How I Started Building VR Worlds Full Time

I’ve been building social VR spaces as a full time job for about two years now. The industry is new and fairly small, and at the time I started, Facebook hadn’t changed their name to Meta so no one really knew what the metaverse or social VR was. Many still don’t. Regardless it is something I fell in love with. 

My background is in filmmaking. I got a bachelor’s degree in cinematic arts. About a year after I graduated college I got a job working for a large entertainment company where I made TV commercials for some of the biggest production companies in the world, like Disney, Universal Pictures, Marvel, and many more. For a kid who worked so hard to get into the entertainment industry it was somewhat close to a dream job. I had discovered VR the same year they hired me and for the entirety of my employment I spent every second of my free time building VR worlds.

In 2020, the Covid 19 pandemic hit (and it’s still going on..) and since my company dealt with live entertainment, we were one of the first industries to start layoffs. The first month of the pandemic my company laid off 1100 employees. My department went from 120 people to just 18. I was one of the last ones, most likely because I cheap. 

Around this time I was already planning on leaving to pursue VR full time and part of me felt bad I wasn’t fired. I actually wanted to leave and I would gladly accept unemployment. Regardless, the pandemic seemed to give me a perfect opportunity to leave. Student loans were put on hold, and the government gave me a stimulus. I ended up resigning about a month later. I moved out of my apartment that cost me about $1200 a month to go live with some friends. My rent there was $250 a month. A bit more affordable.  At the time I was bringing in around $100 a month from Patreon. I had some savings but I needed to do more to make it work. 

Since beginning, I’ve grown my support to a livable wage. I’ve worked with tons of people around the world. And now I’m starting VR.Space, a creative studio for social VR spaces. I’ve been a huge believer in social VR since I got my first headset. I believe that it will play an important role in most of our lives in the near future. Meta has made VR the main focus of their business, which has helped bring it more into the mainstream. I don’t really like hearing about the future of VR from Mark Zuckerberg, but I believe and agree with a lot that he said during Facebook Connect. 

Elaine Karapetian

Elaine Karapetian

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