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Most Innovative People in Events 2020: Jay Rinsky

The CEO of Little Cinema creates immersive, theater-style virtual events for high-profile entertainment clients.

Most Innovative People in Events 2020: Jay Rinsky, Little Cinema
Headshot: Courtesy of Little Cinema

The Basics: Jay Rinsky is the CEO and creative director of Little Cinema, a Brooklyn-based creative and digital studio that specializes in immersive experiences for film and television studios. “I founded Little Cinema as a creative vehicle to meet people from a variety of artistic disciplines, and to shine a new light on cinema through the lens of live events,” explains Rinsky, noting that his team used to produce monthly shows at House of Yes in Brooklyn that Forbes once described as “the SNL of Immersive Cinema.” “That led to the film studios taking notice and commissioning us to bring our creative prowess to their premiere events, award campaigns, and consumer stunts.”

Swag Box for TNT's Virtual Premiere of 'The Alienist'Rinsky's team produced a three-act virtual murder mystery for TNT's The Alienist. Prior to the virtual event, VIP guests were sent a swag box filled with a branded journal to track their findings, photo cards for each of the suspects, and other props that evoked the show.Photo: Courtesy of Little Cinema2020 Highlight Reel: In March, the company launched Little Cinema Digital, its own proprietary tech and virtual platform designed for the entertainment industry. Since then, Rinsky and his team have produced about 50 virtual experiences for high-profile brands like WarnerMedia, Amazon, Netflix, and CBS.

The immersive experiences often feature live actors who interact with attendees in multiple spaces. To promote the new season of TNT’s The Alienist, for example, Little Cinema built a three-act virtual murder mystery; guests clicked through various “rooms,” interacting with costumed actors who each played a suspect. Participants could use the chat function to ask questions in real-time in an effort to crack the case, and could vote who the real killer was at the end of the third act. 

Another standout, says Rinsky, was October’s “Welcome to the Blumhouse,” a consumer-facing event series that celebrated Amazon Studios’ new line of horror films. “We fused advanced creative technologies with A-list musical acts such as Ludacris to bring to life a new storyline based on four Amazon Original films,” he explains, noting that the events drew tens of thousands of virtual attendees. “It has become one of our biggest spectacles to date.”

Rinsky adds, “Above all, I’m most proud of our team and the work culture we’ve nurtured that has kept everyone innovating despite the challenges of the pandemic.”

Event Philosophy: To “capture the soul of the story in every world we build,” he says.

Goals for the Future: “I want to cement Little Cinema as the gold standard of creativity, excellence, and storytelling in live entertainment,” Rinsky says, noting that the company’s work in the film and TV industry is just the start and he hopes to break into the music industry next. 

“The big-picture goal is to introduce to the world a new form of media consumption that’s built on our technologies,” he adds. “It’s a form of what we’re calling ‘interactive broadcast’—studio-level productions with realtime fan engagement and interaction. I believe this is the future of virtual theater and film distribution, and has enduring value that will outlast the pandemic.”Paul Feig at the Virtual Premiere After-Party of HBO Max's Love LifeAfter HBO Max's Love Life premiere, attendees entered the virtual after-party, which had a series of interactive rooms; in one space, series producer Paul Feig mixed cocktails and interacted with the crowd.Photo: Little_Cinema for HBO Max

Back to the Most Innovative People in Events 2020 list, sponsored by Pathable

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