Interactive Annual 20:
One of those rare websites that succeeds in giving you a glimpse into someone elses perspective. I love this project.
This gives a little glimpse of what it might be like to have autism. It allowed me to have a bit more understanding and empathy for those who suffer from the disorder. It was really moving.
Carly is a young woman living with autism, and is the co-author of the book Carlys Voice: Breaking Through Autism. To help promote her book, john st. wanted to bring people as close as possible to the feeling of living in Carlys world. Since autism inhibits normal social interaction, the project took the form of an interactive video over the course of which the user gradually loses control, an experience that mimics the loss of control and focus Carly describes in her book. The level of interactivity we are accustomed to in websites is also consciously inhibited, and the site gives us a first-person point of view into Carlys experience.
- • It took six months to complete Carlys Cafe.
- • john st. worked with OPC, Relish and Pirate on the development.
- • The site has been visited 234,419 times, with the average visit lasting 7:27. The non-interactive version of the video has received 557,198 views.
Comments by producer Marie Richer:
When you enter the cafe, you can use your cursor to shift your point of view between five different perspectives of the scene. You are situated in Carlys first-person view, and you have a sense of control over your environment. Then, intense distractions start to take over the experience: the coffee grinder, the sound of someone taking a sip, a slamming door. When a distraction occurs, you lose control of the interaction and can no longer shift your perspective. Every time a distraction ends, you regain control of the perspective. Distractions occur with increasing frequency until you reach the climax of the film, when control is completely lost.
After the project launch, Carly received thousands of messages from people, including parents of autistic children, who felt they understood the condition better. By sharing the inner life of a young woman living with autism, we also reduced the stigma associated with the condition and countered the dehumanization faced by people living with autism. The site was shared at the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities.
First, choosing the correct level of interactivity to strike a balance between control and subsequent loss of control without detracting from the overall emotion of the piece. We wanted to make sure the interaction did not overwhelm the narrative, visual effects, sound design and acting, but rather served as a complement to the overall piece.
The second challenge was to decide how literally we should interpret the text that the project was based on. Not everything described in Carlys writing could be directly represented through filmhow do you show an overwhelming smell? The only limit we placed on our interpretation was to make everything feel true to Carlys experience. This was the most challenging and rewarding project Ive ever worked on.
Marie Richer, art director
Kelly Uman, writer
Stephen Jurisic/Angus Tucker, executive creative directors
Heung Lee, interactive developer
Marc Cattapan, technical lead
Chris Murphy, editor
Chris Mably, director of photography
Sean Cochrane, visual effects artist
Miles Jay, director
Rob Simonsen, composer
Ryan OHagan, agency producer
Dennis Beier, line producer
Donovan Boden/Harland Weiss, executive producers
Relish, editorial company
OPC, production company
Pirate Toronto, music company
VFX, visual effects company
john st. (Toronto, Canada), project design and development/ad agency
Carly Fleischmann, client