This week we presented our pitches for our project, which was really exciting. It was great to hear about all the other projects people in our class are creating, as well as getting feedback from the panel.
The projects I’m most excited to see are Instafame and Dodging the Bullet – I think they’re both going to be really interesting projects and I cannot wait to see how they turn out. I think all the diversity of the projects are really interesting – and I cannot wait to see them develop over the next few weeks.
I think the most important thing to keep in mind for our project for the next five weeks (which is crazy!) is to be focused and have a good plan. We have a lot of content to produce over a variety of mediums which is going to take a lot of time. I think streamlining our project is going to help – the panel suggested we cut down on at least one of our media in order to create a better overall project. They also suggested we think about the order in which the audience is presented the media, to create the most effective storytelling.
I personally think we should get rid of the websiodes element of our project – I don’t think they fit in really well with the other elements and are going to be incredibly demanding in terms of time – which we are running short on now!
Connor is an interactive, multiplatform story, which deals with contemporary issues of bullying, isolation and online connections in a refreshing and distinctive way. Over a variety of mediums, Connor will engage the audience and provoke them to rethink the ways they think about unique individuals within their communities.
Our protagonist, Connor, is an isolated 18 year-old who for many years has been bullied, victimised and mistreated by his high school peers. This, in tandem with his high sense of entitlement and introverted personality means he has been turned to other avenues to connect with people. In the culmination of our project, Connor decides to get revenge on his classmates by killing them when they are all attending a house party.
Connor is a project that encompasses video, digital and physical mediums. Through these platforms, we will allow our audience an increasingly deep look into the life of Connor, our protagonist, as he acts out his revenge on his peers. The variety of mediums we will use in our project will be presented in the following order.
The first digital artifact in our project is the Facebook photo album from the party where Connor acts his revenge. These photos, on face level, will prevent themselves as just a regular house party, but when looking deeper will give hints as to what he is doing. These will be brought to the audiences’ attention by comments and tags in the photo by fake profiles (created by us).
Another of these mediums is Connor’s vlogs, which will be uploaded to YouTube. These are videos are Connor directly addressing the camera, voicing all of his feelings about his life, but in particular the segregation he has faced at the hands of his peers. These videos will give a comprehensive look into the way his mind works. While they will not mention the attacks directly, there will be heavy implications in the video themselves. These videos will be recorded on either a MacBook camera, or another low quality camera, to remain as authentic as possible.
The next platform for Connor is a series of ‘webisodes’, which will provide a look into Connor’s life from other perspectives – that of his mum, his neighbour and the media. This will be more professionally produced content, using equipment available to us at RMIT, or our own equipment. These videos will be uploaded to Vimeo and will provide an insight to Connor’s life beyond his own inner workings.
The written component of our project will be comprised of two news articles, which can be found on our own news site, using either Google Sites or WordPress. These will be the most objective elements of our story, as they will be completely removed from Connor and his life. These will be released at different times, the first one directly after the event, and the second a few days later, providing more information about the event. These will provide a more factual element to the event, and will be referenced in the webisodes.
The last object in our transmedia project will be the only physical element. It will be a diary, which will provide even further insight into Connor’s inner mind. This diary will give the audience a mass of information into how Connor was inspired to commit these murders, as well as his planning, and thinking about doing this. This will inform the audience more about how he was isolated, as well as giving evidence as to him planning the event.
In this project we will equally split the roles across all the media artifacts, from the writing to the producing, allowing us to all be fully immersed in the project. Of course, as we all have different skill levels and abilities, which will influence how we approach each individual artifact.
The main focus of this week in the Story Lab was our guest lecture from Dr. Troy Innocent, who deals with the elements of code and other digital artefacts in the physical world. Troy’s lecture mostly surrounded his work Urban Codemakers – which was a project which injected elements of video games into a real life game with physical artefacts to collect. It was a really interesting lecture, as it gave us more insights into how the things we learn about at uni can have successful, real world applications.
One of the most interesting things I took away from things from the lecture was how, by engaging users in something such physical collection of artefacts, you pushed them to create their own story, as well as engaging more in the story you have already created. Troy also spoke about how the locations of the physical tokens which were used for collecting points, often held significance in relation to the project as a whole In relation to our project, it encourages us to think more cleverly about how we create push off points between each of our artefacts.
Another thing I took away from Troy’s lecture was his emphasis on the endgame – that closure to a project is incredibly important. I think we definitely need to keep this is mind with our project, as we are encouraging users to piece together the story themselves. I think having a fully fledged story, even if we are the only people who know it, would be very helpful overall for our project.
Our Final Project group aims to explore more deeply the story of Californian shooter Elliot Rodgers, through several different platforms. We chose this story because we all found it very interesting (especially his manifesto found here – http://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/1173619/rodger-manifesto.pdf). Through the medium of film, articles, song and a blog, we are attempting to create an interesting take on this fascinating story.
Tiana, Kylie, Kevin, James and myself
1. Come to class
2. Good communication between members
3. Even contribution across the group (putting forward our skills and sticking to it)
4. Making (and sticking to) our timeline
5. Willing to offer constructive opinions/advice
Inspiration (a work in progress)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2014_Isla_Vista_killings – I know we aren’t supposed to use Wikipedia as a reference, but this is an good starting point for our research
Obviously our main inspiration is Rodger’s manifesto, as it gives us an in depth, first person look into his world and psyche. Rodgers also had a YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/ElliotRodger) which documents more of his world.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/writersroom/successes/the-last-hours-of-laura-k?ns_mchannel=email&ns_source=inxmail_newsletter&ns_campaign=bbcwritersroom_corporate__&ns_linkname=na&ns_fee=0 – The Laura K project – which is an interesting take on the murder mystery genre, invites audiences to become more active and involved in the solving of a mystery.
I’ve always been really interested in how social media platforms can be used to tell stories, how they can be told through the collation of posts and notes and likes. A tool such as Snapchat, an app which originally allowed users to send 10 second pictures/videos to any of their friends, which delete themselves after viewing, is certainly an interesting way of telling stories. Snapchat’s ‘Story’ feature, released in October 2013, allows users to upload a picture or video for any of their friends to view as much as they want for 24 hours, is the thing that captured my attention the most.
This feature allows users to create their own narrative and share it with as many people as they have friends on their contact list. Because they are only available for 24 hours, users are less worried about what they post.
The “24 hours only” availability of the Snapchat Story is one of those things that would be really interesting to play with when creating stories – it creates a sense of urgency with your audience to consume the media as soon as possible, as well as having a blink and you’ll miss it effect.
Last week in class we talked about how big companies can use transmedia to tell stories. Following on from our discussion of The Matrix the week before, it was really interesting to see how other shows can create a complete universe from a single media item.
In class we watched the first two episodes of Agent Carter, which focuses more on Peggy Carter, and is set in the 1950’s. I was interested in the concept of a spin off show, what makes them good (or bad) and how well they tend to last in comparison in the original media.
Spinoffs tend to have a bad name – taking a minor character, placing them in a new location, and trying to run off the success of the original show, and generally just being pretty bad. Joey (the Friends spinoff) lasted only two seasons, while the Happy Days spinoff Joanie loves Chaci got cut short in its second season.
I think to make a good spinoff you need a couple of things:
• An interesting enough character with a strong storyline which adds something to the original media
• Provides enough information to the previous show, as well as having enough of a plot to stand on its own
The one to watch at the moment is Better Call Saul, the Breaking Bad spinoff. Set before the events of the original show, it provides several hints to the original show, as well as giving enough extra information that it feels like a show in its own right.