The scriptwriter's paradoxes

Interactive television

Understanding new audiovisual media 8


Such interactivity can already be found in television, in different ways, for instance when viewers send SMS, which can be promptly received. This is an emblematic example of a non-linear language: the viewer can decide to read the messages or to follow the program or still, if he/she is able to do it, do both simultaneously. There exists other propositions of interactivities, which are even more sophisticated, mostly developed in the United States, in Nordic countries and in Great Britain and that some people name cross-media, since they mix several media such as television, IT and telephony.

In the show Masterplace, the viewer can chose the events that the competitors have to go through; in Thunderyard, chapters and broadcasting order are chosen by each person; in Tweeby, a television channel for children, the content is chosen by the children themselves, from their home, they interact live.

Xavier Berenguer explains to us that no matter how interactive and multi-linear the narration is, it is always perceived in a linear way by the viewer:

All narrators have to face the same problem, to unfold a series of events in a period of time. The only difference is that when it comes to an interactive support, the narrator must also plan several ways to unfold it: the more the better
(Xavier Berenguer, “Écrire des programmes interactifs”).

All of this, obviously, was already possible before the advent of digital, but today, a non-linear, multilinear narration or even interactivity are all booming. How would it change the audiovisual language? We do not know it yet, but it is clear that some new hybrid media are already being created, between cinema, literature and comic books, used on different types of screens: cinema, television, videogames, mobile phones and computers. It becomes apparent that a new huge work market is being created for scriptwriters since they do not only write for cinema, television and documentaries, but there are also scenarios behind such diverse objects as music videos, videos for karaoke, internet pages or virtual animations of all kinds. These scenarios already exist for videogames that are sometimes considered as an eighth art, halfway between the seventh (cinema) and the ninth (comic books) art. This is why someone wishing to become a professional scriptwriter cannot just approach audiovisual through its most obvious aspect, cinema, in which very few people manage to find work. This person must think about the new screens

 To be continued


Photomontage: Daniel Tubau

ficha-danieltubau-enUnderstanding New Audiovisual Media

1) Why the Seventh Art? 
(2) Audiovisual extensions
(3) Cinema and other media
(4) Cinema and comic
5) Cinema and literature
(6) Cinema and television
(7) The new audiovisual media

contact: [email protected]

lasparadojasreji-logoThis article is a selection of passages taken from my book, The scriptwriter’s paradoxes: rules and exceptions in the practise of a scenario (Las paradojas del guionista, Alba Editorial, 2007) aimed at people interested in scriptwriting, and narration in general. The book explores the different theories and manuals existing on the subject, while listing forty paradoxes with which a scriptwriter might be faced.

Web page: Las paradojas del guionista

The scriptwriter’s paradoxes

The 38 paradoxes

Las 38 paradojas del libro y algunas más

Reglas y excepciones (Las paradojas del guionista)

Entendiendo los nuevos medios audiovisuales



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