Development by digression

"I’m interested in developing and telling stories by interacting with the elements of its creation. My original research theme was inspired by the German writer W.G. Sebald (1944-2001). Typical for his stories is that they seem to be composed of mixtures of pictures, memories, apparent facts and fiction, filtered through a fictionalized version of the author. My interest was in telling a story from the main character's point of view through digression into his cognitive processes (dreams, thoughts, memories, et cetera).

Interactive development process

In order to define this main character and to develop the story I started writing, improvising and rehearsing with an actor, Ferenc Cservenka. This process resulted in a story about a young man, Nándi, who returns to his homeland after several years of abortive wandering across Europe. He ends up in a situation where he has to come in terms with his life.

This idea grew into a plan for a large online project in which many story lines and the digressions from them were to be connected in a rhizomatic way. The interface and the interaction were supposed to unlock the content in a way similar to a game or a website, with a lot of control for the spectator. In the process of creating the scenes with the actors, I realized that despite my appreciation of the material being developed, it did not have the fast-paced quality required by games and new media in order to prevent that a visitor instantly clicks away.
I came to a conclusion that interactivity and gaming have to do more with my process of making than with the project itself, and that both as a consumer and as a maker, I am much more attracted by cinema than by interactive new media. Nevertheless, the interplay in both the development and production process was highly valuable for the end result.

Story development 

We continued to develop the story in collaboration with the main actor. But we decided to select only one clear story line with only one ending. Most of the sequences fell out before shooting, some others in the editing room. We maintained one important digression, which is a stop-motion animation part about the puppet that Nándi used to play with as a boy: 'The Travel of Captain Tom'.

After investigating interactivity as a feature of a final product, I am now looking into interactivity in the development and production process: how can the interplay between story, characters and the makers enrich the film and clarify its position? To me, this change is very important for my own artistic development. It has helped me find a new way to work with actors. In a later stage, it is my plan to find a way to involve crew members in this process."

Interview by Jan-Ewout Ruiter, April 2015

Balint Mark Turi