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.
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)
Group assignment 2: World building
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