The Mystery of Paradise Island—Interactive YouTube Adventure
The Mystery of Paradise Island—Interactive YouTube Adventure
The world's first interactive story in which you can change the genre midstory! Play through on Youtube or eBook.
The world's first interactive story in which you can change the genre midstory! Play through on Youtube or eBook. Read more
About this project
Watch The First Story Segment Below!
Have you ever been watching a movie or reading a story and thought something like this?
- "What if this horror changed into a comedy?"
- "What if this drama turned into sci-fi?"
- "What if this adventure story suddenly became a musical?"
THAT is the big idea. For the first time ever and with your support, it will become reality. It's the world's first genre-shifting story! It's like the choose your own path books, but instead of arbitrary choices of A) Open the door or B) Slap Jonathan in the face, you get to choose what GENRE the story becomes.
So... Is This a Book? A Film?
This is primarily a youtube adventure that's driven by professional narration, voice acting, sound effects, visual aids, background music, and contextual story information that's all tied together in the innovative "story dashboard." See the video above to get an idea of how it works. Because it's on Youtube, it will be free to watch and share with your friends. As this is such a new concept, I'd like for as many people to see it as possible. I am eager to share this idea (and this story) with others!
I'm also creating an eBook version (PDF).
What's the Story About in One Sentence?
An aimless young office supply associate and his two best friends are kidnapped by aging pirates trying to find an island of legend that promises longer life spans.
Okay, Give Me More Sentences About the Story
The story takes place on Jakorra Island, a fictional land in North Carolina, USA. Jakorra Island is loosely based on Ocracoke Island in the Outer Banks, NC, USA. The Outer Banks are not only my favorite beach spot, they're filthy rich with pirate history. Did you know that little Ocracoke Island was the home of perhaps the most famous pirate of all time, Edward Teach (AKA Blackbeard!)? Other notable pirates that frequented the Outer Banks were Calico Jack and Anne Bonney (see here).
This synopsis covers the "canon" storyline (upon which the two planned sequels will be based). But as this is a "Genre Shifter" story, you can significantly alter the path by changing the genre at select moments. Not all paths are pirate tales, trust me! Depending on the path you take, there's music, murder, weird futuristic weaponry, romance, old west saloons, flying mechanical cats, and deadly obstacle courses to be found.
If that isn't exciting enough, well, I think it is exciting enough.
Why Shift Genres in the Middle of a Story?
The first and most important advantage of this type of story is emotional satisfaction, which is an essential and natural part of storytelling. When you go to select a movie for the night, you don't generally search for a particular plot—Russian ventriloquist becomes a boxer, annoying opponents by pretending to speak for them—instead you'll search for a particular genre.
You'll say, "I'm feeling like a comedy tonight." But if you're like me, you'll start watching one thing and change your mind 5 minutes into it. Genres cater to certain moods, and moods can change. Now you can switch when you feel like switching! If you want to laugh, choose comedy (or for this story, the musical segment is actually turning out to be the most hilarious). If you want to get absorbed into an exciting tale, go with thriller or adventure. If you just want things to get weird, go for Sci Fi or Time Travel.
The second and also most important advantage of this type of story is that it's usually hilarious no matter what path you choose. As the author of this multi-genre story, I do my best to be true to the chosen genres, but there's no getting around the fact that no matter how well-executed a switch to horror is done, you might laugh simply because the story started in the PG Family Movie genre.
The third and definitely most important advantage of this type of story is that there are no wrong choices. Sure it can be fun to try to pick the "right" choice in a choose-your-path tale, but more often than not, I've been frustrated that picking the wrong choice was completely arbitrary and luck-based. Who likes to lose arbitrarily?
Because you're choosing genres instead of specific actions the characters take, you're gaining far greater control over the entire direction of the story, and it's fun. If you pick murder mystery, guess what? Someone's probably going to die because of your choice, and you know that. Every path you take will come with its own set of surprises, but none of them involve you "losing" because you guessed wrong. We're all winners here, so please accept your participation trophy (*cough* after donating *cough* please *cough*).
The fourth and by far most important advantage of this type of story is that it's the future of entertainment. Well, it is if you ask me. My dream? To create innovative interactive experiences like this in real life. Movies are wonderful, but there's been little to no innovation in this area for decades. 3D? Ha. That's not even new!
What if, on a Saturday night, you and your friends could lovingly fight over whether you turn a story into a Rom Com or Musical Thriller (new genre?)? Don't get me wrong, I love movies too, but it's nice to have more fun options!
Risks and challenges
1. Timing: It's hard to estimate how long this will take. I want to make sure it's great before I release it into the world, so delays are possible. (But if you choose the NAVIGATOR level, you'll get to see much of the adventure as I complete it instead of waiting for the whole thing to be finished!) In addition, I'm creating video for each story segment, and creating quality video requires a lot of time.
2. Finances: It was a real challenge to estimate how much this will cost. It was helpful to put together the prologue to get a basic idea of the costs involved, but as my ambition for the project surely grows, so does the cost. I will need to be careful to manage that and distribute my budget evenly over the entire project rather than spending it all on the first 3 videos.
3. My nonfiction work. Not working on my "bread and butter" nonfiction projects is a gap in income. My previous nonfiction work does bring in passive income, however. If things get tight, I might have to spend more time on that side. I expect to be just fine, I'm just digging for possible setbacks. If I had an unforeseen financial catastrophe, that could delay this, but I think that's pretty obvious.
Bottom line: If I get the funding, there's not much in my way. Even if I only get the $7,500, I believe that's enough to produce a great experience. I have a lot of time to devote to this and I've had a burning desire to do it for a while. If I get support and there's active interest in the project, that's fuel to my fire!
I'm in a position where it's possible to do this and do it right. Thanks for your interest and support!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
There is a canon storyline, and it's the straight adventure tale. If you choose adventure all the way through, you'll hear the canon storyline. In some cases, veering off to different genres will tell you more about the backstory of the world and its characters. In other cases, the story will go off into another direction entirely (you'll be able to tell when you've left the canon world).
Daniel Penz is the narrator and will voice several characters. He has also narrated my books. I've told him he has a golden voice. He has two Emmys.
Laura Knopp Avnaim is an actress in LA, and she will be voicing the primary female character, Alice, and the other female characters. She's starred in several television shows and has recently moved to LA to further her acting career.
Stephen Guise (that's me) is writing the story and voicing the main character, Danny.
I'll gladly bring more talent if I get enough funding!
Basically, You'll see a "story dashboard" screen that always features a name or location. Above this, an indicator will show who is currently speaking (so that you will NEVER mix up characters). And underneath the name, there is an information box that will give you additional contextual details about the character or situation. To the right of the information box is the setting. This will be an image or video that shows what type of setting the characters are currently in. The story dashboard ensures that you won't lose track of where the action is taking place, who is talking, and other pertinent details.
The story is narrated, but also has voice acting, complete with sound effects and background music. At certain key moments in the story, the dashboard might be replaced with a fullscreen "cinematic" scene. You can see an example of this in the video above with the sunrise.
I need to license all of the music, sound effects, stock images, and videos. And of course, I have to pay the voice talent. This is in addition to my time: I'm pausing my nonfiction pay-the-bills work to pursue this dream. It's a risk, but I'm a believer in smart risk-taking, and I think this idea is brimming with potential. I haven't even scratched the surface of what's possible when you consider things like mixing genres and or letting the viewer choose to add a certain type of character into the story.
With your support, I can really put my full weight behind this project without hesitation!
I will put in the effort to make it so.
My books and video courses are consistently rated among the highest in their industry by consumers because I would rather create one epic product than 3 average ones. My video course, Mini Habit Mastery, is somehow rated an average of 5 stars from 101 reviews, and Udemy (who hosts it) told me that students associate the word "fun" with my course than with any other. So if I can make a course that's meant to teach habit development fun, I can take a concept that's already fun into something unreasonably fun.
I've never created a product that's rated below 4.6 stars.
The goal amount of $7,500 covers the projected cost of the project in it's current bootstrapping state (not compensating for my time), and I would be thrilled to reach it. If this amount is exceeded, I could do a lot more!
I can hire more voice actors, buy additional audio and video material for a richer experience, and even see about adding in more "movie-like" scenes.
I can hire more consultants to help me further polish the writing, the different plot lines, the graphical interface, and more.
I can ADD more genre choices to the story.
I can add in animated sequences (like for a character's backstory). These would either be pictures or video, depending on how much money I have to work with.
I would consider creating a paperback version.
I could hire a designer to make the eBook awesome and fancy (for example, designing pages to reflect the current genre).
There's a LOT I could do. I'm open to your suggestions if I'm so fortunate as to exceed the goal.
Currently, there are 17 story segments represented by 9 different genres (the ones you see in the video). The average play through will have 3 story segments, which is 2 choices. One actual path you can take is Adventure > Romance > Murder Mystery. Like most choose your path tales, these all turn out to be short stories to accommodate for the multitude of choices.
Of course, some of the backer rewards involve YOU helping me create more branches and genres. The final project is likely to have at least 3 more story segments for a total of 20+ segments.
The canon storyline is basically complete aside from final polishing touches. About 60% of the other storylines are finished. As far as creating the youtube adventure from it, only the prologue section is finished (the part that leads to your first choice).
I'm estimating 7 months. I can work on this nearly full time.
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- (30 days)