Digital storytelling

Take This Lollipop

All I can is WOW! What a great cover up, using “Take This Lollipop” as the title to such a frightening and freaky story. I got myself a mini heart attack watching that alone in a dark room. All my friends reacted the same way I did (some worse) when I demanded that they spent a couple of minutes watching this.

Jason Zada‘s idea of this story was so fresh and unexpected, and it didn’t take a long time to sum itself up, so I guess the percentage of boring someone would be close to zilch. The appearance and expressions of the character was so ideal that every emotion I had was amplified. For some seconds, I honestly couldn’t differentiate the virtual world from reality. The choice of sound effects collaborated and merged into one scary masterpiece of a tune (and this was including I didn’t use earphones, even though it was highly recommended).

Weaknesses. Well, I have nothing on the technicalities of the film. I personally thought it was an amazing production! However, non-Facebook users would have to miss such a great experience, as it would only work if you have a Facebook account. On quite an unrelated note, I certainly wish I could have gotten a warning about the direction of the story. This is definitely not for the weak heart.

Nevertheless, everyone should watch it. If you don’t have a Facebook page, maybe it’s time you get one 🙂

Sound of My Voice

Sound of My Voice directed by Zal Batmanglij showed the first 12 minutes of the movie. This story didn’t catch my attention as much as Take This Lollipop did, and watching it after that definitely gave me a higher standard to compare to (so maybe I was left a bit biased). However, Sound of My Voice gave an eerie vibe, just like Take This Lollipop, but it was much longer in length. This 12-minute duration has its good and bad. The good thing is, I felt curious and anxious, and the suspense lasted way longer. The bad thing is I found myself time, in the midst of it, to feel a little bored and distracted because I kept expecting it to be shorter.

The story started off with a couple in a car being led to a house where they were both requested to change into uniformed clothing and then taken to some place blind-folded, with another two people. Then followed a complicated handshake, which seemed like the secret passcode to joining a mysterious group. At this point, I still had no idea what was going on. My mind was still running. Kidnap? Murder? Some religious cult? Well, I was wrong. I’m not going to spoil it, so you’d have to find out for yourself. The technical aspects of the film were deceiving. Everything was mostly white and bright, which made it not as eerie as it was at the end of the 12 minutes. I suppose that that was what Batmanglij was trying to achieve; clueless audience, confused minds.

Allowing the public to watch 12 minutes of the beginning, instead of the usual brief trailer, definitely helped to gain a wider audience. I felt it was significantly more engaging and it succeeded in convincing me to watch the whole movie. The video ended with an invite to share it to social platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr, which is now a commonly-used and effective marketing strategy.

Welcome to Pine Point

This digital story, put together by Michael Simons and Paul Shoebridge (collectively known as The Goggles), differed from the first two that I’ve watched in the sense that it was an interactive website including stills, moving images, sound and text instead of a video. The theme of the story was rather old school and it depicted the history of the former mining community of Pine Point. Going through the pages of the website was like going through a yearbook of my own. The text and sound effects actually gave me a wave of nostalgia that brought back heart-warming memories.

What I thought was great about the story was that it started off giving brief information of Pine Point from the perspective of one of its residents and then slowly offered more and more detail about individuals of Pine Point. This gradual transition gave a sense of individualisation that painted a clear picture of exactly how these people were like. These were are foreign and strangers to me, yet I could relate in the same way to the people who mean most to me.

I liked most of what the story had to offer. However, I did find reading the text quite tedious. It is always easier to absorb a story through the use of visuals instead of reading off a text. Another weakness would be the fact that they had narratives playing throughout some of the pages and text on the screen at the same time. The fact that I had two forms of media in front of me confused me a bit. I didn’t know if I should be listening to the narrative or reading the text first, or if I was supposed to be able to do them both at the same time.

Welcome to Pine Point demonstrates a brilliant and different way of presenting information through a fancy layout of moving and still images, sound and text. With a little bit more of organisation, I would have found it easier to understand.


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