“Plotting director Steven Soderbergh’s latest project — an interactive smartphone app called Mosaic — required covering most of the walls in a Chelsea loft with color-coded cards and notes,” Angela Watercutter reports for Wired. “The app contains a 7-plus-hour miniseries about a mysterious death, but because viewers have some agency over what order they watch it in and which characters’ stories they follow, each scene—and the point at which it should be introduced—had to be meticulously planned so that no detail was revealed too late or too soon. The script for it is more than 500 pages long and was written after most of the story was laid out using all of those notecards. Soderbergh and his team have been working on it for years. Turns out it takes a lot of work to overhaul TV as we know it.”
“Mosaic, which is available today for iOS devices, started out of frustration,” Watercutter reports. “Soderbergh was getting increasingly annoyed with the Hollywood system and starting to realize the general structure and grammar of what a film looked like hadn’t evolved in decades. At the same time, Casey Silver, the former head of Universal Pictures, was trying to develop a new way to tell stories.”
“Where they ended up was a smartphone-enabled story, developed and released by Silver’s company PodOp, that lets viewers decide which way they want to be told Mosaic’s tale of a children’s book author, played by Sharon Stone, who turns up dead in the idyllic ski haven of Park City, Utah,” Watercutter reports. “After watching each segment—some only a few minutes, some as long as a standard television episode — viewers are given options for whose point of view they want to follow and where they want to go next… It’s concept isn’t wholly original—Soderbergh himself notes that ‘branching narrative has been around a long time’ (the most obvious analogue is a Choose Your Own Adventure book, but Soderbergh cringes at that analogy) — but that it finds a way to appeal to both fans of interactive storytelling, and people who just want to watch some decent TV.”
Tons more in the full article – recommended – here.
MacDailyNews Take: Mosaic is available for free here, unless you’ve stupidly settled for a pretend iPhone, fake iPad, or Apple TV knockoff in which case you’re shit out of luck as usual.
Mosaic is accessible in the U.S. and certain U.S. territories and works only on Apple iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Apple TV.