We met with producer and director Graeme McAulay to chat about Brain Crash
Can you sum up the Brain Crash in a sentence?
Brain Crash is an interactive documentary telling the story of a life-changing event from four different perspectives, allowing the viewer to choose which version of events to hear and believe.
What is the aim of this project?
I wanted to make a short documentary about a single dramatic event that put the viewer in control of the perspective they saw it from at each stage of the story. It was really important to me that the interactivity didn’t break up the flow of the film or take away from the drama of the event, but to see if it enhanced the audience’s enjoyment of the story.
How does this style of film differ from the productions you usually work on?
Every story can be told from different perspectives that can change people’s understanding or judgment of it. As a documentary-maker, it’s your job to gather those different perspectives to tell a balanced story, but in the end you can only show the audience one of those perspectives at a time. This interactive documentary puts the viewer in control – allowing them to make their own choices instead of you.
As a producer you have to be thinking about the story in multiple dimensions at once so it can be a bit mind-blowing at times.
How did this idea come about?
I was making a traditional TV documentary about young adults living with brain injuries, and Callum was one of the people I was filming with. I thought the story of his car crash would make a dramatic short documentary in its own right, and I decided to do this as a companion piece to the TV documentary, using interactivity to tell a true story in a way that couldn’t be done using traditional methods.
What are you hoping to find out from this being on Taster?
I’d like to see whether the interactive element of the film that allows the audience to take control and make their own decisions enhances their enjoyment of the story.
What happens next?
If it’s shown that audiences enjoy the interactive nature of the film, then I’d like to create a full-length interactive documentary.