New Media Narrative and Gemini Division (coming soon…)

Last Friday, I was lucky enough to be invited to the Gemini Division preview screening and phone conference with executive producer and creator Brent Friedman. After watching the first two episodes (which are now posted on the website), I got a chance to ask Brent some questions about the show’s narrative structure and aesthetic value. More on that later.

Set five minutes into the future, Gemini Division is the story of Anna Diaz (Rosario Dawson), an NYPD undercover cop, who investigates a global conspiracy involving “simulated soldiers.”(kind of like replicants) These SIMs were created to fight in the Iraq war but then mysteriously went AWOL. The Gemini Division is an agency formed to hunt the renegade soldiers and destroy them…before it’s too late. Meanwhile Anna, after discovering her fiancé was not human, becomes caught in the middle of the war.

It is too soon to tell whether Gemini Division will actually be any good. The first two episodes had their highs – seamless product integration, stylized CGI effects, and of course the stunning Rosario Dawson – but also their lows – the cliché creepy-stalking-stranger and some objectionable acting from Justin Hartley. Gemini Division has been labeled the ultimate test of web video because it boasts all the ingredients for success – big time celebrities, high profile advertisers, and a major studio distributor. As NewTeeVee writes, “if a web show like Gemini Division fails, why bother investing in online video at all?”

Yet whether Gemini makes or breaks web video history will not come down to any of aforementioned ingredients, but something far more essential to the final product – the story. Without a compelling story, there is no breakout hit. And Brent is very conscientious of that.

In my next post, I’d like to focus on the Gemini Division’s narrative construction (it may be too early to do so, but I will update as the season moves forwards). Because web video is very much in experimental form, there is no precedent to follow. As a result, the show is a blend of old media and new media, a mixture of narrative ingredients already proven to be effective and new Internet-based elements yet to be mastered. Gemini Division can thus be seen as an amalgamation of narrative devices from a variety of media, including comics, video games, novels, and TV Shows, all of which allow the show to potentially branch out into any of those platforms. For Gemini Division, the web series could be the perfect incubator for a transmedia franchise. But like I say, it all comes down to story.

I’m going on vacation tomorrow so I won’t be able to return to this post for a little while. (Consider this the teaser trailer) Until then, if you want more info on Gemini Division, head over to Prime Time For Change, where Tim provides a nice summary of what went on in the Q&A with Brent.

On a completely different topic, I plan on blogging about this article from the Boston Globe, which I found quite interesting. Bye for now!

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4 Responses to “New Media Narrative and Gemini Division (coming soon…)”

  1. Tim Todd Says:

    Thanks for the nice teaser trailer and the plug. Looking forward to seeing what you have to say.

  2. Deleted: The Game Says:

    Its so important for the interactive TV genre that Gemini Division puts on a good showing. This is the kind of innovative product that exploits the interactivity of the internet and changes the lean back viewing experience of traditional TV into something far more engaging. Its success would bring much needed attention to the indie interactive web scene.

    Signing Rosario Dawson is a great choice, a sci-fi plot is a great choice, they’ve got a great storyteller in Brent Friedman, only thing I’m not so happy about is the staged release international (Gemini Division will be released first in the US then international by Sony). But I suspect the EFE team had a lot of breaking down walls to do in the deal making room as the vanguard.

    The $1.75M budget is HUGE for the web TV world but my hope is that a nice chunk of that is allocated to marketing (and you can count Rosario’s paycheck in that) to bring attention to the nascent interactive web series genre … indies like ours (www.deletedthegame.com) will gladly ride this coat tail.

    Deleted: The Game

  3. Doug Heidland Says:

    That was one of the major discussion points in the interview that we were invited too: the domestic vs. international release.

    Also, thanks for posting your URL, since I hadn’t heard of your project and need to build it in to my overall Internet Series timeline; With your launch of Deleted: the game on August 15 you’ve already gotten a dedicated thread over at Unfiction so you’re doing fairly well in your own right :)

  4. Tim Todd Says:

    Looking forward to reading your post about the Boston Globe article. Will this be a first-hand account report based off your own vacation experience? :)

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