The Unfinished Business of Marty Melnick

Olivia Cunnally (2022)

Play the Interactive Protoype Here!

Olivia Cunnally (BFA ’23) researched interactive film in order to create an interactive children’s TV pilot that centers mature morals and LGBTQ representation. Through this research and finished product, she aimed to convey how interactive film can better teach nuanced themes to youth audiences in order to expand the potential of this medium and teach herself valuable professional production skills in the process.

The ambitious intended outcome of this research was a 10-minute film for children ages 10-16, entitled The Unfinished Business of Marty Melnick, that used point-and-click interaction to dictate the characters that the narrative focuses on. The story follows an emo teen, Ian, and his ghost sister Marty. Together, they help other ghosts solve their unfinished business, all while avoiding the bullying Ghost Hunter Trio.

The final outcome of this research project was a nineteen page script, a two minute long demo live-action scene, and an approximately 15-minute working interactive animatic prototype of the television pilot. What drove the inspiration for this research was the fact that, despite interactive film’s extensive history, the field at the time of her research lacked genre diversity and does not fulfill its educational potential for youth audiences. Therefore, even in its prototype form, this research project hopes to act as a template for future researchers by demonstrating the potential of this genre as a powerful tool for emotional-intelligence based education. Researching and executing the process of creating meaningful interactive film will ideally provide a framework for teaching nuanced themes in children’s media.

This project was made possible in part by support from the Frank-Ratchye Further Fund Minigrant# 2022-024. More images can be found here.


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Olav Carter

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