EMET'S CROSSING, Calif., Oct. 27, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Alternate Reality Cinema™ company This Is Definitely Real debuts the world's first alternate reality cinema project. Built around an extended-release movie in the style of Scott Pilgrim meets Fight Club, the story "Dared My Best Friend To Ruin My Life" [https://teamzander.com] extends through over a dozen narratives, interactive experiences, and fictional characters who respond to the 9 episodes with their own content and interact with the audience. In a world that feels increasingly like an alternate reality game, this first-of-its-kind asks its young adult audience to question what is real, play with their own online personas, and participate in the storytelling.
Based on a viral Reddit story of the same name, the experience begins when Team Takedown, an anarchist hacker group, bent on canceling everyone in power, hacks influencers. The protagonist Zander Jones hacks them back, sending a plea to the internet to help them find his kidnapped sister. As Zander's team grows, the audience can view the episodes or go down the rabbit hole, pick a side, and search for the truth.
"If you look at the comments on YouTube, people keep asking whether this is real. It looks fake, but is it real? The line has become so blurred that it's hard to define real any more. And we're getting people to ask those questions," said Michael Morgenstern the film's producer.
The story universe is populated with characters (all from the town of Emet's Crossing) with real social handles, websites, video series, and interactive experiences of their own, creating an explosion of content and a web to explore. Participants can message the characters and receive replies and watch videos from the local news show, alien puppet invaders, a beauty queen named Miss Information, a brutally satirical revenge-based fitness influencer, and Zander's mom, a technically illiterate boomer who drops her phone number [406-284-0565] all over the comments and will text back.
"Our fictional story is put together the way some news events are put together; the way conspiracy theories are put together. Social media is a place where stories are being told — some designed to manipulate us, and our audience is delighting in exploring these themes," says Morgenstern.
The audience is invited to take sides in the feud between two friends, becoming live participants in the internet-based thriller, or watch and enjoy as a fly on the wall (toupee).
"It's inevitable that stories will move out of movie theaters and into the world we live in, with the audience being invited to join in. It's just taken a few years for movies to catch up and really use the medium of the internet," says Morgenstern.
The project is built exactly like QAnon, except we tell you we're fictional," Morgenstern said. Who hopes that the story leads to experiential understanding about how controversies and stories are incepted into the public consciousness. "This type of storytelling is used already politically, but this is the first time it's been used to tell a stylized, overtly fictional story at this scale," says Morgenstern.
An independent team of over 400 immersive theater artists, marketers, technologists, and filmmakers have built the narrative machine that powers the experience.
On the eve of a polarized election, in a world where disinformation spreads rampant, the story's audience is engaging deeply with the story's questions: when is it right to cancel someone? Who really controls the stories we tell? Is there a good and a bad team, and which one am I on?
Interested viewers can join the experience and start participating
at https://teamzander.com or on YouTube