When Co-vid Hit I set out to spend the lockdown time developing a series of animated vignettes, similar to the old radio serials, for Instagram stories. These vignettes were to serve as an example of custom made narrative content.
Recently, having been forced to re-evaluate these animated stories, due to a hard drive failure, it occurred to me while developing the script, that the characters had a lot to say, there was a deeper and bigger story, and perhaps there was something more here than I had previously thought.
With Brands now expanding into branded content creation. The recent example of KFC’s 15 min movie, “Recipe for Seduction” whose trailer garnered 2.5 million views overnight, but failed to convert those views into viewers of the full 15Min film.
Demonstrating that Brands are ready to take a bold step and involve their customers/audiences in their world as they see it.
In the above example of KFC a “game” component took the form of a souped-up Playstation 5 with a built in chicken warmer.. Presumably intended to keep audiences well fed on their finger lick’en chicken, while they spend hours in front of a video game screen…
But….What if you could do more, What if you could actually involve your audience in a story, in a game, in a world of your brand, educate them about you, your brand and the world we all cohabitate in.
In 2015 after having spent the better part of two years pitching The ApocryphA Script. We were given the advice to focus instead on financing the Alternate Reality Game. Rationalizing it, to be an easier sell then a controversial series, by two untried producers.
When writing ApocryphA, Some of our test readers demonstrated some confusion, and even outright resistance to the world, and concepts ApocryphA presented. 2000 years of Dogma, had not only obscured any concept of a human being named Jesus, but the economics and even metropolitan lifestyle of first century Roman civilization, was met with resistance from some modern day readers.
We needed a way to not only expose our audience to concepts outside of their “commonly accepted knowledge” but also to test scenarios and educate them in a world 2 millennia gone.
In response, Tamara came up with a concept, based on her fond memories of the old text based video games of the early 80’s. In our youth graphic technology was limited, Games depended on the player to imagine the scene, prompted by written descriptions of scenario and situation, Players respond and advance to the next level based on the validity of their answers.
In this way we could layer a modern scenario over the world of ApocryphA, exposing our players and potential audience to the same scenarios as the characters. Without suffering the pre-judgment of religious context.
Thus, 2Q was born, as it turns out Alternate Reality Games (as they are now called) are still a thing, and Google had been running one called Ingress and had all kinds of data, to base our own business plan on.. So off we went to market to seek investors.
Unfortunately for 2Q, the old adage “You need to spend Money to Make Money” had us trapped in a development paradox. The first few Investment firms, upon reviewing our materials, would only proceed to next steps, Once we had deployed a developed demonstration site, thus what was initially supposed to be an easier sell rapidly became a cat and mouse game. Developing what elements we could patch together, from our own financing and favors from suppliers..
The resulting demo left potential investors confused, Most’s only exposure to on-line gaming being limited to graphic interface games like “candy crush”. We were having a lot of difficulty explaining to this pre “Pokemon Go” marketplace what exactly an “Alternate Reality Game” even was, let alone how it takes place in the real world… only in the players mind.
And so 2Q sat undeveloped, until recently when I realized that these narrative vignettes, could easily replace the text based narrative levels of 2Q,
Perhaps if I involve them in a conspiracy….