Late last year, Bob Dylan went viral (again).
In November, 27-year-old Israeli director Vania Heymann created a crazy interactive music video for Dylan’s 1965 hit “Like a Rolling Stone” that allowed viewers to “switch channels” between different television shows like “Pawn Stars” and “The Bachelor” as the actors sang along and went through the motions of their respective programs. It was a supremely weird, supremely delightful piece that proved “Like a Rolling Stone” had just as much to say about 21st century ennui as it did about walking the streets of 1960s New York with nothing and nothing to lose.
What many didn’t realize was that the video was created using an open creative platform called Interlude. Now that company wants video artists around the world to follow in Heymann’s footsteps: Today, Interlude is announcing a video competition in partnership with the TriBeca Film Festival. Participants will submit interactive videos made using Interlude for new songs by Blur frontman Damon Albarn, singer/songwriter Ellie Goulding, and soul artist Aloe Blacc. The winning video for each song will be screened at the TriBeca Film Festival in April.
“We decided to make an official (interactive) category together because, for other categories, people will be submitting their work to all festivals,” says Yoni Bloch, CEO of Interlude Studios. “This brings something unique to TriBeca.”
Like so many companies, Bloch started Interlude as a solution to one of his own problems. In his home country of Israel, Bloch was a recording artist who released three records between 2004 and 2008 (his bonafides include being a guest judge on the Israeli version of “American Idol”).
“We were broke musicians with geeky backgrounds, before geeky was a good thing,” Bloch says. “We wanted to do an interactive music video. Nobody had done it the way we thought it should be done. We started talking about it with a lot of people, screenwriters, directors, how this can be used. We got the idea of developing a new medium. Something that’s creating a new canvas for people to create.”
Interlude is one of many publishing platforms that lets users create rich, interactive pieces without having to code entire projects from scratch. Similar tools include Zeega, which companies like NowThis News have used to create visual stories (I don’t know what this is exactly, but I like it).
The biggest challenges for these companies is making the tool easy enough for non-technical users, but complex enough so not all the projects look the same. Cool as it was, who wants to watch a mere rip-off of that Bob Dylan video? What made the piece so interesting was that it was unlike anything that had been made before. Turning it into a template takes away what made it so special. That’s why Bloch errs on the side of complexity to ensure the work that comes out of Interlude never gets old.
“One of the things I’m very proud of is that if you watch two videos (made with Interlude) you don’t even know it’s the same platform,” Bloch says. “The complexity that the tool allows lets people do whatever they are dreaming of.”
Bloch hopes the TriBeca competition will help drive this point home.
“We want to show that it’s used in so many different ways, not something that’s only good for one thing. Not a gimmick.”