Tell/Don’t Tell interactive film complete
A first look version of the interactive drama I have been working on recently is now available to view. This ungraded version just follows one path of the possible story; a full version and a cut down are to follow.
Interactive Video Drama
The film, for educational charity Red Kite Learning, is actually an interactive DVD, so where the lead character has choices to make viewers using the DVD will be able to make the choices for Dave and learn from the consequences. The film follows Dave Brown’s attempts to deal with the fallout following his return from prison. Will he find work or be lured into crime? Will his girlfriend take him back or prevent him from seeing his daughter?
Originally the client was interested in a documentary, or presented piece, with a couple of dramatic scenes showing good and bad ways to search for work, go about interviews and so on, dealing solely with the issue of disclosure of criminal records.
In researching that original brief I did submit a proposal that met that expectation. But I also realised that an interactive format, with its higher level of engagement, could communicate the message much more effectively and also create more discussion. It would allow us to go over multiple versions of the same scene without them feeling like they were forced on the viewer, but rather with the viewer actually wanting to see the scenes in multiple ways. And it would allow us to add in a whole lot of other related themes and issues (such as the lure of criminal work, the breakdown of families, the effect on morale and mental health, benefits, alternative choices like setting up a business and so on) and could do all this in an organic and natural story-telling tone.
The fact that the whole issue is around the choices an ex-offender makes meant the project lent itself naturally to a choose your own adventure film was another strong factor. With this in mind I wrote a first draft and submitted that alongside the requested documentary pitch. I was happy but not entirely surprised when the client dropped their original idea of the presented documentary with a few dramatic scenes, in favour of this interactive drama.
The challenge then was bringing in a drama on a documentary budget, and it’s a tribute to the entire team that we managed it so effectively.