Local Startup Takes on World of Storytelling

Local Startup Takes on World of Storytelling

Have you ever finished watching a movie and been left with endless questions? Think Lord of The Rings for example. What would have happened if Sam hadn’t given the ring back to Frodo? Surely he would have destroyed the ring in half the time, right? Stand in the post movie crowd and you’re surrounded by people coming up with new and intriguing ways the movie could’ve – or should’ve – played out. You hear the resigned sighs of disappointment at how cliché the characters and relationships were. And you might even hear people say “I could do better!”.

With the advances in technology, it’s easier than ever for us all to voice our opinions.  Yet, storytelling hasn’t evolved the same way. Sure, you can write fanfiction or play a choose-your-own-adventure type game. But this doesn’t solve the problem. Stories are not as interactive and immersive as they could be and the story shouldn’t end when the final credits appear.

This is a problem that a local startup is hell-bent on fixing. MashUp Machine wants to use crowd-powered creativity and machine learning technologies to produce a platform that allows users to create, explore, and share an interactive, ever-evolving story.

MashUp Machine is the brainchild of two industry veterans, Ben Cole and Christopher Sjöholm. Cole was North American Head of Software for MPC, the world’s largest Visual Effects facility and has a long list of movie credits (highlights include: Watchmen, Man of Steel, Godzilla, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Oscar winning Life of Pi). Meanwhile, Sjöholm has been a Creative Director, Producer and VFX Supervisor for over fifteen years, leading some of the biggest and most successful game franchises in the world (including FIFA, Prototype 2, and skate).

The pair, and their team, are dedicated to changing the way we consume movies. The first production, Scary Cabin, gives viewers the typical clichés and stereotypes they see in countless films – especially, gasp, scary movies. But the twist is that the viewer controls the story, and they have the chance to flip the stereotype on its head – if they so choose. It’s a start to what is an ambitious goal. Since the startup relies on machine learning, it will only get better with the more users it has on its system.

MashUp Machine sees a real opportunity to give those who are fed up with the message the ability to change the narrative through adapting the story. And, let’s be honest, there are many problems in the film industry that could use some improvement. From certain races being constantly stereotyped, women being portrayed as sex objects, and the lack of female directors and producers. These issues aren’t going to change overnight. But change starts from the ground up, which means improving the script ourselves. Finally, an opportunity to make storytelling more relatable and representative of our society.

To be part of the process, sign up to be a beta tester at www.scarycabin.com and follow the latest updates on Twitter @storymashup. For any further questions or ways to get involved email courtney@mashupmachine.io.





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