To help us get a handle on the project to come, Roy called a core team together. That was me, Portsmouth arts impresario Johnny Sackett, artist and researcher Ausra Vaisvilaite and a handful of others to attend a presentation at his house. He present us with a Gantt chart – a collection of timelines with six parallel strands running side-by-side.
His conception was massive.
One strand started with my character Lissitch, who was now transformed into a street artist. He would be posting street art around Portsmouth which would give clues about the story to come. This strand would continue throughout the three weeks the story unfolded, interacting with the publich and with characters in the story.
Another strand incorporated the Snow Witch Art Exhibition being run by Lucille Scott. Some of Lissitch’s art would appear at the exhibition as a clue for people following the story.
There would be numerous characters, all completely fictional, but living realistic lives on facebook. We would therefore need to create fictional characters “under the radar” in facebook and make sure they weren’t noticed by Admins.
These characters would be created by and owned by individual writers. This would mean another strand would involve training the writers and also getting them to generate the story.
There would be various physical events as the story unfolded where people could meet in real space. We wanted at least one a week: the art exhibition was one, then there would be a meeting at a pub where clues dropped in the game could be unfolded, and in the final week a gig at which the story would be resolved.
We also wanted a treasure hunt. The general public who were invested in the game would be required to perform various tasks to help the game along. We’d look at different way to communicate with them – leaving clues around Portstmouth shops, to encourage more people to use local traders and also get the word out about the story to a wider public.
There would be a gig as the culmination of the entire story journey, and this would require the gathering together of a Balkan band and a highly talented virtuoso violinist with black hair, in her late twenties or early thirties to play the role of The Snow Witch herself, Donitza Kravitch. All the rehearsals for acting out this performance would also be needed.
Training of the team
We would therefore have to assemble a scriptwriting team in order to develop the story around which the series of events would revolve. We would need to get them to understand the concept of transmedia storytelling, and find a way to work together to enable the story to unfold. So that required training from industry experts.
Because the story would need to be gamified – that is, people following the story would uncover clues as to what to do next and solve puzzles. Again, we would need to find an expert in gamification.
The big picture
The general broad conception was that there would be other live events, the unfolding of a puzzle and requirement for the players / followers to perform a magic spell to help The Snow Witch fulfil her objective.
And that was all we had. A structure of events, and no story at all to hang on it, except for a vague idea by Roy that it would be called The Hunt for Donitza.
And so the journey into The Snow Witch transmedia storytelling event began…