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Édouard Lanctôt-Benoit, developer
Caroline Robert, illustrator
Vincent Morisset, director
Hugues Sweeney, producer
National Film Board of Canada, production company
AATOAA, project design and development

Launch Site

"Interactive art that tickles the senses and moves the creative spirit." —juror Michael Potts

"This project takes interactive storytelling in a new and offbeat direction. Sometimes it's great to just do things for art." —juror Keith Butters

Overview: This film for computers, directed by Vincent Morisset, takes an innovative approach to narrative. It explores human communication and addresses the challenges of storytelling in the digital age. Viewers make the story possible; without them, the characters remain inert, waiting for the next interaction. Translated in nine languages, each of the six chapters in the story depicts a different aspect of communication, such as learning a language, making small talk or expressing emotion and stands apart in its emphasis on achieving an emotional response in the active viewer.

• From the first synopsis to the online launch the project took almost two years to complete; extensive time was spent experimenting and defining a grammar for the non-linear format.
• The target audience speaks any language, is between 4- and 100-years-old and knows how to click with a mouse. To date 125,933 persons have played with it.
• BLA BLA consists of 702 sound clips and 35,000 lines of code and incorporates xerography, drawing on paper, ActionScript-generated animation, puppet stop-motion and 3-D mapping. 

Comments by Vincent Morisset:
How did this project compare with others you've worked on in the past? "We wrote and created BLA BLA based on universal stuff: the social nature of humans, our fear of the unknown, the desire to be in control and feel free and, paradoxically, the love of being taken by the hand. A reflection on storytelling within this medium, it's structured in chapters with a linear progression and an invisible interface. It was concepted and designed so people from different backgrounds could enjoy the experience—from a five-year-old kid, to a total geek, to my mother. The spectator clicks, plays and searches through the simple, uncluttered scenes, truly driving the experience...there's no quest, no villains, no points."

How did time constraints affect your final solution? "It's really rare that we're given the luxury to take our time developing a web project. For the first time, I was able to reflect in depth on the challenges of interactive storytelling. BLA BLA is the result of that experiment. The entire process was trial-and-error. We can innovate much more with smaller teams and more time, than we can when we compress the creative process with a bigger structure."


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