ARGs and Meigeist

Licorice Film Hazel Grian and Jonathan Williams

About: started as a marketing tool. First key one recognised was The Beast, where cryptic messages led people to the web and a whole different story. Hazel cam it to from the POV of a film maker and story teller. Wanted to reach a larger audience. Wanted to tell an interactive story. Looking into it, discovered AUGs

Meigeist – the only one (as far as they know) that was publically funded. 6 months to prepare, 8 weeks to run.

Story – a scifi story set in as much reality as they could get in it was free for players, the funding was public funding. All characters had their own blog, there were videoblogs, posted things through mail, ebay auction, had live chats, set tasks. SMS messages etc.. the mission was to help the main characters through here problems. Key challenge was to keep up the interactivity in as many ways as possible. We were working full time on it, had experience with improv and all this. We did a live event in Bristol, with actors in role, getting far more involvement. There were about 10 websites, plenty of content

One of the most impressive area is the communities that get involved. About 50/50 male/female, age 14-45, pretty wide range of people. We had lots of different ways you could interact depend on how involved you wanted to be in the story. Had 30k IP addresses logged in the game; global demographic. Used UnForums a lot to follow conversation – they lurked. Had ~500 signups, got 50 or so people playing every day. The costs was 30000, for 10 months for 2 people full time. Main community place was through Unforum.

Audience: the IRC channel was a great hub for the community, with lots of collaboration. This was a great way for the PMs to get feedback, for a performer.

Now looking at Geocashing etc. Hazel is working on a story with Bebo called Kate Modern. Has a lot of sponsorship and all of the brands need to be placed on the system. This is the English spin-off from LonelyGirl15

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