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Case Studies (and a glance at other narrative structures)
A brief look at the different ways
you can choose to tell a cross-
platform story and the pitfalls and
blessings of each
10 x 5min Episodes - MSN, Facebook, YouTube, etc
Two other characters represented by blogs
Additional discoverable narrative tools - video, sound,
corporate website for nomi
Chats, comments, forums, downloads
4 weeks live run - writing team full time
1.5 million viewers - 90% positive comment
Cross-platform Discovery Narrative
What the website offered:
Navigation through character speciﬁc content
Episode breakdowns and links
C4 use the web perfectly to link broadcast interest to a social media logic about a difﬁcult subject - your body and the weird things youʼre not sure it
should do. This is a project that starts as a strong documentary idea but that has an extended life on the web that keeps it anonymous and attractive to
the youth audience. Includes forums, chats, pictures and video examples, articles, professional advice and a place to submit your own embarrassing
evidence for future consultations.
Teenager James moves from his comfortable life in Westminster to
one of the roughest schools in South London. When he's accused of
assault, the audience must question events in the story and
challenge their own perceptions and prejudices.
Over the Bridge is a 'distributed narrative.' This means that the narrative is
broken into chunks that can be found at different locations. In this case, that
meant physical locations where the 40 fragments of video and audio could be
collected via bluetooth. This makes for an interesting narrative challenge; a
story with a beginning, middle and end that is encountered in any order.
The story is ﬁxed by the writer but made interactive by the reader as she
pieces together the fragments. The idea of a story that is distributed around
the places we frequent and the media interfaces we use that can be discovered
as we go about our lives is an exciting one. Over the Bridge also ties into the
current explosion of 'immersive theatre' - drama that leaves the four walls of
the theatre and steps out into the world.
Some other narrative types
Branching Narratives or Choose Your Own Adventures
You end up shooting a lot of footage, much of which may never be seen by the user, which seems like a waste.
The story ‘tree’ expands exponentially. By the time you have had 3 decisions in ﬁve consecutive scenes, there are
729 possible scenes to shoot
It ruins suspension of disbelief. Part of the joy of drama is seeing a story unfold. William Goldman talks about a
perfect ending being at once surprising and inevitable – you can’t choose that.
Linear Video with Interactive Games
Signs of Life for the BBC. Ordinary story told in a linear fashion, but you have to play and solve a game to unlock the
next piece of story. The game can both inform the narrative, and can learn about the viewer (data gathering)
Disadvantage is that it breaks up the narrative, can be annoying and clunky, and unless done extremely well, alienates
that 90% of your audience.
Exploration Narratives / Point and click
Unlock secrets in the story by ﬁnding hotspots in the video.
Sitting forward gets in the way of enjoying the story.