Real World: Mars Edition

Recently for a class that I have we had to develop a transmedia campaign. Now you’re probably thinking, what the sam hell is a transmedia campaign? Essentially it is a story that is designed to involve the viewer/participant whatever you want to call yourself. You become a part of the story as an active participant. Sometimes these campaigns can be to raise money for a charity, such as this or more often than not, simply raise awareness of a pre-existing story such as the Why So Serious? campaign for The Dark Knight.

Watch the video:
Why So Serious? A Marketing Transmedia Campaign… di Transmedialab

Some stories are too big, even for the big screen. But, Wikipedia might explain it to you better.

Sounds crazy, right? But as Oscar Levant said, “There’s a fine line between genius and insanity.” Now it might not seem so insane to create an alternate reality game for Batman obsessed men to have an excuse to wear joker makeup and escape their mundane lives for a second. But, what about raising money to go to Mars? This article talks all about Mars One‘s new lottery mission to Mars. Well, it’s not really a lottery. More like American Idol meets The Real World meets Another Earth. Only no one comes back.

Artist drawing of Mars One

Many things run through your mind as you learn more and more about this crazy idea. Who would want to apply? There’s a great line from Another Earth where she explains her reasoning for why she should be chosen to go on the crazy space mission to another earth. The movie is obviously a little different than this mission, because she does come back to Earth at the end of the movie… but it’s a good start for thinking about the type of people who would go on this mission (it’s also one of my favorite movies). This is the quote from her entry video which wins her a ticket to the other Earth:

“When early explorers first set out West across the Atlantic, most people thought the world was flat. Most people thought if you sailed far enough West, you would drop off a plane into nothing. Those vessels sailing out into the unknown, they weren’t carrying noblemen or aristocrats, artists or merchants. They were crewed by people living on the edge of life: the madmen, orphans, ex-convicts, outcasts like myself. As a felon, I’m an unlikely candidate for most things. But perhaps not for this. Perhaps I am the most likely.”

People made jokes on the comments to the article such as “can’t wait to see who hooks up first!” Because how successful can a trip to Mars be when the astronauts are picked based on popular vote, and not just popular vote of anyone. Popular vote of the reality tv watching audience… I don’t know many real scientists or people who would probably have the authority to make these sort of decisions in other circumstances that watch reality television. Also what rational person is going to think this is real? It’s going to take a lot of convincing to convince people that this is not just a money-scam. I still wouldn’t be surprised if this is all some sort of April Fool’s joke a few days late.

The Conspiracy For Good was an example that sometimes a little fantasy and storytelling can actually do what it says it’s going to do. They actually did build a library after the whole “conspiracy” was over. But building a library and sending real humans to Mars for the rest of their lives are quite far apart on the spectrum of believability and do-able-ness. After all, I did develop an entire zombie story game as a hypothetical transmedia campaign to raise money for organ printing technology, and if I was serious about it, who says Mars One isn’t either? I suppose only time will tell. And if not, I’m sure the application videos will provide for some serious entertainment and food for the ever growing internet meme culture. I can already imagine all the feels I’m going to have if this really does become a television show though. But there are only so many things you can do in a bubble. They also have yet to completely solve the sleeping issue. I can’t live without a good night’s sleep, so definitely not the life for me! Would you go?