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.
‘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.