2013 Wrap Up!

It seems I’ve now got to the point where I do one blog post a year, rather than one summary post a year! I’ve been busy, and sharing through social media primarily.

This year has been a big one for me. A big one that grew out of a horrible year previously. In 2012 I had some great things happen, but in my personal life things were quite bad. Perhaps one day in 10 years I’ll share what actually happened. But for now I’ll just say things got so bad I decided at the end of 2012 that I never want to live through what I did ever again. So I made drastic changes. I researched and understood a lot more about how other certain people operate; I altered how I viewed myself and consistently try to see things for the better; I made sweeping changes to who I spent time with and even moved interstate. Things have gone so much better for me in 2013 and this is in no small part because of the personal changes I have been diligent in making. 

CREATIVE

  • In Feb I released my first little phone street experience at Pop Up Playground’s Fresh Air Festival. It is a single-person phone experience I made after the project I was commissioned to do last year for the Melb Writers Festival was cancelled. The design goal for me was to create a scalable locative experience. I wanted to create an experience that gets people engaging with their environment (streets) and can be played in any city in the world. Usually street experiences are site-specific. The street story “Guardians of Hidden Universes” played well, but one of the things I discovered was that it perhaps would have worked better to design it for the home rather than the street. Without the imperative of a known thematic like zombies or spies or vampires etc, a new/unknown storyworld that requires you to perhaps make a fool of yourself in public (which you don’t) is too much of a deterrent.
  • During Feb I also ran my crowdfunding campaign for my app AUTHENTIC IN ALL CAPS. My ace peers around the world came to my aid and supported the campaign to help me fund the final production. I really cannot thank you all enough – thank you so much for not only putting funds down but for all of the effort you put into promoting the campaign. I learned heaps during this campaign. I share my strategies in my Creator’s Log, and will introduce some initiatives next year inspired by what I learned. Then I went straight into production.
  • During production of AUTHENTIC, the Australia Council for the Arts and QUT awarded me the first Digital Writing Residency at The Cube, QUT. My project, “Robot University“, is a 3D installation using touch-screens and Kinects to take visitors to the venue through interactions with robots from the future. We had 6 months to complete the project and it will be launched to the public end Feb/early March next year (2014). I wrote, designed, project managed, and directed the project with a great team. A short documentary of the project will also be launched next year. I loved creating this digital work that involves four types of interaction: dialogue selection; UI interaction; touch-screen interaction with body parts; and gesture interaction. I share insights into how this created at the dev blog linked on the name above.
  • Ken Eklund (the creator of World Without Oil) and Annette Mees (Agency of Coney) invited me to be a writer in their experiment in narrative play: “Horas Perditam“. I wrote live stories based on the inspiration my ‘threaders’ gave me on the streets of London. I had a great time, and was invited back to create an online digital story inspired by the experience for their forthcoming magazine.
  • Sayraphim Lothian invited me to be a writer on her guerilla kindness street art project “Sharing Ink. I was given a hand-made journal in which to write a call-to-action for a stranger to write in and so on. It was left for someone to stumble on in the street. I wrote a piece that encouraged the finder to enter their own moment they want to “leave behind”. They then leave it at a place that is significant for the “leaving behind” moment for a stranger to find. I enjoyed designing the whole process of finding, writing, and leaving as a cathartic ritual.
  • Jonathan Parsons commissioned me to write a speech for an android. Professor Hiroshi Ishiguro’s Geminoid HI-4 was in Brisbane for Robotronica I wrote the speech the Geminoid HI-4 gave at the evening party where it introduced other robots and a band. Besides OMG I WROTE A SPEECH FOR A ROBOT, it was fascinating thinking about how I could make sure pauses happen at the right time. Writing humour for a robot isn’t easy, but I had a ball and it went down really well! I wish I had a video of it…
  • Chris Moore and Sean Redmond invited me to write a digital fiction for the inaugural edition of their Deletion Science Fiction Forum. I wrote a short story, “Deletions, and other pleasures“, set in a world where robots are given psychological and physiological health assistance through deleting things. I found the concept of helping via deletion an interesting idea and enjoyed playing with the various scenarios this may entail. I love having more than text in my works and so played with the Zeega platform.
  • Earlier in the year, inspired by a game jam I didn’t have time to participate in, I came up with the idea of a spy game. I started conceiving it as a digital + live game, then I changed it to be a card + live festival game, and am now developing the take home card game version. Every playtest has gone really well. Players respond to this game with a lot of laughter. It just seems to work. There is tweaking of course, but it is the simplest of projects I’ve worked on (it is just pure mechanics in a theme). The festival game version debuted at Pop Up Playground’s This Is A Door festival, and the card game version is currently in production. “Pop Up Spy Academy” is an improvisational storytelling party game for 5-18 players. You and your team members are training to be spies at an underfunded spy academy. You are given missions to complete doing your best without spy gadgets and trainers.
  • And then of course the release that took a long time coming: the (soft) launch of my web audio adventure “AUTHENTIC IN ALL CAPS“. It is surreal and wonderful to have it done and out there now. Wow! I have also been awarded funding by Screen Australia to market and port the app, and so will try and go out with more of a splash next year. But already I have had players email me saying they really enjoyed the experience and even some asking for more episodes! Quite surreal. I have done a lot of interviews and share a lot of the process in my Creator’s Log, so more info is around! But as a summary of the year, I did it. I created something I wanted to do without any creative limitations (such as client requirements etc). I also got to collaborate with wonderful people this year. I want more of this to happen next year.

PUBLICATIONS

PRESENTATIONS

JUROR & BOARD MEMBER

PRESS

 

Next year I have a few things planned. I will be doing a launch around the new version of the AUTHENTIC IN ALL CAPS app; I will be releasing my party card game Pop Up Spy Academy; I will be running an ‘Interactive Narrative Writers Room’ here in Brisbane (more details soon); I will be running the peer residential for storytellers working in tech with Lance Weiler ‘Forward Slash Story‘ in the USA (applications due 6th Jan!); I will be launching a new peer recommendation site I’ve been working on with Dan Donahoo; and the “Robot University” installation will launched at The Cube (wohoo!). These are the things for certain so far…Either way, I plan to have even more fun this year and to keep working on lots of interesting creative projects. See you there!