The Frequency Effect was a major challenge to deliver. It took a huge amount of effort. As it broke ground, there were definitely quite a few thoughts and piece of advice that I would pass on to any budding storytellers out there.
1. Research exactly how to do it. Layout the elements and storyboard it
2. Be aware of the elements you would like to bring together and make them integral to the story.
3. Bring together an amazing team who believe in the project.
4. Don't forget the quality of the writing.
5. A story is all about the story.
6. Be conscious of budgets at all times.
When I began to create The Frequency Effect, I was presented with a mountain to climb. Irrespective of how difficult it would be to create a multimedia experience - or go beyond it with VR, a soundtrack, music videos and an immersive premiere - I was doing something different.
Different doesn't always mean people are going to jump on board, something I was very aware of. In fact, I knew that partly the reason multimedia novels had never taken off is because there isn't the expertise or marketing machine available to deliver them. The literary agents, and publishers aren't movie houses or record labels and vice versa.
Of course, this meant it was very difficult to get any of them to buy into the concept. It's hard enough for an agent to launch a book by an established author or a record label to launch a follow up by a world renowned artist. As for movies, many blockbusters are shelved from the promo circuit if their early screenings go badly. What hope had I got?
I respect them all completely. I had no problem when agents told me it wouldn't work, or simply didn't understand it. There was no precedent, no examples of success. I was taking a massive risk - and I knew it. Many journalists thought it sounded interesting but didn't get it - as it was so different. Luckily though, I took excitement in those who got it straight away. The ones that did wanted it to go further, but unfortunately I didn't have the budget and awareness to make that happen.
But there was always one question that made me think and it was a very important point raised by the agents who has dealt with multimedia novels previously and many of the early reviewers. They loved novels with a passion. For them, the concept shouldn't be tampered or tainted. I understand their view. Reading for them is their safe haven. It is their escapism. It is their route away from digital.
Of course, I listened and ensured that I catered for them with a follow up. But, I don't believe that they speak for everyone. In fact, there are millions of people who never read. Literacy rates are still at very low levels, but these individuals are definitely not socially unaware - quite the opposite.
Their world is not the same as a critics. Their imaginations are created by the things they see on social media - which presents a different question. Maybe they could be drawn to reading from a different perspective by speaking to them through multimedia methods - especially as the book's themes covered their love of technology.
When I set out to create a multimedia novel, I guess I was like every other person who had considered it. Why aren't there others who have done it before? There were... and many are really thought provoking... but they are not quite the same as an immersive cinematic novel.
I invested an incredible amount of time researching the themes of this story to bring together an immersive cinematic experience. I came at it from the perspective of storytelling. The elements were simply a new way to turn imagination into reality. Because the story was so unique, the elements were so unique. It was then clear to see that the whole concept was unique.
That brought many challenges. It is not easy to get people excited about something that they haven't seen before or don't understand. Telling someone about the impact of the iPhone without them ever having seen a smartphone isn't easy. People have been watching TV for years, but it still took a while for Netflix to change the game.
In creating this story, it was clear that there were no guarantees it would ever work. Quite the opposite. The literary industry was in decline and getting every element right meant that it had to the as good as a bestseller, with all the elements as good in their own right as the media they were created for.
The main reason for progressing was therefore the challenge to create something worthy of a new audience and in keeping with the revolution in the way media is consumed. I had to face key challenges... Could I bring together amazing people to believe in the concept? Yes. Could I break the boundaries of creativity? Yes. And could I do in such a way that it will remain relevant when the industry has caught on? Online time will tell.
As an independent and self-financed production, I had to be really economic. I didn't have huge budgets, but instead amazing people who were available to bring it together. The themes are so relevant, and affect so many people. The aim was therefore to try to get one person to discover and enjoy it.
This is the killer question surely? What is an immersive cinematic novel. Multimedia novels have been around for years, right? Isn't it just the same?
Well, at first glance, you'd be forgiven for thinking that. Since the dawn of digital, many people have been playing around with various multimedia novels - and many are very good - but they are not quite like The Frequency Effect. Why?
Here's why. The Frequency Effect is the first novel ever to bring together everything that a cinema experience has to offer - movie soundtrack, characters, scenes and blend it seamlessly with a literary experience. Going even further, it is the first novel ever to give people the opportunity to become part of the story - before launch - at the immersive premiere.
But it wasn't all about creating the elements for the sake of it. The storyline was essential to making the immersive cinematic experience work. It was crucial. The whole story charts a journey to digital convergence and portrays a society where multimedia experiences are simply par for the course. There should be nothing groundbreaking about the story's themes. Instead, it is simply a logical path that we, as a society are following.
To that point, the immersive cinematic experience aims to be the forerunner in a whole catalogue of similar novels in the future. There is clearly debate about which way these novels will go. Whatever form they take, storytellers love the opportunity to be creative. Immersive Cinematic novels allow for limitless creativity.
The other point about this story which goes beyond simply the format, is that it provides the opportunity to bring the audience into the story and create a subculture with which the story can then grow. If enough people love it, then the sequel will be a reflection of their behaviours and actions. Immersive experiences would then create a completely new way for the story to be discovered.
So, you have a choice to make. Join the resistance and became part of it, or simply become a passenger to its progress.