Saturday, November 26, 2011

Clickable Cinema

Films are one of the world's greatest forms of entertainment. Every year, millions of people spend billions of dollars watching films at cinemas, on mobile devices, in cars, planes, at home, etc. They have proven to be one of the greatest forms of escapism for the human race. They take us to other times, other planets or sometimes just provide a mirror on ourselves.

They also present some of the stunning landscapes and styles that we've ever seen. Films can dictate a trend, put you in the shotgun seat of a new car or provide a sneak peek for an upcoming hot tourist destination. In this way, movies can also be a major economic motivator.

I would like to bridge the gap even further between what's on screen and our purchasing impulse by introducing a style of showing films where everything on screen is clickable. Literally, everything and everyone. I believe that you should be able to click on a landscape, an article of clothing, an actor and get an immediate bio of that actor or a link to where to buy the sweater they're wearing, the lamp in the room or tickets to where the film is being filmed. If I had a million dollars, this is how I would do it.

v. 1
I would see the first phase being a track that ran in the background of every movie you saw. At any point you can pause the film and see a list of major elements that are onscreen at that moment. This might include who the actors are, where the scene is being filmed, and links to some highlighted elements on the set.

Upon pressing pause a panel would come up on the right hand side of the screen with text and pertinent info.

v. 1.2
Soon after phase 1, I would introduce the ability to click on the items in the pause menu. So, if you click on an actor's name, it would take you to their IMDB page or if you click on the location, it will take you to an Orbitz page with up-to-the-minute ticketing options, if you click on a sweater a character is wearing, the online shop that carries that line comes up.

To streamline the process and make it as least obtrusive as possible, a "cart" option can hold your clicks. When ready to purchase, a back-end link between your Clickable Cinema account and your Credit Card will make this transaction seamless.

An option would also be introduced to keep the right hand menu on at all times while the movie was running. It would dynamically update as the movie played.

v. 2
Instead of having to pause a film, you can simply click on any element on the screen while the movie is running. Clicking on any object will then add it to your cart or pause the movie and take you to where you can own or make that part of the movie your own. You can find out where to buy articles of clothing that characters are wearing, furniture pieces that are in the movie, etc.

v. 3
The final element of this rollout would be to socialize the experience. If something isn't clickable, users can make it clickable by submitting ideas to a database. Users can also add their own factoids about the locations, actors, etc of where the movie is taking place. Almost like a fan-based virtual commentary to the film.

Integrating all of this functionality with current Social Media channels could further socialize and share the movie watching experience. However, I see it being ideally executed within the vacuum of the movie itself. For example, if you're watching Batman, your thoughts, interests, etc. are only shared with other viewers of that movie and not necessarily with the whole world.

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