Brainstorming a Multiplatform Story

In Her Footsteps - The Disappearance of Juanita Nielsen

One of the only individually chosen classes I've taken since 2012 is Digital and Multiplatform Storytelling. In some ways this is an incredibly humiliating experience, but anyway, it's relevant to the course and whathaveyou and I did want to know more... initially, but it's a long story. Let's just say I'm sticking with it for now (fees paid and everything, ~$2.5K golly).

Nancy Wake

It was fun trying to come up with ideas for telling a story over multiple platforms though. For the first week that I attended (which was actually Week 2), because of a lack of really knowing any of the other Western-centric texts that the lecturer put up other than Grease we were given the subject of Nancy Wake.

I would be interested in maybe seeing this happen someday, though I admit I'm not particularly invested in seeing it happen by my own means. Some ideas we came up with:

  • A website seems like a natural place to start (most things have a website, it's a common meeting point for all of your content stretched over multiple platforms). This will be a gamified experience.
  • A diary is the best way to find out about the life of a person, but this doesn't necessarily mean that this diary needs to be from the point of view of Nancy Wake. So this can be a site containing multiple diary entries from people that Nancy may have encountered throughout her life.
  • There can be clues in the diary entries leading to the next part of the story, this way the story can unfold over a period of time, and in this way other platforms such as social media can be involved in the process.
  • This would only pick out important parts of her life, therefore. The full story would take too long to unfold otherwise... Perhaps after the story has concluded, bonus content can be added to fill in the gaps.
  • Parts of the diary entries could be audio diaries.
  • Video can be used in the diary entries, clicking on parts of diary entries can introduce video clips. Not only reenacted video or potentially 3D animated video, but also clips from previous adaptions of her autobiography and from real life people or their descendants.
  • Background audio and images will make the experience more complete.
  • Small details such as stains appearing (coffee or otherwise) brings the screen to life.
  • Geocaching can be used, leaving snippets of data in places she has been before, such as North Sydney which was where she went to school. People can get involved in real life.. Not only that it can introduce people in the area to a famous figure originating from their neighbourhood.
  • Social networking will allow connecting with more people - Tweets can be like transmissions back to London, encoded messages for people to work out the code for and reveal the encoded message.
  • Badges and such to represent different things that have been unlocked.

Others predominantly seemed to come up with games, so ours was something different.

Back to the present...

We had to do a similar exercise in the lesson next week after being shown a number of stories that had been told in interesting ways (as an iPad app mixed with Geocaching, iPad app experiences, old website click throughs and so on), but this time it seemed she assumed that we would be coming up with the story. (Creative? Me? Hah, no.)

As someone not particularly original, I remembered a Youtube phenomenon which my Dad had shown to me a few weeks ago, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries which had also been produced as part of a school project, it seemed. This was a retelling of Pride and Prejudice in a contemporary setting, where Elizabeth Bennet would make vlogs to tell her story.

It was my idea that I could somehow contemporarise (is that a word?) a story of my own, but after throwing away ideas of Shakespeare and then Sherlock, I hit upon the idea of using an old work of fiction such as Black Beauty... Yet not only are they an animal, but also this work is from the context of more than a century ago. Interesting how this might work and I still have no clue! Stay tuned.

Image from Atom Awards.