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Friday, September 9, 2011

Are Social Films the Next Big Thing in Hollywood? | Excerpt via The Next Great Generation

"...Directed by DJ Caruso and starring Emily Rossum, Inside follows young twentysomething Christina Perasso as she awakes in a strange room with nothing but the clothes on her back, a Toshiba laptop and no recollection of how she got there. Over the next 11 days, Christina frantically reaches out to her friends on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, begging them to help her figure out an escape. Now, her life is in your hands, and its your job to solve clues left by her captor in order to set her free. This phenomenon, where a story interacts with its audience to help progress the action, is called social film.

“It’s sort of the first integration of how the Internet and social media can work in conjunction with a film,” Inside director DJ Caruso said in an interview with YNN Austin. “You can experience this film and watch as it unfolds in an episodic way, and participate in the outcome via social media.”

A few social films have been made before, but none with such breadth and big-brand sponsorship. The first social film, Him, Her & Them, was distributed just a few months ago, in April, by the New York-based studio Murmur. The film interweaves both fixed and interactive scenes, utilizing Facebook API to incorporate the “social” aspect of the social film. And while Murmur’s social film is certainly a wonderful example of 21st century storytelling, Inside has a few more working parts.

Using multiple social platforms and real-time audience interaction, Inside does a wonderful job at harnessing the power of the audience to influence plotlines. For instance, in episode 3, the captor leaves Christina a note that reads, “If you want food or water you need your ‘friends’ help. Post a plea and if you get enough ‘likes’… you will eat.” Christina then posts a video to YouTube asking that people ‘Like’ the video so she can get a decent meal. The result? Over 4,200 likes. And in the next episode, Christina was rewarded with a delicious-looking cheeseburger.

This experiment in storytelling in the digital age seems to signal a shift in the way we consume content. It’s become clear that the normal linear way of storytelling just doesn’t cut it any more. And with the empowering tools bestowed upon them by the Internet and social media, audiences are demonstrating that they don’t want to simply be spoken to — they want to be spoken with. By allowing the audience to not only be viewers, but actual characters in the story, Inside is a great example of the opportunities storytellers have today..."

Posted via email from Siobhan O'Flynn's 1001 Tales

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