Transmedia Entertainment & Marketing

IBCoM: CM2052

The wonderful world of interactive engagement

Thanks to technology, instead of simply watching television of a movie, the viewer can be active. “The way to do that is through story. You build a narrative arc and let the player play through it” (Spencer, as cited in Rose, 2011, p. 127). This is exactly what the National Film Board of Canada has provided us with. Out of their interactive projects, we chose three of them to explore the use of world-building. The projects we chose all tell their story in a distinctive way, each using different elements of storytelling and world-building. The concept of world-building entails that expanding (fictional) worlds are created which consists of multiple stories and provides space for multiple interrelated characters (Jenkins, 2007).

 

The first interactive video is called ‘’BLABLA’’. The video explores human communication through clicking and many enjoyable ‘’games’’. First, there is nothing but sounds which you have to click on, after that the main character is introduced. All his actions are made possible by the person who’s clicking. Eventually he finds partners and makes small talk which shows how communication is a two way flow. At the end, all the thoughts and interactions the main character had exits his mind in an eccentric way, where after he goes to bed.
The most unique component of this project was the fact that there was no usage of words or conversations, although the whole project illustrated communication. Furthermore, it was mainly 3D-animated, which is not the case with the other videos. The most positive aspect is the abundance of visual effects and the clicking-concept in this project which makes it very engaging. However, I did find the lack of actual words and conversations limiting when it comes to conveying its message.
One can define the main character as the only archetypal figure in this project, he expresses the emotions and experiences he has with human communication. The iconic elements are the colorful visual effects which show the chaos and emotions during communication.

 

 

The second project is a story about the village called ‘Pine Point’ that disappeared.

The narrator, someone who used to live in Pine Point, tells the story of how he discovered that Pine Point was gone, and explains to the viewer what the village was like, and later explains that it was built for economic purposes and therefore also removed again. The viewer explores the story and memories in a unique way; through a kind of scrapbook you can click through full of pictures, videos and other memories from Pine Point. The portrayal of the main characters living in Pine Point, and of their lives and their memories of the village, is the main narrative element used. This makes the story feel very personal and therefore builds an intimate atmosphere. This helps showing the point of view of the presenter, and strengthens his message. The world-building elements found here are the points of entry and the pivot points (Kapoor, 2012). The viewer can enter the story not only through the project, but also the actual website of ‘Pine Point revisited’. The parts in the project where you can click through the pictures as if you are watching a photo album are used as pivot points. They provide real evidence for the story which makes the story more vivid. In this sense, the story was told very successfully, as the viewer feels part of the community.

 

The third interactive video is called ‘Flawed’. It tells the story of a girl who felt flawed, because she thought she had many imperfections. Throughout the story she realizes the only one thinking she is flawed is she, and she learns to embrace her flaws. The story is narrated by a voice in first person, and visualized by water-color paintings painted while you listen to the story. Special about this project is the simplicity of it. This makes the story very easy to follow and honest, which is a successful way for communicating its message. On the other hand, compared to the other two projects, it is less interactive, as there is no clicking or choosing possible for the viewer. The main world-building element used is the ‘Call to Action’ (Kapoor, 2012). When the narrator tells her story, the viewer starts to think about their flaws. During the course of the story, the viewer can identify with many things, and at the end the viewer is also convinced to embrace flaws and start to love them, and thus stimulated to take some sort of action. This is also the main narrative element, namely to create a shared mood (Kapoor, 2012), because there are many identifiable elements.

 

Although all three of them were great, enjoyable transmedia products, we tried to decide which one was most successful in conveying its message to us. If we compare the three, it can be stated that we experienced ‘’Pine Point’’ to be most successful. Its combination of transmedia products and narratives made this project the most engaging of the three. Where ‘’BLABLA’’ lacked clarity at times and ‘’Flawed’’ didn’t have many interactive elements, the authenticity of ‘’Pine Point’’ was what made the difference.

 

References:

 

Jenkins, H. (2007) – Transmedia Storytelling 101. Retrieved on the 9th of October, 2012 from http://bblp.eur.nl/bbcswebdav/courses/CM2052-12/Transmedia%20Storytelling%20101.pdf

Kapoor, R. (2012). World Building[PowerPoint slides]. Retrieved on the 9th of October from https://ibcomtransmedia2012.wordpress.com/seminar-slides/slides-week-3/

Rose, F. (2011). Open worlds. In The art of immersion: How the digital generation is remaking Hollywood (pp. 121-143). W.W. Norton & Company.

Wally Ahmady (357227) & Emmy Bruijstens (359495)

CM2052

Group assignment 2: World building

Word count: 852

11 comments on “The wonderful world of interactive engagement

  1. Sydney Miller
    October 11, 2012

    Wally and Emmy,

    My partner and I also chose Flawed and Bla Bla for our critiques. However we concluded that Flawed was more successful as a transmedia project. On the website, flawed offered a study guide for 7th to 12th graders (primary school through high school). As well as links to ‘self-help’ websites. There is also an interactive project where you can click through the creators flaws. Although we did not critique Pine Point, we concluded that, despite Bla Bla’s interactive user interface, as whole, Flawed was a more successful transmedia project.

    Best Regards,

    Sydney Miller

  2. Shelley Barendregt
    October 11, 2012

    Hi Wally and Emmy.
    Initially I had only looked at BlaBla for my own assignment, but your description of Flawed made me curious, so I have just watched it. I agree with you that the simplicity of the project is the unique aspect of it. Although it is indeed less interactive than the other projects, it still engages the audience. The story is easy to follow and it is pleasant to watch the drawings being created. What I was wondering about is, do you think the project would have improved in terms of success if it was more interactive? Since I feel that it might have interrupted the story that was being told so fluently. I see that Sydney mentioned that there is a interactive project on the website of Flawed itself. Do you think this should have been incorporated in the movie on the NFB website or is the link to the Flawed website itself enough?
    Overall, I like your interpretations of the projects – especially BlaBla, which I analyzed myself and I could identify with your interpretation of the project.

  3. Lisanne van Beurden
    October 11, 2012

    Hi guys,
    I also worked on the projects BlaBla and flawed for the assignment. I agree that Flawed was not very interactive. I did find a link under the video clip which was called ”Interactive tool” and you could click on this and find another clip. This clip was actually a lot more interactive and you could click on the ”flaws” of this narrator, which were also painted. I think this would be a much better interactive story for the project. I did not look at the website Sydney is talking about, where a study guide for 7th to 12th graders are offered. I think that there should be more information about these options at the project that is shown on the National Film Board of Canada’s website. I do not think that the story would have been interrupted by being more interactive, as Shelly asked. I do agree that the story was told very fluently.However, it could still have more interactive elements in the clip. They could tell the story and have more interactivity in the end. Maybe show a watercolor painting where the users can click on the flaws (which already exists, but is not in this clip).
    I thought that BlaBla was a very unique project and actually thought that the lack of actual words and conversations was very interesting. The creator tried to show communication in a very different way than we are used to.
    I agree with your conclusion that BlaBla lacked clarity sometimes and that Flawed did not have a lot of interactive elements. Unfortunately I did not watch Pine Point, but after reading your assignment I can understand that this was the most successful of the three. Furthermore, I think you did a good job on the assignment!

  4. Ashlynn Yeong
    October 12, 2012

    Hi Wally & Emmy,

    I have watched Flawed and Bla Bla but haven’t had a glimpse of Pine Point.I think that although Bla Bla provides more interaction, Flawed is more impressive due to its emotional elements. For Pine Point, I think the idea is concrete after reading your analysis. It’s somehow emotional that may contain the shared mood element?

  5. Sofia Z Berkhout
    October 12, 2012

    Hi guys,

    Im not sure i really understand the question in the last comment. However, i did look at Welcome to Pine Point and agree with you about the success of the storytellers in creating an authentic story world. Although i do not think that the viewer necessarily feels like a part of the community, but they definitely get a really good sense of the community that lived there, as well the idea of the memories of the community living beyond the destruction of Pine Point.

  6. Linda Weidinger
    October 12, 2012

    Hiii

    I just read your assignment and I agree with you at the project Bla Bla, it’s really something special to the other project that they use here 3-D! I also think that the design and the visual effect are the mainelements. On the other project Flawed – it is true that this project is not as interactive as the other two, but I think the story is very exciting. Perhaps here interactive means that you start to think about yourself because of the story! Good work!

  7. Karim Rabbani
    October 12, 2012

    Hey guys,
    for our assignment we also looked at BLABLA and Flawed (and GDP). I agree with you that BLABLA was more interactive as Flawed but what i noticed looking at these three interactive projects was the more interactive it got the more complicated and unclear it became for me. Do you think this is a coincidence or the more interactive the projects become the more complicated it becomes?

    • Victoria
      October 12, 2012

      I agree with you Karim! More elements and interactive tools in the project makes it harder to follow the story or to understand their focus. Therefore, I find flaw really good because it is easy to follow.

  8. A Gevorkian
    October 12, 2012

    Hi guys,

    i did look at Welcome to Pine Point and initially thought that would be a cool project todo, the storytellers did manage to create this awesome story world. I do have to agree with sofia on the stance that still as a viewer once seems to feel distant fromt he whole scenario but it is definitely extensive as to what they tell about this community. A definite success factor was Flawed i just took a look into it and its pretty cool that they use 3d, visual deisgn is a concrete main element, so I agree with that being your runner up!

  9. Jean Paul Levier
    October 12, 2012

    Wally & Emmy

    I didnt even check out these projects before reading your piece and still understood the whole thing. That means that your descriptions and application of the concept were well thought out. After reading this i went straight to the NFB website to check them out. I agree with the others that said that too many interactivity can cause confusion and can cloud the mind of the user, thus causing him/her to get distracted (no focus on project itself).

  10. Robin Alkemade
    October 14, 2012

    Hi Wally & Emmy,
    I’ve looked at both Flawed and Pine Point so it was interesting to read what BlaBla was about. Though i have to inform you that the guy narrating Pine Point was not living in Pine Point, he visited it in his childhood and was wondering what became of it. You chose interesting projects though I don’t agree with Pine Point having the most authenticity which you mention in your last paragraph. I believe every project has its own authenticity since they are all cleary unique interactive project on the NFB website.

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