In May 2020, we received funding from Arts Council Englands Emergency Response Fund to pioneer a new working model entitled, Branching Stories. A digital interactive film platform; created and programmed to tackle complex social issues by merging storytelling, interactivity and data.
We forged the concept at the beginning of the pandemic to ensure that we could still reach young people and the wider community despite not being able to tour across the North West region.
Our aim was to develop the concept by creating two Branching Stories centred around issues that were being magnified due to the pandemic, so with that in mind we decided to focus on Domestic Abuse and Cyberbullying.
Both projects were supported and championed by a range of local and national organisations as a unique and innovative way to engage young people and the wider community in conversations centred around issues that could one day affect them or those close to them.
After the release of our second Branching Story, we were contacted by Englands Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) to develop a Branching Story centred around Loan Sharks and Illegal Money Lending. We worked alongside IMLT for 8 weeks, developing the narrative, writing the script and interweaving choices into the story. We filmed the Branching Story in January 2021 and released 'SHARK' in April 2021.
Since the release of ‘SHARK’, we have had over 4,000 young people engage with the project as well as national coverage on BBC News and ITV News.
How does it work?
When engaging with a Branching Story, participants are required to interact with the narrative by making choices on behalf of the story’s protagonist in order to progress the film forward. Decisions made by participants will determine the protagonists fate.
Throughout the experience, we capture quantitive choice-based data on all participants. This data is quantified based upon age, gender, location and all the choices they make whilst interacting with the film.
When designing our Branching Stories concept, we wanted to ensure that the concept not only provided young people with a valuable and immersive learning experience but we also wanted to help those who work in tackling complex social issues (such as the issues our films covered) too. It is for this reason we chose to incorporate choice based data into our experiences.
The data we captured through Branching Stories allowed professionals and organisations to:
Identify any emerging patterns amongst specific demographics
Uncover which demographics could be at risk of making negative choices in real life
Consider where they may need to aim and focus their prevention strategies.
Are you an organisation looking for a different way to engage communities, educate young people or raise awareness?
Well, we can help!
Here at Perception Theatre, we are open to working with companies and organisations who want to create an interactive film centred around a topic and/or issue they want to address.
As a creative organisation we have had a multitude of experience when it comes to working to some else brief and encapsulating their vision.
If you would like to commission Perception Theatre to work alongside you and your organisation to create an interactive film then please get in touch.