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March 13 at 8:15am

Interactive Storyworlds: Your TO DO List

By Ted Hope

I had the pleasure of participating in the panel “New Narratives: Building An Interactive Storyworld” at SXSW this year with Karim Ahmad of ITVS & Future States, Aina Abiodun of Storycode , and Mike Knowlton of Murmur.  It was a lively panel and we packed the house.

I had a few takeaways from the panel I thought you might like me to share.  20 to be exact. First though, my guess is you’d like to know a bit more about what it was all about. Well, SX described it as this:

“The landscape of interactive documentaries is exploding, so where are all the interactive narrative films on the web? Right here. ITVS, Murmur, Storycode & Ted Hope will discuss the emerging genre of interactive narrative film, next-gen web series, & how creating immersive storyworlds can build audiences for feature films. 
We will conduct a case study on an interactive web series created by ITVS, designed by Murmur, featuring content from some of today’s top indie filmmakers. We will feature the work of Storycode, a community that conducts story hackathons to create original cross-platform fictional narratives. We will discuss the recently launched ITVS Storylab, a next-gen web series incubator. And we will discuss how these efforts may help build a more sustainable filmmaking ecosystem.”

So, without any further adieu, my takeaways — somewhat enhanced from my mini-rant at the panel:

  1. How do we sustain ourselves in an emerging world where the rules haven’t been written yet?
  2. We are experience designers, not just storytellers. Think inter-disciplinarily.
  3. Don’t mimic what the analogue word has done before.
  4. Think story world, with multiple wormholes and extensions, different discovery points & participation levels.
  5. We have not found the words or vernacular to describe the experiences yet; without them desire can not be fully fueled.
  6. Go where the people are already gathered; don’t struggle to bring them to you.
  7. It’s a world of abundance and only community + conversation move things to the top of all queues.
  8. Provide points of access for both collaboration and interaction.
  9. Plan to course correct midstream.
  10. Build community over time; don’t expect it to suddenly blossom.
  11. Use multiple narrative engines; don’t rely on just story-based drivers, but utilize experience-based ones too.
  12. Maintain a bias to action; bring the future into the present.
  13. Build for and embrace “play”.
  14. The current model of mass market and non-participatory was the disruption; this is the return to form.
  15. Don’t wait, iterate!
  16. Technology not required.
  17. Let go of the need to be the auteur; allow for collaboration.
  18. Interaction is an ingredient, not a genre.
  19. Bundle the levels of engagement and let the community chose their way.
  20. Don’t rely on a story world strategy just to refresh something that was not of community or market interest/investment to begin with.



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  1. www / Mar 13 at 8:15am

    Your style is very unique compared to other people I’ve read stuff from. Many thanks for posting when you’ve got the opportunity, Guess I will just book mark this site.

  2. www / Mar 13 at 8:15am

    Having read this I thought it was really informative. I appreciate you spending some time and energy to put this article together. I once again find myself spending way too much time both reading and commenting. But so what, it was still worthwhile!

  3. www / Mar 13 at 8:15am

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  4. www / Mar 13 at 8:15am

    Aw, this was a really good post. Spending some time and actual effort to make a really good article… but what can I say… I put things off a lot and don’t manage to get nearly anything done.

  5. www / Mar 13 at 8:15am

    An impressive share! I have just forwarded this onto a friend who was conducting a little research on this. And he in fact ordered me dinner simply because I discovered it for him… lol. So allow me to reword this…. Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending some time to discuss this topic here on your blog.

  6. www / Mar 13 at 8:15am

    Having read this I thought it was rather informative. I appreciate you taking the time and energy to put this content together. I once again find myself personally spending a lot of time both reading and posting comments. But so what, it was still worthwhile!

  7. www / Mar 13 at 8:15am

    When I initially commented I appear to have clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now whenever a comment is added I get 4 emails with the same comment. There has to be a way you are able to remove me from that service? Thank you!

  8. www / Mar 13 at 8:15am

    Having read this I thought it was very informative. I appreciate you finding the time and effort to put this informative article together. I once again find myself personally spending a lot of time both reading and posting comments. But so what, it was still worth it!

  9. www / Mar 13 at 8:15am

    Aw, this was a very good post. Finding the time and actual effort to create a very good article… but what can I say… I procrastinate a whole lot and don’t manage to get anything done.

  10. www / Mar 13 at 8:15am

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  11. www / Mar 13 at 8:15am

    Excellent article. I’m going through many of these issues as well..

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