‘As a student of Master of Media at RMIT, we take “New Direction in Narrative” in the 3rd semester. In this course, we have an opportunity to experience with various story structures enabled by digital and networked technologies. For the first assessment, the students had to present individual projects under 3 minutes and peer review other members in the group. Here is my feedback for my classmates.
NING ZHEXIONG (LYN): Multilinear Stories – Butterfly Effect Project
Lyn’s project is a fiction short film with several parallel storylines, but each of them relates strongly to each other. His story presents a tragic continuous sequence. Each character and action have a strong potential relation. The details of storyline impress me the most in which six parallel different situations occur at the same time but cause another.
This multilinear story film requires great skills of the scriptwriter and director where events are portrayed, for example, out of chronological order or in other ways where the narrative does not follow the direct causality pattern of the events featured, such as parallel distinctive plot lines, dream immersions or narrating another story inside the main plotline.
As Lyn mentioned, “some of the multilinear looks like an empty skeleton without the flesh, blood and soul”. And I believe his story is a multiple protagonist narrative where it does not focus on one main character but spreads out to various.
If this project is planned to produce, Lyn has to consider his complex storyline which requires too many characters involving in, as well as the difficult scenarios to be staged. For example, a big track block the way and a great firework on the sky are included in the story. This could be hard to produce when it requires safety license and production on a public road could even more difficult to get permission. I would suggest simplifying the story so that it becomes more feasible to work and avoids audience’s distraction when the story focuses a little bit more on each character. Theme, sprite and soul are important parts for director and scriptwriter to pay more attention when “some little object can cause a huge change in the world”
STELLA: Interactive Web – Bissu Project
Stella started her presentation by an introduction of the Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation situation. I have to say that this was a really good way to get attention from the audience. Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation are always a sensitive topic to clash with religions, especially with Abrahamic religion.
She aims to produce a Documentary film with an interactive web and misc to illustrate Bissu, the Meta Gender Half-God of Bugis Tribe. The documentary focuses on the life of meta gender priests from an ancient religion in Indonesia who had been hunted and now struggle to fit into the modern way of living while facing discrimination and extinction. Current time, in Sulawesi, Indonesia, where Bissu lives with common people and tries to fit themselves into the modern way of life while facing the fact that they are on a brink of extinction. While most of the media products are stories of young people seeking to cross the barriers of society to speak out their true gender, Stella brings out this topic from a story of a priest, which makes her project deeper and more meaningful to the target audience she mentioned, such as people were born in the 80s or later, researcher, and NGOs.
The way to approach the target audience is also quite interesting. Stella plans to design an interactive web with a simple interface, use the colour code for different sections through the data bank. The audience can participate and interact through sharing and comment section to preserve the power of narration, branch stories with different characters, storyline, challenge, and different POV. The project uses traditional and modern marketing tools, including newspapers, magazines and social media.
The topic is brilliant and the way she approaches is really unique when Stella links the social sensitive issue with the stories that go way back. However, since the storyworld is in Sulawesi, Indonesia, Stella will find it difficult to shoot her project in the next semester if her project is selected, therefore I wonder the feasibility of Bissu Project. Moreover, producing religious-related media product is a really sensitive issue and the approach method should be carefully considered.
Producing religious-related communication products is a sensitive issue and the approach should be carefully considered. Stella needs to develop detailed scenarios and avoids misunderstandings about crisis and conflicts with other religions in the matter of gender barriers.
ANNETTE: Web Series – Africa’s A Continent, Not A Country Project
Annette proposed an informational, light humoured short web series aimed at debunking misconceptions that she and others have faced about Africa among the contemporary Melbourne, Australian public. She plans to create a series of short video interviews with Africans and Non-African participants that will be posted on a dedicated website in series form as well as social media. While other students proposed projects related to entertainment, I highly respect Annette’s educational project when her project is a great way to educate people about Africa continent and her country, Kenia.
The digital Narrative Platform is a good idea when participants are encouraged to submit their own relevant and pertinent media to the website. The decision to choose Wix to launch the website is also better than WordPress because of its better video template. Annette demonstrated her entire project among five steps from creating a website to refurbish campaign. Her prototype website looks really interesting with an image of the earth in the background with the title “Where is Africa?”.
The project collects data from doing interviews with the target audience from age of 18 to 35 years old, among the multicultural Melbournian men and women. Annette plans to implement her entire project in Melbourne, and it targets the right crowd.
If Annette’s project is selected, she will have to make a strong and detailed media campaign to encourage people to freely do the interviews as well as contribute data. However, a wide range topic will make it hard to sort out the information to avoid confusion. Nevertheless, this could be a really successful project while Melbourne is a multicultural city when the African community can contribute their own thoughts of living and studying here. This is also a meaningful and educational project which can provide knowledge and attract relevant organizations.
PRIYANKAR RAY (RIK): Web Series – Pass the Buck Project
Rik proposed a web series named Pass the Buck. The project has 4-5 episodes and ranges from 5 to 10 mins each. Rik mentioned his project as “the story was far too complicated with a theme of darkness and the audience participation was very little. However, I find this project really interactive since it allows the audience to write the continuous story. The participant will contribute either simple or detailed story as they want, Rik will choose the story he likes the most and produces while the author will be credited at the end.
Although the idea is very intrigued, I find it confusing when Rik did not mention the main plot. In case the audience takes too much control over the storyline without initial guidance, the informative dissemination and disorientation in the story might happen. This may affect the quality of the web content as well as the way it is produced will cause problems and difficulties for Rik.
I suggest Rik narrow it down on how to build the story line and propose a detailed guide for the participant to create good stories to avoid blandness or over-develop upon passing five episodes as originally planned.
However, the project has a high potential. If the project is selected, I believe there will be a lot of participants in writing and submitting the scripts since their name will be credited. Moreover, if the project succeeds and has certain followers, Rik should consider offering more option in different themes with different main plots.
NICK: 42 – Meaning of Life Project
First of all, I have to say that Nick’s project is very unique and abstract. I was so impressed that even I do not get the story of the world he creates, his abilities over what he presented were enough for me.
The abstract sounds along with the 3D world simulator using 360-degree technique attracted me the most among other’s projects. Perhaps I’m also a musician so I’m very excited when Nick recorded the sounds around and used it to create a multi-dimensional space. Not everybody has this kind of creativity and ability because I have not seen too many similar products so far.
As the name of the project, “Meaning of Life”, Nick wants to use natural sounds and multi-dimensional graphics to illustrate the relations so the audience can imagine its different meanings.
However, I’m wondering if Nick’s project is interactive since he did not mention if the audience can comment and leave feed back through his project. Also, I’m not aware of the platform and how he wants it to work. Nevertheless, since he said he had been working on this project over a year, I hope Nick’s project will be selected and I would love to join in to make it happen.
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