Over the past two and a half months I have been visiting the Capitol’s website. And I do mean the Capitol from the bestselling The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanna Collins. Lionsgate—distributor of the Hunger Games film next year—is presumably the creative producer behind the website. You can register for a Panem district via your Facebook or Twitter account. Once registered to a district (I’m from District 11—go agriculture!), you can download your official District Pass (badge) and keep up with Capitol announcements, such as: “Dreaming about being picked as a Tribute? Remember to choose your District token carefully. Tokens which can be used as weapons will be confiscated.” Certain words are highlighted in gold, which might indicate clues for future site developments—similar to other ARGs (alternate reality game). Those who keep track of such developments could receive special offers or inside knowledge about the upcoming film release. But that is all conjecture.
Also on the site are graphs depicting tessarae numbers and gross district product. A clock counts down to the 74th Hunger Games, which happens to be the same date as the film release (23 March 2012).
Who knows what this site will offer in the coming months. Considering there are five more months before the film, it would seem that the makers of Panem’s website have more and more exciting things in store for fans. Transmedia and film have over a decade’s worth of history. Movies such as The Matrix and The Blair Witch Project experimented with ARGs and online, immersive experiences in the late ‘90’s. The Hunger Games has designed a transmedia site, but with the added connectivity of social media. It will be interesting to see how the Panem site will use these various technologies to expand the narrative experience.
I will keep you posted on my own Panem journey. So far I’ve got my registration processed and my district identification pass. I’m hoping that as the film release approaches, the website initiates a friendly competition between the districts. Already you can join your district’s Facebook page and socialize with fellow district members. Solidarity!
York Minster & Low Petergate, October 2010
A lot of changes have transpired this past year. A year ago today I was living in York, getting ready for my first departmental meeting. I was anxious and excited for the year ahead, unknown of what it would include. I still believed I would study the political and activist uses of film for my dissertation. And I walked into town every weekend so I could sit on the bench outside the Minster.
Now I am back in the States. My year in England has influenced and shaped me in ways I have not fully processed yet. But my studies abroad have revealed three things for certain.
1. I love analyzing television. More so than film. I enjoy the continuity of television seasons and the ability to craft ongoing, multi-layered, complex narratives. With television (if written and produced well), viewers can emotionally engage with characters—potentially over several years, an aspect distinctly different from that of the two-hour film. I now know that, at some point, I will be involved with television production.
2. Social media fascinates me, especially when joined with television. Because of the weekly format of most television shows, social media are used to further engage viewers, maintain interest between episodes, and deepen the narrative experience. Social media can create hyperdiegetic spaces, and we are only beginning to see the creative (and sometimes banal) ways in which entertainment and culture industries are employing social media to immerse their audiences.
3. I am a firebrand feminist. Apparently this is old news to everyone who has known me the past ten years. I never recognized this aspect of myself until college. Even then I saw it as a supplementary feature. Politics and theatre were my defining ‘passions’, if you will, during that time. Then I moved to York and met Dr. Kristyn Gorton.
While her area of research is television, she often analyzes television through a feminist lens. My first term of Television Case Studies was heavy with feminist analysis, and something within me finally sparked alive. Took root. Feminist analysis appeared in my critique of Mad Men that autumn, two more essays in the spring, and my final dissertation. Despite my efforts at searching for other analytic perspectives, I kept returning to feminism.
Feminism is more than a supplemental aspect of my being—something friends and family have recognized for years now. It defines me; I cannot separate my passion for female equality and empowerment from who I am. Now that I am fully cognizant of this passion—and embrace it—I am excited for the ways in which to pair feminism with media.
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These three things, my readers, will come to define (edge)wise over the coming months and years. (Edge)wise will be undergoing a major face-lift over the next several weeks—a new direction. It will be a place for commentary on television, entertainment, and media; television and film reviews will remain a major component. I will have a new section specifically focused on girls, women and media. Interviews will become a regular feature. Book reviews will still make an appearance. Recipes will not. More attention will be given to the developments within social media and related technology. The hope is for (edge)wise to become your first-read on television, pop culture, and social media through the perspective of an everyday feminist. Fun, exhilarating stuff.
This is an exciting time for (edge)wise. Please be patient as the website undergoes creative re-design and construction. As always, I appreciate your feedback and your readership.
I am media maven. Hear me roar.