This story starts back in the long ago days of 2006, in an ancient land. A land filled with wild dreamers, and even wilder dreams, a place conected perhaps to Jungian dream space or the collective unconscious. This was a very special land, for it was virtual it existed outside of real world time and space. It was ripe with, and ready for the thing we as humans love most. It was a place for stories, and they called it Second Life
Confession: I am an unabashed new media junkie, the more interactive, the more immersive the better. I’m also a huge fan of and believer in the power of social media to build community, and foster dialog. I am also by nature a storyteller, I love to spin a good yarn and digest stories (movies, books, podcasts, TV etc) with a voracious applicate. and my initial foray into Second Life consisted of visiting an amazing duo of Multi-Sim builds known as Neverland and OZ that allowed you, in what was cutting edge tech of the time, to become part of the story, to live the story so to speak. To say I was blown away by the immersive potential of the medium would be an understatement.
I was thunderstruck by the possibilities, so much so that it sparked the beginnings of a four year adventure that began as a 6 month walk about in SL, in which I closed my high end web shop and devoted all of my time to exploring and learning about this new medium. I met many interesting talented people , recruited the best ad brightest of them, and together started a little development firm called Involve 3D through which we did some of the best corporate builds in Second Life for great clients like Dell, and NBC/Universal, The Weather Channel, and the 7 Days Magic Village. We learned from each build and with each build we got closer to fully immersive storytelling. Sadly, the market dropped out of enterprise level builds, and Involve is no more, but Digital Revolution, and my own quest for fully immersive multi-media multi-modality lives on.
Along the way, I had the pleasure to meet and spend an hour or so on the phone with Geoff Gomez the Dean of Trans-media storytelling. That conversation crystallized in my head my own ideas of what trans-media story telling should be and perhaps what was missing from the equation in order to make the experience fully immersive.
As luck would, and often does, have it, a project, or at least an invitation to propose one fell into being just in time to help codify my thoughts on this.
Enter Amanda Palmer - singer, songwriter, avant guard performer and force of nature and her new project a coffee table book and CD titled who killer Amanda Palmer.
If ever there was a project ripe for trans-media story telling this was it. Not only did Amanda want the promotion to weave its way in and out of the story lines of the book and CD, she also wanted it to employ modalities both interactive and non interactive so that anyone could play along, and no one would be forced to only play on computer.
The project also presented some interesting avenues of expression; videos, live stage show, Amanda’s troupe of avant guard performers, our ability to craft immersive second life experiences, just to name a few.
And so it was decided to propose an ARG, that focused on the mystery of who killed Amanda Palmer if in fact she was even dead at all. Second Life was to be used as the setting to create a traveling troupe of virtual gypsy performers which featured an avatar that might or might not be Amanda, making us wonder if Amanda some how had been transformed into another demention. This troupe would also be leaving valuable clues along the way. Videos would also contain visual clues, as would the illustrations and photos in the book. Her performance troupe would provide live theater interaction with her audience, a call center was to be employed to provide concert audiences with performances tasks they were to do in order to interact with Amanda’s troupe and get more clues. A overarching web site, Amanda’s blog and face book were also selected to give clues and commetary on the game
Sadly, the record label which was footing the bill for all this decided it was more then they were allotting the project and it never came to be. However it does illustrate exactly what and how Trans-media story telling can/should be done when you take the time to really think out all of the modalities available to us as social media story tellers.
It is my hope to start a dialog here, and get enough questions and comments on this thread to really discuss the concepts involved, so fire up those brain cells and ask away