The actors didn’t need me.
Don’t get me wrong: I have plenty to do to keep the show together. But right now, actors’ individual and collaboratively-conspired plots have taken center stage. The action is moving on its own. So much so, that I’ve purposely held off the next meta-story plot point, while actors continue to respond to what they developed themselves last week.
In case you haven’t figured it out yet . . . I’m not sad about this!
So how is it that actors work together to build momentum? Largely, it’s by nurturing “stories-within-the-story” that they initiate as their characters rub shoulders in the world of Aurelia. These interactions can take many forms:
1. Direct requests
Whether or not they’ve agreed ahead of time, Aurelians often make direct requests to one another in their videos. This is one of the easiest ways for a new actor to engage other actors and get plugged in. By targeting another character and asking them to join a cause or offer help, actors spark new mini-stories and run with them—with plenty of clever results.
2. Insults or challenges
Nothing sparks drama like a little old-fashioned rivalry. Of course, to maintain the fun, actors must be able to clearly separate character-to-character animosity from real-life disagreement. Often before posting an inter-character assault, the initiating actor will contact the recipient backstage to let them know the affront is of course entirely IC (in character).
Some actors have begun experimenting with holding IC events. Currently, our playwright “Josus Thimblewick” is preparing to open his new play The Calamitous Siren, an entirely in-world enterprise. Another character, nobleman “Gervain Khorvanus,” posted an invitation to a social at his estate. The actor playing Gervain wants to experiment with holding this social as a mass roleplay via Google Hangout, a recording of which would be uploaded to the Theatrics site.
Story momentum in Aurelia has been gathering steam (pun intended!) quite nicely on its own. With all these deals, insults, and invitations flying around . . . the only question this showrunner now has is: “How do I keep it all straight in my head?”
Oh — and by the way, there’s PLENTY of room for YOU to come join the fun!
Aurelia is, however, a lot like playing chess.
Given the cloak-and-dagger nature of Aurelia, individual plots tend to unfold like a carefully-plotted chess game. Characters have competing—even hidden—motivations. Some actors plan their characters’ stories weeks in advance, while others work out the details as they shoot. All strive to move across the board on their own terms. Yet they must work together and against each other.
In such a checkered landscape, how do Aurelians ever collaborate?
Here are a few of the most popular methods:
1) Video Tagging
The Theatrics platform allows actors to “tag” other actors in their video posts. Many actors use this feature regularly to notify another actor via email that s/he has been mentioned in a video. Often, this is the start to a more extensive series of back-and-forth videos that represent a kind of “subplot” for that actor’s story.
2) Out-Of-Character Dealing
Actors have two easy options to contact each other “back stage” as we call it around Aurelia. The first is through our closed actor Facebook group, which serves as a home for general announcements, out-of-character discussion, and a springboard where actors can find and friend each other for deeper conversations.
The other option is our Public Discussion forum on the Theatrics platform. This feature uses Disqus to power a similar type of interaction to Facebook.
3) Surprise Challenges
In this instance, a character challenges another character to take a particular action without prior notification. For example, in a recent video, noblewoman Eugenia Sphazomai begged scientists, Marius Menchevit and Nicodeamus Barzimon, to shelter her fugitive son. Will the actors behind these scientists choose to take Eugenia’s son into their storyline? Or will their characters refuse to help him? The actress playing Eugenia (and incidentally, her murderer too!) doesn’t know. She awaits her opponents’ next move, so she can plan her future story installments accordingly.
Starting to understand why I compare Aurelia to chess?
In Aurelia, I make a move. You make a move. We ponder our options and make a different move. And suddenly, somehow, we find ourselves moving across the board.