From the Creator
The media industry is fluctuating continuously as consumers want more choice. Some of the biggest trends in video gaming have become open world exploration RPG’s whilst film has made a return to Sci-Fi and superheroes. The golden era for TV now also gives people a chance to watch what they want, when they want, where they want. But until now, never ‘how’ they want.
The idea was inspired by author R.A Montgomery's work who sadly passed away November 2014 (responsible for the ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ books). His work had readers taking on the role of the narrative’s protagonist and at certain moments they would face a choice, as to where in the story they went next by turning to the specified page number. E.g; Do you take the left path or the right path, enter the cave or traverse the rock face, fight, befriend or bribe the guard... You get the idea.
Interactive films already existed but any choice you made as the viewer only allowed for you to either die if you deviate from the route that the filmmaker had intended or they simply found a way of returning you to the same decision as before to force you to pick the only one that remained. This may still happen across video games a lot in that you can still be spoilt for choice to explore the world that the developers have worked hard to create but sooner or later you can find yourself having to return to the main story in order to complete it. However, its because of the choices available, it adds to what gamers call the ‘replayability’ – the motivation they have to play again from the beginning, so they can discover new artefacts, areas or even an alternate ending.
Soon enough, I came to thinking wouldn’t it be interesting to add an interactive element to one of my favourite films where I could change the character’s responses, weapons and actions? No-one was doing this in the way I wanted, so in 2014 I set about writing the world’s first interactive narrative short film.
At a time of superheroes, I thought why not give this new style a new character? I was raised by a working single mother, raised across both sides of the UK as well as a couple of years spent in East Asia and an international boarding school. I understand discipline, having to constantly adapt and having to get used to losing close friends in the migrations. I have always had a respect for strong characters, particularly those which were women with more than mere clichéd love interests to motivate them. This wasn’t going to be a love story. This was going to be a story of loss where life had taken more than it had given with only the characters profession left to believe in, alike my life in filmmaking in many respects. As one of my teachers said to me when I began – “If you can’t relate to it, don’t write it.” In my opinion the world’s not got enough female heroines and I was yet to write my first female protagonist. I turned to something of an action genre following research where female soldiers were about to be given a shot in 2016 at becoming the first US Navy Seals in history. With all this in mind I created a grieving career soldier the world seemed to have left behind, suffering from PTSD getting by with a drug addiction who finally gets given the chance to get herself back together and honour her late father by walking in his footsteps as a Navy Seal. The final ingredient was her name. I always think hard about the names of my characters and in Survivor it seemed this character's life choices had been fairly autonomous to this point leaving her in a haze as to the situation she’s soon about to face as she or rather, "YOU" make the first decisions towards her new life. That’s the bond I feel when I wrote her as Tanya Hayes.
Even with years of writing and filmmaking experience under my belt I still had some difficulty writing a strong enough script I was happy with. Not only did I have no budget but I needed to develop a new script format, shoot it in a constrained schedule and assemble a skilled, capable, open-minded team that could hit the ground running. Plenty of things were working against us but after six months we achieved something I was truly proud of and wanted to share with the world. Not only do I believe it showed the versatility of my skills as a writer, producer, director and editor but also those of the cast and crew involved. If you take a moment to consider how certain scenes were acted, shot, cut and scored you can appreciate how hard the team and I worked to bring it to life; just a little something more for you to consider on your next visit.
I hope you enjoy your experience through our film and please feel free to follow us and check out the gallery and other works of the team involved.