When I was a kid there was one type of book that I always gravitated towards above all others and that was the “choose your own adventure” books. There was something satisfying about being given options at the end of each chapter and having some control over the narrative of the story. With the multiple arcs available in the book the overall story was usually a bit short, but they were great fun to read.
Now with the advent of more smart media we are starting to see the same thing happen to video media – television and movies.
One such innovator is a company called Eko, which gives viewers unprecedented control over live-action narratives. The storytelling power of film with the deep engagement of gaming: it’s the future of digital entertainment. Eko is an interactive storytelling platform that lets viewers shape stories as they are told. In the videos the viewer can choose what a central character will say or do next, often with amusing results.
One such is a series of animated shorts called Charlie Gets Fired and the latest is a new live action series called That Moment When starring Milana Vayntrub.
On a bigger scale Paramount Pictures last month demoed an innovative live-action film called Late Shift in Hollywood.
From an article at Deadline, the experirnce was described this way. “Using a simple cell phone app, viewers make choices, large and small, about where the film will go next. The decision points come hot and heavy; there are about 180 of them in the film, a dozen major, the rest fairly minor. Viewer voting is so reflexive, and fast, that the movie never misses a beat — it simply goes where the majority of the audience tells it to go.”
The concept seems like a new way to expand on the storytelling experience and makes for a unique way to view a film. The second screening may be totally different from the first.
While the major motion pictures may be a ways away, interactive television online has already gained some momentum. Like the books I used to enjoy as a youth, this is where television could get interesting.