Four-sided movies. Virtual story-universes. Narrative installations. Welcome to the world of HBO Imagine, a multi-dimensional storytelling experiment which fragments the tale of a renegade banker, and the people in his circle, over a wide variety of media from live events, to television commercials, to an amazing internet hub. Keyword in that last sentence is “commercial” because, yes, this is an advertising campaign. Devised by the NY creative crew at mega-agency BBDO (most of whom are interviewed in the piece above) the mission was to articulate the core spirit of the HBO network. What resulted, the entity now known as HBO Imagine, is pretty cool mostly because there’s never been anything quite like it - advertising or not.
My job was to document the evolution of the endeavor. This took multiple shoots on both Coasts and a mind-bending stint in post. The central symbol of the “program”, as the creators like to call it, is the “story cube”, a scene filmed from four angles - i.e. north, east, west and south. These films are projected in public places on a 16×16 foot four-sided screen. Each side of the cube tells its own individual story, but if you watch all four sides you understand that a larger story is being told as well. Similarly, the cube stories (of which there are two) are revealed to be themselves fragments of a much larger yarn. It’s all very difficult to explain it clearly which is why most of the people involved usually default to the word “experience” when describing the project. This made my job - which was to describe the project - challenging but speaks volumes about the thing as a whole. Here’s to more corporations spending untold millions of dollars on experiences that push deep into uncharted territory - both aesthetic and remunerative.
• Watch piece above in HD here.
• Probably the best way to get an idea of the project as a whole is to check out the website, HBOImagine.com.
• Also, here’s a short newsy piece I produced about the project’s premiere event in Downtown NYC on 9/17/09.
(These last two links are quoted in the text above as well.)