An old lady’s sulking

Hello people! Do you remember Glen Keane’s latest short movie Duet? I hope you do because it’s Glen Keane you guys, and it was actually a very good and very sweet film. Nonetheless, I found myself disappointed in the (now old) news I bumped into about that short film. I should say that I would like it very much, if some of you could share your opinions on it, because I feel like a grumpy old lady about mine.

Google I/O developer conference

So, it turns out this video was (I’m making a slight assumption here) made to promote a new Google product. To quote the Cartoonbrew article directly: “…the 59-year-old former Disney animator and director will be making an interactive hand-drawn short for Motorola’s Spotlight Stories initiative, developed by their Advanced Technologies and Project group.”

So, if I’m getting this right, this video was made using new technology that would make the story smart phone-only and interactive? I watched it on my computer and it was not interactive (obviously). Did I miss something about the story? Is the use of smartphone providing something that would make the meaning of the story more complete?

There are several articles (ex1, ex2, ex3) on the subject, some of which I didn’t have the time to review myself yet, which you can read for yourselves if you want to see more opinions on the subject.

I don’t know, maybe I’m just too old already, or have become too sceptical or too bitter towards companies, but the idea of storytelling that can be extended or terminated by camera movement alone just doesn’t convince me. What meaning does this feature add to the story? Isn’t that the main point of storytelling? To send a message, to tell a story? If the story is about a rat trying to catch a hat, why does my experience become more meaningful if I watch him do it for 10 minutes rather than 2?

People please, don’t mix your concepts. There is entertainment and there is art. There is art and there is storytelling. Those are 3 different things that don’t necessarily go together. And as far as I saw it, the new feature introduced here adds nothing of artistic or story value to these films that couldn’t be made without it. That process may be entertaining but it is in no shape or form a new way of storytelling. Show me an example where you add meaning to a story with this process, that couldn’t be done without it and I will embrace it. Please find some other way to sell unuseful stuff to people and don’t bring art and storytelling into this, they’ve been through enough as it is. Call it a cool new way of entertainment. And please, don’t call it groundbreaking. L.A Noire was a far more interactive way of storytelling than this, and it happened 3 years ago. And yes, video games are a thing and users play a central role in them these days.

I want to be fair so I will post the other short animations made to promote this feature so you can see them for yourselves. They are truly quite cute. If someone has a smart phone please, share your experience! I don’t wanna miss out if I’ve been wrong, storytelling is my passion, let me know if minds have been blown and I have no clue!


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