Murmur pioneers next-gen storytelling.
Immersive Next Gen Web Series
For the fifth and final season of the sci-fi web series FUTURESTATES, producer ITVS decided to reboot the series as an immersive, next-generation project. For the first time, it utilizes a shared storyworld between each of the individual films, a rich backstory, and an immersive web experience across multiple online platforms to tell a larger story. The goal was to experiment with a new narrative form and a nonlinear storytelling structure, yet allow each of the films to still stand on its own.
Murmur was commissioned by ITVS to conceptualize, design and produce the overarching experience. We developed the storyline for the main character, Dr. Evelyn Malik, and produced all of the video, audio and text “artifacts” that connect through the site. We also designed and developed the primary rich media site and collaborated with the ITVS team on the social media rollout across their Twitter and Tumblr presences.
Theater of War - Story Points
Mobile Audience Sentiment App
The Theater of War: Soldiers & Citizens Tour presents readings of ancient Greek dramas to military and civilian communities as a catalyst for powerful discussions about the visible and invisible wounds of war. By presenting these plays to military and civilian audiences, the goal is to de-stigmatize psychological injury, increase awareness of post-deployment psychological health issues, and disseminate information regarding available resources.
Outside The Wire, the producer of Theater of War: Soldiers & Citizens Tour, asked Murmur to develop a web-based app that could be used to capture audience "sentiment" in real-time during the performance, as well as feedback afterwards. Designed to be streamlined and accessible by practically any smartphone, audience members are able to simply tap whenever a moment resonates positively or negatively. The app is a tool to help generate compassion and understanding between diverse audiences.
Immersive Cinema Platform
Immigrant Nation is a new, interactive social enterprise. Its goal is to facilitate rich, cinematic storytelling among a diverse audience involved with American immigration - past, present, and future. In partnership with Murmur, Immigrant Nation is developing an online platform that will serve as the hub of activity, supported and complemented by a variety of outreach activities, including social media and live events.
At the heart of this project is a simple premise: most people in the U.S. have an immigrant journey to share — be it their own or the voyage of a relative in the past. As the hot-button topic of immigration divides communities across the country, this shared history has the potential to create commonality between new and potential arrivals as well as those whose families have lived in the U.S. for generations.
The Immigrant Nation platform will create an interactive experience that helps users connect to their own story, and enable them to see the common threads between the stories of potential immigrants, new immigrants and longtime residents — making immigration personal, while putting immigration trends in historical context. It will also integrate into the Immigrant Nation social media channels, and streamline the process of story submission and distribution.
This is an effort that has never been more timely: the population demographics of the United States are changing and the Census Bureau predicts that in the next 20 years, white descendants of European immigrants will no longer be the majority in this country. This year, the subject of immigration will also take center stage in a National debate as a bipartisan push to tackle immigration reform ensues.
The Aatsinki Season
Immersive / Crossmedia Cinema
An online companion to the feature documentary film Aatsinki: The Story Of Arctic Cowboys, the project is conceived as an interactive debate which exposes the many social, environmental, political and moral issues confronting the Aatsinkis – a family of Finnish Lapland reindeer herders. The online experience continues the interweaving themes of the film and challenges the audience to reconsider their own assumptions about technology, food production, and, most critically, man's place in nature.
The Lost Children
The Lost Children is an interactive feature film and live event enabled by technology. Created by Murmur partner Mark Harris, the project went through IFP's Narrative Lab and had its world premiere at The Film Society of Lincoln Center.
A sci-fi thriller, The Lost Children tells the story of Evelyn Hamilton, a young New York City socialite turned would-be messiah. Running from her troubled family, Evelyn joins the cult of The Lost Children, who believe they are actually aliens from another world, stranded on Earth and awaiting rescue. Meanwhile Evelyn's family hires a professional cult deprogrammer to extract and "un-brainwash" her. But soon everyone begins to question what they believe to be real as the cult's predictions all seem to come true.
The Lost Children immersive experience breaks the boundaries between traditional film and live theater in a number of ways: reacting to audience feedback in real time, the film alters itself, hiding and revealing different aspects with each screening. Furthermore, Audience members are placed in direct contact with the cult itself, and face their own susceptibility to cult indoctrination techniques.
Participants explore the world of The Lost Children not only through sight and sound, but through touch, scent and taste as well. Through direct interaction with cast members and the environment, select audience members are guided into personal experiences and deeper, hidden levels where further secrets are revealed and new questions arise.
Jets Overhead – What You Really Want
Social Music Video
Long abandoned by the likes of MTV, the music video as an art form is at last undergoing a renaissance due largely to the internet and social media. It is also a format ripe for further experimentation. Our social music video for the indie rock band Jets Overhead continues our interest in blurring the lines between video narrative and software.
The band's song "What You Really Want" seemed tailor made for audience participation. So we first created a website that enables fans to upload photos of themselves holding hand-drawn signs of their most personal hopes and desires. Using HTML5, the video is programmed to display a random selection of the photos during the song's chorus. The result is a new kind of collaboration that incorporates original footage created by Murmur, user-generated images submitted by fans, and curation by the band members. The video content itself changes each time it is viewed.
The video had its world premiere on RollingStone.com in December 2012.
Immersive / Crossmedia Cinema
Jerusalem Unfiltered is a counterpart to the upcoming feature documentary Battle for Jerusalem. While the film focuses on the struggle of young, fearless City Council member who is fighting to save both her city and her career from the grip of ultra-orthodox extremists, the crossmedia extension delves further into the ancient city's diverse and contested neighborhoods.
Short video profiles of political, social and cultural leaders cover topics from Jerusalem's cultural renaissance to religious pluralism and Israeli-Palestinian relations, Jerusalem Unfiltered deepens our understanding of the city's hopes and challenges as we join some of its most interesting citizens in navigating the complexities of their cherished, misunderstood and historic city.
Him, Her and Them
Him, Her and Them is the first example of a Social Film. Whereas traditional films are linear narratives, Social Films combine traditional storytelling with audience participation. Him, Her and Them explored the idea of adding to the story via simple text additions, much in the same way that comments work on Facebook pages. Additionally, the content is then filtered by each viewer's own social network within Facebook. Therefore, viewers only see contributions from their "social graph" — their circle of friends.
Shot in high-definition video in multiple locations around New York, the film tells a timeless, archetypal story of a young man living in a city. Thematically, it explores the idea of power, and how our notions of power are shaped through our relationships, and also through media. The film was released on Facebook in April 2011.