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Jeremy Rotsztain
Robert Moon

IM Fan Fiction

An interactive installation where participants can write their own dialog for Hollywood films.

http://www.mantissa.ca/itp/imfanfiction.html

Classes
Interactive Screens and Cinematic Objects,User Generated


IM Fan Fiction presents a unique opprotunity for fans to write their own dialog for Hollywood films. The installation puts them in a position to develop their understanding of a well-known cinematic character, like Luke Skywalker or Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, and translate it into a conversation using an interactive system that is part film subtitling machinery and part instant messaging technology. Participants work in pairs engaging one another while developing the personality of the characters.

Background
We wanted to use a movie that most people have seen and already know the characters. Some of the movies we thought about were James Bond, Wizard of Oz, and Superman but eventually we ended up choosing Star Wars as our source materials. This was the most appropriate choice since most of the fan fiction writings is based on Star Wars. A great deal of our research can be found at FanFiction.net.

Since fan fiction is based around the writings of their favorite characters, Jeremy and I wanted to give fans the opportunities to create their own dialogue of their favorite characters. The obvious choice of character for Star Wars is Luke Skywalker, since he is in all three of the original movies. To highlight different aspects of Luke’s personality, we wanted to take conversations from Yoda, the Emperor and Darth Vader. We also edited cut scenes to setup senarios so the participating audience members would have a starting point to drive the dialogue for each conversation Luke has with his counterpart.

Audience
Lovers of cinema, people who are interested in writing their own fan fiction.

User Scenario
Two participants collaborate in developing a script. Each one stands at a different keyboard terminal, typing the script for a character whenever they are prompted. For each round, the particpant types in 10 or so lines, based on their understanding of the character and the dialog given by their collaborator.

Implementation
The technical aspects of our project consists of two screens, two keyboards and Max/Jitter/Java for the software. Luke and his conversational partner would appear on their respective screens and a chat box underneath the screen would indicate to each participant to begin writing the dialogue for their characters. The software jumped to different parts of a video clip containing the cut scenes, looped video of the active character and an idle freeze frame for the inactive character.

Conclusion
The initial concern we shared, was the uncertainity when dealing with an interactive aspect where the audience plays an active role in the narrative process. Our project relies heavily on the user’s input and their creative imagination to drive the dialogue and ultimately responsible to flesh out the character. We were pleasantly surprised with the experience shared in a large group. Are intentions were primarily focused on the relationship the two audience participants and the Star Wars characters would share while conversating on the fly, but unexpectingly share another layer of interaction between ‘performer’ and the rest of the audience (in our case the rest of the class). Our presentation offered another aspect of the project to consider for the future iterations.

We have a few technical modification we would like to fix for our future versions of our project. Currently we have a software ‘bug’ where the text cursor does not appear in the correct position. Although it did not effect our project during presentation, hopefully it would further make it clear how the user should interact with our project. Another software issue to deal with for future version is to restrict the ability for the users to type once they click enter and submit their dialogue line. Currently any user can freely type even if it is not their turn. We would also like to see the text conversations stored and possibly used for playback.