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The Art of Immersion: How the Digital Generation Is Remaking Hollywood, Madison Avenue, and the Way We Tell Stories Hardcover – February 21, 2011

4.4 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Before the Internet, people were accustomed to storytelling, that basic human impulse to try and make sense of life, as something linear and passive. But the multimedia dynamics of the Internet have changed all that, encouraging participation that often takes control from the creators of the story. Wired contributing editor Rose takes a broad and deep look at how electronic media are changing storytelling, inviting an immersion that drills down beneath surface information and encourages a deeper level of emotional involvement. Rose interviewed movie producers and game developers, including the creative minds behind Avatar and The Sims, to explore innovations in storytelling since the creation of the novel. He provides historical context for the evolution of storytelling from television to the movies, from role-playing games to blogging and tweeting. Creators, in essence, are losing some control of their stories as fans take them over. Star Wars fans maintain a Wookieepedia of detail beyond anything envisioned by its creator, fans of Mad Men began unauthorized tweeting in the role of characters from a show set in the 1960s, and the Potter Wars have erupted over control of the popular series as fans start blogs and websites. Rose asserts that in the new world of immersion storytelling, stories become games, and games become stories. Completely fascinating. --Vanessa Bush

Review

Starred Review. Wired contributing editor Rose takes a broad and deep look at how electronic media are changing storytelling, inviting an immersion that drills down beneath surface information and encourages a deeper level of emotional involvement. . . . Completely fascinating. (Booklist )

Starred Review. Like Marshall McLuhan's groundbreaking 1964 book, Understanding Media, this engrossing study of how new media is reshaping the entertainment, advertising, and communication industries is an essential read for professionals in the fields of digital communications, marketing, and advertising, as well as for fans of gaming and pop culture. (Library Journal )

Himself a master of good old-fashioned narrative, Frank Rose has given us the definitive guide to the complex, exciting and sometimes scary future of storytelling. (Steven Levy, author of Hackers)

From Homer to Halo 3, from Scorsese to The Sims, the craft of story-telling has transformed utterly. Or has it? Frank Rose is one of the world's most insightful technology writers, and in this wonderful and important book he narrates a narrative about the new narrators who are gaming all the rules we learned way back in English 101. (Randall Rothenberg, Chief Digital Officer, Time Inc.)

We can spy the future in Frank Rose's brilliant tour of the pyrotechnic collision between movies and games. This insightful, yet well researched, book convinced me that immersive experiences are rapidly becoming the main event in media, and has re-framed my ideas about both movies and games. Future-spotting doesn't get much better than this. (Kevin Kelly, author of What Technology Wants)

The definitive book on transmedia—what it really is, where it came from and how it is changing our culture. A must read for anyone now in the business of telling stories, which almost certainly includes you—whatever it is you do. (Matt Mason, author of The Pirate's Dilemma)

Frank Rose has written an important, engaging, and provocative book, asking us to consider the changes the Internet has wrought with regard to narrative as we have known it, and making it impossible to ever watch a movie or a TV show in quite the same way. (Peter Biskind, author of <em>Down and Dirty Pictures and Star
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; First Edition edition (February 21, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393076016
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393076011
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.3 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #979,631 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Justin Hyde on May 4, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Rose's new book, The Art of Immersion, provides an interesting behind-the-scenes look into the conception, creation, and promotion of many products of popular media from Christopher Nolan's film The Dark Knight to Xbox's Halo; from George Lucas' Star Wars suite to the Nine Inch Nails' album Year Zero; from ABC's Lost to Evan Williams' sites Blogger and Twitter.

Yet for all of its contemporary pop culture references and social media anecdotes, The Art of Immersion feels quite dated. His thesis ("A new type of narrative is emerging--one that's sold through many media at once in a way that's non-linear, that's participatory and often gamelike, and that's designed above all to be immersive.") is obvious to even the most technologically un-savvy reader. Nearly everyone, from Topeka, Kansas to Tokyo, Japan has understood that intuitively (if not explicitly) for 10 years.

I enjoyed reading the first few chapters in which Rose discusses the transformation of media and the creation of increasingly immersive worlds through the advancement of the technology, content and delivery method of newer forms of media. Rose outlines a rough sketch from the invention of the printing press and moveable type to the advent of the motion picture to the seductive glow of the living room television to the immersive and participatory "deep media" of the Internet. Yet as I continued to read, I kept waiting for the book to "start".

Each new chapter felt like a slight regurgitation of the one before it; each felt like an introduction to the theme, yet the book never fully developed the theme. True to his subtile, Rose answered How the Digital Generation Is Remaking Hollywood, Madison Avenue, and the Way we Tell Stories. But each chapter begs the questions: WHY?
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Format: Hardcover
"The Internet is trying very, very hard to tell us." That quote is from Elan Lee, one of the early pioneers of Alternate Reality Games. Lee created I Love Bees to promote the Xbox game Halo 2, and was part of the 42 Entertainment team (along with Alex Lieu and Susan Bonds) behind Year Zero, which engaged thousands of Nine Inch Nails fans in the creation of a story around the album of the same name.

The quote above quote appears in Frank Rose's new book, The Art of Immersion, due out in February 2011. Rose, a long time contributing editor at Wired, where he's covered everything from the fall of the music industry to the impact of digital technology on television, offers an assessment of where story-telling is going in an age when narratives are no longer linear and more often than not are told, or at least informed, by the participation of a consumer community.

Rose labels this "deep media." Story-telling that offers an immersive experience. It refers to everything from the online audiences that gathered on their own to decipher the convoluted plot line of Lost, to the MadMen fans who hijacked the show's characters in the form of Twitter personas, playing Don and Betty true to their `60s personas.

To his credit, Rose doesn't simply regurgitate examples of current entertainment and gaming industry campaigns like Avatar or Grand Theft Auto. He frames the challenges and emerging formulas in light of all the story telling changes that have come before, from the serialized novels of Dickens, to the early breakthroughs created by D.W. Griffith that gave film its own identity as a medium, to the trans-media narratives about which Henry Jenkins writes so intelligently.

Multiple themes emerge in Rose's book.
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Format: Hardcover
For me, perhaps the most insightful take-away from reading "The Art of Immersion" is how the various forms of media are being impacted by an apparent loss of control. Chapter four is devoted to this topic. Frank Rose addresses this issue from both sides - challenges and opportunities.

The process of immersion can take many forms, but the one that seems to trouble the traditional media practitioners the most is when "ordinary people" choose to engage with a story and decide to participate in the development of the characters and/or the storyline.

These uninvited contributions demonstrate how the Internet, in particular, has enabled many people to rediscover that innate human quality that most of us have not embraced since childhood - the storyteller within.

Mr. Rose offers an example of how someone unaffiliated with the production or distribution of the "Mad Men" television series decided to create a Twitter account for Betty Draper (a fictional character) and assumed that persona for the purpose of sharing her innermost thoughts. Apparently, other people have assumed the persona of various characters from the show and tweet about their thoughts as well.

How did the AMC cable channel executives react to this amazing act of engagement from the show's audience? They contacted Twitter and requested that all these accounts were shut down. Once the show's fans discovered what had happened, that decision was quickly reversed - with a regretful AMC blessing.

Rose summarizes this legacy media disruption phenomenon with the following assessment. "In the command-and-control world, we know who's telling the story; it's the author. But digital media have created an authorship crisis.
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