25th Anniversary of Ghostwatch

I saw this in Kim by the Sea after volleyball today. As I tweeted it, I realized many people wouldn’t know what it was because they were too young, not born or wasn’t in the UK to see it unfold live.

From Wikipedia

Ghostwatch is a British realityhorror/mockumentarytelevision film, first broadcast on BBC1 on Halloween night, 1992. Written by Stephen Volk, and directed by Lesley Manning, the drama was produced for the BBCanthology seriesScreen One by Richard Broke, Ruth Baumgarten and Derek Nelson.

Despite having been recorded weeks in advance, the narrative was presented as live television. During and following its first and only UK television broadcast, the show attracted a considerable furore,[1] resulting in an estimated 30,000 calls to the BBC switchboard in a single hour.

Ghostwatch has never been repeated on UK television. It has been repeated internationally, on stations such as the Canadian digital channel Scream for Halloween 2004, and the Belgian channel Canvas in 2008. In 2017, Ghostwatch was added to the American streaming video service Shudder

It does seem crazy the BBC putting out a fake ghost programme on prime time national TV. It reminds me of war of the worlds radio play.

A busy few weeks between dating, personal impact, #tdcmcr and #mozfest

Tokyo rush

The next few weeks are going to be pretty busy…

As usual its kinda of stressful but ever-so exciting!

 

EPIC Werewolf time!!!

My parents were deeply worried that I was doing too much again. Specially after what happened to me with mybrushwithdeath almost two and half years ago. I can tell you and them that my blood pressure is normal…

So what have I been up to…? Because my blog has also suffered due to the hectic schedule.

On Tuesday 30th Connected Social and 31st EpicWerewolf…!

EPIC Werewolf

Epicwerewolf

The concept of Epic Werewolf was to run werewolf in two rooms.

One room would be kitted out with cameras and a normal game of werewolf would be going on. In the second room would be an audience watching live and some physiologists, behaviour scientists, experts watching along live and giving a running commentary on top of the live video. The people in the first room (the players) wouldn’t be able to hear the second room (the audience) but the second room would see and hear almost everything. All those little comments, subconscious ticks and obvious body actions would be exposed to an audience in a way which has only been seen in TV poker.

Great concept I thought and the Manchester science festival were interested too. However not interested enough to put any serious money behind it for a number of reasons. Because of this the idea had to scale down quickly. The interesting part is the game was originally going to be quite small to allow everyone a chance to have a go but we had to change that due to the amount of people who signed up and wanted to be players not the audience.

Epicwerewolf

We switched venues quite a bit and thought about a place with internet connectivity so we could broadcast it live to the internet. In the end we settled on Islington Mill in Salford because of the great spaces they have and how creepy it would be to go to deep dark Salford on Halloween.

Anyway the challenge which was worrying me was how to setup the cameras and computers. I had imagined using something like Ingex but we didn’t have resources or cameras. I came up with a number of solutions including using Skype, Hangouts, Bambuser, etc… but in the end I settled on the much easier streaming multiple Videolan’s VLC on my quad core i7 laptop to the weaker dual core Dell xps machine I still have. Everything was fine except I couldn’t get any of my decent cameras (Sanyo Xacti’s) to show up correctly. Meaning I only had 3 webcams including the build in one. I swear I had 2 at home but couldn’t find them even when searching the whole flat.

Epicwerewolf

On the day I setup 3 VLC services streaming and Vee from Larkin About used her macbook’s built in camera with Bambuser. On my Dell, I took advantage of the overview mode in Ubuntu 12.04 to show all cameras views and one of them being a browser window with Bambuser running from the Mac. However the problem seemed to be the mac would drop the wifi signal every 20mins or so. This was a pain but to add even more pain to the setup, my Dell laptop would get upset with the Flash plugin and throttle the CPU to death.

We pushed ahead anyway and by 6:30pm we had our first players. By about 7pm we had quite a few but no bar… We delayed while we tried to find out what happened to the barman and it turned out the barman was booked for 7:30pm not 7pm. So we started a 25 person game in the bar room and the another one next to it 10mins later to catch people who were running late. It was noisy and hard to hear people talking but it kind of worked out ok.

Those games came to a end about 8:30pm where we revealed what was so Epic about the night. Everyone was given a raffle ticket at the start of the night and between Larkin about and myself we pulled 12 numbers out of a cup and announced them over the pa system to the 50+ strong crowd.

The lucky 12 were lead to the 2nd room which was cold and slightly unnerving to play out a game of werewolf in front of the cameras. Our experts watched from the room and then came into the main room to talk through some of the things which were happening in the game. The problem we had was for the audience the cameras were not exciting enough in part because the of technical difficulties but also there just wasn’t enough to view. So instead we quickly had the experts give a quick overview of what they had seen and then a small Q&A about what not to do when playing werewolf. This was fascinating and made it clear there was more than just luck going on in a game of werewolf.

Massive thanks to Ben, Penny and Liz for being our experts for the night and giving us great insight into the silly things we all do without even noticing. Thanks also to Martin Rue, Mark Kirschstein and Larkin About for support through the night.

Epicwerewolf

After the Q&A we kicked off a series of werewolf games right through till the witching hour of midnight. We even had the barman involved in the last game.

It was a excellent night and I was amazed with the turn out of people. So many people and such a great vibe throughout. I only wished we could have got the epic part working smoothly. Well theres always next Halloween I guess?

Epicwerewolf

A bit of funding and who knows what we could great? Multiple rooms many cameras and many more types of sensors? Possibilities are endless! This is certainly not the end of #EpicWerewolf

EPIC Werewolf – Halloween

EPIC Werewolf

Its coming… this Halloween, EPIC Werewolf

As part of the Manchester Science Festival, myself and Larkin About are going to take a look at Social engineering and Mob rule in the social game of Werewolf. Unlike most games of werewolf, we will feature running commentary from psychologists and behaviour scientists that will culminate in a finale game resticted to one room and broadcasted live to an audience.

Of course because its Halloween, there will be lots of dressing up and to be honest Islington Mill is located in deep and dark Salford. Far from the bright lights of Media City and the Quays.

Exact details are still being worked out but its going to be a great event which you don’t want to miss!

Tickets are available for the players and the audience only.

A halloween party for my fellow residences

Halloween Party

Islington wharf where I now live now has a fantastic communal garden (which I’ve been using to read my kindle and play with my pacemaker) and I thought it would be a grand idea to have a party in the garden for all the residences of islington wharf.

So the plan is to have the party and allow people to bring a couple of friends with them. I will lay on a bit of party snacks (I got plenty left over from my flat warming party back in September) and everyone will bring there own drinks. On top of that, there will be two contests, one for the best carved pumpkin and another for the best fancy dress on the day. I’ve roped ISIS’s hollie into supplying the pumpkins and maybe supplying some really nice prizes on the night to the winners.

Finally I thought it might be nice to have a organised trick or treat for the kids of islington wharf. Get everyone ready with treats and go around the flats with a couple of adults to supervise the whole thing. I’m not sure how many kids there are in the flats but I’ve seen a couple playing in the garden since I’ve been here. Its slightly ambitious but even if we get 10% of the residents down on Sunday night, thats still over 20 people.

So why am I doing this?

Well when I first saw the location the garden was certainly a selling point. I really wanted a balcony but I gladly gave it up for a communal garden which I could relax in and share with others. I’ve seen a few people using the garden but not nearly as many as I would have thought. The thing about flats is they have a rep for being impersonal and loney places where people tend to not talk to each other as they leave there flats. In actual fact Tracey Langford said it in her recent interview for east manchester.

Tracey, who runs her own business, says the idea of a community appealed to them too: “We didn’t want to live in an soulless place where nobody spoke in the lift.” She adds, “We also wanted a high proportion of owner occupiers so that people really cared about the building. There is a mix of properties here with houses that face on to the communal garden, which are ideal for younger families.”

And that communal aspect prevails. Says Tracey, “In fact, the first Islintgon Wharf baby was born here a couple of months ago and the whole building was invited to the first birthday party of one of our residents!”

Its all about Community

Community, yep the big C word. Its one of those things which is very hard to just do, it needs to be organic. But fear not, this is just one of the ideas I have to bring people together. ISIS haven’t done a bad job so far but theres certainly some room for improvement. The next logical step I think is to sort out the community forum which is currently hosted on a external site somewhere. I signed up to join the forum ages ago and my membership is still pending (even after months).

My neighbor across the hallway is talking about setting up another better supported forum but I’m wondering why we don’t just setup a facebook group? Although to be fair it seems I’m not the only one who thought about this. The tricky part in a community is getting everyone on the same page (or getting the word out about the site), this requires actual physical work like putting up posters and speaking to people, something which seems to be sadly missing it seems.

ISIS should be involved in the community process too, but not be the driver of the process. It needs to come from the community/residents its self.

So I’m hoping to improve on the community building which has already started. I can’t say it will translate into sales for ISIS but for me this isn’t about that. Its about building a lovely place to live. I already live in a amazing place with some great views and great architecture but in this case, theres nothing wrong with wanting more. A rich vibrant community of caring people who I can share a wine with in the garden? I’m working on it one step at a time…

Werewolf night yesterday

Sheila vs Sheila, but are they both werewolves really?

So yesterday I setup the first Werewolf only night in London. It started badly, with me running late. I should have factored in 40mins from White City to Moorgate not 20mins. Plus work demands meant I was running late full stop. Turned up and the bar had set a-side a area, but it was right next to the main bar and it simply wouldn't have worked. However what had happened was a mixup on the bar's part. They had booked the wrong area. So after 15mins of drinks and talking, we moved to the private suite which held about 25 people. There was a large table which made things tricky, so our circle looked more like a squashed triangle. Anyway once a few of us had explained the rules and run through a few tatics, we were off into the 1st game.

I don't remember all the games (think we ended up playing up to 6?)but I certainly remember the one when I was a werewolf with Tiff and Frances. Sheila (australian sheila) pointed the finger at me early on because I had pointed the camera at the victim of the first night attack. I think it was a guess but she was right, so I came out as the seer. Then someone else did and after a while Sheila (aus) did too. But it started to work, I got off and started to pretend to check people every round. People started to believe after a while. And my thoughts about killing myself off to keep the werewolves winning, didn't need to happen. We won and I believe the other werewolves never got fingered once. It was certainly an adrenalin rush and couldn't help but stand up and put my arms up in the air at the end. Harry was gutted because he never believed me as the seer then slowly started to believe and so got taken in by my lies. Oh well thats the way it goes… Deception is such a great thing.

So without going into more detail about the games played, we had roughtly at one point 17 or 18 people enough for 3 werewolves, a seer and a healer. The smallest game was 14 people with 2 werewolves and a seer. Everyone enjoyed the night and would happily go to another one. So I'm going to speak to the venue about removing the table next time and maybe getting a large food order at the start of the game instead. Maybe it might also be worth spending money on getting all our drinks delivered to the room, so the breaks between won't be so long? As usual there's my pictures here and public pictures here.

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