For five years, we kept this a secret.

June 05 2017

I need your help to change the way we tell stories. My name is Ben, and I’m a writer living in NYC.

For the past few years my closest friends and I have been developing this idea. A while back we read this article about a down and out-of-luck boxer in an impossible set of circumstances. It moved us to tears. We began thinking about it endlessly. The boxer was a victim of his environment: a crumbling steel town. He had no education, no access to good jobs, and was surrounded on all sides by crime. To survive and provide for his family, he turned to dealing drugs. But eventually the streets caught up with him, and his life was cut short.

As a collective we asked ourselves, how could this happen? Who were the players in this tragedy? And how could we hear their sides of the story?

We couldn't get this idea out of our heads. Could we make something where a viewer gets to dig deeper, see the larger picture? Filmmaking, inherently, is biased. It's one person’s view on a story. But what if we let you control whose perspective you follow? Would your conclusions change? One summer, we decided to use all the resources at our disposal to make OTIS: an interactive short film. We kept it private, afraid that it wasn’t ready.

Then I won the listserve. And we decided this was the moment to set our fears aside and go public.

You can watch our prototype here: h t t p s : // nukhu dot com - backslash - otis

This is where you come in! We’d love some feedback. The directions are right at the beginning, but just in case, you can shift characters at any point in real time by pressing A,S or D on your keyboards. Just a quick note, this does not work on a phone or a tablet (yet).

You are welcome to share it around, and email us back at [email protected] with any thoughts. Did you like it? Would you watch a full series like this? When were you the most engaged? Were you ever confused or overwhelmed?

So, why did we make this? What’s the end goal? Well, the truth is, we want to make a series using this format. Not just another TV show, but something that gives voice to the forgotten America.

From the bottom of our hearts, we really appreciate you taking the time to give it a look!


P.S. Special shoutout to Meredith in NYC for encouraging me to join the listserve!

P.P.S. Super special shoutout to all you professional storytellers out there! My mom spent her whole life collecting folktales from around the world and telling them to schools, libraries, retirements communities and more. This listserve has been an amazing source of inspiration. Keep the oral tradition alive!

Ben Zeiger
New York City
[email protected]

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