Tag: will wright

Current TV’s Participation Tango, Bar Karma

An old man stands behind a bar.  Half butler, half mad scientist, he sports a three-piece gray suit, an all-knowing smile, and the frayed messy grey hair of an aging genius.  He withdraws a deck of cards labeled with simplistic circles and lines, slowly shuffling the deck before placing a handful of cards in front of a patron at the bar going through a turning point in their life. Every time he touches a card, the card’s face is replaced by a glimpse into one of the patron’s many potential futures.

Welcome to the signature scene from Bar Karma, a science fiction themed television show on Current TV. This past Friday, Bar Karma ended its first season.  The show features characters from different times and places as they unknowingly enter a bar outside time and space when they have a tough decision to make.  The show repeatedly asks questions about fate and free will as the barkeep and his small but attractive staff attempts to help each new character while protecting their renegade consultation shop from a mysterious evil entity.  Each episode’s narrative is created in part by an active portion of the Bar Karma audience that proposes and votes for plots.

Co-produced by former Nickelodeon executive Albie Hect and Sims creator and game industry legend Will Wright, the show is experimental TV on the bleeding edge of interactive storytelling.   “The mission is to extend to the viewing audience an unprecedented amount of input and participation in the development of the series,” says David Cohn, General Manager for Current TV.  “To create the world’s first community-developed series.”

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Will Wright’s Bar Karma: One Step Closer to Collaborative Entertainment?

How often have you thought to yourself I could have written that better after watching an episode of your favorite television show that fell below your expectations? Game designer Will Wright‘s new television series may give you the chance to do just that.

Earlier this month, Current TV announced its new tv series, Bar Karma, scheduled to debut in the first quarter of 2011. Created by game designer Will Wright, known for his popular video games including The Sims and SimCity,  Bar Karma‘s production model promises to provide a high level of audience involvement with the show, giving viewers direct control of the plot as the story evolves in 30-minute episodes.

Wright has designed interactive technology for Current TV’s audience-produced material that will be adapted to the production of Bar Karma. Current TV’s press release for the show lists four steps in the episode development process:

  • Step 1: Joining – viewers register and log on to the Bar Karma website.
  • Step 2: Creating – participants submit their own storyboards based on a basic outline provided by the producers, which all participants can then comment on, discuss, merge ideas, and hammer out a final plot.
  • Step 3: Voting – participants will vote on the finalized story proposals.
  • Step 4: Producing – Once voting is closed, the studio will produce the winning storyline, and the episode will then air. Episodes will be 30 minutes in length.

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