the entrepreneurs started in 2015 with PopCap Games co-founder John Vechey and former Walt Disney tech exec Jonathan Geibel.

This story first appeared on GeekWire.

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