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by Adam Stackhouse
In its purest form, the AVAdventure would utilize no room, no moderator, no panelists, and hundreds of participants.
Originating from the "Audio Adventure" series of 1693 Productions in Williamsburg, VA, this unique, one-time storytelling experience - specially designed for the participants of SXSW 2011 - will use mobile video devices to take attendees on an interactive journey wherein they define their own narrative. The day of the event, users are sent a link to a hosted video file, instructed to download, and at a predetermined time, press play. As the story begins, users are given instructions, choices, and are introduced to characters creating a experience that is part movie, part concert, and part interactive fiction. The resulting sensation - caught within personal headphones - is compellingly solo and communal simultaneously, and in its miss-it-and-it's-gone temporary existence, distinctly uniting for the participants.
Here we propose to bring the series - in the Audio/Video format - to SXSW 2011 as a custom-designed experience for attendees unfamiliar with this unique storytelling format. Ideally participants would begin in a starting location of their choice - inside or within brief walking distance of the main event venue. The use of facilities - rooms, projectors, unique areas - could be incorporated as allowed, and if possible, musicians participating in SXSW would be contacted to integrate their work in the custom narrative as well.
Transmedia storytelling is increasingly being seen as the future of entertainment. A film is no longer just a film; its narrative extends to games, books, online documents, Internet videos, mobile applications, and beyond.
But at the foundation of these new storytelling methods are certain narrative traditions that have held up over the centuries. Without a clear understanding of these structures and methods of character development, a narrative will struggle to survive. We must, therefore, look beyond the Matrix, going back instead to the Greeks, whose myths provide some of the first examples of genuine transmedia. These ancient tales crisscrossed through a complex web of drama, poetry, ritual, role playing, and oral recitation, utilizing archetypes that are still the foundation of stories today.
In this panel, I will address key archetypes and plot formations found repeatedly in both historical narratives as well as recent successful transmedia franchises. I will discuss how to asses an audience, then strategically choose specific plot lines and characters for specific mediums based on those audience segments.
We will look at:
1. Making sure your narrative has a solid premise on which to build – without a foundation you cannot lay bricks.
2. Key characteristics of appeal characters – how to have bad heroes and good villains
3. How to structure the story in an appropriate narrative thread
4. Choosing mediums and messages
Spoken of here, transmedia narratives are not adaptations; they are extensions, networks composed not as afterthoughts to an “original” creative work, but conceived instead in conjunction with them, with thought given to the story, the medium, the audience, and how these elements relate to a cohesive fictional world.
11th–15th March 2011