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Old October 14th, 2010, 09:31 AM   #1
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Web series as non-linear storytelling

I was watching an interview on Kevin Pollak's net-only chat show, and the guest talked about how when a new media comes along, it's used like the old media. Early films were like filmed plays, until they started close-ups, editing, etc. Content for the web is often just like content for tv or film, just put on the web.

I'm working on a web series, and I keep getting ideas for new scenes that I don't have the resources to film right now. But the scenes would happen before some of the scenes I'm currently shooting.

I'm thinking of just shooting those scenes later. What I'm shooting now establishes the plot and the characters.

What if I put up scenes later that flesh out the characters, and put them up later? Even though I've already put up scenes that take place later in the story? As long as one scene doesn't spoil the plot as already shown.

Another Idea:
I'm also thinking of a 'box' on the website. In each box, are 3-4 scenes that take place relatively close to each other in the plot. You can watch them in any order. I was thinking that might be a more interactive experience, then click Play. I don't have to hope they sit for 10-20 minutes, they are can sit for 5 minutes at a time, and having them choose the order they watch makes them think a bit about what they are watching.
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Old October 14th, 2010, 12:51 PM   #2
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Optional flashbacks?


There have been times when, while watching a movie, I would have liked to check something 2 scenes ago, because I seemed to remember it had something relevant to the current point in the story. Having a menu of the past few scenes might be nice.

But I suppose you could go one step further, and have optional "background info" scenes for characters or locations, that the viewer could click on when he thinks it might clarify what's happening in the current scene. That might work very well for a solve-it-yourself mystery story. Was this along the lines you were thinking?

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Old October 14th, 2010, 01:21 PM   #3
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It could be for people who want to quickly re-watch a scene.

I wasn't necessarily thinking of a mystery story, but that would work well.

I have a story which has a fair number of characters, who have their own arcs and stories. I went to a web series, because I was cutting a lot of the scenes out. Then I started to cut even more because I was thinking of 'episodes' which could only be a few minutes long, and everything had to fit into a linear set of scenes.

Then I wondered why I needed to do that. Why not film the scenes, and put them up, don't necessarily edit all the scenes into one long episode, or movie. One scene can just introduce a character. Or show what other characters were doing when another scene took place.

It's almost like built in deleted scenes. Wish we had spent more time with this character? We have a whole scenes with that character's back story.

I think maybe I would still have short 'webisodes' to maintain a coherent narrative, then put these extra scenes up as well. Perhaps some graphic way to show if you watch this episode, these extra scenes are relevant to that episode.
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Old October 26th, 2010, 09:47 AM   #4
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I think that your ideas are great. I am doing the a similar thing with 3 stories that simultaneously cross each other. They share characters and relationships, but the back story is not linear. It's a sort of modern day choose your own adventure thing, but it's actually cool. You can leave the main story and follow another at any time because they cross and because events are echoed and referenced in the other series, you don't miss what's happening. It's complex and fun.

This could really work, especially if the scenes are hung from a familiar "linear" narrative, albeit a loose one.
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