New Directions in Narrative Assessment Task 2

Hsiao Han (Athena), CHUEH

Post 1: Investigate digital tools on MakeBeliefsComix
Post 2: ANALYSE A DIGITAL NARRATIVE on DELIVER ME TO HELL
Post 3: WRITE A DIGITAL NARRATIVE OUTLINE
Post 4: AUDIENCE ANALYSIS
Post 5: Narrative flowchart
Post 6: Media convergence / social media

I declare that in submitting all work for this assessment I have read, understood and agree to the content and expectations of the assessment declaration.

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Media convergence / social media

Critically reflect on ways in which media convergence and/or social media has influenced your approach to designing and marketing digital narratives. How has the evolving media landscape challenged and/or extended your approach to digital storytelling? Refer to one or more of the course readings/videos in your discussion.

In the week 2, there are various digital narrative formats have introduced by the course, I still remember that each group had to discuss one format of narrative and shared their opinion to others. While my team members were discussing “videogames” as our topic, I couldn’t say any words during the discussion because I have less attention on this issue. Thus, after the group discussion, I read the course reading MIT Game Lab – Documentary Games and Videogame Genres to try to get more information about video games.

It is mentioned that the game mechanics would be the first consideration when people try to distinguish video game genres. Game mechanic is ” the actions that a player can perform in a game, in other words, the interaction between the player and the game, are referred to as game mechanics” (Wolf 2002, p.114). Addition to game mechanics, there are some video game features could be included, such as platform, real-time vs. turn-based and artistic style. While I researched in 2D cartoon and comic book of artistic style field, the relate sources stimulated me found another relevant format “digital comic” as it turn to my narrative model.

The website WEBTOON and Soul Reaper are two main platforms of digital comic that have influenced me to create my digital narrative.

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When I viewed the horror genre as it featured edition on WEBTOON, I was attracted by the sound effect and the movable objects. The elements of digital comic are such different with my traditional version, they focus on visualisation and audio to grab viewer’s attention immerse the atmosphere. Particularly, there are only few scenes of comic will be installed those techniques instead of whole story, which inspires me to structure similar techniques in my story.  From my point of view, the scared sound effect and movable features appeared in randomly scenes will cause better impact rather than entire story to deliver the horrible mood.

On the other hand, installing random audiovisual effects in digital comic will be easier for me to sketch the story based on my limited skill of animation. In addition, audiences will be surprised in featured scenes which cause the unexpected effect during the comic reading and get good experience to share the content.

soul reaper1
Soul Reaper is another useful platform just like WEBTOON to impress audiences based on same comic format. With different style in action genre, Soul Reaper is a structuring comic website that only one chapter scenario has appeared the audiovisual technique, however, it has installed voice over as narrator and featured effect on its title to penetrate entire story that presents as 3D animation format but still in digital comic to conduct viewers.

Overall, these above elements of digital comic from two platforms have impacted me deeper during the duration of my narrative pitch, the interesting sources have inspired me to explore further research that I could produce the unique idea and use the techniques in my narrative story.

Narrative flowchart

flowchart

The comic narrative ‘Baking my pastry’ will access digital comic format and be divided into four chapters to present the story. The protagonist Margarita Chen who is an amateur in pastry making, bravely pursues her dream and becomes a pastry chef and owns her bakery. The story will focus on the transformation about a young lady from previous media background into new career in pastry industry. The comic narrative will include other characters such as her boyfriend Steven and her friend Millie, also gives their relationship and conflict during each chapter. The comic style will demonstrate as humor and lively style to deliver the approachable spirit.

FLOWCHART

AUDIENCE ANALYSIS

Answer these six questions in relation to the audience for your digital narrative:

  1. Why are you creating this story? Goals, rationale, purpose, premise? What do you want your audience to experience or understand?

    The digital narrative “Baking my pastry” is based on real experience of my friend to reedit the structure. Originally, I just thought her story is unique and inspiring that could be a good source as a documentary to encourage young people pursue their dream. However, when I saw the digital comic website, I decided to turn this story as comic format so that the visualisation could be illustrated as creative and unrestrained on characters and pastry.

  2. What is your story? In what way will it be original, surprising, human, passionate, truthful or relevant to your audience?

    Baking my pastry describes that the story of Margarita Chen who is an amateur in pastry making, bravely pursues her dream and becomes a pastry chef and owns her bakery. The story focuses on the transformation about a young lady from previous media background into new industry in pastry. The comic narrative will include other characters such as her boyfriend Steven and her friend Millie, also gives their relationship and conflict during each chapter.

    The comic will demonstrate as humor and vivid style, because it is a true story with Protagonist’s enthusiasm and insistence that I wish to deliver the approachable spirit to the audiences and inspire them to plan their further career.

  3. Where will you publish your story? What platform/s and hardware are suited to your audience? E-books, blogs, videos, photos, podcasts, tweets, status updates, apps, games, forums, websites?

    The digital comic will be published on a animated website “WEBTOON” as main platform, which includes distinct genres of comic to satisfy different audiences. Readers are required to execute flash player on their electronic device online to see the interactive comic, also the content can be shared on social media Facebook, Twitter and URL link copy to spread the comic.

  4. Who is your audience? Who is your target viewer/user – i.e. the group you will target in promoting the work?

    The young generations who are interested in comic books and pastry will be my main audiences. Due to the protagonist is a young lady, the targeted audiences is also aim to female (20-40) and young entrepreneurs who are inspired from the story that believe such the case could be happened in their life.

    Nevertheless, no matter what ages the viewers are, the target audiences will enjoy the interactive comic and remain positive attitude for their live, which is my original purpose to create this comic.

  5. When will you create the content and start to engage your audience? What is the production process and publishing schedule?

    The project will start to create in digital comic format once the script has been done and get the consensus with my main character Margarita Chen.  Basically, the production process will depend on the plot of each chapter to insert the sound effect and movable object in particular scenes.

    My stylistic elements will illustrate as dynamic and vivid style, main characters will dress as their occupation and personality. Some location would arrange real pictures such as protagonist’s home, office and Melbourne city. There are few sound effect or lively background music will be inserted in some grids.

    My editing tool will be Adobe Animate CC to sketch the animation, meanwhile, I will inquire 1 or 2 practitioners of digital comic to assist me complete the story. After the project in final editing procedure, I will contact the comic website “WEBTOON” to negotiate and arrange the publish schedule.

  6. How will your audience participate in the narrative? Will they be able to contribute to the narrative, alter the narrative, respond to the narrative?

    When the viewers read this interactive comic, they can choose switch on/off to play the sound effect and the scene of movable effect. There is a comment bar under each chapter that readers can leave their opinions to creator or discuss to each other. In addition, users can scroll mouse down/up repeatedly to see the movable or shining grid that immerse into story.

    Although audiences engage the interactive comic after post-production, the story will be easily to share on many social media channels and viewers can decide what type effect (on/off) they want to share with their friends when they receive the comic.

WRITE A DIGITAL NARRATIVE OUTLINE

Write a brief outline for an original digital narrative project. Your digital narrative should tell a story as well as utilising one or more of the unique features of digital networked media. So for a more linear narrative, consider how it might be broken into modules, how your audience might participate in the project, or how you might promote the work online. For a more interactive narrative, consider how your audience will access each scene and how they will participate in the unfolding of the narrative. Your digital narrative can be about anything you like – but it needs to be doable with the tools and skills you have at hand.

Post this task on your personal blog. Word count: approximately 300 words (See ‘Word count: can I exceed it?’ on the Study FAQs page).

Narrative Outline
The digital narrative will be a digital comic “Baking My Pastry” and the genre would present as inspiring with comedy. The content is based on real experience of my friend who left the previous career in media and turns leisure hobby baking pastry into new career. In addition, the protagonist successfully starts her own bakery and becomes an entrepreneur. The comic narrative aims to guide audiences knowing various pastry and delivering the spirit of protagonist who insists the dream and make it true.

Briefly, once audiences access to the comic web, they will see the giant title ‘Baking my pastry’ in homepage with pastry images as background, right side bar will show the brief story outline and how the digital comic works. Scroll down to the central part, audience will see each chapter title with representative image as click button and one line synopsis.

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Storyworld

A digital comic illustrates that the story of Margarita Chen who is an amateur in pastry making, bravely pursues her dream and becomes a pastry chef and owns her bakery. The story will focus on the transformation about a young lady from previous media background into new career in pastry industry. The comic narrative will include other characters such as her boyfriend Steven and her friend Millie, also gives their relationship and conflict during each chapter. The comic style will demonstrate as humor and vivid style to deliver the approachable spirit.

Modularity & Variability
The comic will be published on website as main platform, audience may execute flash player to read, the content can be shared to Facebook and Twitter social media and the story will be divided into four chapters to demonstrate individual part.

Baking My Pastry will based on four chapters to illustrate each chapter meet one modular. Audience can follow the sequence to click each chapter or choose interested images to jump into individual story, which means the variability is flexible fit with modularity.

Participatory
Addition to comic narrative, there is a comment bar under each chapter that readers can leave their opinions to author or discuss to each other. Some grids will be added sound effect to emphasize the scenario, audiences can switch on/ off the button to access  it. In addition, users can scroll mouse down/up repeatedly to see the movable or shining grid that immerse into story. Furthermore, the digital comic not only can be shared on social media, but also the URL link can be embedded. As a creator, I will add # hashtag to stress the keyword with promotional content.

Clipart Illustration of a Pretty Female Cake Baker Presenting A
Marketing
The story is aim to young generations who are interested in comic books and pastry taster will be the main audiences that through website reading and social media sharing. Due to the protagonist is a lady, the targeted audiences is also aim to female (20-40) and young entrepreneurs who are inspired from the story that believe such case could be happened in their life.

ANALYSE A DIGITAL NARRATIVE on DELIVER ME TO HELL

Choose a digital narrative to examine; this could be a game, an app, a website, an interactive video clip or any other narrative that employs the representational power of the computer. There are some suggestions in the Week 2 folder, in the Module 2: Digital narrative genres.

You might like to copy and paste the template text (below) and use it to write your analysis. Does the digital narrative exhibit any of the listed features and characteristics? If so, briefly describe them. 

Or you might prefer to write an analysis free of a prescribed template. Either way, you don’t have to cover all of those elements, but they may prove useful as a guide as you analyse the work.

Post this task on your personal blog. Word count: approximately 300 words (See ‘Word count: can I exceed it?’ on the Study FAQs page).

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In this task, I have chose a series interactive video “DELIVER ME TO HELL”  as my analysis of digital narrative. This article will divide into 4 parts on story elements, narrative elements, traditional narrative features and digital narrative features to examine.

DELIVER ME TO HELL”  is a promotion video by a pizza shop Hell Pizza in NZ that describes a delivery Steve has to across the city to deliver his pizza without being killed by the zombies. Audiences have to click a choice when the characters meet some missions to overcome, each mission only gets one chance to click, otherwise the characters would die and game over.

Story elements

The film is started from a lady that she successfully escapes by zombies, hides on a cargo truck and waits her ordering pizza. Then the protagonist Steve receives the order that he prepares the pizza and weapon to deliver.  The event is chronologically related, the characters are met each other by cause and effect which depends on player to make a decision. This story is described in present format and the location is between the destination cargo truck and the pizza shop of New Zealand. Basically, the player could through the scenario to know the environment is around a small town and the scene is transformed along with different mission.

Narrative elements

As above description, the story is focused on the procedure of Steve’s delivery, the characters and events are happened in chronological arrangement. Also, we know the town is surrounded by zombies that means the background is set in virtual world and most of scenes are used in third person view to express the events. Within the plot of tension, audiences can see the dialogues between protagonist and others are the key point to develop further events, which is to say the video is no outside narrator telling story. All the scenes are formed by the series missions that characters to handle and the decision that audiences figure out.

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Traditional narrative features

Compare to traditional film, DELIVER ME TO HELL is a linearity just as usual films we see, so the entertainment is concentrated on the interaction and the result of decision. While the climax has raised with the correct decision ( if choose wrong can replay to correct one), the difficulty and the conflict are turn into a adventure that lead audiences as Steve to overcome them and achieve the goal. In other words, the film is not only telling a story, but also like the game that player is protagonist to experience the journey.

In this series film, it is obvious that the protagonist is a delivery Steve while there is no evident role as antagonist. During the journey of delivery, audiences only know that Steve’s partner Jason is a only survivor from a wedding, they help each other such as kill zombies and find the destination when lose their way. The third role is the lady who orders “hell pizza” in the beginning of scene. As above, perhaps we could analyse that the film is formed by one protagonist Steve and two characters Jason and the lady to structure, the antagonist are may those zombies to disturb the delivery.

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Digital narrative features

Modularity could be most interesting and independent element in interactive video. As long as the selections are existed and can be chose, the filmmaker has to produce associated videos to meet the result, no matter the character is dead or safe. That is to say that the variability is also flexible with player’s decision to view. Eventually, it is clear that this interactive video contains integrity and recreation during the journey of delivery, which means the element of participatory aspects is being engaged completely through audience’s choice.

On the other hand, the video is provide sufficient participation penetrate whole storyworld. When players pass all missions till final film, the advertisement “Email your name and address to THEDEVIL@HELL.CO.NZ” is appeared on screen, which reveals that the film is shot as a commercial and audiences can get the chance to win the pizza as participatory reward. As a analyst and player, though the competition for a years supply of pizza is closed when we watch the film, it does not affect player enjoy the film and engage the procedure of delivery, which means the element of participatory aspect is abundant and satisfy audience’s entertainment.

hell pizza

Investigate digital tools on MakeBeliefsComix

Research one or more of the digital tools you could use to create your digital narrative.

Option 1. Describe any software that look promising and explain how you could use the tool in your project. Post this task on your personal blog. Word count: approximately 500 words (See ‘Word count: can I exceed it?’ on the Study FAQs page)

The finding of digital tool
While I still consider the format to present my digital narrative, I realized that maybe to find out practical tools to create my story is the basis. Thus, I started to search “digital narrative tool” online and access each function. There is a website “MakeBeliefsComix” has been recommended for education using from the first searching database and I think it is also easy for fundamental storytellers to structure their story. I will share my opinion of using and explain why it could be helpful for my narrative project.

The function of MakeBeliefsComix
MakeBeliefsComix
Firstly, MakeBeliefsComix is a platform that users can create personal comic strip to say your word. For me, as a beginner, it is simple and fun that I could use a lot of images replacing the word to describe my story. At MakeBeliefsComix , I can choose characters, backgrounds and emotion to each panel, then add talk or thought balloons or other elements I want to start my characters communicating.

MakeBeliefsComix blank

The process of using
I selected four panels strip as my experiment. I had no idea what content should I insert in the beginning, so I chose the cast from list and randomly put in colors, backgrounds…etc. The left side is a function bar to adjust the element I inserted to complete an abundant comic. Every operation button is demonstrated by image click so that user can familiar the system and keep interest on it. Once I completed my comic strip, I can choose print it, save the image or email it to my friends. The tool is clear and simple operating, no wonder it could be recommended software for students and teachers.

18 Free Digital Storytelling Tools For Teachers And Students

MakeBeliefsComix

Personal opinion
To be honest, I think MakeBeliefsComix still in fundamental stage. There are not many option of component can be designed, for instance, the characters can only be flipped right or left direction but no features removed or increased. Colour and background field are less item can be selected.

However, on the other hand, it is enjoyable that I notice when I randomly created fewer components for my panels, those characters could inspire me more to structure the further script. Follow the sequence to build, I have produced my first comic strip without any draft. In other words, MakeBeliefsComix not only entertains creators, but also it provides a platform to produce personalized narrative. As long as it could improve the circumstance of immature techniques.

As a storytelling learner, it would be one of my tools to plan my storyboard and further stages on narrative.