http://www.participations.org/Volume%208/Issue%202/4c%20Hardy%20et%20al.pdf
Reservoir Hill –  Online Interactive Drama on the Leading Edge?
Reservoir Hill –  Online Interactive Drama on the Leading Edge?
Reservoir Hill  trailer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jHIttfYFjpY
<ul><li>Reservoir Hill </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Beth’ (Beth Chote), moves into a new urban community and is troubled by allegat...
Interactivity <ul><li>At the end of every weekly webisode, viewers could text-in suggestions and advice to Beth </li></ul>...
Interactivity <ul><li>At the end of every weekly webisode, viewers could text-in suggestions and advice to Beth </li></ul>...
http://youtu.be/oLOL-li4PPg?t=21s   http://youtu.be/a2imw7GYxmI?t=26s   The character ‘Beth’ responds to users’ text messa...
http://youtu.be/oLOL-li4PPg?t=21s   http://youtu.be/a2imw7GYxmI?t=26s   The character ‘Beth’ responds to users’ text messa...
Interactivity (Season Two) <ul><li>Extensive Facebook profiles created for all six main characters, where members of the p...
Audience Engagements: the Pleasures and Pitfalls of Interactive Narratives  <ul><li>‘ the potential to have an impact on n...
Audience Engagements: the Pleasures and Pitfalls of Interactive Narratives  <ul><li>‘ The vast majority of those who did p...
Audience Engagements: the Pleasures and Pitfalls of Interactive Narratives  feeling of being included and empowered to cha...
The Limits of Interactivity <ul><li>‘ a small number of respondents perceived the interactivity offered by  Reservoir Hill...
Discussion points <ul><li>mainstream producers are seeking to establish a presence within the online environment via inter...
Discussion points <ul><li>The producers’ economic considerations were a factor in limiting the amount of interactivity and...
Discussion points <ul><li>Managing narrative and interactivity  </li></ul><ul><li>‘ There is a fine balance, then, that ne...
Conclusion <ul><li>‘ There are also some interesting and unexpected complications that arise in these kinds of experiments...
‘ In the case of  Reservoir Hill , a potential area of concern related to the preservation of the narrative premise that B...
Audiences becoming ‘users’? <ul><li>‘ producers and funders of online media are seeking to reconnect with audiences that a...
Interactive Participatory Drama <ul><li>What issues do I take away from this research? </li></ul>What distinguishes the te...
Bibliography <ul><li>HARDY, A., HIGHT, C. and MICHELLE, C. (2011)  Reservoir Hill and Audiences for Online Interactive Dra...
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Reservoir Hill and Audiences for Online Interactive Drama (Hardy et al. 2011)

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A summary of the journal article by Hardy et al. (2011) 'Reservoir Hill and Audiences for Online Interactive Drama' in Particpations, 8 (2), pp.616-643.

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Reservoir Hill and Audiences for Online Interactive Drama (Hardy et al. 2011)

  1. 1. http://www.participations.org/Volume%208/Issue%202/4c%20Hardy%20et%20al.pdf
  2. 2. Reservoir Hill – Online Interactive Drama on the Leading Edge?
  3. 3. Reservoir Hill – Online Interactive Drama on the Leading Edge?
  4. 4. Reservoir Hill trailer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jHIttfYFjpY
  5. 5. <ul><li>Reservoir Hill </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Beth’ (Beth Chote), moves into a new urban community and is troubled by allegations that she resembles another girl, the disappeared Tara </li></ul><ul><li>Weekly webisodes (6-10 mins) on the dedicated Reservoir Hill website and across several forms of social media linked to the series </li></ul>
  6. 6. Interactivity <ul><li>At the end of every weekly webisode, viewers could text-in suggestions and advice to Beth </li></ul><ul><li>Text messages sent via the online messaging system were immediately uploaded into an extra scene shown at the end of each webisode, so that each textor could see their name and message displayed onscreen as part of the programme </li></ul><ul><li>Selected suggestions were then incorporated or not into the next episode, which was scripted, shot and aired within a week </li></ul><ul><li>In season one, webisodes were interspersed with Beth’s video blogs and Bebo and Facebook pages to ‘friend’ Beth were available </li></ul>
  7. 7. Interactivity <ul><li>At the end of every weekly webisode, viewers could text-in suggestions and advice to Beth </li></ul><ul><li>Text messages sent via the online messaging system were immediately uploaded into an extra scene shown at the end of each webisode, so that each textor could see their name and message displayed onscreen as part of the programme </li></ul><ul><li>Selected suggestions were then incorporated or not into the next episode, which was scripted, shot and aired within a week </li></ul><ul><li>In season one, webisodes were interspersed with Beth’s video blogs and Bebo and Facebook pages to ‘friend’ Beth were available </li></ul>
  8. 8. http://youtu.be/oLOL-li4PPg?t=21s http://youtu.be/a2imw7GYxmI?t=26s The character ‘Beth’ responds to users’ text messages in her video blogs
  9. 9. http://youtu.be/oLOL-li4PPg?t=21s http://youtu.be/a2imw7GYxmI?t=26s The character ‘Beth’ responds to users’ text messages in her video blogs – in a fake way?
  10. 10. Interactivity (Season Two) <ul><li>Extensive Facebook profiles created for all six main characters, where members of the production team posted messages and video blogs and invited comments and suggestions from their new ‘friends’ </li></ul><ul><li>Other innovations accompanying the second series included the creation of an interactive ‘Dreamspace’ on the official website with brief cryptic sequences which unlocked clues to the mystery in response to user prompts </li></ul><ul><li>A faux fan-generated conspiracy website appearing to follow the activities of a shadowy group called The Few, whose intentions toward Beth remained deliberately ambiguous throughout both series </li></ul>
  11. 11. Audience Engagements: the Pleasures and Pitfalls of Interactive Narratives <ul><li>‘ the potential to have an impact on narrative progression (even in limited ways such as texting comments and suggestions to Beth) offers sites of pleasure and agency for audiences’ (p.630) </li></ul><ul><li>Not everyone participated, for example, 55% of respondents to the first survey had taken part in some kind of interactive activity such as texting Beth (biased sample of active engagers) </li></ul>
  12. 12. Audience Engagements: the Pleasures and Pitfalls of Interactive Narratives <ul><li>‘ The vast majority of those who did participate interactively reported greatly enjoying the opportunities it afforded them. Many respondents described the concept of Reservoir Hill as ‘cool’, ‘fun’, and ‘interesting’, and said the opportunity to interact made them feel ‘involved’ and ‘connected’ with the series. Respondents particularly loved the experience of sending and receiving messages to Beth, seeing their name and advice onscreen, or being cited by Beth in the video blogs, and wanted more of such interaction’ (p.630) </li></ul>
  13. 13. Audience Engagements: the Pleasures and Pitfalls of Interactive Narratives feeling of being included and empowered to change or influence the show enhanced involvement heightened sense of realism enhanced personal connection to characters and other viewers
  14. 14. The Limits of Interactivity <ul><li>‘ a small number of respondents perceived the interactivity offered by Reservoir Hill to be contrived or ‘fake’, and some were cynical about the extent to which their interactions provided meaningful opportunities to shape the series’ outcome. In some cases, this appears to have interrupted their enjoyment of the series. For others, however, awareness of the inevitable limitations and constraints on interactivity from a production perspective did not detract from pleasurable engagement ’ (p.633) </li></ul>
  15. 15. Discussion points <ul><li>mainstream producers are seeking to establish a presence within the online environment via interactive or multi-platform narrative </li></ul><ul><li>television institutions seem compelled to experiment with series such as Reservoir Hill in order to anticipate where more large-scale and committed investment might be made </li></ul><ul><li>but users are not necessarily forming into easily identifiable and predictable patterns of behaviour </li></ul>
  16. 16. Discussion points <ul><li>The producers’ economic considerations were a factor in limiting the amount of interactivity and placing the value of the production back to conventional forms of consumption on television – hence shallow forms of interactivity and audience engagement under control of the production team </li></ul>
  17. 17. Discussion points <ul><li>Managing narrative and interactivity </li></ul><ul><li>‘ There is a fine balance, then, that needs to be struck in offering opportunities for interaction that do not disrupt the core narrative, but still enhance users’ sense of involvement and personal connection’ (p.640) </li></ul>
  18. 18. Conclusion <ul><li>‘ There are also some interesting and unexpected complications that arise in these kinds of experiments in interactive participatory drama’ (p.640) </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Our research, then, suggests that both producers and audiences of interactive online content are still learning to productively utilize the potential of the emerging digital environment’ (p.641) </li></ul>
  19. 19. ‘ In the case of Reservoir Hill , a potential area of concern related to the preservation of the narrative premise that Beth was a real individual, which relied on users playing along in the co-construction of a fictional reality’ (p.640) This was very much self-policed by the online participants who decided what was appropriate and inappropriate and discouraged those who undermined the pretence Another issue for the producers was trying to control the narrative development when users were sharing information on the characters’ Facebook walls that they hadn’t witnessed
  20. 20. Audiences becoming ‘users’? <ul><li>‘ producers and funders of online media are seeking to reconnect with audiences that are themselves also in a state of flux, breaking old habits of media use and engaging in a range of transitional, exploratory, behaviours’ (p.617) </li></ul>
  21. 21. Interactive Participatory Drama <ul><li>What issues do I take away from this research? </li></ul>What distinguishes the televisual from the cinematic in interactive participatory drama? – online film, online television, social film, social television? Production issues: managing interaction, managing the narrative, funding, business models Audience issues: the pleasure of the text associated with viewing and interacting? – tensions between active user participation and more passive viewing
  22. 22. Bibliography <ul><li>HARDY, A., HIGHT, C. and MICHELLE, C. (2011) Reservoir Hill and Audiences for Online Interactive Drama . Participations , 8 (2) , pp.616-643. </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul>HARDY ET AL. is available from: http://www.participations.org/Volume%208/Issue%202/4c%20Hardy%20et%20al.pdf

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