Interview – Jason Butler on Collider and Transmedia
First of all, tell us a little bit about Collider.
Collider is story about five people from all over the world who find themselves transported through time to 2018. They wake in a hotel in Geneva. The world has collapsed. They could be the last people alive. Together with a scientist from the Large Hadron Collider they must work out how they got there and how to restart the Collider to reopen the time portal to go back in time to fix the world and their lives.
What drew you to Collider as being a project you wanted to work on?
Apart from the fact that it would be my first feature film and as such a great opportunity for me personally, probably the sci-fi aspect of the story and it’s international aspect. It’s got an international cast and is set in a ruined hotel in Geneva and tunnels leading to the LHD at Cern, in 2018!
Also that the production itself would be interesting. Getting to work with a great cast and crew and shooting in exciting locations such as the various tunnels and buildings in Ballymore Eustace water treatment plant.
Collider is a “transmedia” project. What exactly does this mean?
The Collider feature film is part of a wider project including iOS games, web series, comic books etc… Lots of these works existed before I was asked to work on the feature and all form part of a larger Collider World experience.
Do you think transmedia is purely for independent projects, or do you think it will have an impact on mainstream media?
I think transmedia is just the current word for what’s been done for a long time. There was a great standalone web experience for the movie A.I. that used clues embedded in the trailer and across the web to tell a parallel story to that of the film. The amazing marketing push for Anchorman 2 where they released funny, region specific videos to support the film is a type of transmedia. Innovative theatre productions have done some amazing things with technology. Spin-off games, books, cartoons etc… can all come under the banner of transmedia. Transmedia taken literally is just a way of telling a story experience across different platforms and media.
It’s a great way for independent productions, who don’t have the money to buy huge amounts of advertising, to engage with an audience. And also as an exciting way to express your story.
What difficulties and obstacles are there in working on a transmedia project like Collider?
The main difficulty is fitting in with the rest of the “world”. Obviously if there’s pre-existing media, in this case comic books, you can’t change the rules of the world for the feature film. You maybe can’t kill off a main character if the potential TV series to follow needs that character. Or change how something if it contradicts with what will come after the feature film part of the story or what came before.
Other difficulties, I assume, would be how best to tell each part of the story that is how to choose which platform to tell what part of the story. And how to make each part of the experience on each platform able to stand up on it’s own.
You may never know what people route into the experience will be, maybe they’ll read the comics first then watch the film then play the games or the other way round. Maybe they’ll only ever see the webisodes. So you probably should be aware of that.
What are the perks of working on this kind of project?
Feeling that the part of the project you’re working on, in my case directing the feature film, is not the beginning nor the end of the story. There is a little bit of freedom that comes from that. Also that you’re part of something bigger. You’ll get people being impressed by the comic book and that rubs of on me too.
The biggest perks are those outlined above – getting to work with the great cast and crew and learning from them and the experience.
Was there pressure on you to have the film live up to the expectations set by the other media elements, the comics/web series, etc.?
I don’t think pressure is the right word. There’s a few extra considerations or restrictions to take into account and some of those can be frustrating but I was aware of that going in. The ambition for the project is always going to be in conflict with the amount of money we had to pull it off. That’s probably always the way….
Finally, where can people find out more about Collider, and about you?
Go to www.colliderword.com for more on the film, comics etc… and www.jasonbutler.ie for more (not much more!) on me.