Safety Not Guaranteed
Safety Not Guaranteed is a film about an advertisement in a newspaper. A magazine decide to investigate further into the advert to try and find out who posted it and if it was a practical joke or something serious. I liked how the simple story developed into a more complex narrative. It made me think about my own film and how I could do a similar thing, that might get people’s attention and get them involved in my own project. I could write something like this, leaving an email address or website or QR code at the bottom, which would go to a trailer for my project. I could advertise it in the Coventry Telegraph or the Metro, which is given away free on public busses. This would be a great way to advertise my film and get more people interested.
Elements included in my idea:
“Hybrid reality games (HRGs) employ mobile technologies and GPS devices as tools for transforming physical spaces into interactive game boards.” de Souza e Silva, A. & Delacruz, G. (2006).
ARG is Alternate Reality Gaming.
Alternate Reality Gaming is an interactive game playing experience with elements of writing, puzzle-solving, and team-building. There is also some role-playing involved. It uses several different forms of media in order to pass clues to the players, they then try to solve these clues in order to unravel pieces of the story. Clues are passed through different digital formats like web pages, email, TV ads and then more physical or personal forms like film/music poster, newspapers and voicemails. The game is a very social one, where a community involved in a certain game will work together to figure out particularly difficult clues. The uniqueness of ARGs comes down to the internet, without it, people wouldn’t be able to communicate about clues on such a vast level and also half of the clue hiding material wouldn’t be available. It is literally the virtual world of treasure hunting.
The most popular ARGs were from 2001 to 2008. The most famous ARGs are generally attached to other media, like a CD promotion (Year Zero – Nine Inch Nails), TV series promotion (Lost Experience, Find 815 – Lost), or film promotion (The Beast – AI). This does not mean, however, that ARGs do not exist today, just that the big company branded ones are not seen so much. According to http://www.argn.com/now_playing/ there are 10 ARGs playing right now, one very similar to my idea, which might involve WW1, which is the black hollow project.(See link under picture)
Among the terms essential to understand discussions about ARGs are:
- Puppetmaster – The designer of the game.
- The Curtain – The separation between the puppetmasters and the players.
- Rabbithole/Trailhead – The first media artefact that draws in players. (Usually a website)
- This Is Not A Game (TINAG) – Players believe the main sentiment to an ARG is the fact that it isn’t really a game at all, more of an experience.
The Beast was the first true Alternate Reality Game. It was set in the AI movie (Artificial Intelligence, 2001) universe but at a time about 40 years after the movie. In April 2001, a group of people came together, curious about the rumors of circled letters on the backs of the AI movie posters and the credit in the movie trailers for a Jeanine Salla, “Sentient Machine Therapist.”
The story that unfolded across thirty sites was written by Sunburst and World Fantasy. It was written by Sean Stewart, engineered by Jordan Weisman and masterminded by Elan Lee, both of Microsoft. The Cloudmakers maintain an exhaustive archive of the sites and pages found during play.
Sean Stewart started off as a novelist, but worked on The Beast and moved into other ARGS when this became a success. He worked on I Love Bees (Halo 2) and Year Zero (Nine Inch Nails). He was the founding member of Fourth Wall Studios, which are now working on http://rides.tv project, which use video based productions that use emails and phone numbers to communicate with their audience.
The Lost Experience was the first of two ARG’s made for the TV series Lost. It comprised of 5 phases and lasted for 3 months.
It began on May 2, 2006 in the United Kingdom with an advert that aired during an episode of Lost for the fictional Hanso foundation, a corporation mentioned on the show. The advertisement listed a telephone number which brought up fictional voice mail lines for employees at the Hanso Foundation. Some of these messages provided clues to be used in the Hanso Foundation’s website. Commercials for the Hanso Foundation in subsequent weeks directed players to other in-game websites, some of which are tied to specific sponsors.
On June 19, Rachel Blake’s blog is revealed in the source code of the Hanso foundation site, which comes to play a major part of the second phase of the game. Rogue investigator Blake posts videos of her traveling around the world to uncover the secret agenda of the Hanso foundation.
Another website is launched through a stunt at Comic-Con in July 2006, marking the start of the Lost Experience phase three. The website features open-registration accounts to a video sequence editor. By entering alphanumeric codes, new video segments can be added. New codes are expected to be released regularly — entering an invalid code yields a statement that the code in question does not work at this particular time.
The final sequence of video segments became known as the Sri Lanka Video.
Fourth and Fifth Phases
In late August 2006, Apollo chocolate barsbegan distribution through Forbidden Planet stores in the UK. On August 24 the web site was launched. Site users could upload pictures of themselves and an Apollo chocolate bar. The uploaded pictures now form the word “unite”. A certain number of Apollo bars are designated “golden oracle”, and contain special codes that can also be submitted to the site. A message from Rachel Blake promises that further instructions will be given “once enough of the world is watching”. Finally, the site reported that D.J. Dan would tell the full truth and finally shut down the whole thing on his radio show on September 24 at 8pm.
The final video (regarding the current location of Alvar Hanso) became known as the Norway Video.
On December 28, 2007, ABC’s press website (ABC Medianet) uploaded a press release announcing the return to business of the fictitious Oceanic Airlines. The release contained a phone number, which when called, instructs the listener to visit http://www.flyoceanicair.com, which features a commercial for Oceanic. On December 31, the site was updated with a video of Sam explaining his situation intercut with flashes of the URL http://www.find815.com. The official Find 815 website contains more videos of Sam as he begins to uncover the truth of what happened to 815.
At Sydney Airport, the Seven Network placed a billboard near the exit, featuring a picture of an Oceanic Airlines hostess and the company’s symbol with the words “find815.com” ‘painted’ over the company’s name.
Find 815 is about a character who’s girlfriend was on the Oceanic flight from Australia to USA. It is about him trying to find her and find out what happened. This is done through clues and websites with videos and text.
I think ARGs are amazing in the way they bring people together to solve clues, usually it is around a shared passion or subject. I like the idea of using these within my idea, but not just making an ARG. I want my innovation to be more hands on and less internet based. Maybe it could start with a website, which leads to a very real location. I like the idea of concentrating my idea on WW1, as it has been 100 years starting this year since the war, there is a lot of interest in this subject especially in the film industry. I feel this gives me a place to start contacting local people who might be interested in promoting my innovation.
(Live action role playing)
A live action role-playing game (LARP) is a form of role playing game where the participants physically act out their characters’ actions. The outcome of player actions may be mediated by game rules or determined by consensus among players. Event arrangers called game masters decide the setting and rules to be used and facilitate play.
The first LARPs were run in the late 1970s, inspired by tabletop role playing games and genre fiction. The activity spread internationally during the 1980s and has diversified into a wide variety of styles. Play may be very game-like or may be more concerned with dramatic or artistic expression. Events can also be designed to achieve educational or political goals. The fictional genres used vary greatly, from realistic modern or historical settings to fantastic or futuristic eras. Production values are sometimes minimal, but can involve elaborate venues and costumes. LARPs range in size from small private events lasting a few hours to large public events with thousands of players lasting for days.
“How about making 2014 your year of fun and adventure? If so, not only are you way ahead of 99% of the population, you’ve just uncovered one of live role-playing’s best-kept secrets. If you’d like to escape the stress, trials or monotony of daily life, then perhaps it’s time to try something different – and unleash your inner hero!”
This event has several different sites where people can get involved in LARP. This community is bigger then I thought, with 10 events in the UK this February!
“Herofest LARP organise and run LARPing Festival live action role playing weekends.”
This LARP event is a lot more expensive then I thought, but that does include a place to wash and stay for 2 nights. It’s £60 to book before a certain date, and after that date it’s £70. This event is based in South Wales and is run for experienced LARP players as well as beginners. There are events that take place throughout the UK.
“We believe new technology should protect your privacy — not remove it. That’s why we built a messaging system that puts your privacy first. Burn Note gives you the power to control your privacy with our unique privacy features.” Burn Note (Date Unknown)
This would be a good app to combine with for my idea.
“Generate fully trackable QR codes in your account. Real-time tracking tells you when and how many people scanned your code, what kind of devices they used, and even where they were at the time of the scan.” Smarty Tags (Date Unknown)
I think it would be a good idea to get the “Smart” or “Genious” package after trial testing my idea and seeing how successful it might be. This would be a great way to get my idea across to more audiences.
As I have looked at each of these innovations, I have thought about my idea and developed it further. I feel the best way to create my innovation would be by using all of these different apps, like scvngr, foursquare, burn note and QR codes to help create an imaginary world in the city of Coventry. It would be a treasure hunt, where people are lead to different locations with things hidden there for the players to find, these will give out a little part of the story and help create a more concrete world in the players minds. This is a collaboration of all the ideas I have looked at, like Year Zero, Geocaching and Ghosts in the Garden.
I think it would be a good idea to have locations set in areas of Coventry that were affected by WW1. Like a building that was bombed or a factory that produced something for the war effort. I could include QR codes so people can access images of what the street or area looked like in that time. Focusing my idea on World War One will prove more difficult as a lot of people associate Coventry with World War 2, where the blitz took out most of the city centre.
Maybe I could change my idea slightly to be centred more around the second world war, so more people can connect with the project.
http://www.historiccoventry.co.uk/postcards/gosfd-gn.php This website has an article about a post card from the First World War from somebody in Coventry.At the end of the article, they go into a bit of detail about the old bandstand in Coventry. Someone has written in to the website of how they used to remember it. From reading this I created the scenes in my mind. The description is such a different Coventry to the one people know now and I think it would be lovely to remember it in a positive happy way like this.
A History of Coventry
McGrory, D (2003). A History of Coventry. West Sussex: Philmore & Co. 254-256.
I found a book going into a bit of detail on Coventry and it’s involvement in the First World War. This has given me a lot of information to look up in different books and websites.
- Hastings Road, Goring Road, St George’s Road and Severn Road (1914-1915)
- Red Lane Ordnance Works factory:
- Munition Cottages Holbrook Lane
- Whitley Abbey (Belgium refugees)
- St Mary’s Hall (Ancient valuables moved)
- War Memorial Park
- Stoke Heath Estate (1916)
- Coventry produced Ordnance, quick-firing guns, aeroplanes, aeroplane parts, machine tools, ambulance trailers, aircraft engines, magnetos, gun and submarine parts, bombs, incendiary bullets and drop forgings.
- They produced 19,940,000 fuses, 9,880,000 grenades and 31,060,000 detonators. Coventry invented the incendiary bullet, 26 million were made and they were responsible all for but 1 of the Zeppelins shot down over English soil.
- 500 temporary wooden houses were built for workers.
- 800 houses built on Stoke Heath Estate.
- 30,000 workers were working at factory to keep it open day and night.
- The War Department spent over £40 million on Coventry’s factories.
- An estimated 35,00 Coventry men joined the forces, with 2,587 never returning.
- The War Memorial Park was opened on 8th October 1927 to a crowd of 50,000 people.
- Fear of raids meant the city’s ancient valuables were moved from St. Mary’s Hall to a safer location.
- In 1919, following the Godiva Peace Procession, riots broke out in Coventry.
This website is very helpful as it has specific information about Coventry. http://www.historiccoventry.co.uk/virtualtour/tour1910.php this page has an area of the city centre from 1910-1920, with images for each red arrow you hover over. This is really useful for me as it gives me information about areas I could include in my project.
They also have a page of useful links to websites about Coventry: http://www.historiccoventry.co.uk/main/links.php
Coventry Ghost Walks:
There is a company in Coventry that do walks through the city centre every Friday evening. These walks include tales of old Coventry stories related to ghostly sitings and mysteries. They are £7.50 and take about 2 hours. This is a community of people who believe in ghosts and enjoy the excitement of finding out about spirits. The tour runs every Friday, so must be quite popular with locals. http://coventryghostwalk.rezgo.com
World War One/The Great War
WW1 started in 1914 and ended in 1918. More than 9 million combatants were killed and it was the fifth deadliest conflict in world history.
The immediate trigger for the war was 28th June 1914. This is when the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria was assisnated. He was the heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary. This set off a diplomatic crisis when Austria-Hungary delivered an ultimatum to the kingdom of Serbia.
John McCormick was a singer in the first world war, he performed the song “It’s a Long Way to Tripperary” which was written by Jack Judge in 1915. Other songs John McCormick performed were “Keep the Home Fires Burning” “There’s a long long trail” and “Roses of Picardy.” Other famous songs in the first world war period were “Pack All Your Troubles (In Your Old Kit Bag) which was written in 1915 by George Powell.
Films released just after the war were The Service Star directed by Charles Miller, Shoulder Arms directed by Charlie Chaplin, Hearts of the World directed by D.W Griffith, The Heart of Humanity Directed by Allen Holubar, J’accuse directed by Abel Gance and The Lost Battalion directed by Burton L. King.
Anthem For Doomed Youth
What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?
Only the monstrous anger of the guns.
Only the stuttering rifles’ rapid rattle
Can patter out their hasty orisons.
No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells;
Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs,
The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;
And bugles calling for them from sad shires.
What candles may be held to speed them all?
Not in the hands of boys, but in their eyes
Shall shine the holy glimmers of good-byes.
The pallor of girls’ brows shall be their pall;
Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds,
And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.
Dulce et Decorum Est
1 Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
2 Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
3 Till on the haunting flares we turned out backs,
4 And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
5 Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots,
6 But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame, all blind;
7 Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
8 Of gas-shells dropping softly behind.
9 Gas! GAS! Quick, boys!–An ecstasy of fumbling
10 Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time,
11 But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
12 And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime.–
13 Dim through the misty panes and thick green light,
14 As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
15 In all my dreams before my helpless sight
16 He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.
17 If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace
18 Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
19 And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
20 His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin,
21 If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
22 Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs
23 Bitter as the cud
24 Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,–
25 My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
26 To children ardent for some desperate glory,
27 The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
28 Pro patria mori.
The Wipers Times
It was the brainchild of Captain Fred Roberts and Lieutenant Jack Pearson of 12th Battalion. Amidst the ruins of the heavily shelled city of Ypres (called ‘Wipers’ by the soldiers) they found a damaged but serviceable printing press. One of the pages was an advert to cure optimism.
The Football Game
An interesting event that is famous about WW1 was the football match on Christmas day between Germany and England. They had called a temporary truce, so they could collect their dead when a football was kicked from the british lines into No Man’s Land. They also shook hands and shared cigarettes. The football was played as a way to get past the language barrier and was meant as a light relief from the horrors of war. It showed how both sides felt at the time. Unfortunately this truce didn’t last and the war continued for a further 4 years.
“Raggie” The War Horse
Ragtime was a first world war pony. The story goes from his life as a pony in india to the battlefields of the first world war.
“I have seen much of the world. I have told you of war and of peace: of polo and sport. There does not seem to be much more to relate.”
Excerpt from ‘”Raggie” the War Horse: An Autobiography’ by Guy, Lord Middleton (1931)
It was written by Ragtimes owner, Lord Middleton who was reunited with his horse when there was a lull in the war.
Noel Evans was a soldier who died just as the Armistice was about to be signed on the 11th November 1918.
“It has been the hardest week to bear of my life … It is such hard lines that he should have been taken at the very end of the war.”
Letter from Noel’s father, 15 November 1918
In June 1918 he was commissioned into the Royal Field Artillery (RFA). He arrived in France at the end of September and was posted to a battery in the 27th Brigade RFA, the unit in which his brother Morgan also served. Despite the hardships and privations of trench warfare his letters convey a spirit of optimism.
Noel and his comrades were frequently exposed to grave dangers. During his short time at the front Noel survived several near misses before his luck finally ran out. On 4 November 1918, a week before hostilities ended, a shell burst a few yards away from the dugout where he was on duty.
He appeared to be slightly wounded in the left thigh and right heel, and a tiny splinter was pulled out of the back of his head; his thigh seemed to worry him most, but the hit on the head had caused him to go temporarily blind …
Letter to Noel’s parents from his Commanding Officer,
6 December 1918
On hearing of his injuries, Noel’s parents went out to France to visit him in hospital. However, they arrived only to be informed that their son’s wounds had proved fatal and that his funeral was about to take place.
Noel was buried in a cemetery near Rouen along with 30 of his comrades. Against the backdrop of celebrations, his heart-broken family headed back to Britain to mourn.
To think that we shall never see his dear smile again. It’s all been so cruelly hard … all the horrible noise and crowds and rejoicing everywhere day and night, it has been a continuous nightmare and the journey back I thought never would come to an end.
Letter from Noel’s mother, possibly written on 16 November 1918
Going ‘over the top’
I always said a prayer before going over the top. Six times – on six occasions on some bigger attacks and smaller attacks for some reason or other. I always used to stand when we’re all lined up with us rifles and bayonet all fixed for going over with, over with the lads. Our heart would be cursing and there would be all sorts of stuff going up in fright.
But I always used to just stand still for a minute and just say this little prayer. I’ll never forget it. ‘Dear God, I am going into grave danger. Please help me to act like a man and come back safe.’ And that’s what I did. And I went over without fear. That little prayer seemed to save my life because I had no fear left, although there were shells and bullets and all the rest flying when we went over and I were never frightened of being hit. It’s real funny that that prayer put me where I am now. In this chair. And that’s true. And six times I went up and six times I said that little prayer and each time I went up and come back safe. And I thank God for it every time.
After war had finished, we were collecting old rifles and all war stuff. We were set off going across fields, picking up rifles and bombs and anything else to do with war. And two of our lads come across some shells that had had been primed but never fired. And they got all these shells and picked them up. They were coming to the dump, when one of them shells slipped off his arm and hit the striking pin, and the shell exploded. They were both killed. It were terrible, after the war had finished. It were disastrous for they were just doing a duty of cleaning the countryside for the French folk.
The unknown soldier
This was a way to think of everyone unidentified in the first world war. They picked a soldier at random and gave him a heroes burial, as a way to say that we would not forget about anyone who had fought to serve for our Country.
I feel the strongest way to connect with an audience, who would participate in a live setting would be to have a very strong possibly emotional real life story told of a young solider at war. This could incorporate letters home from soldiers, stories told years after the war and poems and songs associated with that era. I think it is important to use as many different aspects as possible to really create a sense of living in that time. These will also need to be quite Coventry specific. Maybe a song that was sung in the factories or a poem from a Coventarian.
I was reading an article about how digital media can be used to teaching and learning, there was a project in Amsterdam where young children were involved in a project “…taking place in the year 1550 in the medieval city, players were able to communicate with fictitious characters and receive information about the places where they stood in real time, due to their devices’ location awareness.” de Souza e Silva, A. & Delacruz, G. (2006) I think this idea could work really well with my story, transforming the space in front of them into how it was seen years ago, and also by using GPS devices, so viewers can track their progress.
After looking at several different projects and element that could be included in this idea, I feel I have enough overall information to start defining my searches to more idea specific items, like Coventry songs and poems in the First World War. I also need to look at the technical aspects I will be including in my idea, QR codes are a must so it is important to inform players before their arrival that there will be a need for a smart phone and an app that can decipher these codes.
The Plough Inn
German bicycle and motorcycle manufacturer
White and Poppies
A schoolboy escape
Look into black taxi cabs – could have a picture and find one and some activity involved in discovering their historical value to the city of Coventry – http://www.london-taxis.co.uk/history
http://www.coventrytelegraph.net/news/coventry-news/warwickshire-soldiers-first-world-war-6379061 – letters from the front
Almost killed Hitler http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/local-news/private-henry-tandey-birmingham-soldier-5824583
After reading this, I have begun to understand a lot more about the area and history of location based projects and interaction through mobile devices. This paper had a lot of useful links to other books on this subject.
de Souza e Silva, A. & Delacruz, G. (2006) Hybrid Reality Games Reframed: Potential Uses in Educational Contexts, Games and Culture 1(3) pp. 231-251.
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