Fresh on the heels of enabling “Star Wars” fans to mash up video of the cinematic masterpiece, Eyespot has announced another marketplace – and cultural – precedent allowing users to easily personalize their blogs, MySpace, Facebook pages, and other social networking sites, with legal content they have remixed and are ready to embed and share with the world.
No one is safe from the Net effect of “Head Trauma,” the brainchild of Lance Weiler, culture hacker and acclaimed writer-director. Murder and mayhem emerge from the streets, mobile phones, social networks, and online video clips as Horror 2.0 updates thrills from today’s most pervasive mediums. The sense of dread and clues to an elaborate mystery trickle out of live recordings, text messages, street theater, and, ultimately, through the process of creating and publishing user generated videos on Eyespot.com.
Throughout the fall, the “Head Trauma” cinematic ARG (alternate reality game) will create a new experience in horror by engaging audiences on city streets, in theaters, and by following them home, as it travels to Los Angeles, San Francisco, LA, Milwaukee, Berkeley, London, and Mexico City, among many other markets.
The cinematic ARG is an extension of the emerging alternate reality gaming movement, which creates immersive game worlds for its players. The “Head Trauma” cinematic ARG puts a new twist on the genre by creating a game world that is broken into three parts; urban game-play, theatrical mashups and a final phase that follows players home.
“Participants who mix video not only participate in producing the horror, but they become part of the story,” said Jim Kaskade, CEO of Eyespot. “To discover critical pieces of the mystery, one must create their own video mashups and upload them. Eyespot provides a media playground that affords a creative landscape to enable progressive productions like “Head Trauma” to become engaged with the power of social networking and user generated content.”
“Cinema has classically been a passive experience. The “Head Trauma” cinematic ARG creates an immersive story that allows audience members to interact with horror in a new way. It is experiential, viral and can easily be passed from one person to another. The story of HEAD TRAUMA and its characters travel across mediums and devices, along the way creating a horror 2.0 experience that combines technology with scares. Eyespot made it seamless for my production to add this compelling and critical element. It’s about creating a world that the audience can move through, one where a scare can come from anywhere,” said Lance Weiler.
FLASH MOBS MEETS URBAN GAME-PLAY
Even before the audience attends a screening, they will be invited to participate in the cinematic ARG. Audience members use their mobile phones, as characters from the film lead them to secret screening locations with cryptic phone calls and text messages. In a collision between flash mobs and urban gaming audience members will be issued clues and challenges that have them snapping and shooting their surroundings as they work to figure out the secret screening location.
At the center of the cinema ARG is a theatrical mashup of “Head Trauma.” In it, a drifter who returns to his dead grandmother’s house is haunted by feelings of paranoia and troubling visions of a mysterious hooded figure. He comes to believe that someone or something is trying to kill him. For the screening, the music track is removed and only the dialog and effects tracks remain. DJs and musicians perform a live soundtrack as characters and props from film emerge from the audience. In addition, viewers may use their mobile phones to interact with the movie as it plays.
In a cinema throw back, each secret screening location will be a mobile drive-in. Screenings take place in warehouses, cemeteries, and parking garages. Each mobile drive-in consists of a “driver” who has a modified setup that enables them to run digital projection, playback and FM transmitters that allow audience members to tune in via their car stereos. During the screening viewers may use their mobile phones to interact with the movie as it plays.
THE MOVIE FOLLOWS YOU HOME
After the audience leaves the theater the movie will follow them home. Phone calls and text messages will lead audience members to a series of online hidden clues and sites that expand the story of the film. As the ARG unfolds online viewers can contribute and remix video, audio and stills thus becoming collaborators within the evolving story. One of the starting points for the online game is a “Head Trauma” www.eyespot.com page that allows players to upload, remix and share media that unlocks clues within the game.
For a detailed overview of the game, visit http://htmob.com/gameplay.pdf.
WHO’S BEHIND THE EVENT
Lance Weiler is a critically acclaimed award-winning writer/director. His feature, “The Last Broadcast,” is currently distributed in over 20 countries. It has the honor of being the first all digital release of a motion picture and enjoyed runs on HBO and IFC. Weiler is recognized as a digital pioneer for the way he makes and distributes his work. He’s been featured in Time and Forbes and on television programs such as Entertainment Tonight and CNN. Wired Magazine called him “one of twenty-five people helping to re-invent entertainment and change the face of Hollywood.”