In a ground-breaking step forward for interactive media, Kiwi directors Steve Ayson and Damien Shatford of The Sweet Shop partnered with Semi-Permanent and Google Creative Lab Sydney to create a first-of-its-kind interactive movie experience for Google Creative Lab’s experimental platform for interactive storytelling, the Cube.
A six-sided display that integrates motion technology to offer its audience members an active role in the storytelling process, the Cube allows viewers to physically interact with the device, spinning it in different ways to reveal new dynamic storytelling opportunities of their choosing.
Directors Steve Ayson and Damien Shatford were challenged with the task of finding a way to use the technology to tell a story unlike anything the world has seen. After a whirlwind process of writing and experimentation, the directorial pair developed an innovative approach in which the six sides of the Cube would be used to tell a series of short stories in which the characters move across each side of the device, each experiencing their own adventure while simultaneously becoming the heroes, sidekicks, and villains of their neighbor’s worlds. The result is a completely unified storytelling experience that experiments with the limits of what storytelling can be.
“It was very refreshing to be let free on a project that was both a new format but also without boundaries when it came to the characters and their stories,” said Ayson. “I loved how even when we had all of our ideas plotted out, this medium meant we couldn’t help but come up with more great ideas that would have our characters interacting on the different sides.”
Shatford adds, “Writing a 3D narrative proved to be challenging – however the CUBE technology forced us to push through any preconceived notions of what story-telling could be. With the trust of Johnny and Murray and an amazing team we were allowed to really splurge creatively and create something pretty buzzy.”
The Cube premiered in May 2014 at Semi-Permanent, an annual conference and exhibition event that’s goal is to spread art and design inspiration across cultures through the use of new and emerging technologies.
“The film that Steve, Damien and The Sweet Shop team created to wrap around our Cube was completely perfect,” says Semi-Permanent Co-Founder and Director Murray Bell. “In the space of 2 weeks, whilst we were preparing for 10,000 guests at Semi-Permanent to launch the Cube, the team comfortably stepped outside of the normal realms of commercial projects and created something never done before. It’s a testament to the confidence their team has in the directors and the production team.”
A web and smartphone version of the Cube, as well as Steve and Damien’s film, is planned in the near future.