Oblong Films

Oblong Films is a Bristol Based film company specializing in observational documentary. The company was set up in 2009 and has had a number of documentaries presented on television including ‘Prom Queen Divas UK’ (channel 5) and ‘The Naked Rambler’ (BBC) The Company was nominated for 3 RTS West Awards for their documentary ‘Millionaire Boy Racers’ an unscripted documentary that provides an insight into the influx of super cars and their wealthy owners in central London each summer.

The company hasn’t posted any recent updates of work online and they haven’t posted on Twitter for the past 6 months.


Bracken Films – Corporate and Documentary Small Film making Company

UWE Industry Talk – Bracken Films

Bracken Films is a small Corporate and documentary film company headed up by Two ex UWE Film making students Jim Smith and Zander Mavor. They created the company after leaving UNI and have secured a number of contracts with high profile customers to create promotional videos and internal team videos for company training and information.

Jim and Zander came to UWE to give an industry talk. he main focus was of their experience since leaving UWE and how they went about setting up their company; they also showed us some of their past work including Jims documentary ‘The man who fell from the sky’ which documents the story of immigrants fell from a planes landing gear onto a London street.

This talk was very useful to me because it’s the sort of area I wish to go into after finishing in UWE. While I feel many people will turn their noses up at corporate work, i think it’s a good way to build a brand and a reputation which could in tern lead to bigger more creative documentary work, Also I think this steady work offers stability while still offering the opportunity to work on passion projects for low or no income.

Jim and Zander explained that they have a good working relationship because both of them specialist in different aspects of the film making process. Jim is more of the DoP while Zander takes on the sound roles, I think having these specialisms is a real asset because it means that both parties need each other which will help strengthen the bond of the owners while also easing the pressure on each person.

Jim and Zander explained some of the pitfalls of setting up their company and things we might avoid. they explained how they contacted a number of companies to offer their corporate video services and that this didn’t get them much work; the work they currently get comes through networking and through contacts through friends so this is something to think about when I start my business. The boys talked about some of the processes such as invoicing the company (40% pre-production & 60% on delivery) and the importance of contracts to protect yourself. They also explained some of the other work that may be involved including pitching ideas from a brief to potential clients.

Zander and Jim also stayed behind after the talk for a beer and had some great personal advice for myself and Hanna-Jane.

One criticism I do have around Bracken Films would be the lack of online presence, while the boys had business cards it is very hard to find any information on the company and there is currently no website to get contact information or view the companies show reel of past work. I think when building my company this will be one of the first things I should look into initially.



Bibliography – Creating Screen Fiction Research


A Look Through 14 Beautiful Video Game HUD Designs. 2015. A Look Through 14 Beautiful Video Game HUD Designs. [ONLINE] Available at:http://feedgrids.com/originals/post/a_look_through_14_beautiful_video_game_hud_designs/. [Accessed 12 March 2015]

BBC Academy – Production – Profile: 1st assistant director. 2015. BBC Academy – Production – Profile: 1st assistant director. [ONLINE] Available at:http://www.bbc.co.uk/academy/production/article/art20130702112135660. [Accessed 19 February  2015]


BBC Radio 4 – The Media Show, The Clarkson Row and Handling ‘Difficult’ stars, The Future for Netflix, The Green Party Media Policy. 2015. BBC Radio 4 – The Media Show, The Clarkson Row and Handling ‘Difficult’ stars, The Future for Netflix, The Green Party Media Policy. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b055gcbf. [Accessed 18 March 2015]


CREW CALL: Location Manager/Scout Rob Story – YouTube. 2015. CREW CALL: Location Manager/Scout Rob Story – YouTube. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6R_W2WDTi2k. [Accessed 26 Janurary 2015]

First Assistant Director Greg Zekowski interviewed by Robert Reber (cinematographer) – YouTube. 2015. First Assistant Director Greg Zekowski interviewed by Robert Reber (cinematographer) – YouTube. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=89f87abF2Wc. [Accessed 15 Feburary 2015]

I am the location scout for the show Breaking Bad AMA : IAmA. 2015.  [ONLINE] Available at:http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/zaw2h/i_am_the_location_scout_for_the_show_breaking_bad. [Accessed 26 Janurary 2015]

Location Manager (Film) | Creative Skillset. 2015. Location Manager (Film) | Creative Skillset. [ONLINE] Available at:http://creativeskillset.org/job_roles_and_stories/job_roles/2943_location_manager_film. [Accessed 25 Janurary 2015]

Annotated Bibliography


Robert Pratten, 2011. Getting Started in Transmedia Storytelling: A Practical Guide for Beginners. Edition. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.

Robert Prattens practical guide to transmedia storytelling offers a compelling insight into how to plan, produce, pitch and finance transmedia storytelling projects, and some of the pitfalls that can avoid a project failing to grasp the audience’s attention.

In chapter 4 Pratten discusses the differences between ‘immersion’ and ‘engagement’, this was useful to me in clarifying that to bombard audiences with masses of content does not make for ‘immersion’ and can have an adverse effect on the intentions of the experiences creators. Pratten explains that for a project to become successfully ‘engaging’ to an audience it must deliver specific content at specific times and only if these processes are followed are you likely to have a successful campaign.

“When audiences connect well to your content, they go through three stages of engagement: Discovery, Experience and Exploration”

Pratten explains that in the early stages of ‘Discovery’ it’s important that audiences don’t have to do too much in order to be hooked into the experience element; they should feel compelled enough to go further but not feel so overwhelmed that they are put off altogether. I think this approach also serves to create a sense of exclusivity and if I think about successful trans media projects such as ‘Secret Cinema’ it is the very fact that the participants are given very limited information with the promise of a substantial reward at the end that makes the project so popular.

Pratten related the three stages of engagement to the five human senses, discovery acting as smell and taste, asking the audience to dip their toe into the water to see if they like it. Experience is acknowledgment and initial involvement (touch and sight) with the stage being exploration, leaving the audience wanting more or wanting to contribute themselves.

“The audience needs to be reassured that your content is worth its time and attention. You need to reduce the perceived risk by communicating “trustworthiness”, “coolness”, “quality”, ”appropriateness” – whatever values are sought by the audience for this type of project.”

As a use of social media I find it easy to identify with Prattens theory of engagement. Increasingly we are bombarded by media campaigns trying to demand our attention be it a viral video, online game or the latest survey/quiz. Before participating we consider what we are being asked to do, how long will it take and what reward will we get at the end? We also consider who out of our friends have also explored this media and use that to gauge the “trustworthiness” and “cool” factor.

When comparing the theory’s presented concerning audience engagement and how we put these into practice with our concept project I think we are approaching the initial stages of interaction correctly. Our aim was to use social media to build an inquisitive audience through the twitter campaign initially before releasing larger amounts of content on our main application page. We would continue to use social media to invite the audience in the later stages of engagement to contribute to the story as they seek further participation options. The thinking behind our campaign was for the audience to stumble upon us accidentally get engaged rather than bombard them and put them off which would have a detrimental effect on our project.


Does Star Wars show Secret Cinema has lost the force? | Film | The Guardian. 2015. Does Star Wars show Secret Cinema has lost the force? | Film | The Guardian. [ONLINE] Available at:http://www.theguardian.com/film/filmblog/2015/mar/11/secret-cinema-star-wars-empire-strikes-back-lost-the-force. [Accessed 22 April 2015].

The ‘Secret Cinema’ is one of the more well-known immersive transmedia projects with ‘hard-core’ movie fans but after some problems over the past couple of years and with increasing profits but with less focus on working ethics, in The Guardian’s article they question if the unique selling point has now been lost in favour of commercial gain.

Over the past few years ‘Secret Cinema’ has increased in popularity, the once niche event has grown enormously and with this year’s event planned to run for 2 months I find myself agreeing with the article when it suggests that the whole concept has been diminished of late. The whole appeal to me in ‘Secret Cinema’ was in the name itself, ‘Secret’. As a participant you were given very little information as to what to expect from the event, you were given a simple brief for the evening detailing locations and suitable attire and that was about it; even this was given at very short notice. This sort of initial engagement echoes how Robert Pratten (Getting Started with Transmedia Storytelling, 2011) suggests campaign planners initially develop audience engagement. The ‘Secret Cinema’s’ participants have learnt to trust the organisers and so are happy to purchase tickets for events on the understanding that there will be a great reward at the end.

The very fact that The Guardian can report 2 months before the event this year what to expect in terms of the ‘cinema’ element of this event will be is sentiment to the changing face of the brand into a more mainstream event that appeals to the masses and gets maximum cash returns. The article reports that there is growing anger within the community that has been established and it seems to me that the event organisers are alienating the very people that they were trying to engage in the first place, ironically on the same platforms that were used to create this secret club. Previously I found it very hard to find opinions about what happened at these events, even speaking to friends I was told that if I wanted to know then I should pay my money and I wouldn’t be disappointed but nowadays the internet seems to be littered with reviews which suggests that the audience are not 100% on board with the ‘secret’ concept; even the organisers themselves are posting event videos of previous events as a way to encourage business.

I think when creating any form of transmedia application it’s important to try and stay true to the original concept and values, if these are taken for granted then you risk devaluing your credibility and in turn the unique appeal is diminished which takes away the charm that appealed to the audience in the first place.


What Would Kirk Do?. 2015. What Would Kirk Do?. [ONLINE] Available at:http://www.itv.com/coronationstreet/what-would-kirk-do. [Accessed 20 April 2015].

The long running soap opera ‘Coronation Street’ provides an interesting insight into how to incorporate interactive media into already established formats to bring the programme up to date with the increasingly important online and interactive markets.

Recently the drama has introduced a number of interactive features to engage online audiences. YouTube was previously incorporated to provide catch up services for audiences with short clips from the show being broken down and uploaded as separate features. This seems to be a great way of re-using already created content to engage with an audience. With the increasing use of social media providing short clips in this format also increases the awareness of the original content (TV Show) as short clips on YouTube are easily sharable online and can serve to gain new audiences.


In December there was further incorporation of YouTube and the introduction of interactive features that enabled the audience to make choices about the direction that storylines in the show can take. The first attempt at audience participation was a mini-series called ‘What would kirk do?’ This was an online series based around on of the shows characters. The timing of the mini-series fitted around the characters storyline in the main TV show. The mini-series episodes were structured in a way that allowed the audience to make clickable decisions that would have affect how the next instalment of the series took place. The mini-series used a number of the shows regular characters and I think was appealing to regular audiences as it gave them the opportunity to see the characters do things that they may not necessarily see on the regular show due to the nature of their characters.



The recent introduction of character based twitter accounts was a major step in this series  and I think is one of the more successful uses of interaction between characters, brands and the audience to date. The introduction came in the form of interaction during a court case in the shows storyline. The producers chose a strong character (Norris) who is known for his ‘busybody’ traits so was an ideal character to make most use of the Twitter concept. The audience engagement with the character came as he ‘tweeted’ his ramblings as if he was sat in the viewing gallery of the court while the case was proceeding, viewers could see the character tweeting although this was obviously filmed in advance.

When creating our concept, the use of Twitter as a way of engagment between our characters and the audience was a key inspiration. I think the concept that was introduced by the ‘Coronation Street’ programme makers was a fantastic idea but I feel it may have been somewhat lost on their audience who (especially at that point in time) may not be a demographic that constantly engages with Twitter. I think Facebook may have been a more popular option but the platform isn’t really suitable, I feel,  for this type of instant audience engagement.







Bibliography Of Research – Interactive Media

Please find below a list of sources that I have used when researching my roles and storyworld ideas for this module.

Robert Pratten, 2011. Getting Started in Transmedia Storytelling: A Practical Guide for Beginners. Edition. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.

Flash Professional Help | Working with Flash documents. 2015. Flash Professional Help | Working with Flash documents. [ONLINE] Available at:https://helpx.adobe.com/flash/using/flash-documents.html. [Accessed 12 April 2015].

Alchemy – Virtual Reality storytelling. 2015. Alchemy – Virtual Reality storytelling. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.alchemyvr.com/. [Accessed 15 March 2015].

Does Star Wars show Secret Cinema has lost the force? | Film | The Guardian. 2015.  [ONLINE] Available at:http://www.theguardian.com/film/filmblog/2015/mar/11/secret-cinema-star-wars-empire-strikes-back-lost-the-force. [Accessed 21 April 2015].

Mum locks her young girls in bedroom every night so she can live with child abuser – Mirror Online. 2015. Mum locks her young girls in bedroom every night so she can live with child abuser – Mirror Online. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/mum-locks-young-girls-bedroom-5546343. [Accessed 26 April 2015].

Nth Screen. 2015. Nth Screen. [ONLINE] Available at: http://nthscreen.tv/. [Accessed 24 April 2015].

Secret Cinema. 2015. Home. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.secretcinema.org/. [Accessed 26 April 2015].

Virtual Reality Gets A Real Content Studio With Launch Of Alchemy VR | TechCrunch. 2015. Virtual Reality Gets A Real Content Studio With Launch Of Alchemy VR | TechCrunch. [ONLINE] Available at:http://techcrunch.com/2014/07/07/virtual-reality-gets-a-real-content-studio-with-launch-of-alchemy-vr/. [Accessed 22 April 2015].

What Would Kirk Do?. 2015.  [ONLINE] Available at:http://www.itv.com/coronationstreet/what-would-kirk-do. [Accessed 20 April 2015].

How to Make a Flash Website with Adobe Flash Professional – Flash Tutorial – YouTube. 2015. How to Make a Flash Website with Adobe Flash Professional – Flash Tutorial – YouTube. [ONLINE] Available at:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwa7thRvngY. [Accessed 28 April 2015].