When MTV chose to add a horror movie to its programming schedule, it was with the understanding that the film would be a stark departure from the reality shows that currently dominate the network. The venture was carefully fleshed out and the pulse of the people was examined: MTV used Eventful.com to see if 100,000 people would express interest. When the counter reached that magic number, Savage County was slated for broadcast on October 7th, at 11PM EST/10PM CST.
Savage County features a group of teens that drive over to the Hardell residence on a dare to pull a knock-and-dash. This prank goes horribly wrong when the eldest of the Hardell clan ends up dead, setting in motion a vengeful killing spree as the rest of the Hardell family seek to impose their kind of vigilante justice on the residents of Savage County.
And where the movie ends, the alternate reality game begins. Head of MTV’s New Media division, David Gale, was inspired to continue the thread of the Hardell story through an online extension, and hired writer and transmedia producer Nina Bargiel to flesh out the experience. Bargiel was kind enough to come out from behind the curtain and offer her perspective on this on-going project. “The ARG is part of the overall transmedia experience,” Bargiel said about the background of this storyline. “When I was hired, there was some pre-existing prequel narrative – the great Sinner’s Medicine comic by Director and Co-Writer David Harris.”
Image courtesy of Nina Bargiel
Yesterday, the Streamy Awards kicked off its Streamy Craft Awards Ceremony, recognizing excellence in original web television programming. While the Streamy Awards Ceremony will take place on April 11 at the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles, tonight’s ceremony at the Barnsdall Gallery Theatre recognized innovation in the craft of digital production in particular.
Among the night’s winners were a few series that utilized alternate reality games as part of their storytelling. MTV’s Valemont took home the awards for Best Interactive Experience in a Web Series and Best Mobile Experience in a Web Series. The series was produced by Gemini Division veterans Electric Farm Entertainment, and consisted of a series of two and a half minute episodes broadcast on MTV.com and through Verizon Wireless’ V Cast service.
Nina Bargiel was tapped to create the alternate reality game for the series that allowed players to enroll at Valemont University, interact with characters across various social media, and participate in the show’s ongoing murder investigation. Since the episodes were so short, the alternate reality game became an integral element in the story’s development. Indeed, after the game’s conclusion, Valemont released two alternate endings for the series. Electric Farm Entertainment is set to produce a Valemont spin-off TV movie and five half-hour episodes that could be slated into a full series in the future. Winning two Streamy Awards may help push these plans forward for the web series and alternate reality game.
Riese will also be returning from the Streamys with an award, after picking up Best Cinematography in a Web Series. The show promoted its release with an alternate reality game that brought the series’ distinctive steampunk flair to life. Riese, like Valemont, has partnered with Fireworks International to manage the show’s transition from web to television.
Click Here to visit Valemont Commons, the fan community for Valemont.