A good start to ThinkJam Day 2 : ‘Did anybody had nightmares or reflections on the event since yesterday?, asks Paul Tylor, when the group is gathering in the hall at the HIPP.
The groupmembers obviously know each other a little bit better now after the game playing and discussions on ThinkJam day 1. There’s a lot of chatting and knowledge sharing in the very nice atmosphere.
And a good deal of reflection on what it was like to play with the group of children invited to join ThinkJam the afternoon before.
‘We had the topic universe in our game. I realised from two of the children, that the universe is not far away out there, but within every little thing and within ourselves. My project is dealing with science fiction, time and future, so it was very important inspiration for me.’ Karin Berghammer, producer, Vienna
One important insight is that by creating the ‘perfectly’ formulated answer to ‘Why do you want to make this film?‘ when turned around into a phrase, may provide the author with a sort of direction for the creative work.
Paul explains that often the creation process is about doing business to business. It’s kind of the breakground. But since relevance for the audience is the keyword, you need to include it, otherwise they will never find the product or use it. Imagine if you could discover stuff about the audience, and if the topic, the issue is relevant for them.
According to Paul It’s actualy possible to communicate about even very difficult topics, in a way that the kids can relate to and are conscious about. The example given is ‘power’, and we watch a video where children respond to what they would do, if they were the ‘ruler’. The answers show that some kids care most about themselves: ‘I want some people to send me a hot dog’, while others tend to demonstrate a broader perspective, or maybe answer, what they assume the adults want to hear: ‘I would make less cars and more green’. It’s agreed upon that no matter the answer it’s amazing how much valuable information you can get out of a question like that.
When the question is turned over, the answers are very different, and it just proves how much output depend on the way you formulate the questions. A French boy answers ‘Angela Merkel’ to the question; Who rules the country? Another says ‘God’, a third one ‘I don’t know’.
When you are using games and play as an approach you’re holding a mirror towards the children. You are creating a ‘seductive’ frame, where the game is not important, but the reactions and emotions are the key. Thomas Vigild
The Gigglebug app
Another is example is a video about The Gigglebug app. It seems to be a very social app, since the children in the video use the app in groups and are laughing a lot, while they use it together. Actually you see the target audience more, than how the app is functioning. So it is an example of a product marketed by the laughing children; the user experience is in focus, not the app itself. The video shows, that the app is relevant to the audience, and that’s an important selling point. And when you see somebody laughing, you will laugh too; the audience may feel included: By showing the reaction to the game, we tend to mirror it.
Individual capture on what was going on
Each partipant is getting 20 minutes to individually reflect on the meeting and playing games with the kids yesterday. The participants may use the internet to see, how kids care about a subject, issue or domain.
Presentation af projects
The last couple of hours are spend at individual presenations of projects and reflections emerged from the session with the kids. One of the participants presents his project and afterwards condenses it into one sentence. Then the next one explain the essense of her experience from the meeting with the children. Each individual capture is written down to be shared.
This lead to a fruitful long discussion about a lot of universal issues, when it comes to develoment of contet for kids. For example about differencies in the way girls and boys perceive fiction characters: Whereas girls still tend to be watching films for kids with a male protagonist, the opposite is often not the case. And a debate about the importance of bringing in a little bit of familiar ‘atmosphere’ when describing a fantasy universe, to make the kids feel ‘safe’; to make sure that there is something, they may relate to.
Next concept is for an app. It’s at a very ealy stage. It is planned to be a multilinear story. You choose your own path of reading and structure. It’s relevant to boys, because ‘they are interactive’, the presenter says. Again keywords and phrases are put on a piece of paper, written in a circle. The statement leads to a fundamental knowledge sharing about children and reading.
Now follows a presentation of the third project, a TV-series. It’s a mixture of documentary, adventure and science. Targeted a young audience around 14. The characters of the story connect with the future, and can influence it. In this case the experience working with the children was, that the children actually were going back in time somehow to look into the future. So it seems they somehow confused travel through time with travel through space, so they provided the team with very important insights, because of their ability to dig into each picture in a very innovative way.
Also the last but one presentation of the day lead to interesting debates and inputs to a story that use magic in everyday life; not least about the meaning of the word ‘fear’, as understood by the children. It was also noted by the project group, that they – in general – might have been more concrete about keywords for the children, if their concepts had been more specified. For this project it would have been useful to exlore the notion ‘friendship’.
The last presentation is shedding light on problem fields not to be ignored. The group has been making af VR game in first person, made in 3D graphics, based on participatory design and are now working on another game related to the first one about the importance of empathy. The main character does not have a distinctive gender, which is one of the focal point in the concept.
The purpose and main objective of these two days have been to create a framework for practising the methodology of bringing in kids in the development process as valuable resources.
The final thing for the participants to do today is to formulate a very last answer to why they want to make this project, and what they want to take home from the ThinkJam.