– Update: Kieran has responded with answers to my questions in the Comments
Even though OpenIndie has been getting a lot of attention recently, it’s taken me a while to sit down and properly look at what they’re planning to do. Partly because of all the other things on my radar at the moment, partly because I knew they’re focussed on independent feature films.
It’s being put together by Arin Crumley (of Four Eyed Monsters) and Kieran Masterton from the UK – seems they’ve been planning it for a long time (5 years and 1 year respectively), and now it’s funded, it’s due to be launched on March 1st.
Another PTTP presentation – forgive us tapping the same resource repeatedly, but it was chock full of goodness, and I would have blogged it three weeks ago if this blog had been launched then.
Most of you who are already interested in these things will know Lance Weiler as a key proponent of transmedia storytelling. He was director of the Blair-Witchy The Last Broadcast (1998) and Head Trauma (2006), and is now organiser of the touring conference DIY Days (like a North American PTTP) and the brains behind online resource The Workbook Project.
This excellent 30 minute presentation covers Lance’s ideas about “story architecture” – how to structure and develop transmedia interactive stories.
I wish I could find a link to his slides, but it doesn’t seem like he publishes them. Although they’re inserted into the video here, their detail is lost. UPDATE: Found them via a tweet from @sarn – have embedded player above so you can read them while listening to the video.
Like a Choose Your Own Adventure book, it’s a second person narrative – you see through the protagonist’s eyes and choose between two knife-related options at the end of each chapter: the first ends with TAKE THE KNIFE / DON’T TAKE THE KNIFE.
While a 2nd person POV can limit a hypernarrative story’s ability to engage players emotionally, it’s perfect for this. It’s positioned somewhere between a public service video and a first person shooter (a first person stabber?).
But whereas an FPS engages young men by letting them experiment with mass murder in a virtual moral vacuum, this game manages to keep you playing until you make all the most sensible, responsible choices. It becomes a puzzle – tempting you to see how much you can get away with, and then constantly running you into different unexpected ways that carrying a knife will get you in trouble. And the reward for being a good boy? Music videos
Have a play – let me know what you think about its strengths & shortcomings.
From the mainstream… A couple of examples of big media companies promoting major properties with transmedia games:
221B is a two-player Facebook-based game to promote Guy Ritchie’s new Sherlock Holmes film – apparently devised for Warner Brothers by AKQA. The game immerses you and your playing partner (one as Holmes and one as Watson) into the world of Sherlock Holmes and takes you through the events leading up to the first scene of the new film. I’ll be starting tomorrow, as soon as my Dr Watson is ready… CC
To publicise the release of Stephen King’s new doorstop novel, Under The Dome, Hodder & Stoughton have organised a treasure hunt, asking for people to volunteer as Hiders, Seekers and Writers – with prizes for each. Hodder have broken the book’s 336,114 words (!) into 5196 pieces. Hiders are required to hide the pieces, online and offline; Seekers are then given clues to find them. Writers are asked to “take inspiration from the theme of Under The Dome and enter our creative writing competition.”
Nice idea? Exciting? Engaging? Well, the competition closed on November 7th (two days ago) and the first prize was a night in a 4 star hotel (ooh) on November 8th (yesterday) in London (where most of the players already live).
But so far there’s no sign of who’s won on either their Twitter (last update Nov 6th) or their website, which hasn’t changed and still invites participation in the competition. Sloppy.
It’s incomplete, of course – it was just gathered via hashtag, and there were many more people at the Forum than the 80+ on this list. However, it’s a good starting point if you want to find UK Twitterers who are interested in interactive filmmaking, transmedia stories and ARGs.
Please let me know if you are not on the list and would like to be, or if there’s anybody else you think I should add.