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Digital Fiction Factory

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Working with TV writers and producers, we created two truly multiplatform Proof of Concept programmes for commissioners at Channel4 and CBBC.

A new way of developing cross-platform concepts for TV, the Digital Fiction Factory partners digital agencies with TV writers and producers in order to create concepts that are truly multi-platform.

Usually, we’re asked to create the digital aspect of a project that has already been created – a programme that’s already been shot, an exhibition that’s already curated. With these Digital Fiction Factory projects, our digital concepts (inspired by the top line ideas for a television series) inspired the further creative development of the series, and vice versa. It was the most symbiotic television production we’ve been part of, and we were fortunate enough to have two very different series concepts to get our heads around.

Lena & The Inspector of Nuisances

Neil Jones has created a great series about a “fearless, forward thinking nurse called Lena. Lena and her gang of urchins and new best friend, pest controller Win, are looking for her missing father. They’re about to be plunged into an adventure which takes them into a hidden world below the streets, where they see the things that grown-ups don’t, and encounter eyepopping Nuisances… from shape- changing sewer worms to factories that go clunk in the night.”

The series takes the form of 5 min episodes for online – TV novella style, action-led ‘hooky’ episodes. Mudlark created a digital accompaniment/teaser element that allows the audience to collect Lena’s gadgets on their mobiles, starting with HORACE – the supernatural spotter that lets you see what grown-ups can’t.

We also explored how to apply background assets across the episodes and the game creating a seamless experience for the audience.

“The Digital Fiction Factory has encouraged me to really develop my vision for Lena, and the brilliant input from digital creatives and designers has sparked off all sorts of ideas, really enriching the script.”
—Neil Jones

You Are Looking In The Wrong Place

BAFTA award nominated TV writer Ed Hime has created a proper mind bending neo noir detective series that delves into one man’s memory and identity. “In an isolated, self-sufficient drug testing clinic, something very strange happens to kitchen skivvy and anti-corporate rebel, Tim String. He starts living the same day over and over again. Is it a conspiracy? A time-warp? Groundhog Day? Or is Tim just losing his mind? To solve the mystery, he has to confront the secrets living deep within this building and his mind, a quest which will completely unravel his sense of identity…”

The series takes the form of 6 x 60 min episodes for TV with a branching narrative with strong hooks and a different focus to the story each week.

We created a narrative-based game for online that invites you to become part of a clinical trial that will challenge your own identity through a series of evaluation, observation and memory tasks. This strange game also becomes a personal navigation tool for catch-up that lets you choose your own path through the drama and navigate the branching narrative.

Next Steps

This is an entirely new way of producing content for television. The proof of concepts have been submitted to the channel controllers at Channel4 and BBC, who will then decide whether or not to commission the projects as a whole – television, game, marketing and design. In short, the lot.

Consultancy

While Greg, Richard and James were busy with user experience design, animatics, game design documents and the like, Charles also consulted on three other Digital Fiction Factory ‘Developing Digital Formats’ pilots for BBC Learning.

You can read more about those in the new DFF Prospectus here.

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