"Scriptwriting for Interactive Crime Films"
Image: 16:9 widescreen
Genre: video essay
Country of Production: Scotland, UK
Year of Production: 2021
Written by: Ashton Clarke and Polina Zioga.
Video created by: Polina Zioga and Ashton Clarke.
Music: Deep Blue and Blur from Bensound.com.
Copyright © 2021 Ashton Clarke, Polina Zioga and Interactive Filmmaking Lab.
This video has been created as part of the ‘Interactive Film and Media Conference 2021: New Narratives, Racialization, Global Crises, and Social Engagement’, 5-7 August 2021, Ryerson University, The Glasgow School of Art, University of Sao Paulo, The University of Texas at Dallas (journals.library.ryerson.ca/index.php/InteractiveFilmMedia/article/view/1524).
In recent years, the increasing number of interactive films being released, has highlighted the need for further development of methods and criteria that can guide the earlier stages of development, such as the scriptwriting process. Following the framework of interactive storytelling as a spectrum, it is acknowledged that writing a script for an interactive narrative that involves branching path options for navigating through the story, or multiple endings, is becoming more common and presents its own challenges. In this context, this paper examines established criteria used for assessing narrative quality and examines currently available software for interactive scriptwriting, identifying their affordances and limitations. Accordingly, we present Scapegoat, a short interactive crime drama, based on the model of British homicide investigations, and with the objective to investigate in practice the application of the criteria for narrative quality, together with the processes and elements of scriptwriting that can lead to a strong engaging story. We propose an approach that can efficiently incorporate crucial information of the interaction design, it can be effectively communicated to the crew and cast and used throughout the production lifecycle of the film. We highlight the crucial role of the on-set script supervisor for ensuring the interaction design is not compromised, and continuity is retained. We also discuss recommendations for further developments, including the importance of engaging the crew and cast early in the development process, together with future work into the requirements of interactive commissioners for television and film, and the need for standarisation in the industry.
Publications and Outputs
- Clarke, A., and Zioga, P. (2022) Scriptwriting for Interactive Crime Films: the Case of Scapegoat. Interactive Film and Media Conference 2021: New Narratives, Racialization, Global Crises, and Social Engagement, Online. Interactive Film and Media, 2(1): 106-121. doi: 10.32920/ifmj.v2i1.1524.
- Clarke, A., and Zioga, P. (2021) ‘Scriptwriting for Interactive Crime Films: the Case of Scapegoat’. In: Interactive Film And Media Conference 2021: New Narratives, Racialization, Global Crises, And Social Engagement. Online, 5-7 August 2021.
- Clarke, A. (2019) An Investigation into Screenwriting for a Short Interactive Film. BSc (Hons) Dissertation, Staffordshire University.