From the Pandemic came Pandemioza – an interactive audiobook, with visuals!
Pandemioza, an interactive audiobook, was published in 2021. It is created from the real-life experiences of the filmmakers and their friends. The story reflects life for many in 2020, a year when the whole world was feeling similar things. The fear of the unknown, the monotony of lockdowns and the continued isolation.
For Wojtek Jeżowski, the Black Rabbit team and some filmmaker friends, this presented an opportunity to try something different. Telling and sharing stories to try and make sense of the current times felt like a natural thing to do. However, with real-world filmmaking on temporary lockdown, the team had to get creative. Wojtek decided to tell his tales in the form of an interactive audiobook, with visuals.
Down the rabbit hole. Are Interactive audiobooks the future of storytelling?
From autobiographies to horror podcasts, educational programmes and more! Interactive audiobooks are hitting different markets and engaging their audiences in new, engaging ways.
Back into the Pandemioza – the story within the audiobook
Black Rabbit are an agency of storytellers, known for making the complex simple and helping tech brands to communicate.
The worldwide pandemic has challenged and stretched people in all manner of ways. For filmmakers, the immediate shutdown of productions was a tough brunt to bear. For storytellers, a creative outlet can be so useful for dealing with the strange and scary.
“It was an eerie time, very emotional for a lot of us … I wanted to create a cathartic experience … I hoped having this experience would lighten the load of the lockdown.” – Wojtek Jeżowski, Black Rabbit.
He was living with his wife in an apartment building. Renovation works would go on at all hours, heavy-duty machinery on a daily loop, neighbours creating their own noises. Truly, Wojtek was feeling the non-stop audio effects of being trapped in one location.
“It turns out that many of our friends had similar experiences and an idea started to linger in my head. I wanted to create a cathartic experience where one could actually do something … As I talked with other people, other real stories came to light and I started putting them together.” – Wojtek Jeżowski, Black Rabbit.
With filming out of the question and, given the profound effect the situation had had on Wojtek’s audio senses – he turned his creativity to the creation of an audiobook. But he didn’t want to simply rely on the audio to tell the story, he wanted to bring in visuals and, to further engage his audience, interactivity. Allowing the viewer to create their own, unique telling of these stories in this interactive audiobook.
Viewers make decisions for the protagonist, Aneta, as she goes through the motions of a typical day, in lockdown in her apartment. How does she react to her daughter who’s earning money streaming games all night? Does she talk to the neighbours about the never-ending drilling? The viewer sees Aneta’s mental health crumble as she navigates being surrounded by the noise and emotions of those both in and out of her apartment.
Adding the interactive technology – Why he chose Stornaway.io
When Wojtek had made interactive films in the past, he created the technical elements and software for each production. Nothing that existed had fit his needs – the online applications of pre-2020 all having very limited features and options. However, when he kicked off production of Pandemioza, Wojtek had a search to see if anything new had come to light.
2020 was the year that Stornaway.io entered the interactive video landscape – offering Wojtek the features he’d been missing from all other platforms!
“Stornaway is intuitive to use so I had a lot of fun experimenting with different options. Initially, my design was “one scene – one node” but later I fine-tuned the edit so that I reduced the number of nodes to the optimum.” – Wojtek Jeżowski, Black Rabbit.
By letting Stornaway.io do all of the technological heavy lifting – all of the magic that would make the audiobook interactive – Wojtek and the team were able to focus on the really important stuff – the story!
Stornaway.io appeals to creatives, technical and not technical, because of its user-friendly platform. It gives storytellers the option to add very technical elements to their projects without having to write code. From external links to either/or game logic – being able to add interactive elements without having to work out the magic behind it, let’s creatives be even more creative!
The platform has been able to “revolutionise the production processes” for filmmakers like Paul Raschid.
Reacting to the Pandemoiza
“We launched in 2021 and people overall liked it … We had mainstream media coverage and we appeared in morning shows with the main actors.” – Wojtek Jeżowski, Black Rabbit.
The reception to Pandemoiza has been great! The subject of the film – lockdown within a pandemic that is still very much ongoing – is close to home for many. A film like this, capturing the stories of real people in real situations, will surely be re-played and re-loved over the years. The memories it evokes, the recognition of how the situation was and how far we have all come, will strike a chord with audiences worldwide.
You can watch it here: