Pitching the night away

As the weeks pass by like tumble weeds in the mid-west, the production of our little film petered on its way facing the ups and downs with the courage of a tin soldier. We’ve cast the majority of actors, have our location to shoot and storyboards should be making their special appearance any time now. However, the film is only one in this two-headed dragon; there is a whole other interactive property that makes Project Space Squid the sliced-bread of the entertainment industry. Since I’ve enthralled you with the epic stories of the films production, let me regale you now with stories of the interactive piece’s progress.

This project will provide tablet users not only with a brilliant film to watch but as well with an enthralling interactive property to, well, interact with. Now, I keep using the words “interactive property” like someone who just read it on their word-of-the-day calendar, so let me explain. The interactive property can be anything from a game to story the user reads on screen. Whatever it may be, however, it must allow the user to be able to interact with it, whether it be playing the game, flipping the pages of the text or somehow using the images on screen. Kapish?  That explanation was supposed to sound like a text book; there will be a test at the end of this note. I digress.

The world was our oyster! We could come up with any crazy idea we felt could be created and would appeal to fans world-wide. With the sky being the limit, and with our team of digital designers on hand, we set to the task of coming up with interactive properties the likes of which nerds had yet to see. Our team consists of developer Pablo Kraus, graphic designer Celia Chung and interactive designer Nancy Sun; we’re like the United Colours of Benetton of Project Space Squid.

After numerous group meetings and countless brainstorm sessions, we settled on two earth-shattering ideas. Idea the first would be a tour of the main characters’ estate in The Rats in the Walls. While exploring the mansion, the user would discover the history of the family and collect pieces to a puzzle. After collecting all the pieces, the user would assemble the pieces to create the first frame of the film; the movie would then ensue. The second idea was an interactive motion comic. The motion comic would reveal the story and history of the family as well but would involve the user to move from one frame to another. After viewing the strip the user would need to perform an action to move onto the next frame. After reading, and playing, with the whole comic, the user could watch the film.

Armed with our confidence, we presented our ideas to the senior producers. Our five-minute pitch was short and sweet but to the point. We were certain the seniors would jump to their feet in thunderous applause, come running to us singing the praises of our ideas and ask in astonishment how such young people could come up with such innovative ideas. The reality, however, was slightly different. Disappointment seemed to fill the air like cheap potpourri and it only grew ever more pungent with the collective “meh” that seemed to seep from their mouths. The consensus was that the ideas were okay, nothing earth shattering and if we wished to stick with the ideas, the seniors would need to see them in a bit more detail. At the very least, our ideas weren’t completely bad, just not up to mark. We left the board room slightly deflated and decided our best bet was to re-evaluate our ideas.

Aside from the battered egos, there was naturally something to take away from this whole episode: sometimes your ideas may seem great, but if your client doesn’t love them, there’s nothing you can do about it. You just have to go back to the drawing board and see what else you can come up with. Lather, rinse, repeat. Triumph over adversity! So that’s exactly what we did.

Eventually, we found that not only were we not married to the previous two ideas, but they weren’t the best ones either. It took a little while, but after some further brainstorming we’ve settled on an idea we feel would resonate strongly with the seniors. Only this time we’ll try not to go in with any expectations.

That’s all for now! On our next episode of Full House, we’ll talk about why lying is bad. Stay tuned; it’s a winner.