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The fifth edition of this residential workshop will introduce participants to nonfiction digital storytelling and accompany them in the development of a first interactive documentary proof of concept.

Presentation

The evolution of technology is transforming the way that audiences experience stories. With cinema and television, storytelling has been confined and restricted by release formats and windows, so as by time slots.

Today, after the Internet and the successive multiplication of digital platforms, mobile devices and social networks, traditional documentary storytelling has broken the boundaries and is developing into new forms. These new forms include nonlinear narratives and public participation in creating and selecting content. This concept of public participation goes further than interactivity options for the audience. Interactive documentary has also to do with co-creation and co-interpretation of content and information by the users, which can lead to the loss of the single authorial voice, being replaced by a shared authorship. It doesn’t mean that the author doesn’t exist anymore, nor he will disappear, but the role of the author/director is radically transforming into something different compared to traditional linear audiovisual storytelling: his role is no more limited to creating, selecting and presenting content, but extends to the planning of the audience experience and helping to design an interaction that successfully engages and tells stories.

In a context of big economical, social and technological changes, the interactive documentary workshop offers to creative and cultural industries professionals a chance to innovate their productions, to keep up to date with the evolution of the audiences’ practices and expectations, and to raise competitiveness.

The workshop aims to help audiovisual professionals to seize some opportunities and challenges of the currently unfolding audiovisual trends by equipping its participants with precise, comprehensive and practical skills and knowledge in developing, producing, financing and distributing interactive documentaries.

Through lectures, selected case-studies and panels with established authors, producers and notable international pioneers, the participants will become familiar with the new challenges and opportunities that digital storytelling is promoting into the film and audiovisual creative industry.

The workshop is project-oriented: participant applying with a project will apply the skills and methods while she/he’s learning them in the practical development of a working-concept for an interactive documentary – i.e. a nonfiction story developing a non-linear storytelling and intending to integrate extensively, at different stages of the project, the new potential of digital technologies and an active user participation, and that is conceived for the web and/or tablet computers and/or other mobile devices. The projects may also be conceived as a development across multiple media of a previous linear film or TV production, on condition that each new factual content will adopt a transmedia approach: that is, it won’t adapt the original storytelling to the new media but will develop its own unique perspective on the whole story.

Through a Development Lab – featuring project-led group work, personalized coaching and a final public pitch session – the key elements of the participants’ projects will be discussed with the trainers, experts, and European decision makers, getting the best advantage in terms of content development, planning of the audience experience, interaction design, funding strategy and professional networking. Participants will thus be accompanied in the definition and refining of a first working concept which will be able to be professionally put into further development or pre-production.

Encouraging networking and fostering the broader international mobility of our participants and their projects are key elements of the programme. We are therefore very proud to confirm our partnership with Doc Tank (www.dokweb.net) (March 2017) and Cross Video Days (www.crossvideodays.com) (October 2017). The interactive documentary workshop will reward 1 project attending the Doc Tank laboratory with an official invitation to Nyon, and Cross Video Days will award the best project resulting from the interactive documentary workshop with an official invitation to attend the highly competitive CVD Content Market.

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Objectives

The interactive documentary workshop aims to enabling cultural and creative industries professionals to seize some opportunities and challenges of the currently unfolding audiovisual trends. The workshop equips participants with precise, comprehensive and practical skills and knowledge in developing, producing, financing and distributing interactive documentaries. Over the workshop participants will receive the necessary background information to successfully deal with the development and production of creative contents for interactive documentaries and digital nonfiction storytelling, and get an expert-led accompaniment for the development of a professional working concept, advanced enough for entering a full development stage. In particular, the following issues will be targeted:

  • Collaborative producing, curating and publishing participatory projects online, on mobile devices and in physical spaces.
  • Planning of the audience experience, in order to engage more closely with users and consumers.
  • Designing interaction that both engages and tells stories.
  • Promoting collaborations among different media: transmedia approach to storytelling and production.
  • Targeting new financial partners, revenue streams and business models.

At the end of the workshop participants will:

  • Know the methods and skills to create, select and present content for an interactive project.
  • Know how to identify various ways of interaction in order to engage the audience and keep the interest alive.
  • Be able to choose the appropriate technical and interface solution for their project and/or in finding the right partner and helping it to design interaction.
  • Promoting collaborations among different media: transmedia approach to storytelling and production.
  • Have an increased professional network and a strengthened capacity to operate internationally.

Through the workshop participants will develop skills and knowledge to deal with digital projects development, production and distribution in order to target new audiences and optimize the production workflow. Participants taking part to the workshop with a pre-developed concept and attending the Development Lab will attain a well-developed working-concept presenting the tone, genre and visual language of the project, such as: aspects of the audience engagement strategy; aspects of the interaction design; definition of the production workflow, the working team and professional profiles; funding strategies; an estimation of the costs that the plans would entail; aspects of the distribution strategy.

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Activities

The interactive documentary workshop will be led by international audiovisual and interaction experts engaged in three teaching modules: classes, case-studies and development lab.

1
Classes: Lectures on interactive documentary topics by established digital pioneers and notable international film industry representatives. Different topics will be discussed, such as: Introduction to interactive documentary; Evolution of the documentary genre, definitions and state of the art; From the single authorial voice to a shared authorship: the audience experience and public contribution to the storytelling; Designing interaction that engages and tells stories.

2
Case studies: Keynote presentations of notable interactive documentary projects by their creators/producers followed by Q&A. Different topics will be discussed, such as: creating, selecting and publishing content for the web, for tablets and mobile phones; interactive documentary, social media and social activism; locative documentaries and layered reality.

3
Development lab: Participants attending the training session with a pre-developed idea/project will be accompanied in the definition and refining of a first working concept with the trainers through: project-led group works, one-to-one coaching and individual work. Projects to be developed are interactive documentaries – stories which develop a non-linear storytelling and intend to integrate extensively, at different stages of the project, the new potential of digital technologies and an active user participation, and that are conceived for the web and/or tablet computers and/or other mobile devices. The projects can also be conceived as a development across multiple media of a previous linear film or TV production, on condition that each new factual content will follow a transmedia approach: that is, it won’t adapt the original storytelling to the new media but will develop its own unique perspective on the whole story. At the end of the session, participants will have a first proof of concept which will be able to be professionally put into further development or pre-production.

A final pitch session will end the Lab and will take place in the presence of a panel of audiovisual industry representatives of international repute attending the film festival Visions du Réel and its Doc Outlook International Market.

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