(Its a bit over 500 words, but on Wednesday you said we should write as much as we needed)
Semester is now over and our major project is submitted mostly without a hitch. Its nothing like my original vision back when we first formed our group, but the final product is still pretty great and I’m proud of my work that went into it.
Part 1: The Initial Idea
Our initial idea was born from a lack of passion felt towards any of the other projects being “pitched” in class. They each were interesting and ambitious, but nothing particulary grabbed me and I wasnt eager to be apart of any of them. Luckily Olivia and Alex (who I just happened to be sitting next to that week) felt the same way. Prior to the pitches we were all looking over random story ideas we had throughout semester and Olivia’s was a thing involving a Psychic woman and a Cystral Ball, during the Pitches I had an idea about wanting to do something to do with a cult, preferably include some body-horror elements and a creepy/disturbing atmosphere. Back at the table, with our lack of direct interest in any of the other projects we decided to create our own, combining the ideas. Eventually the cult became an organisation fixated on ascending to the digital realm, the Psychic woman with the Crystal ball idea was repurposed as the cult leader.
Part 2: The Changening
Over the next several weeks our project kept changing and new ideas were constantly being developed. I wanted to make an interactive movie, a short film where you (the audiance member/”player”) gets to choose what the main character says and does, affecting the outcome of the narrative. I wanted the entire thing to be seamless video content, with dialouge and action options appearing on-screen when nesisary. The only way I knew how to do this was Microsoft Powerpoint, as I’d done similar things as a kid “making movies” when I had no acsess to cameras or anything else (I used animated clipart with speech bubbles and setting everything on precise timers so it would play from start to finish automatically). Meanwhile Olivia and Alex had thier own ideas, involving a physical space and lots of different media and more of an experience rather than something you sit down and watch. I think we were both a bit poor on explaining our ideas, because everyone just seemed to agree with eachother leaving the actual direction of the project unclear.
This was our first proper plan put to paper, a branching narrative told through power point supported by some physical media that followed a distinctive “Y with cross sections” shape.
As explained in my previous blog posts, this again changed quite a bit, right up until the morning before we presented it, but somethings remained, for example the “Prayer Position” with using your arms to make the same Y symbol is still present in the final project, even if the only other reference to it is the red markings on my chest in the same scene. In the end our project was a mish-mash of ideas, part of it followed by idea for a seamless video experience while the rest was more text based and similar to the online narrative games we played in class early in semester.
Part 3: The Final Presentation
On wednesday we presented our final version of our project, and it was very interesting (and slightly frustrating) watching Dan play it. He chose the quickest route to the end by complete accident, and missed the prompt to examine our folder full of physical media, then on a second playthrough he chose almost identical options, still missing bunch of content that I’d stayed awake for two days to finalise. I timed the longest possible route and it takes around 20 minutes, while Dan’s playthrough was a bit over 10. But I guess thats the nature of these kinds of story’s, unless you have an interest or fascination with exactly how many different ways through it there are and replay it multiple times, you’ll always miss something.
Part 4: The Group
As a group I think we worked well, everyone definitely pulled their weight and there were practically no disagreements or arguments that actually occurred. Although, I feel our communication about ideas wasnt great, which left stuff a bit ambiguous, and we seemed to support every idea that anyone had, even if we didn’t fully understand it, and went back to working on our own vision of things. Both Alex and Olivia were great to work with and everything worked out in the end. Although I think our project suffered from having basically 3 creative leads, everyone wanted to put their own vision into it, but everyone was also too polite to do it strongly. Had this been a solo project, each of ours would be very different from what we got.
Part 5: Conclusion
We made an interactive story in Power Point, had numerous discussions about the nature of multi-threaded story’s and audiance agency and tried our best to incorporate physical media into a digital experience. Our group worked well, and brainstorming idea’s was very fun, and despite some moments of uncertainty near the end it all came together.