2015 was one of the most incredible years for our project. (I have been remiss in updating all of you. I will speak more about my absence at the end.) Each year that we have worked on the film, I look back and think “well…it can’t get any more amazing!” This past year, the film’s themes became clearer, we shot more incredible interviews in awesome settings (like the Enterprise), and I felt the most emotionally connected to the project than I ever have. We found our focus in 2015. When we first began Chasing Atlantis, the film was a story about going to see a space shuttle launch and understanding the shuttle’s technological legacy. Now, four years and change later, I see that the film is really a story about WHY I wanted to see a space shuttle launch. Outside the facility where Atlantis now resides is a quote by Carl Sagan “The Sky Calls to Us.” But how? Why do those shimmering lights in the night captivate us? This is what Chasing Atlantis has become for me; a journey to understand that call and to connect with those that hear it as well.
An incredible privilege we’ve had in producing this film is interviewing a diverse array of individuals from space station commanders to science fiction writers. Each of them is a larger-than-life personality and has contributed something amazing to our film that has helped us tell our story. Outside of their participation in Chasing Atlantis, our interviewees are contributors in their own fields and it is important for us to keep tabs on them and promote their endeavours just as they have supported ours.
To that end, we wanted to share a new work by one of our most influential interviewees, Ann Lemay, a writer at BioWare studios in Montréal. Ann worked on my favorite video game series of all time, Mass Effect, and is currently writing for the newly announced Mass Effect: Andromeda. Ann’s discussion of narrative design for video game writing and science fiction really shaped the way that we are developing the narrative for our film. In her new work, a book she has co-authored entitled the “The Game Narrative Toolbox”, Ann explores the role a narrative designer plays on a development team to write video game player-centered stories, dialogue trees, and interactive vs cinematic segments of narrative. The book also includes exercises to hone your writing skills, as well as tips for applying for jobs within the industry or creating independent projects. If you ever thought of getting into the game industry as a story writer, this would be the place to start.
Below is a segment from our interview with Ann where she discusses the role of science-fiction in exploring our own sense of belonging in the universe; a theme which has become central in Chasing Atlantis.
Congratulations on the book release and on the upcoming Mass Effect: Andromeda, Ann!
If you are in the Toronto area, you can check out the last weekend of the Canadian National Exhibition where Chasing Atlantis has its own display.
The CNE is an annual fair leading up the Canadian Labour day weekend that hosts about 1.5 million people each year at Toronto’s Exhibition Place. It is Canada’s largest annual fair which began in 1879 largely to promote agriculture and technology in Canada. The exhibits are accompanied by amusement park attractions, a band shell concert space with big name tickets and an air show.
Last year, we were contacted by the CNE’s Candice McCavitt to host a display as part of the CNE’s theme of looking toward the future. This year, one of the exhibits is centered on pop culture. We are featuring footage with Bill Nye the Science Guy, Ann Lemay of the video game series Mass Effect, and Canadian Astronaut Chris Hadfield. If you’re passing through, be sure to check out the Pop Culture display. If you find us, post a photo of the display on our Facebook Page or send us a tweet to @chasingatlantis
Thanks once again to Candice McCavitt for inviting us to be a part of the CNE two years running!
Before we even knew that the night sky was filled we stars, we were already filling it with stories. Thousands of years ago, ancient civilizations were already creating constellations representing tragic heroes, hunters, animals, and other figures of myth and legend. Some of these constellations remain today, and have shown through history to have a common origin that spread through many cultures such as the Big Dipper and Orion the Hunter.
Humanity continues to use the night sky as a stage for stories; a giant canvas onto which we paint our hopes and dreams and adventures in the form of science fiction and space fantasy. What is it about space that is so alluring?