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Why your storytelling should not be interactive

Some thoughts about interactive storytelling to wrap up this year:

www.linkedin.com/pulse/why-your-storytel...
or
alevemine.tumblr.com/post/151339424865/w...

How would you go about interactivity?

  • I made some interactive shorts for a game platform about 5 years ago - another huge issue is that each decision creates a split in the timeline and doubles the material to shoot. We had 30' of material for a 3' story, so production was 10x bigger than the story the viewer got. Ok, some threads were longer than others, but you get the idea.

    I think it can work, but as a mish-mash with CGI gaming. All the character issues still exist that you note so acutely, but at least you can possibly reuse assets in different storylines.

    I see the biggest hurdle though being that as a viewer, it's not a satisfying experience. You're always wondering if you got the "best" outcome, much as VR/360° films you're never sure if you're looking the right way.

    It'll be interesting if and how that gets resolved, but it does turn the experience of going to the cinema together into solo viewing of a cheaper ($/minute watched) film - less exciting?

    5 months ago
    • Paddy thanks for your input.

      Yes. I seem to have forgotten the elephant in the room: the exponentiation of the content to be produced!

      Therefore reusing content in the various threads as you say is likely. This removes some of the "inner truth" of the work. Now that I think of it, also in TV series. Suddenly the backstory changes, so how can the previous episodes have included that on a deeper level? To me that level is the most valuable place in our work.

      Yes I also feel that way with 360(*360). With interactive content, maybe animate elements can be programmed to move to be in your field of view or events to wait until they will be in your field of view to unfold. Or something may guide you to look in the direction needed for the story to unfold. In cases where these could make sense. Which is probably a tiny minority of the cases. But thought I'd suggest them anyway.

      Is it really less expensive per minute than cinema?

      5 months ago
    • @Alève Mine Oops, per minute viewed (as you have to stretch the money further to cover 100 shooting days instead of 30 for instance). Badly phrased by me :)

      The amount of material either grows exponentially or the choices are meaningless and the film is on rails!

      5 months ago
    • @Paddy Robinson-Griffin So the quality of the film, independently from its interactivity, is lower / cheaper in interactive generally?

      5 months ago
    • @Alève Mine Quite probably.

      If you're stretching the budget over 3 hours instead of 90 minutes, the quality has to suffer. I'm sure some good planning means you can make use of the big money sequences in any storyline, but I can't help feel it's fundamentally flawed.

      5 months ago
    • @Paddy Robinson-Griffin Yes I feel the same.

      5 months ago
  • Good piece, Aleve. I certainly agree!

    I'm reminded of this truly awful new feature on Netflix called "Spectral." It seems to have done exactly the opposite of what you're article is about: they took scenes from a video game, and hobbled together a movie out of them. But worse than the writing was the direction. The director had no clue on how to build a scene or sequence. It's as if he looked at a video game, and simply copied the "camera moves" from his video game controller.

    5 months ago
    • SHIT! typo: "your article" not "you're article" How embarrassing.

      5 months ago
    • @Dan Selakovich thanks. I looked up spectral, found the trailer. It looks good somehow. Spectacular albeit emotionless. Can't rely much on trailers, can we.

      5 months ago
    • I'm gonna upset the cart here and say - I enjoyed it... ;)

      5 months ago
    • @Lee 'Wozy' Warren
      ok

      5 months ago
  • Gee, happy new year!

    5 months ago
    • Happy New Year!! (Maybe not a good idea to start off your year with "Spectral." Wait a week or so). I think I've gotten to the point in my life where I've given up on young filmmakers. I think I'll just watch old Hitchcock movies from now on. Or maybe that lovely interview between Truffaut and Hitchcock.

      5 months ago
    • @Dan Selakovich thanks!

      I'll probably skip watching Spectral, the main reason being that there then may be better films to view in that time. I don't have Netflix anyway. I found the interview and may go for it instead: youtu.be/Jq51gq4s5r4?list=PLrwUnL23zrPvi...
      It seems like the perfect audio for trainings.

      5 months ago
    • @Alève Mine Yep, that's the one! I really think this should be required viewing in every film school. Whenever I watch the films of my favorite directors, I always see Hitchcock's lessons reflected in them.

      5 months ago
    • @Dan Selakovich It is now on my to do list.

      5 months ago
    • @Dan Selakovich so as I was implementing that todo list point many things were interesting to hear regarding filmmaking, of course, but there is more. You gotta listen to what he says in the #12 starting at 4:45. Remarkably relevant to current news out there.

      4 months ago
    • @Alève Mine Wow. That sent a chill down my spine!

      4 months ago
    • @Dan Selakovich Same here. I don't know what to say.

      4 months ago
  • Hi Dan - if Tippy Hedren's still around you could try chatting to her about Hitchcock for an alternative view. Hitchcock I could imagine, might paraphrase Trump about being a 'name' and therefore being entitled to grope women.

    5 months ago
    • Well, often, one must separate the art from the artist. Another cliche: never meet your heroes.

      5 months ago
  • If it's interactive, it ain't storytelling. End of.

    Interactivity has many great uses - games, for example. And for exploring factual content it's great.

    But once we get to STORY, and FICTION, then the teller and the audience have different roles, and interactivity buggers that up.

    Am I stick in the mud? Don't think so. I was a well read D&D playing teen when the Adventure books came out, and they were, IMO even back then, pointless. If I read a book, I wanted the authors story. If I was in a Dungeon, I wanted the DM's, and if I was the DM, I wanted to entertain the players.

    5 months ago
    • Marlom, good point! Trouble is when people use words in a way that doesn't match their definition. Another example of that is when people speak about consciousness in AI. But that's another story.

      5 months ago
    • I couldn't agree more, Marlom.

      5 months ago