For quite a while now I’ve been working on something codenamed ‘The Wonder Project’. It is a ‘digital picture book’ and it’s super exciting. The technology is exciting, the pictures are exciting, but most importantly the story is pure excitement! It’s a true catalyst for the reader’s imagination… like a book - but it’s alive… like a film.
At the moment when relatives ask about it over dinner I call it a ‘digital picture book’ because in my awkward fumble for an analogy I grab the closest one I can find, but it’s a flaky one. This mode of storytelling is just as much like-and-unlike a video game, and just as much like-and-unlike a movie as it is like-and-unlike a traditional picture book. Follow?.. ? … Great!
The story, the pictures, everything is designed for the digital picture book experience.
I’d like to step into this field, still so young that it doesn’t have a good name, and create a masterpiece - perhaps the first - of a digital picture book. A book that draws on all of the great things about the new medium and lets go of all of the rear view mirror mentalities around which so many digital picture books are built today. A fancy powerpoint presentation my ‘book’ is not. From the ground up my ‘book’ is written for touch screen devices, the story, the pictures, everything is designed for this experience. I hope to create a genre-defining work.
Although I didn’t know it at the time, my work over the last few years has been leading me directly to this point. My decidedly non-digital looking pictures, with all of their texture, honesty and mistakes are just begging to be brought to life, in a way that doesn’t only say “Look at me!” but positively screams “Jump on in, you’re a part of this world now too. Let’s escape together!”.
I am unashamedly a massive geek, as you may have noticed I also fancy myself an Artist. Well the Geek-Copter just collided with the Art-Blimp and the fire has given birth to one hell of a monster.
It’s about a boy who stands still for a moment and ends up on the other side of the world.
‘So what’s it about!?’ I hear you collectively feign interest… Well I can’t tell you everything yet but I will tell you this; it’s about a boy who stands still for a moment and ends up on the other side of the world. Now - the really really exciting part is how he gets there, and that’s also the part that i’m not going to tell you yet. Dear reader, If you would like to find out you will have to be patient. I promise it’s worth the wait…
One year. One year and it’s yours. I’d love to have it out quicker, but I’m flying one hundred percent solo on this one. I’m writing it myself, I’m constructing all of the pictures (there are heaps of pictures) and even building the iPad app myself. Great things take time! But perhaps the hardest part is already done… After a year of false starts and amusing but ill-fated pursuits I have concocted my most exciting story yet - but there is still a tremendous amount of work to do and surely numerous unforeseen hurdles to overcome. With approximately thirty pages - each of which is alive and participatory - this is far far more ambitious than anything I have attempted. More ambitious even than going to the moon. But I know I can do it.
It’s about making entertaining things and delivering them directly to people who want to be entertained.
This is about far more for me than just writing a book, it’s a step towards independence… It’s about building a business around a simple goal. To make entertaining things and to sell them directly to people who want to be entertained. The iPad and digital distribution have made this possible in a way that artists and entertainers could never have dreamed of just three years ago. What a fantastic time to be young and foolish!
I went to art school to study photography but I gave up on calling myself a ‘Photographer’ a long time ago. The truth is you chose the medium with which you can best say what you want to say. I’m a storyteller now. I have a story to tell, and the absolute best way to tell it, the best way to experience it, the best way to be moved by it, and the best way for it to make you jump with excitement is for it to be delivered as a perfect little package of ones and zeros, of light and shade, of colour, of sound, of immersive interaction and participation. You are the protagonist buddy! Not Katniss Everdeen… Not Tom Cruise… YOU!
So stay tuned.