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Thursday, July 13, 2006

'Trio And A Bed', Malaysia's First Chinese Interactive and Integrated Media Programme

Being placed under house arrest is an excruciating experience for a wandering artist like me. Due to the fact that my house is under renovation, I had to stay at home and help look after the place while parents and little sister aren't around. By being chained, my brilliant bursts of creativity are hindered, thus my output in this blog became sporadic.

Besides going through endless marathons of Hong Kong dramas, I have been surfing the net aimlessly, and sifting through the newspapers. I have wireless connection had home, so I'm usually doing all three at once: listening to HK dramas (during the draggy bits), surfing the net on my laptop and then reading The Star, and the entertainment sections of Chinese papers, China Press and Sinchew Jit Poh.

Carmen Soo, Anabelle Kong and Amber Chia in Trio and a Bed

One piece of news that attracted my attention most recently is the soon-to-be released Trio and a Bed, which, according to The Star today, is Malaysia's very first Chinese interactive and integrated media programme, it's also referred to as an idol drama by the Sin Chew and China Press. Starring Miss Astro Chinese International 2005 winner Annabelle Kong (whom I've unfortunately never heard of until my recent return to Malaysia), Amber Chia and Carmen Soo, each episode is around 5 minutes, can be viewed not only on television, but 3G mobiles and the Internet (I wouldn't have cared until I read the latter).

What intrigued me most is the 'interactivity' of this series, which isn't emphasized upon until today's papers. The storyline is, according to The Star, is determined by the viewers, who will vote on how they want the characters to solve problems. Sounds pretty fun, and a rather brave experiment.

I remember sneaking into attending a seminar in Murdoch University last year and there was this guy talking about the potential of interactive television, which people are experimenting with in order to help combat the flagging interest in conventional television programmes. There hasn't been a major success worth noting in mainstream media. Yes, there's American Idol and its countless spin-offs around the world, but I'm talking about television drama here. Yet American Idol is a good evidence that interactive television has the potential to create a huge impact. By encouraging audience participation, they will have to keep up with each and every single episode to see whether their votes have meant anything. It's a two-way relationship between the viewers and the studios, the audience and the artist.

Optimistically, in a best-case scenario, people will love Trio And A Bed so much that they are inspired to make fan videos or mashup videos of it. Parodies, spin-offs, self-written sequels, music videos, anything is good for some free publicity. Look at the most popular, most-viewed videos in Youtube like Smosh's Pokemon Video, or Backdorm Boys, or Bus Uncle, then look at the videos INSPIRED by these videos, and watch it spread, as these videos inspire other videos, fans of fan works shifting their attention to the original. A strong web presence that will start attracting the attention of not just Malaysian viewers, but everyone around the world.

But that's the best-case scenario, that's me being very optimistic. And mind you, what I mentioned MIGHT happen if Trio And A Bed, or anything produced by Malaysia that's similar to it will really seep into the public consciousness, stamping a place in pop culture.

However, if the series happen to suck, I doubt people would actually bother voting for the fates of the characters if they barely care about what happens to those characters in the first place, ditto with the storyline.

As for me, I'll be paying attention to Trio And A Bed as see what will happen. Despite my very vicious (but well-deserved) criticism on the reviled local Chinese film, The Third Generation earlier this year (which remains the most-commented entry of this blog), I AM always interested in the evolution and development of the local arts scene and entertainment industry. Besides, for the past few months, an (possibly interactive) idol drama distributed on the Internet had been something I personally wanted to develop if I've had the time.

The official site of Trio And A Bed is here. It's heavily Flash-based, which is kinda troublesome, and it's in Chinese. Oh, and it's incomplete, as only main page, the 'Contests' and 'Sponsors' sections are up. I wonder what the 'diaries' and 'blog' sections will be like.

The show will launch on the 17th of July, 2006.

Related entries:

The Malaysian Chinese Filmmaking Scene And Its Many Many Obstacles.

Can Local Malaysian Stars Become Internationally Famous?

Swifty Contemplates The Myths of Countries And Their Effects On Creative Works

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