So I happen to leave my iphone on the table and you, being bored and incorrigibly nosy, decide to scroll through my emails. You find this…
Next you check my text messages and find this one from a number you don’t recognize…
“My daughter let a stranger into the house. He has a child – I can smell the little boy smell on him. He’ll be sorry he set foot in this house.”
Now you are totally freaking out, wondering what I’m involved in. Have no fear, I tell you, it’s just a bit of transmedia storytelling, which (along with the creepy email) sounds to you to be something a bit too kinky for a woman my age.
It’s immersive, a form of storytelling-without-borders, which taps into all of our gadgets and feeds us information in multiple ways to draw us into the story.
You watch a video and suddenly your phone rings. When you answer it’s one of the characters giving you some inside information, or telling you to get over there right away because there’s been a murder and there’s blood everywhere. A bit later a video pops up offering some backstory, or bzzzzz a text message appears on your iphone, an email in your inbox. You become, like it or not, part of the action.
Elan Lee, the chief creative guy at Fourth Wall Productions, who created the series which are available here, puts it this way:
Think of your life as comprised of a million little pieces of thread. Each piece is made up of one of the ways you represent yourself to the rest of the world. One thread is your phone, another is your email account, another is your Facebook page, and onward they go until the entirety of your digital self is assembled. RIDES takes all of these threads, weaves them together, and in doing so creates a screen on which to project a story.
Clearly this definition of self as related to our gadgets is more relevant to those, like my kids, for whom smartphones are literally an extension of their limbs. They are bored with one dimensionality, with linear thought, with predictable tales and events. How very natural it is for them to bounce from cell to screen, from text to email to facebook to twitter without pause. I do believe that their brains are rewiring as we speak (or text) and look far different than my own. I’ve stopped yearning for the way things used to be and am fascinated to see the way things are becoming (It’s not all bad, really it’s not…).
What interests me most is how its creators did not simply translate from one platform to another, but rather reinterpreted and experimented with ways to tell a story along the way. In the end it is, of course, the story that matters, but its telling can, and should, take various forms. The storyteller in the square centuries ago used his voice, his gestures, his props to make the story come alive, and this is no different. What’s important here is that this is a beginning which is really, in a way, a return. Every culture uses what it has on hand to tell its stories. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose… the more things change, the more they stay the same.
Give it a whirl. Great fun.