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!

 

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.

Six Degrees of Seperation

This BBC documentary unfolds the science behind the idea that you are no more than 6 handshakes away from any individual on earth. The documentary explores networks, social and otherwise, and how this breakthrough could change the way we view the world.

The documentary illustrates how instinct, passion and our ability to connect can help us gain access to results if we are involved in a form of network or group (which we all, in some way, are)- whether it be in the form of a sporting group or club, mother’s group, charity group or a home business network, each ‘hub’ is connected to another ‘hub’ in some way or form.

The documentary discusses how through knowing someone who moved overseas, or even knowing someone who knows someone who moved overseas, we are connected to people all around the world. Social media networking has been on an exponential rise since the creation of this documentary and it seems as though more and more people are creating more and more connections with people all around the world. At the click of our fingertips we could be instant messaging someone on the other side of the world. So surely the degreed of separation are decreasing?

Well, yes they are. According to a CNN article, each Facebook is only 4-5 facebook users away from any other facebook user.

Note to self: put the 1993, Six Degrees of Separation film on my to-watch list.

SOURCES:
http://www.squidoo.com/Science_Maps_Network_Hubs

http://edition.cnn.com/2011/11/22/tech/social-media/facebook-six-degrees/index.html?iref=allsearch

Creativity and Changing the World

In a world where technology is at our fingertips, it’s becoming easier for us to rely on these mindless objects to satisfy our creative needs. In turn, it’s harder for us to apply ourselves offline. Everyone can relate to those times where we favour Facebook over an important assignment. I relate well to what John Cleese says in his lecture on creativity. I almost always gravitate towards completing trivial tasks I know I can get done before tackling those more complicated and more important tasks. So, how do we get creative and apply ourselves?

According to Cleese we need space, time, confidence and humour. From a writer/producer, this is intriguing and valuable advice but then again apart of me keeps thinking that there is no formula to cultivate creativity. Everyone is different. I feel most creative when I’m sitting on a bus… without my iPhone, that is.

Steve Johnson suggests that good ideas come from a slow hunch. Over years a hunch will develop and collide with other hunches- hunches that belong to other people. So good ideas come from the collaboration of separate minds and their thoughts, apparently.

My point is, everyone has a different opinion of where good ideas come from.