Friday, April 25, 2014

Immersive Storytelling, Transmedia Experiences and Storyscapes

The past week I have had chance to experience a few transmedia experiences. What they are called or billed as is as fluid as their content, use of technology and, alas, quality of all of the above.  

The Lincoln Film Society has a program called, Convergence: Immersive Media  at Lincoln Center. Currently the program features Futuremate a hybrid live performance, film and interactive game experience.  Billed as a wickedly funny satire about life, love and the modern surveillance state, I had a hard time immersing myself.  Partially to blame for that was of course the fact that any “mating” game in NYC will have to deal with the skewed 2:1 female male ratio. Parts of the experience felt forced, video elements where poorly produced and although the script had its moments it was all a bit too over the top for my taste. I felt like an outsider watching with (more or less) interest a not so great theatrical performance with many gimmicks and I was certainly not immersed.   I think a much better experience could have been had with better actors and certainly a better balanced audience.   It’s the age old issue, and I’ve been there myself, where people with great ideas and a great script are not necessarily great directors or actors.  This just a hunch...

The Tribeca Film Festival had two floors of Storyscapes as part of their Innovation Week. The projects in Storyscapes incorporated virtual reality, live performance, 3D graphics, music and gesture-based gaming and they were all participatory.  In addition to the five finalist featured there were quite a few other immersive or transmedia experiences. All of this, by the way, fueled by massive amounts of Sapphire Bombay Gin to which I fell prey the first visit and no popcorn in the world could keep up with the gin.  

Saturday, April 19, 2014

TED Talks, take 1 - Bionics
On the first anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing I wanted to share a TED talk by Hugh Herr, head of MIT’s Media Lab’s Biomechatronics group. A double amputee himself he demonstrates what prosthetics, biomechanical limbs are capable of and what they can do into the future.  He maintains that people are never broken, but the technology is.

To demonstrate what he can do, he brings to the talk ballroom dancer Adrianne Haslet-Davis, who lost her left leg in the Boston Marathon bombing, to perform for the first time since she lost her leg on the TED stage.  It’s a modest, but emotionally powerful dance.  As someone who had a traumatic lower leg injury and nearly lost a leg to a sporting accident I can tell you, that not only standing up straight and walking, but dancing, and having the mental strength to do so is awe-inspiring.  The leg’s movements are phenomenal and I’m inspired to see that had I lost a leg, maybe I’d be very ok today.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Spring Quiz (aka April Fool’s Quiz)

It was a good year for the Fools of April. I would blame the weather for it (what else).  The first two pranks I saw while checking emails in bed (yes: bad, bad habit) where the funniest. 

First an email announcement from a stock footage house – it was so elaborate that I still have not found out whom it’s exactly from – announced the comeback of the VHS tape and had everything from client testimonials to special offers and a video.  The list of perks listed among other things: easy to order – simple 3 page fax order form.  Or: don’t settle for invisible digital goods.  Or: amazing 720 x 480 resolution. I’m still LOL. The email leads you to this site.


For the past year and a half, I've been strongly advocating for what I have been calling cross-platform outreach for documentaries:  a way to disseminate the information that filmmakers do not or cannot incorporate into a documentary film; to encourage a grass roots movement of participation and conversation;  to explore the often fine line between subject matter and audience; to crowd source stories and footage as a means to expanding the conversation or to cast your film; or to simply let loose some cool ideas that do not fit into a linear narrative.   

April Fool's Day!

Ha! If you come to this blog post via the Clock Wise Productions email blast of April 1st, 2014 you have just been April Fooled!  Congratulations! Do comment here or send me an email and you might still win a prize.