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The Art of Immersion: How the Digital Generation Is Remaking Hollywood, Madison Avenue, and the Way We Tell Stories

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A field guide to the visionaries—and the fans—who are reinventing the art of storytelling. Not long ago we were spectators, passive consumers of mass media. Now, on YouTube and blogs and Facebook and Twitter, we are media. And while we watch more television than ever before, how we watch it is changing in ways we have barely slowed down to register. No longer content in our A field guide to the visionaries—and the fans—who are reinventing the art of storytelling. Not long ago we were spectators, passive consumers of mass media. Now, on YouTube and blogs and Facebook and Twitter, we are media. And while we watch more television than ever before, how we watch it is changing in ways we have barely slowed down to register. No longer content in our traditional role as couch potatoes, we approach television shows, movies, even advertising as invitations to participate—as experiences to immerse ourselves in at will. Wired contributing editor Frank Rose introduces us to the people who are reshaping media for a two-way world—people like Will Wright (The Sims), James Cameron (Avatar), Damon Lindelof (Lost), and dozens of others whose ideas are changing how we play, how we chill, and even how we think. The Art of Immersion is an eye-opening look at the shifting shape of entertainment today.


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A field guide to the visionaries—and the fans—who are reinventing the art of storytelling. Not long ago we were spectators, passive consumers of mass media. Now, on YouTube and blogs and Facebook and Twitter, we are media. And while we watch more television than ever before, how we watch it is changing in ways we have barely slowed down to register. No longer content in our A field guide to the visionaries—and the fans—who are reinventing the art of storytelling. Not long ago we were spectators, passive consumers of mass media. Now, on YouTube and blogs and Facebook and Twitter, we are media. And while we watch more television than ever before, how we watch it is changing in ways we have barely slowed down to register. No longer content in our traditional role as couch potatoes, we approach television shows, movies, even advertising as invitations to participate—as experiences to immerse ourselves in at will. Wired contributing editor Frank Rose introduces us to the people who are reshaping media for a two-way world—people like Will Wright (The Sims), James Cameron (Avatar), Damon Lindelof (Lost), and dozens of others whose ideas are changing how we play, how we chill, and even how we think. The Art of Immersion is an eye-opening look at the shifting shape of entertainment today.

30 review for The Art of Immersion: How the Digital Generation Is Remaking Hollywood, Madison Avenue, and the Way We Tell Stories

  1. 5 out of 5

    Caleigh Minshall

    I picked up The Art of Immersion out of personal interest and out of some vague, low-lying desire for this kind of immersive storytelling in my own life. (Embarrassing fact: Much of my life has been spent playing The Sims, one of Rose's favourite examples.) The book fails to cover much in the way of novels, instead choosing to focus more on worlds that begin on the screen: Star Wars, Avatar, The Sims, FarmVille, among many others. Of course all of these worlds begin with text in the form of scri I picked up The Art of Immersion out of personal interest and out of some vague, low-lying desire for this kind of immersive storytelling in my own life. (Embarrassing fact: Much of my life has been spent playing The Sims, one of Rose's favourite examples.) The book fails to cover much in the way of novels, instead choosing to focus more on worlds that begin on the screen: Star Wars, Avatar, The Sims, FarmVille, among many others. Of course all of these worlds begin with text in the form of scripts, and, in some cases, these worlds sprout their own novels and comic books later on -- but I'm still excited to find a book that deals with text-based stories and how even that's becoming more participatory (e.g. online role-playing games and collaborative world-building). The Art of Immersion is an excellent introduction to the topic of transmedia and immersive story-telling. There were a lot of examples that I was unfamiliar with, either because they occurred slightly before my time or -- in the case of an online game for The Office -- because I was too busy watching and re-watching the show to play! Rose hesitated to get very critical of the failed stories, games and marketing campaigns, instead often calling them simply "ahead of their time." But for a newbie to the field, just hearing the basic gist behind some of the top thinkers and story-tellers of the day was a real treat. The really good stuff, though, only came out at the end when Rose delves into the psychology behind gaming and stories. He could have easily expanded those few chapters into an entirely different book, and I would love to read it. Again, however, his hesitation to criticize and his unquestioning love of the subject leads to a couple of missed opportunities. In one case, Rose describes Skunk Works' Gunslinger: a holodeck game set in the Wild West of the 1880s. It's "essentially a stage set," complete with three life-size projections of characters: burly bartender, cowering bar help and the nastiest, fastest gunslinger in the West glowering in the corner. Players were sent in to interact with these screen characters, and ultimately told to bring out the gunslinger under arrest. Well, turns out 40% of the players chose to shoot on sight (prompting the gunslinger to inevitably win the draw contest and kill the player in the first few minutes of the game), and several declined to fight at all. Rose shows this example in just a couple paragraphs, and ends it with a quotation from Kim LeMasters, the creative director: "How do you get a human being to behave the way you wish them to behave? In a normal story, I have complete control over all characters. In this story, I have control of only three characters. The other character has a human brain." So the issue becomes one of control, reflecting back on an earlier chapter of authorship. But I have some more questions: Is there a certain point where people don't want to be immersed any more? Can games and stories become too immersive, and when will game producers, story-tellers etc. face that backlash? Will the typical superheroes at the heart of videogames have to change at a certain 'immersion threshold' and players start acting more, well, like themselves (regular human beings: cowardly, selfish, clueless)? Rose only barely touches the surface of these questions in the last chapter, but to me these are some of the most interesting questions to ask. What would have made this book really great, for me, would have been a list of recommended reading at the end. Rose provides the introduction; I wish he also gave a guide for more in-depth work to really chew on. The one must-read I've come away with is Convergence Culture by Henry Jenkins -- but I'll wait for a few more weeks before starting that one. I need time to digest! The Art of Immersion has only whetted my appetite and after Rose's breezy style, I think I can handle some more density (and substance).

  2. 4 out of 5

    Dav

    This book goes over a lot of recent phenomena of which I was moderately aware, so it was nice to get some details, but overall I didn't get as much out of this book as I had hoped. It was short on theory and heavy on case studies. It was good to get a sense of how much massive immersive experiences created by marketers are starting to gain traction however, especially among the younger generation. The main impact this book had was to highlight that my tendency to avoid these new marketing experie This book goes over a lot of recent phenomena of which I was moderately aware, so it was nice to get some details, but overall I didn't get as much out of this book as I had hoped. It was short on theory and heavy on case studies. It was good to get a sense of how much massive immersive experiences created by marketers are starting to gain traction however, especially among the younger generation. The main impact this book had was to highlight that my tendency to avoid these new marketing experiences has caused me to not keep up with a new force in our culture that is gaining in power. Rose talks about an "arms race" between advertisers and audience, with each getting more sophisticated all the time The changing context of our culture from mass distribution to personalized streams of entertainment is having a powerful effect on this arms race.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Craig

    First, the cover is very appealing. That might not sound like I have much good to say about this, and that's partially true. Rose is a very clear, engaging writer but the chapters do not ultimately feel connected in any grand scheme or overall message. I'm left feeling on the hunt for the argument. This evokes a too-pedestrian feel, like a collection of Wired articles about your favorite TV shows and films and how they have utilized an immersive entertainment experience. But as a reader intereste First, the cover is very appealing. That might not sound like I have much good to say about this, and that's partially true. Rose is a very clear, engaging writer but the chapters do not ultimately feel connected in any grand scheme or overall message. I'm left feeling on the hunt for the argument. This evokes a too-pedestrian feel, like a collection of Wired articles about your favorite TV shows and films and how they have utilized an immersive entertainment experience. But as a reader interested in this subject, I've read all of the articles before and I want something new. However, the book does explore some interesting territory with regard to the human drive to be immersed that I found the most riveting part of the text. Unfortunately, it was not a substantive part of the text.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Chad Post

    Pretty interesting description of various "immersive" trends in culture and media (the Lost ARGs, various video games, new trends in advertising as experience, etc.). Rose doesn't draw a lot of conclusions, or really do any philosophizing about this stuff, which is cool, but also maybe a bit of a letdown. And at times this reads like a series of Wired pieces strung together. (Certain anecdotes and examples get repeated a few times--a pet peeve of mine.) It's a very compelling read though, and qu Pretty interesting description of various "immersive" trends in culture and media (the Lost ARGs, various video games, new trends in advertising as experience, etc.). Rose doesn't draw a lot of conclusions, or really do any philosophizing about this stuff, which is cool, but also maybe a bit of a letdown. And at times this reads like a series of Wired pieces strung together. (Certain anecdotes and examples get repeated a few times--a pet peeve of mine.) It's a very compelling read though, and quick as well.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Stephane

    A very interesting survey of the current "state of the art" media immersion that is out there. Very thorough look at all media, including movies, books, games, advertising and more. Well worth the read, even if most of the cases are known, just to see the juxtaposition and to remind us of what is possible, even without any high tech. Well worth reading.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    It's more interesting as an overview of current changes in technology than it is as a commentary on immersion.

  7. 4 out of 5

    T.G.

    Hands down the best book I've read all year.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Tiffany

    Tiffany T The Art of Immersion discusses how video games have been used to further a movie’s Public Relations. The movie industry has been using movies and since the modern age to draw audiences to the theaters. At the time this book was written the concepts of games, whether interactive or video, as a precursor to big-budget Hollywood films began to take off. Frank Rose uses examples from popular films such as The Dark Knight and Avatar to demonstrate how the movie industry increased audience en Tiffany T The Art of Immersion discusses how video games have been used to further a movie’s Public Relations. The movie industry has been using movies and since the modern age to draw audiences to the theaters. At the time this book was written the concepts of games, whether interactive or video, as a precursor to big-budget Hollywood films began to take off. Frank Rose uses examples from popular films such as The Dark Knight and Avatar to demonstrate how the movie industry increased audience engagement. The book delves into how action movies that include superheroes and fantasy characters have taken the modern-day media by storm. The company’s producers and famous directors such as James Cameron, Stephen Spielberg, and George Lucas have all utilized the gaming concepts. They developed ways in which movies and games can be seen as one and the same to movie-goers. “By creating the movie and game in tandem, he hoped to have a game that would explore elements of the story the movie could not” (p. 55). This tactic not only would bring people to movies but also make them want to purchase the games so they can feel as if they are apart of the movie too. As a look back to the past the book talks about the history of Star Wars, it began this interactive media phenomenon that we know today. Star Wars was the first film to really get audiences to fantasize about an alternate universe. The movie had audiences hooked and the cult-like following expanded to include adults dressing up as their favorite characters for Comic-Con, books, toys, and games. Having an audience feel invested is not only vital in today’s movie market but also highly profitable. The Art of Immersion showcases that whether it is film or television, the industry gets its cues from the audiences. I found the book to be very informational, rather than personal. It looked at the industry through the perspective of those behind-the-scenes and gave us a glimpse into their thinking. I would wonder at times why I saw so many contests and merchandise of these major productions. I believe this book helped me to understand more the thought process. In the modern-movie age your sort of need a gimmick to gain the audience’s attention. Audiences now have little patience and they want to experience a movie or Tv show in a new and innovative way. It is no longer enough to just watch and enjoy. They crave more and demand more for their money. This demand, in turn, forces the entertainment industry to produce more products, contests and interactive gaming. I think the book is very insightful if you’re someone who is interested in just how the industry moved into this direction. I have an interest in Public Relations, so I found the trials and error of the movie industry amusing and interesting. I felt the book did give a bit of a history lesson and I think my only criticism is just that I would’ve enjoyed it being a bit more organized. For instance, if the book started in the ’80s and then kept going forward. There were many times where references to the past kept coming up and made me distracted. Overall, I enjoyed the book and did feel as if I was immersed in a world, I knew very little about.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    Hyperlink films, like hyperlinks themselves, are really about simultaneity—the sense that you can be seeing one thing and instantly switch to something else that’s occurring at the same time. At some basic level, the implication is that we exist in a multiverse. Simultaneity as the salient fact of our culture long predates the Internet. It was television that got people acclimated to the idea—especially after remote controls started to proliferate in the seventies. But simultaneity predates even Hyperlink films, like hyperlinks themselves, are really about simultaneity—the sense that you can be seeing one thing and instantly switch to something else that’s occurring at the same time. At some basic level, the implication is that we exist in a multiverse. Simultaneity as the salient fact of our culture long predates the Internet. It was television that got people acclimated to the idea—especially after remote controls started to proliferate in the seventies. But simultaneity predates even broadcasting. It began with the nineteenth-century inventors like Alexander Graham Bell, who gave us the telephone; and Nikola Tesla, who pioneered the development of alternating current. “The greatest of all reversals occurred with electricity,” Marshall McLuhan wrote in Understanding Media, “that ended sequence by making things instant.” That ended sequence: from that point on, McLuhan was saying, the demise of sequential narrative was inevitable. *** Frank Rose’s The Art of Immersion occupies an interesting cross-section between marketing and art—more specifically, the production of art. Throughout history, the two have not always been so intimately entwined, but we live now in an age where they are, in fact, inseparable. The water cooler concept is at the heart of Rose’s argument—the understanding that as individuals, we (a broad percentage of us, at least) want to somehow participate in our world and the narratives constructed therein. Often that participation is passive (watching television, reading a book), but Rose’s thesis shows that passive role turning active. Through things like Alternate/Augmented Reality gaming (real-world treasure hunts), Web 2.0-based social immersion (Twitter, Facebook, and blogging), and the crossing of mediums in ways that have not before been achieved, storytelling has changed, and is still changing, dramatically. In many cases, the narrative implications are minimal, and it is the social element—the marketing language, distribution, and social delineation—that is seeing the largest push. Using the Why So Serious? alternate reality game that led to participants, after jumping through a series of real-world hoops, to being given a glimpse of 2008’s The Dark Knight and Heath Ledger’s Joker before anyone else was an early successful example of the sort of event posited by Jane McGonigal in her 2011 book Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World. Games (video games, specifically), though often lacking in terms of narrative construction and development, offer a feeling of accomplishment that few other artistic mediums do—a sense that, as a player, the individual has played a part in the telling of a narrative. Whether or not that narrative was decided in full prior to the gamer’s involvement changes depending on the type of game being played—an open-world role-playing game versus a platformer, for example—but the rewards, to a large degree, remain the same: a heightened sense of immersion in the story being told. In the case of The Dark Knight, individuals participating in the Why So Serious? game did not, of course, have any direct impact on the film’s actual narrative, but their actions involved them in what eventually became a blockbuster cultural experience—and their voices, from that initial screening, bled into the cultural hive mind, playing part and parcel with the film’s marketing message regarding Ledger’s final performance and its cinematic impact. While alternate reality games involve human interaction on a grand physical scale, smaller digital pushes are also being made. Twitter, for example, played host during Mad Men’s infancy to individuals writing as its main characters—in their voices, in their time period. This was an unexpected event: free detailed marketing, of a sort, by fans of the show. Offering individuals both the chance to be creative as well as to extend their preferred cultural and narrative sandbox, several companies and studios have learned to encourage these types of viewer interactions, seeing them as a means of drawing in a larger crowd by allowing for the infinite expansion, sometimes beyond their control, of their initial creative concept. Going even further are the cultural touchstones like Lost, which have adopted the Easter egg approach: hiding extra content within the program itself, encouraging (but not demanding) audience participation. By seeking out and researching seemingly innocuous clues, such as a specific book seen in one shot, or a piece of art or a statue seen in another, and by telling their story in a non-linear manner, the creators and writers of Lost courted audience sleuthing on a grand scale, without ever making the extra material necessary for the casual viewer to understand the larger narrative. In the process they created a narrative of differing dimensions: a surface-level battle between good and evil on an island of mystery for the casual audience; and a deeper, semiotic-laced discussion for those wanting to dive in to attempt to discover the hidden meanings and mysteries yet revealed. In The Art of Immersion, Rose posits this level of immersion, be it for creative desires or for the needs of a marketing department, as the future of narratives. What isn’t covered to the same extent, unfortunately, is the possibility that, for some, employment of too many devices in too many different ways might in fact damage the sense of immersion—case in point, a television show or a book holding key details from the audience in an effort to shepherd them to a website or online resource to fill in the blanks. It’s one thing to encourage a deeper level of immersion by offering these as possible but inessential elements, but another thing altogether to provide only a partial to a larger narrative, leaving firm details, or possibly even a conclusion, to another medium altogether. Though the possibilities that stem from the immersive activities Rose outlines are incredible, there is also the chance that some may feel left out in the cold, not wanting to divide their attention from the one thing they hoped would provide a fulfilling experience—it would be as if the climax of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows cut off mid-sentence with the final resolution available online or as a downloadable video or PDF… one cannot sacrifice narrative momentum and integrity for the sake of the multiverse-based marketing push. It is a bit of a slippery slope, which, admittedly, we are still figuring out. However, the potential for greatness—for using people, not non-interactive advertising, to encourage, examine, and accentuate narrative going forward—is there. What we are entering into with respect to artistic and narrative expression, what Rose sees as our future going forward, is an accelerated form of the thesis given in Janet Wolff’s The Social Production of Art—not only is art made and given meaning through society’s influence, but now it is being pushed, promoted, and generally affected and given additional weight—often while still in progress—by the very people for whom it is made. In this sense, the creators are looking more and more like instigators, setting forth a plate of ideas for relentless consumption and redistribution. The Art of Immersion is essential reading for anyone in a creative field. It’s a strong first step to gaining a better understanding of where society and culture is taking our art, whether we want to accept it or not.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Valorie

    I've marked this book as fiction and non-fiction, because it really is equal parts science fiction, fantasy, philosophy, history, and social study. It's a deep dive into why humans are storytelling creatures, how the commercial storytelling industry--and by that I mean ads, video games, movies, tv shows, books (and though Rose doesn't address them, plays)--is trying to give us not just more but better stories, ones that engage us more effectively and fully draw us in. Rose's books feel somewhat I've marked this book as fiction and non-fiction, because it really is equal parts science fiction, fantasy, philosophy, history, and social study. It's a deep dive into why humans are storytelling creatures, how the commercial storytelling industry--and by that I mean ads, video games, movies, tv shows, books (and though Rose doesn't address them, plays)--is trying to give us not just more but better stories, ones that engage us more effectively and fully draw us in. Rose's books feel somewhat disjointed in the middle--a rabbit's trail through what seem like really unrelated things, only to bring it back to stories every time. He ties everything together to show us how our physical brains guide our emotional states and engagements with fictional Torres and the world around us. A must read for anyone with interest in any kind of storytelling.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jim Manis

    Intriguing concept and argument about the human pursuit of immersive fictional experiences. However, the delivery focuses heavily on marketing and the exploitation of this need, primarily examining recent media attempts, including those that fail to deliver. For instance, James Joyce's "Ulysses" is never mentioned and Tolkein's world is discussed only briefly. "Star Wars" and Disney, however, are discussed heavily. A great deal of time is spent discuss the outsized egos of film and TV producers Intriguing concept and argument about the human pursuit of immersive fictional experiences. However, the delivery focuses heavily on marketing and the exploitation of this need, primarily examining recent media attempts, including those that fail to deliver. For instance, James Joyce's "Ulysses" is never mentioned and Tolkein's world is discussed only briefly. "Star Wars" and Disney, however, are discussed heavily. A great deal of time is spent discuss the outsized egos of film and TV producers and how they often fail. Overall, however, I found it a worthy read, and easy to follow. Approximately 20 percent of the book consists of notes and bibliography, which should be helpful to anyone interested in pursuing the subject matter.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Robert Alger

    I purchased this book after I couldn't find it at my university library. The book came as a recommendation from a professor to get some ideas for a term paper regarding the literary works of Jorge Luis Borges. I ended up enjoying Rose's book quite a lot and I have reflected on the ideas repeatedly. Rose guides the reader through the evolution of storytelling across multiple media in an approachable and compelling manner. I would certainly recommend this book to aspiring marketers, game designers I purchased this book after I couldn't find it at my university library. The book came as a recommendation from a professor to get some ideas for a term paper regarding the literary works of Jorge Luis Borges. I ended up enjoying Rose's book quite a lot and I have reflected on the ideas repeatedly. Rose guides the reader through the evolution of storytelling across multiple media in an approachable and compelling manner. I would certainly recommend this book to aspiring marketers, game designers, and anyone in the profession of engaging with humans.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Bryan Whitehead

    Mass media is evolving in some interesting ways, and Frank Rose (an editor at Wired) explores some of the new directions, how they got started and where they may be headed. He places particular emphasis on interactive transmedia, projects that encourage audience participation in one form or another. This is a fascinating subject covered in a professional magazine journalistic style.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    extremely interesting and informative, especially about the film and video game agenda. didn't think it was very well organized and the ending wasn't a good summation of it's content and main points. still worth the read tho.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Dale

    Lots of good information here about how real life can creatively intersect with fiction, particularly TV. I hadn’t read much about this previously so I learned a lot. The book was published in 2011 however, so not as current as today, but still a good field guide to the combination of media.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Carlos Allende

    Interesting Interesting, but it's more of a long, entertaining article than a guide to create immersive media. I learned what's happening. It how to become part of that change.

  17. 4 out of 5

    David

    Average analysis of the entertainment industry that readers could have picked up on YouTube and a few pop cultures blogs and vlogs. Hardly worth the time. Rating: 3 out of 5

  18. 5 out of 5

    David Blanar

    Decent primer but you'll need to look elsewhere for deeper analysis.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Abbas Saleem Khan

    This is the best subject on the growth and evolution of media that I have ever read. Transmedia essential

  20. 4 out of 5

    Dave Summers

    Nice (but already dated) overview of immersive narrative/learning/entertainment. Long on my list and now checked off.

  21. 4 out of 5

    J.M. Hanson-Mills

    While we are a far cry from the days of Ancient Rome where only groups of elite people could partake in the telling of stories; it could be said that this form of bias still ruled much of the world until only recently. Once upon a time, the common folk were all but observers and spectators in the sport of mass media. Oh, the trust we had in a stuffy, old gentleman that sat behind a desk at a certain hour, who told us all the news we needed to know. And, when it came time for our favorite televi While we are a far cry from the days of Ancient Rome where only groups of elite people could partake in the telling of stories; it could be said that this form of bias still ruled much of the world until only recently. Once upon a time, the common folk were all but observers and spectators in the sport of mass media. Oh, the trust we had in a stuffy, old gentleman that sat behind a desk at a certain hour, who told us all the news we needed to know. And, when it came time for our favorite television show, we all sat and watched and had nothing to say about the storyline or characters or anything else for that matter. We were passive observers. Our input was not necessary nor wanted, perhaps. While it does not take a book to tell us how much this has changed, "The Art of Immersion: How the Digital Generation Is Remaking Hollywood, Madison Avenue, and the Way We Tell Stories," by Frank Rose, does a good job at addressing the remarkable transformation that has occurred in a relatively short period of time. In very short terms, we have become the media...all of us. Anyone, of any social status or education, with the help of a smartphone, an ipad, a computer or anything that connects to the Web, has the ability to write, critique, disperse and immerse within a story. Rose explains and documents what we all know: That it is no longer enough to be an observer of mass media. Case in point: Rose details the story of how the well-known block buster movie, "The Dark Knight," prior to its release in 2008, became a “game” that involved several thousand people. Cryptic emails were sent and an elaborate scavenger hunt ensued. Long story short, this ended with the realization that the consumers involved in the game had, theoretically, contributed to the first scene in the movie by assisting the psychotic criminal, the Joker. This game, by the immersion of consumers created a number of positive outcomes for the studio; money, marketing, and happy fans. Rose explains that the consumer will continue to drive the entertainment business and others to have a more interactive experience. But, all is not rainbows and unicorns in the world of immersion. These changes, Rose explains, have inherent problems and troublesome features. In Chapter four, Rose addresses what could be called the splintering of stories by the overload of commentary and involvement. This has caused a crisis of who’s who in this big world. Who is in charge? Rose explains, “In the command-and-control world, we know who's telling the story; it's the author. But digital media have created an authorship crisis. Once the audience is free to step out into the fiction and start directing events, the entire edifice of twentieth century mass-media begins to crumble” (p. 75). Oh, how true that is. The news cycle, the story cycle has begun to spin out of control with so many “experts” putting their two cents’ worth in. Too many cooks are in the kitchen, so to speak. Rose delves into detail about how audience members of particular television shows have begun to take on the persona of a character via Twitter, and in doing so, are driving the story by discussion. It is a two-edged sword: A free-spirit splintering of the story into a million pieces and free-publicity at the same time. The Art of Immersion by Frank Rose is an easy read, and contains a great deal of case evidence for the time period prior to its publication in 2011. He does not, however, offer many answers to the issues facing the entertainment business, Madison Avenue or the world in general, as it pertains to the Web. But, it is an excellent beginning. As all things go in this day of the digital, Rose will no doubt need to update this publication soon, as not much stays the same. When and if he does, he only need to look at the 1,000 plus reviews on his book where he will find much “expert” commentary to help him along!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan Newman

    This book read like one of my buddies telling me about things that are in pop culture that they think are cool when they are drunk. I don't understand the appeal.

  23. 4 out of 5

    David H Deans

    For me, perhaps the most insightful take-away from reading "The Art of Immersion" is how the various forms of media are being impacted by an apparent loss of control. Chapter four is devoted to this topic. Frank Rose addresses this issue from both sides - challenges and opportunities. The process of immersion can take many forms, but the one that seems to trouble the traditional media practitioners the most is when "ordinary people" choose to engage with a story and decide to participate in the d For me, perhaps the most insightful take-away from reading "The Art of Immersion" is how the various forms of media are being impacted by an apparent loss of control. Chapter four is devoted to this topic. Frank Rose addresses this issue from both sides - challenges and opportunities. The process of immersion can take many forms, but the one that seems to trouble the traditional media practitioners the most is when "ordinary people" choose to engage with a story and decide to participate in the development of the characters and/or the storyline. These uninvited contributions demonstrate how the Internet, in particular, has enabled many people to rediscover that innate human quality that most of us have not embraced since childhood - the storyteller within. Mr. Rose offers an example of how someone unaffiliated with the production or distribution of the "Mad Men" television series decided to create a Twitter account for Betty Draper (a fictional character) and assumed that persona for the purpose of sharing her innermost thoughts. Apparently, other people have assumed the persona of various characters from the show and tweet about their thoughts as well. How did the AMC cable channel executives react to this amazing act of engagement from the show's audience? They contacted Twitter and requested that all these accounts were shut down. Once the show's fans discovered what had happened, that decision was quickly reversed - with a regretful AMC blessing. Rose summarizes this legacy media disruption phenomenon with the following assessment. "In the command-and-control world, we know who's telling the story; it's the author. But digital media have created an authorship crisis. Once the audience is free to step out into the fiction and start directing events, the entire edifice of twentieth century mass-media begins to crumble." I believe that this trend has already spilled over into non-fiction commercial communications. Where companies once relied upon the predictable monologue of the press release, today they must deal with free-spirited stakeholder commentary on their corporate blog posts. How do you control the dialogue once you've enabled that open interaction? Clearly, that's a question that more and more marketers are asking themselves. Rose offers yet another prescient observation of what key changes will reshape the media sector in the foreseeable future. "There's nothing inherent in humans that makes them want to be passive consumers of entertainment, or the advertising that pays for it. The couch potato era, seemingly so significant at the time, turns out to be less an era than a blip - and a blip based on faulty assumptions at that."

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ian Griffin

    A decade ago, the tools of communications belonged to a chosen few. Editorial control over newspapers, television and radio was in the hands of those professionals tasked with selecting content deemed worthy of the front page, the headline, the news bulletin. National newspapers and mass media channels were scarce resources. The stories they carried were linear and sequential. The 10 o’clock news was broadcast for an hour each evening at the same time. Important news was on the front page, above A decade ago, the tools of communications belonged to a chosen few. Editorial control over newspapers, television and radio was in the hands of those professionals tasked with selecting content deemed worthy of the front page, the headline, the news bulletin. National newspapers and mass media channels were scarce resources. The stories they carried were linear and sequential. The 10 o’clock news was broadcast for an hour each evening at the same time. Important news was on the front page, above the fold. That was then, this is now. The Art of Immersion Today’s world is nonlinear, filled with always-on devices giving anywhere, any time access to media generated by those of us with a WordPress blog and a point of view. Storytelling has come full circle from the logical inevitability of the printed page to the random, emotionally binding, infinitely looping immersive stories of this fragmented age where anyone can create and re-purpose content, as did the bards of pre-literate eras. The implications of the transition from top-down to user-generated content is explored in detail by Frank Rose in his book The Art of Immersion. Rose identifies the roots of non-linear storytelling in the popular serials Charles Dickens published in the 1830′s. But it was the creation of the hyper-links of the World Wide Web that blew the lid off linear narrative: Links change our relationship to information. They empower individuals and destroy hierarchies. Cinema directors such as Quentin Tarantino, Jean-Luc Goddard and David Lynch create immersive, non-linear forms of film. The unexpected juxtapositions, the startling elisions, the scenes out of sequence–asleep or awake, this is how we think, in a fast-dissipating vapor. The implication is that we live in a multiverse, where events occur simultaneously. As the Western-born Spiritual Adept Adi Da Samraj has written about photography: "The human individual in the midst of Reality is like a camera in a room—perceiving everything from a fixed “point of view”. But what does the room Really look like? The room can be viewed from every possible “point of view” in space-time—not merely from any particular “point of view”, or even a finite collection of “points of view”. Therefore, no “point of view” can reveal the room, or Reality Itself, because every “point of view” is limited and essentially self-referring." Frank Rose explores the art of immersive storytelling and the emerging transmedia methods that the best practitioners are developing in video games, advertising, movies, social media, television and more.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Barrie Collins

    My interest in Immersion plunged when it got to discussing the TV series Lost, which I loath. The prose could do with a a bit of a massage too. These things aside the topic, the concept is up for some timely discussion and this book does a reasonable job. Ever since I read about Char Davies' VR artworks in the late '90's http://www.immersence.com/ and the effect they had on people, the topic of immersion has fascinated me. The same applies to good writing/writers, as Orwell pointed out 'prose sh My interest in Immersion plunged when it got to discussing the TV series Lost, which I loath. The prose could do with a a bit of a massage too. These things aside the topic, the concept is up for some timely discussion and this book does a reasonable job. Ever since I read about Char Davies' VR artworks in the late '90's http://www.immersence.com/ and the effect they had on people, the topic of immersion has fascinated me. The same applies to good writing/writers, as Orwell pointed out 'prose should be like a window, transparent'. You don't often see that, particularly in combo with written work that is artistically brilliant. When you can beguile your audience you know you've got something, of course a lot depends on what the reader/audience brings to the reading/viewing. I'm about halfway through the book, now that we've dealt with Lost the book may start to appeal to me again. I've finally had to divorce this book, but have skimmed the last half to get a rough idea about where it was going. It failed to treat immersion in the way that I'd hoped it would even though I got a lot out of it. What I really wanted to see I suppose was a look at the personal experience of immersion, when reading, viewing, game-playing, doing anything really that engages the full attention of the individual to the point of exclusion of the outer world, but like a big cat hunting prey I didn't find the prey worth eating.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Nichole

    A primer on the latest trans-media storytelling trends for marketing purposes as of 2011. I noted my annoyance with Rose early on in the book when he over-simplified Ray Bradbury's aversion to television in Farenheit 451, as if the character of Montag was against technology in any form. As I continued reading, gloomy realization came to me that the author didn't commit inaccuracy, but probably thinks those giant screens brainwashing housewives into total dis-attachment from the real-world might A primer on the latest trans-media storytelling trends for marketing purposes as of 2011. I noted my annoyance with Rose early on in the book when he over-simplified Ray Bradbury's aversion to television in Farenheit 451, as if the character of Montag was against technology in any form. As I continued reading, gloomy realization came to me that the author didn't commit inaccuracy, but probably thinks those giant screens brainwashing housewives into total dis-attachment from the real-world might actually be a good thing. What I thought would be a book about immersive storytelling across all media turned out to be a book about immersive narratives used in corporate advertising to basically fool people into consuming a product. Part of the problem was my wrong expectations (I mean, the author has written for fortune), but the majority of the issue lies in how the author and book marketers use the term media and stories to apply to only a small subset of corporate interests. The run-through of different immersive marketing campaigns was intriguing, but the book on a whole was useful mostly by the fact it gives a insider's view of the industrial complex of movie-making, advertising, and product creation. Creative storytellers should read to know what they're competing with.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ben Brackett

    I bought this book thinking it would really cut into the meat of the matter of how media consumption and creation is changing. It didn't even break the skin. It reads like a string of fluffy wired articles (go figure!) without even cohesively linking the premise throughout. Too much attention paid to pop culture examples that had a special place in the author's heart - for example there's about 20 pages of lost (hey, people read message boards about it and stuff) and then about a page dedicated I bought this book thinking it would really cut into the meat of the matter of how media consumption and creation is changing. It didn't even break the skin. It reads like a string of fluffy wired articles (go figure!) without even cohesively linking the premise throughout. Too much attention paid to pop culture examples that had a special place in the author's heart - for example there's about 20 pages of lost (hey, people read message boards about it and stuff) and then about a page dedicated to the Old Spice Smell like a man campaign (which I hate, but is a far, far, far better example of the blending of content and advertisement, entertainment and user participation). If you are interested in this stuff, you've probably read and know everything that you would get out of this book already. Pass.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Mike Violano

    Art of Immersion is a very good two dimensional analysis of 3D stories and storytellers. The author takes threads from novels, TV and movies, and video games and relates how the creators and their fans provide immersive and interactive experiences far beyond the original work. Long before the internet Dickens relied on audience feedback to his serials of now classic novels to more fully develop characters and propel plots in different directions. More recently, Star Wars fans embraced the epic st Art of Immersion is a very good two dimensional analysis of 3D stories and storytellers. The author takes threads from novels, TV and movies, and video games and relates how the creators and their fans provide immersive and interactive experiences far beyond the original work. Long before the internet Dickens relied on audience feedback to his serials of now classic novels to more fully develop characters and propel plots in different directions. More recently, Star Wars fans embraced the epic story and gave new life to the world that George Lucas created. A fun read with insights and mash ups of media large and small, new and old. A bit heavy on sci-fi; other genres could suitable to underscore the author's thesis.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Nick

    Frank Rose is a great reporter, which means, he's a storyteller. (I've been reading his stuff for years in WIRED). This orientation shows on every page of this book about the way media are morphing in the age of digital platforms and audience participation. But Rose goes well beyond the fascinating character studies and on-site reportage for which he is known by using these particularities as emblems of our new age. There is a theory of media that emerges from the details of his storytelling, bu Frank Rose is a great reporter, which means, he's a storyteller. (I've been reading his stuff for years in WIRED). This orientation shows on every page of this book about the way media are morphing in the age of digital platforms and audience participation. But Rose goes well beyond the fascinating character studies and on-site reportage for which he is known by using these particularities as emblems of our new age. There is a theory of media that emerges from the details of his storytelling, but he doesn't cram it down your throat like so many academicians and special-pleaders. I especially appreciate Rose's respect for the past, even as he hurls us towards the future, from mass culture merchants to the esoteric frontiers of cutting-edge science. It's a good read.

  30. 4 out of 5

    João Pedro da Costa

    An interesting companion reading of Henry Jenkins' Convergence Culture, full of examples of immersive and transmediatic storytelling. It is superbly well written and a real page-turner. Personally, I am not a fan of the “transmedia” concept, because of its non-critical use of “medium” (two different movies are two different media, but transmedia tends to foolishly consider only relations between different media genres like videogames, movies, etc.). Instead of “transmedia”, I definitely prefer t An interesting companion reading of Henry Jenkins' Convergence Culture, full of examples of immersive and transmediatic storytelling. It is superbly well written and a real page-turner. Personally, I am not a fan of the “transmedia” concept, because of its non-critical use of “medium” (two different movies are two different media, but transmedia tends to foolishly consider only relations between different media genres like videogames, movies, etc.). Instead of “transmedia”, I definitely prefer the concept of “transtextuality” and the work of French theorist Gérard Genette (mostly "Palimpsestes", 1982) seems to be finally being discovered by north-American theorists (like Jonathan Gray’s “Show Sold Separately”). Anyway, I drift. Good book, I really recommend it.

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