Digital Storytelling: An Interactive Adventure.

For this task I worked with classmate Dan to produce a choose-your-own-adventure, non-linear youtube video. We were inspired by this blogpost which puts into words a girls struggle when forced to choose between two men: one representing time and the other money. Dan and I reconfigured the storyline, stylising it to have a more comical, satirical feel. We decided that three videos would be produced: one whIch introduces the storyline and then at the end of that video two annotations would appear which link to another video, continuing and concluding the story in the way which the viewer decided.

We filmed and edited the whole thing in one evening and given the time constraints, the outcome was fairly good (if you ignore the fact that my acting skills make Kirsten Stewart look outstanding).

We took note of the various digital stories we had researched, and tried out something new. Neither of us had produced a non-linear YouTube video before.

We both promoted the video on our personal FaceBook pages and on Twitter (using the #netmed hashtag). Internet fame here we come!

 

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My Favorite Digital Stories

So, I just finished reading Kristi Barnett‘s first twitter horror movie, ‘Hurst’. Actually, I’m not sure that ‘reading’ is the right word- because it was also a visual and audio experience. I watched, read, listened to and viewed the digital story- I consumed it. That’s what I love about all these new innovative developments in digital storytelling… it’s all about consuming the multifaceted media.

Screenwriter Kristi Barnett Breaking New Ground, Preparing to Unleash a Horror Experience ... on Twitter

‘Hurst’ follows the story of @KarenBarley who is sent to Croham Hurst for her job but is faced with supernatural obstacles. Her experiences are recorded through twitter updates, pictures, audio recordings, foursquare check-in’s and camera phone recordings. It takes place over 3 weeks, and through this time, the character Karen Barley replied to tweets, interacting with her followers.

I think its a novel idea and was executed fairly well. I was surprised at how much I got lost in the narrative, at times I was genuinely scared (good thing I watched during daylight). I can understand and appreciate how consuming it in real time as it unfolded would have been a different experience but unfortunately for me I consumed it in one hit, scrolling up and down, having multiple browsers open and often losing my spot on the twitter page. On top of this, most of the links didn’t work so I had to copy the URLs into a separate browser. It would have been great to be able to expand the tweet and view the image or video embedded into her twitter page (however I have a feeling twitter developed such plugins after 2011). Still, I really enjoyed the project and was inspired by it.

 

 

Another digital story I consumed was ‘Take This Lollipop‘, created by Jason Zada. It is a interactive horror short which uses the Facebook Connect application to access the users Facebook information and thrust them into the story, making the viewer feel as though they are being watched or sought out. Viewers watch as a creepy old man sits in his barn-like home at his desk, browsing through their Facebook page. He then discovers their location and leaves his desk to seek that person out. It’s pretty scary and realistic. I think it’s a good way to teach Facebook users that the internet is a public place and that stuff like this actually happens. There is minimal interactivity but there still remains a strong sense that viewers are a part of the story.

 

 

The last digital story I consumed was a non-linear, interactive series of YouTube clips. Created by Michael Gallagher, the Totally Sketch channel uploads new sketch comedy videos weekly. This particular example, ‘You Stole My Boyfriend‘ is from the choose your own adventure series. A girl has just discovered that her best friend is dating her ex-boyfriend and it is up to the viewer to decide whether she should act happy or annoyed, the viewer clicks an option which takes them to a video that follows the action and so on. It’s a fairly silly series but still quite funny. I often find myself going back to the start to explore the outcomes of different choices. It’s a light watch (in a subtly disturbing way) and the user interactivity makes it stand out against other YouTube based sketch comedies.

‘Girls’ Season 2 ?

I’ve mentioned before that I’m a fan of HBO’s new comedy ‘Girls’ that wrapped up it’s first season a few months back. As much as I loved the first season, it flew by fast, being comprised of only 12 x 20 minute episodes. Ratings weren’t as good as they should have been at the beginning of the series, but as it progressed, the plot and quality of the show definitely improved. With each episode I laughed and loved it more and more, and just as I was getting really into it… boom! season finale. This left me wondering whether there actually would be a season two. Reviews were mostly good but then there were the not so good. Critic Curt Wagner dubs the show “frustrating to watch” in this article on RedEye.

With all this ambiguity surrounding the shows reputation, I signed up for a Google Alert. Turns out, there definitely will be a season 2, coming out around January 2013. There’s also been word on guest stars, which should be interesting given the fact that Season 1 seemed fairly big on putting underrated actors in the limelight. Maybe familiar faces is what the show needs to gain the recognition it deserves?

Rita Wilson will be playing Marnie’s (Allison Williams) mother. I’m intrigued and excited to see how their relationship will play out. I feel like season 1 glazed over the secondary characters, highlighting their flaws and raising questions without delving too deep into what they are all about. Hopefully season 2 answers some of these questions, transforming the show from being a sitcom about one girl and her friends to being a sitcom about four girls.

Girls HBO

SNL’s Colin Quinn will also play a role in the upcoming season. I look forward to discovering what another comic personality can add to the already hilarious (in my opinion) show.
You can see the article detailing the confirmed season 2 cast additions here.

In other Ellyse’s Google Alert news…
Mike ‘Sugar Bear’ Thompson, the lovable father in TLC’s Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, is in crutches. (Yes, I created a Google Alert for ‘Here Comes Honey Boo Boo’… what of it?)
The Article

My New Youtube Obsession

Some of my favorite things in the world are Comedy, New York City and YouTube. I spend hours at a time watching Vlogs, shorts, trailers, reviews, how-tos, fails and more. Recently, I discovered a web series, created by two female New-Yorkers, Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer. It’s called Broad City and it gives an insight into what it’s like to be a single and somewhat dysfunctional female 20-something living in the Big Apple (my dream future).

It’s hilarious.

Unfortunately, the camera work and direction isn’t too flash but I can look past that seeing as the two girls pretty much wrote and produced the series more or less on their own. Plus, it’s super quirky and awkwardly funny.

I give it 7/10.
They haven’t posted an episode for about a year now but they’ve been doing a bit of promo stuff lately so I have a feeling that a revamped new season is in store… I’ll definitely be on the look out for that.

Check it out!

A Week in the Life of Me: Day 7- Tuesday

Woke up at like 5.50AM. Browsed twitter for a bit. Went back to sleep.

Got up at about 10AM for work at 12. Work was BORING!

The Avengers has been in cinemas for ages now. Today I noticed that there are a lot of nice butts in that movie. Someone should make a montage of all the butts in the Avengers. There are seriously so many closeup shots of sexy, athletic, superhero butts!

I’m yet to start watching the current season of True Blood. I forgot it had returned for a while. It’s kind of a good thing though because True Blood episodes are more enjoyable when watched back to back (I don’t handle suspense well).

Was contemplating hitting up a bar with the friends tonight but I chose to wash my hair and watch T.V instead. Work is draining me!!

So this has been 7 days in the life of me. Just an ordinary, average, boring, mostly disappointing week. Sadly, the most exciting thing that happened to me was getting my wallet stolen at a nightclub. Such is life I guess!

Looking back at the lack of action and un-productiveness (that’s not a word) I’ve kind of been inspired to be less lazy and make more of an effort to do something with my life. I need excitement! Excitement will be had!

Soon.

GIRLS

ImageHBO’s new comedy, Girls is insanely good (imo). Lena Dunham, a 25 year old New Yorker created, wrote, directs and stars in this hilarious new show.
It centers around the lives of four twenty-somethings, trying to start their lives in New York.
The uncomfortable, awkward humor and acting is just perfect. Only problem is, the episodes are only half an hour! I’ve heard mixed reviews about it but considering the heart and soul Denham clearly puts into the show, I can’t help but idolise her efforts.
Many LOLs are had throughout each episode without fail, but I keep thinking at the back of my head that that is so going to be me in like, a few years time.
I will be so gutted if this show doesn’t get picked up for multiple seasons!