Events – the point at which things transition from one state to another. Events can be causally and/or chronologically related.
The series of events in the ‘Welcome to Pine Point’ is both chronologically and causally related. The webdoc not only outlines the development history in the town, but it also reflects on the shutdown of Pine Point.
Actors – characters that cause or experience events. Actors are not necessarily human.
Two kinds of main characters in the webdoc:
(1) The original residents lived in Pine Point, including Kimberly Feodoroff (The Beauty), Lyle M. Hryniuk and Wayne Robert Hrynuik (The Brothers), and Richard Cloutier (The Bully).
The residents includes Kimberly Feodoroff (The Beauty), Lyle M. Hryniuk and Wayne Robert Hrynuik (The Brothers), and Richard Cloutier (The Bully). The webdoc compares the residents’ past memories and experiences with the present living environments.
(2)The significant places symbolized the town, such as the Soviet Union Satellite, the supermarket, and the resident’s houses.
In particular, the Pine Point Bar&Restaurant basement, on which most residents spend their leisure time, is found in the other town being ruined.
Time – when the events take place – past, present, future.
The main town of Pine Point was removed because of the closure of the mining industry. Residents were re-accommodated to other towns nearby and the town is buried and burnt.
Place – where the events take place – location, environment, setting.
Location: Pine Point, Northwest Territories, Canada
Setting: from 70s’ to late-80s’, old-fashioned lifestyle.
Ordering – arrangement of chronological events (e.g. in media res, flashbacks, flash forwards, ellipses)
The interactive documentary uses flashbacks as the intro, chronologically describing the up and down development of Pine Point. At the beginning, the author, Micheal Simons recalls the first time he landed on the land by plane. In the following chapters, the narrative reveals the representational incidents happened in the town, such as the closure of mining industry, the falling satellite and the removal announcement from the council of Pine Point.
Pace – the time of the tale vs. the time of the telling (e.g. real-time, sped up, slowed down or variable)
The time of the tale is approximately 30 years since the shutdown of the town in 1987. But the “Welcome to Pine Point” only selects the representational events to tell the story. Its narrative structure is divided into chapters and every chapter represents dissimilar aspects of the town. So the time of the telling is faster than the time of the tale as audiences are able to know the story about Pine Point in one or two hours.
Focalization – the point-of-view from which we view the narrative. Where is this point of view located in time and space and does it vary or change during the narrative?
The point of view is from one of the filmmakers in this webdoc. Michael Simons who had lived in Great Slave Lake area for ten years witnessed the closure of industry towns after losing their purposes. After experienced several times of migration in the U.S, Simons finally settled down in Vancouver. Simons becomes nostalgic and he decides to explore the disappeared hometown Pine Point.
On the way of Simons’ return, he discovers what people’s life will be after the closures of their hometown and how the result impacts on them. Simon’s focalization lands on the Pinepionters who have contributed the golden time of their life to the town. Although the town was abandoned, the memories will not be forgotten.
Narrator – is the ‘intelligent being’ who is telling the story inside or outside the narrative? Is she, he or it omniscient or limited, reliable or unreliable, explicit or implicit? What is his/her/its mood and tone?
A narrator is a not predominant element in ‘Welcome to Pine Point’, but the use of narrator by Richard Cloudier foreshadows how the story will be revealing.
The intro of the interactive webdoc, a voice-over carefully says words like “mouse click..tap..579…click.” This is a mystery at the begining of the webdoc. The implicit description gets my attention to wonder “what is this?”. The same voice-over will appear in the later section and it leads to the climax of the story (Explain in the ‘CLIMAX’ questions).
Text – the format or medium used to recount the narrative (e.g. printed text, painted mural, cinematic film, television episode, video game, puppet show, theatre performance, graphic novel, etc.)
‘Welcome to Pine Point’ consists of multimedia throughout the documentary. Traditional mediums like Audio and video do not predominate in the webdoc, but the filmmaker also utilize massive printed text and archive photos to drive the story.
Printed text is one of the prominent formats. The text mainly provides audiences the content of different chapters.
Digital Photo Gallery is also featured in the webdoc so that audiences are able to view photos by clicking the button of the section.
In some section, the webdoc designer also creates a video gallery for viewers with twenty different videos displaying on the same page. Once the viewer navigates the mouse on a particular video window, the video will be played automatically.
Traditional narrative features:
The interaction is limited rather than wide open for users. Although the webdoc authorizes users to plan thier own paths in the narrative, but the foundation of the documentary is based on a linear structure. The structure is set by a specific timeline where contains the development history about Pine Point from its establishment to its death.
Series of conflicts that leads to a climax and resolution
The climax comes at the moment of revealing Richard Cloudier (The Bully) spends the rest of his life sitting in a wheelchair. The Bully was a masculine and healthy man in the past and he was widely known in Pine Point. When the webdoc exposes his present life, Cloudier is making a website for the hometown Pine Point by his verbal instruction because he is paralyzed.
“Mouse Click… Tab…Five Seven Nine…Click”
This is a great twist. The mysterious words are finally revealed at this moment as Cloudier is building a website protect the memories of Pine Point. Even though the town was buried and Cloudier is not as healthy as young, the Bully transforms to the Protector for his hometown. This is the best resolution for a disappeared Pine Point.
In additions, another detail is worth to note. To build up this climax, all of people in the chapter Pinepointers are shown with their full-body, except for Richard Cloudier who is only shown with an extreme close-up portrait. The filmmakers try to conceal information to create the biggest contrast in the climax.
Protagonist and antagonist
The Pinepointers’ golden memories and the disappeared home town
Act One: Simon is nostalgic to his hometown, but the town has been abandoned. The closure of mining industry results in the re-accommodation of Pine Point. People lost their hometown after the town lost the industrial purpose.
Act Two: Simons starts to discover Pine Pointer by collecting the pieces of memory in many different ways, such as interviewing Pinepointers, reviewing the biggest incidents in the town, finding the old buildings.
Act Three: Simons found that Richard Cloudier who is building up a website to save the memory of Pine Point. Also, people are still celebrating the festival from Pine Point.
Heroes journey is not significant because of the interactive form of website documentary.
Digital narrative features:
This is a website based interactive documentary. It highly relies on flash to create the audiovisual effects.
‘Welcome to Pine Point’ is divided into ten chapters: 1. Intro; 2. Towns; 3. Pinepointers; 4. Ends&Odds; 5. Cosmos 954 6. Here to Work; 7. Shelf-life 8. What’s weird? 9. Remains; 10 One For the Road
Accessibility is easy by simply clicking on one specific module. To forward or backward pages, the user can navigate the mouse on ‘Prev’ or ‘Next’ button which locate at two sides of the window.
In some aspects of ‘Welcome to Pine Point’, the filmmaker automates audios, videos, and animations in the narrative.
The intro section is set up with an archive footage of a landing plane and Richard Cloudier’s narrator.
In the town section, the use of animation visualizes how the industry towns like Pine Point are established.
‘Welcome to Pine Point’ is created by a media group, the Goggles. The project was produced in Vancouver by National Film Board of Canada.
It is a website documentary, so participants are able to access the content with internet browsers. But viewers cannot add extra content to the modules because it is a closed doco. The audiences are able to select their own way to unfold the story.