A groundbreaking new short film shot in San Francisco’s Ingleside District recently won the Student Filmmaker prize at National Association of Theater Owners CinemaCon, and the winning film “Sirens” is now available on YouTube (and embedded below!). But “Sirens”, directed by SF State student Shane Murphy, has a crazy twist — it’s a ‘choose your own adventure’ movie with eight different possible endings, and you the viewer get get to crawl inside the protagonist’s head to make his choices and decide his fate.
“Sirens” can be seen above, and at first glance appears to be six minutes, 16 seconds in length. But it’s actually about twice that long, because at the end of the six minutes you get the choice of “Take the gun” or “Refuse the gun.” Each of your decisions sets off another short film, based on whatever decision you just made.
Be aware that this technology, powered by an app called TimePlay, only works on a desktop computer. I tried it on an iPhone and couldn’t make the choices, then on an Android mobile device it just skips to some other unrelated video on YouTube. So you’ll only get the full effect if you’re using YouTube on a desktop computer, though Murphy insists the filmmakers are working on updates that make the film fully operable on mobile platforms.
Still, it’s neat take on filmmaking technology and does not require any additional plug-ins or downloads. The film’s director Shane Murphy hopes to see other streaming platforms enable similar technology, and bring in a new era of interactive movie viewing.
“Interactive media is the direction content is heading,” Murphy told Golden Gate Express. “Filmmakers like myself need a way to host and distribute that content without losing (viewers) because of the interface.”