‘Champ’ (working title)
Updated 2nd May 2013 (31 more days to go!)
The below project is a synopsis of a proposal I have been asked to submit for the New Frontier Story lab. I would like to open a dialog with anyone interested in the idea so I can learn from other professionals and develop the idea into something solid.
This project is intended for both a Mandarin (as I live in China) and an English speaking audience.
A mobile app will be the central platform of the project. Six chapters will be delivered through it over a certain period of time, probably around a month before the climax of the story.
Each chapter will be a carefully chosen medium that portrays that part of the story in the most impactful way. Each chapters will use a different medium to tell the story, such as audio, video, scrollable worlds, comic book, etc. The final chapter will be the theatre show. During the show the application will also be used, in the same way it was used in the previous chapters (the same design/ interactivity). We are hoping that by the time an audience member has to use the app within the theatre show, they already feel comfortable with the functions/ interactivity and that it feels integral to the storyline.
Each chapter, the audience member will have to make a choice that takes the main character onto a different path. The content delivered to them in the next chapter depends on this choice. As a result of their choices different storylines will emerge and ultimately various storylines and theatre show will created to suite the audiences choices. The audience will be alerted which nights their journey is being shown. During the theatre show the audience will be able to make one or two important decisions (through the app) that determine the outcome of the theatre show. This way, the theatre shows interactivity is the same as every other previous chapter in the project.
Various stories are created that shape and place the main character on various paths. The main characters life turns out very different in each scenario but ultimately always ends with a certain theme of characters choice. This choice could be internal.
The central story follows Da Wei, a strong and upcoming young shot-putter who is expected to compete in the Olympics. From the age of ten to seventeen, he has trained vigorously at an athletics school in Beijing, far from his family. Da Wei is a physical specimen, twice the size of most, and with a heart of gold. The story contrasts two pivotal moments in Da Wei’s life, the day before he leaves for the camp (at the age of ten), and the day he returns home on holiday (at the age of 17). The project be will fun, adventurous with a few dark undertones.
Stage 1 – Application/ Website
The app will focus on the last day before Da Wei (10) leaves for the training camp. The story world will be an exploration of his village and the characters within in it. The story will push him into challenging situations that define his character and progress the story forward. Everything that occurs at this stage will come into play during the theatre narrative.
Interactive film (App)
The interactive film will be from the POV of Da Wei as he journeys through his small rural village. It will be a simple design (either an app or a html 5 website), with slick swipe controls, that control his direction, and his interactions within each chapter. Built inside these chapters will be choices the audience needs to make that further the story along. These choices, will be logged inside the app, and will play a major part of the theatre performance, as explained below. Once the audience have completed a certain amount of the story, they will be able to unlock the next part of the story which will be the theatre show. Those not able to attend the theatre performance will be able to stream the show live. I am also thinking of interactive ways in which the online audience could interact with the show itself or even with the audience at the theatre show. A question that keeps popping in me head is “How can I incorporate the online experience to take advantage of the fact that every theatre performance is different, and unique?”
Stage 2 – Theatre Show
After ten years in the camp, Da Wei returns home for the first time to celebrate Chinese New Year. As a result from years of training in this elite athletics school, the pressure on Da Wei has reached boiling point; he is on the verge of throwing it all away. His return home prompts him to revaluate his life, as he is challenged by the expectation of his father, the loss of his childhood, and the events that occurred on that fateful day, before he left for the camp. The theatre show will take place during the first day of Chinese New Year, inside Da Wei’s family living room.
Theatre and the App
During the performance, content will be pushed to each audience member’s mobile device, via the application. The content shown on each device will have been influenced by the previous choices made within the interactive film. The content could consist in a variety of forms such as video, audio, and text messages. This content will serve as vital information that pushes the story arc along, and cuts smoothly within the show, ensuring the technology doesn’t distract from the performance, creating a unique, invested experience for each participant of the show.
Stage 3- Streaming theatre event.
PREVIOUS IDEA – Stage 3 Interactive Documentary
This idea was part of the original concept, but I feel it may be too disconnected, and might distract from the overall experience. I wanted to mention it, so that I could give a feeling of the direction I was originally headed.
After the theatre show, participants will be sent content triggering the next step of the narrative. Here the audience will be given the opportunity to follow a real potential Olympic athlete with an inspiring story, similar to that of Da Wei’s. This will occur via a website/ and the application. These platforms will encourage relationship building between the athlete and the participants. The interactive documentary will follow the progress, hard times, or even failure of the athlete as he struggles to compete in one of the most inspiring events, the Olympic games.