Interactive Storytelling in Eko Studio’s The Garage Sale
From the folks at Eko Studio, director J.M. Logan (The Disunited States of America) and writer Molly Hagan comes a new interactive film for the web, The Garage Sale. It’s about three couples who descend on a suburban garage sale with different aspirations and behaviorsl the film, viewable through a web browser, allows viewers to live-switch through their different stories. “The viewer is able to navigate between stories to get a different perspective, learn new information, and follow which of the couples they are most curious about,” says the press release. “While their choices will not impact the final outcome of the film, the sequence in which they watch will impact how they feel about the characters.”
The Garage Sale clocks in at just under an hour as a linear experience but in switching mode creeps up to feature length (75 minutes). The film nominally falls into the sometimes maligned “choose your own adventure” genre, but, as this explanation video demonstrates, there are some interesting twists to the format here. As with Eko’s previous Broken Night, the work is engineered for the browser and, indeed, the live switching here is instantaneous and impressive. And, in the instances when it’s not instantaneous, it’s delayed to guide viewers through a particularly important story point in the strand they’re watching. With all so-called interactive work having to choose between allowing free-form viewer behavior and decision trees made rigid by story structure needs, The Garage Sale impresses with its thoughtful design choices.