Wow! DIY Cinema, theatre, gaming, mobile, mashups, comics, blog, podcasts…

On April 30, 2007 by Christy


Head Trauma


Lance Weiler, the director of the film The Last Broadcast (which has been described as the “original Blair Witch Project”) released another film last september: Head Trauma. What is interesting about the project is the STACK OF GREAT THINGS HE HAS DONE with the film!! Firstly, he or the film has a presence on many social networking sites, such as MySpace, YouTube, Twitter, and faciltiates community with his blog and vlog. He gives back to the community too, by providing information about DIY filmmaking on the DVD and has an “open source repository on filmmaking“. 

Second, he has a great graphic novel on the main website, which is half comic/half vignettes of the film. It feels like a cross between the “webler” that was created for Peter Greenaway’s transmedia project The Tulse Luper Suitcases using stills and audio from the film and the graphic novels used in the Heroes 360 Experience (I love the integration of the graphic novel and film narratives by the way).

Thirdly, he has created an alternate soundtrack of the film ala Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of Oz. Lance describes it at the HTMySpace site:

We created an alternate soundtrack for my newest feature film HEAD TRAUMA. The soundtrack CD is meant to be cued up with a special scene on the DVD of the movie. So if you turn down the volume on the TV and turn up the volume on the stereo you’ll get an alternate soundtrack experience.

Here is their movie describing the process. Lance calls it “a natural extension to the narrative”. This extension actually seems more like the album Haunted that accompanied Mark X. Danielewski’s House of Leaves. But back to Head Trauma. You have to go another website ( to find the secret scene to synch the music with…and the synch scene is perfect. I really like the way link love is shared with this distribution of clues. Rather than create a whole lot of sites yourself, embed clues in sites of fellow crew etc. Share the link love. Lance sees the alternate versions, the remixing as being integral to the story too:

Philadelphia Weekly Online reports:

You’ve released a Dark Side of Oz-style alternate soundtrack CD of your film called Cursed: The Head Trauma Music Project with people like Dr. Dog, Bardo Pond and Sun Ra’s Marshall Allen. Is this screening a continuation of that?

“Yeah. Because Head Trauma deals with the fragmentation of memory, I thought it’d be cool to create other versions of the film. Movies kind of get stuck by being the same thing over and over again. A band can go and play and reinterpret their music, or fans can reinterpret it by doing covers. Films don’t have that option.”

This interweaving of snippets of memory and remixing (and sharing the filmmaking etc) is something that the team behind SMSSugarman in South Africa have been developing too. But, one difference is what Lance offers as a new cinema experience. This is where we get to cool point number four. I’ll let the the press release tell the good news:

In what has been called a cinema ARG (alternate reality game) HEAD TRAUMA is taking a hybrid of music, movies and gaming on the road for a number of special event screenings 

The event consists of three core elements.

1. A screening of HEAD TRAUMA with a live soundtrack performance by Bardo Pond, Espers, Fern Knight, Marshal Allen (Sun Ra), Steve Garvey (Buzzcocks) and others. The music is mixed live with the dialog and sound effects tracks from the film to create a new alternate soundtrack.

2. Various props and sets from the film are setup on stage and certain characters from the film will emerge from the audience.

3. During the course of the film a phone number appears on screen. When viewers call the number they begin a game that will last through the film and follow them home.

They receive a number of cryptic clues as they are asked to solve a series of riddles. The interaction involves phone calls and text messages from the characters of HEAD TRAUMA that will lead viewers to hidden clues spread across the Internet.

“We’re trying to change the cinematic experience. We want to take the concept of narrative storytelling and move it across multiple devices and screens, so it is engaging the audience in new and different ways. People have been calling it a cinema ARG and the response to the initial screenings has been amazing. Not to mention I’m always looking for new ways to scare the audience.” Says HEAD TRAUMA creator Lance Weiler.

Bravo Lance.

HT Main site:

Trackbacks & Pings

  • Frantoio Design: Quattroetrenta :

    Head Trauma…

    Head Trauma è un film promosso tramite diverse interessanti inizative raccontate su crossmedia entertainment: innanzi tutto sono stati creati degli spazi su social networking social networking, blog, vlog etc; una colonna sonora alternativa e …

  • Cross-Media/Transmedia Entertainment » Filmmakers that Think Outside the Film :

    […] Weiler – an acclaimed director films such as Head Trauma (that I posted about here) and The Last Broadcast — asked me to write an article about films and cross-media for the […]

  • FanTrust » Blog Archive » Filmmakers that Think Outside the Film :

    […] Weiler – an acclaimed director films such as Head Trauma (that I posted about here) and The Last Broadcast — asked me to write an article about films and cross-media for the […]

  • Cross-Media + Transmedia Entertainment » Blog Archive » "Interactive Cinema Performances" :

    […] As I’ve mentioned here before, Lance Weiler created a unique theatre experience for the screening of his latest film, Head Trauma. His ‘cinema ARG’ involves special screenings of the film with a band playing the soundtrack live, actors and props from the film in the audience and mobile phone interaction. It has been touring across the USA and is now expanding to the web. His latest description: This fall the HEAD TRAUMA cinematic gaming continues. Players will interact with the film’s characters; offline, online, and via mobile devices in what is a cross between flash mobs, urban gaming, and ARGs. The game starts in late September with the airing of a special web series. The series will run across a number of outlets such as myspace, xbox, twitter, eyespot, stage 6 and opera. Then on Oct. 20th, live cinema games will play out in 10 cities across the country. Within the series are clues aka rabbit holes that lead to hidden sites, blogs, social networking pages and media. A full list of cities will be released in the coming weeks. […]

  • Networked_Performance — Interactive Cinema Performances :

    […] Weiler’s “Cinema ARG”, 2006/… – As I’ve mentioned here before, Lance Weiler created a unique theatre experience for the screening of his latest film, Head […]


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.