Future Cinema

Course Site for Future Cinema 1 and Future Cinema 2: Applied Theory at York University, Canada

The Art of Immersion

Rose’s main thesis is that mass media in the 20th century taught audiences that their only role in culture was to consume but that is changing with the rise of the internet. Audiences are now not only allowed, but in some ways required to join in, helping to create the story and blurring the boundaries between audience and author. I loved Rose’s history of immersive storytelling: from Dickens to Dark Knight it is clear that audience communication has been gaining popularity for some time. He echoes McGonigal’s idea of the wisdom of crowds. That as a group people can solve puzzles at lightening speed that they would never be able to complete on their own. He also built upon Wolf’s idea of immersive worlds, but talked much more about their use as a marketing device and the economic benefits of world building. He notes that although art and marketing have not always been separate, they are now entwined. But a big part of his ideas on immersive stories are that they are continued throughout various media. How much can we really rely on audiences to continue the story on a different medium? I read this book on my iPad so I was able to easily look up the examples he used that interested me, but if I had read it in print, would I have looked them up? Can story tellers risk losing momentum to tell the end of their story through a different medium? I think audiences have a way to go before that is possible. Speaking of audiences, I wonder what the dangers are to stories that are changed by the very people for whom they are made? I know so many movies have been ruined by test screenings that have allowed audiences to pick the ending they thought they wanted. Like Steve Jobs said, I don’t think most people know what they want until it is shown to them. I don’t think we should go back to passive viewers but I just wonder how stories will be changed by mass audience participation. My final question is less critical and more curious: all of Rose’s examples seem to be a bit dated and I haven’t been able to find more recent examples in my quick google search. I Love Bees was 2004, Year Zero was 2007 and whysoserious.com was 2009. Is this immersive storytelling a trend? Or are new stories more seamlessly integrated into social media? Or am I just totally out of touch?

Tue, January 28 2014 » FC2_2014

2 Responses

  1. ladharah January 29 2014 @ 11:17 am

    I had a similar question with Rose… I’ve never been involved in any sort of marketing – never had anything mailed to me, or have had access to these cool marketing materials. Those tactics almost seem dated now – especially when you can access more people through viral strategies.

  2. paskal January 29 2014 @ 10:28 pm

    “I don’t think most people know what they want until it is shown to them. I don’t think we should go back to passive viewers but I just wonder how stories will be changed by mass audience participation.”

    My personal experience as someone who has written four feature length screenplays that ended on a screen, is when you give screenplay to read to someone, he/she feels invited to contribute by making remarks, criticizing, giving his/her own ideas, and he/she will have totally different attitude than when you say it is something definite.

Login