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DATE: 2020

ORGANISATION: Choose Your Own Documentary

ROLE: Narrative Design Consultant

Choose Your Own Documentary was originally a live show narrated by Nathan Penlington, that allowed an audience to vote on decisions he would make in his quest to find the author of a mysterious diary discovered in a second hand book.  With multiple endings and thousands of possible combinations of scenes, Choose Your Own Documentary was a truly unique live show, and the team behind it asked me to consult on adapting it into a digital experience that could be played at home.


The Choose Your Own Documentary show involved decisions which were meant to be taken collectively, and smoothed over by a live, human narrator.  The Boy in the Book required adjustment to account for the lack of live audience participation, and a means of conveying information that otherwise would have been spoken by Nathan, often adapting on the fly to audience choices.  Crucially, the experience also needed to account for the different context in which players would encounter the experience: a live audience has already resolved to give up 90 minutes of their time to a show, but someone on the internet is much more fickle.


The team developed a chapter system to split the story up, as well as a chat mechanic that allowed story information to be delivered to the player in between video and image sections. The resulting experience remains unlike anything out there, and was featured on BBC Arts and the LeftField collection at Pax x EGX 2020.

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