Outline: Assignment for Ethan

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Note: This was done really quickly as the assignment on the day was to make a production schedule, I'll modify this on the next iteration.

 

RESEARCH OUTLINE

I. Thesis Statement

  1. a  My thesis seeks to study Aswang mythology and the impacts of its oral narrative tradition, and see how it can be innovated into a more modern style of communal storytelling like the Collective Journey Structure, which would then be a framework to creating an engaging game or experience.
  2. b  This means that:
    • I am creating an gamified experience for anyone who is interested in

      storytelling, specifically for those interested in mythology and monster folklore. The goal is to extend its oral tradition to modern day aspects of experiencing myth and telling stories, and on the process also evoke feelings of community and thoughts about the overall intercultural and sociopolitical experience of mythological narrative in the context of the modern, heavily globalized world.

    • I am studying Aswang mythology because I want to find out the impacts of its oral narrative tradition to communal construction of narratives. This is in order to understand its potential for being innovated into a more nuanced and modern form of storytelling.
  3. c  Framework thus far: the Collective Journey

• By applying the Collective Journey structure, I can investigate thoroughly what

happens to the myth and its archetypes once processed by a group of people trying to build a world and a story around it, and share the process itself with one another.

d I propose to research the Aswang mythology in order to understand the anthropological function of myth in the communities of its origin and parallelize that to the more globalized communities of the 21st century, to see how the mythological narratives can be innovated into the present creatively. At this stage in the research, the dominant cultural domain will be storytelling and the anthropology behind myths, generally gaged through an understanding of how these narratives are communicated or how they are made significant to culture in the first place.

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II. My Research Trajectory

a So far, early in this research it’s starting to feel multi-faceted in terms of domains. It is a fun challenge and it has introduced a lot of options and input that I must consider in building my future design. It will add more on the growing collective journey narrative structure, it will introduce new forms of archetypes, explore a new way of myths and storytelling.

  • However, I would like to stay active and really follow the lead of researchers who are forming the base of my research.
  • Casing point: various conferences on media technologies and storytelling
    • ×  NYC Media Lab
    • ×  The Future of Storytelling, where storytellers around the country and parts of the world gather to share new ways of telling stories using various mediums. This would give me an insight on precedents and inspiration on how to work on my project.
    • ×  The World Summit on Innovation and Entrepreneurship
    • ×  the New York Comic Convention, etc.
  • I hope that the path I’ve set on my research is clear and would help lead me to

    the goals and new discoveries for my thesis.

    III.Questions concerning the research

a A lot of questions arise from that initial research process of having read all about the psychology and the sociological impacts of myth-making. For instance, the content of my research domain now is populated by questions for interview, for research, and even questions on my experiment content.

  • The content of my domain research will happen in steps. Firstly of finding and reading sources that focus on early interpretation of myths and their presentations.
  • Secondly, conducting interviews with experts on the subfields of myth study and storytelling, and build or conceptualize the prototype experimenting these interpretations. The sources will include the researches done by academics who studied local Filipino myths, as well as academics who studied similar southeast

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Asian myths and greek myths. As well as implementation of myths on mediums

such as video games and digital art.

  1. b  I would like to know what fascinates regular people and what fascinates scholars, what

    draws them to this genre or this culture specifically? I would also like to hear more of that experience of sharing the stories and being part of a larger group of people who keep the stories alive.

  2. c  I am drawn into questions like: Why are there many interpretations of myths? Is there such a thing as the right canon story? Who were the primary audience of the myths and how were they originally told? I hope they have opinions on the different ways myths are interpreted through new mediums and what of their essence once adopted by more modern story-telling mediums.
  3. d  I am also currently on the hunt for projects that are similar and will resonate to mine, just so I can further analyze and have a direction for what I will create in terms of this project.

IV. Inspirations and Predecessors

  1. a  Several key thinkers in my domains:
    • For Filipino myths: I have Dr. Maximo Ramos, who deals with the academic

      research on filipino myths, folk tales and monsters. Damiana L. Eugenio, who

      deals with folk literature series.

    • I am also looking at the works of psychologists Carl Jung , Vladimir Propp,

      Bruno Bettelheim who has influenced a wealth of research into myths and

      archetypes leading to the formation of modern storytelling.

  2. b  Other influencers on modern myths:

• Video games such as “Troll” that explores twisting the archetypes, and “Never Alone” which explores storytelling possibilities with oral alaskan myths of the Iñupiaq tribe.

  • ×  On Game Design and Storytelling I have our Nic Fortiguno who is helping me explore possibilities of storytelling through games.
  • ×  On testing, my prototypes I’ve explored testing them with people on D12 as well as friends, clubs and organizations around the university.

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  • I also keep a close hand peers such as Vinci Bueza, an anthropologist specializing on IP communities in the Philippines.
  • I also look to psychologists such as Dr. Hadj Balajadia who guide me on the fields of psychology.
  • On exploring the myths I’ve also touched base with the team from the Aswang Project who developed a more accessible medium such as the Aswang Project website to inform people of the myth of Philippine monsters through articles and source guides.

    V. ThefundamentalsofbuildingtheAswangnarrative

    [A model inspired by the potential of the Collective Journey structure]

  1. a  The story will have elements that the user/player/protagonist can interact with in

    order to direct and further the plot of the game.

  2. b  STAGE 1: introducing the mystery, the thriller aspect.
    • Setting: a familiar space (protagonist’s bedroom, house, school)
    • Element: shadows, sound, abstract movements (not labeled as the aswang yet. Just a

      mystery that bugs the protagonist)

    • Plot: the protagonist gets to interact with the familiar space, maybe use the

      kitchen or access the shelves on the bedroom, whatever. Until the creepy noises and the out of place mood of it being unfamiliar sets in.

× The atmosphere doesn’t have to be fearful, it just has to be unidentified.

• Action: the protagonist gets to choose which mystery to explore

  • ×  Option 1: the weird shadow by the trees (if chosen, revealed to be a a

    duwende trying to be mischievous and peep into the house- the duwende was lost but fascinated by the electric lights. The duwende is chaotic neutral, no loyalty to one thing, be careful it might be a good genie only to some extent and the story will start from there)

  • ×  Option 2: the weird sound at the door (nangangatok – you’ve opened the door a million times, but if you knock back, it will tell you the bad omen it’s trying to communicate and your story will start from there)

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× Option 3: the quick movements of shadows that slither at the corner of the room (engkanto trapped in one of the antique vase that your eccentric great aunt bought for you. Careful though, engkantos think they’re all that... so they don’t like humans very much. It can either ask you nicely to help it escape or curse you and force you to do its bidding)

c STAGE 2: introducing the quest

  • The quest (from whatever string of narrative the protagonist from STAGE 1

    will pursue) will at first seem like a one time deal. A very straightforward

    adventure.

  • At this stage, the protagonist will be asked to find an agimat to aid the mission

    from STAGE 1.

    • ×  Missions: a) the duwende is fascinated by say, the modern man’s

      flashlight (it needs no fire!), so you give the duwende the flashlight and help him brag about it with his other aswang friends and he’ll let you go. Easy right?

    • ×  b) the ngangangatok gave you a vision that a manananggal is about to park its lower half on your backyard. It’s obviously going to kill one of the neighbors so you have to put salt on the lower half quick and slay the monster. Easy right? A trip to the kitchen then to the backyard.
    • ×  c) the engkanto depends on what the protagonist decides to say, will be nice or extremely nasty. Try and please the engkanto as much as you can and send it back to its mythical world. Easy right?

d STAGE 3: expanding the universe • This will be done through: the agimat

× Can be a cigar, a walking stick, water from a hidden creek, tooth of a boar, a torch, etc etc

• At some point, the mission will need you to have some magical aid and the agimat will do just that. So you have to find it quickly.

× On the process, maybe even meet other creatures and monsters.

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× Which monsters to meet will depend on which agimat you’ll end up with.

e STAGE 4: (in the collective journey this is called the community challenge) – what ties the story to the issues of the real world

  • Protagonist succeeds in the quest. Learns a lot about the monsters and their weirdness and their strengths on the process.
  • Congratulations—then cut to the protagonist waking up the next morning. The familiar space intact, nothing seemed changed. No duwende or knocks or shadows, nothing.
  • But depending on which narrative string was followed, something disturbing will be announced in the “real world”
    • ×  DUWENDE narrative: the trees that were home to the duwende and the other creatures who enjoyed the flashlight are being cut down to build a mall on top of it.
    • ×  MANANANGGAL narrative: the mysterious old man who helped you defeat the monster with his agimat (walking stick or magic stone or whatever) has died and was actually a history professor whose work has been very underrated. The news reports that there are no other academics who can teach like he does in the field of history and mythology.
    • ×  ENGKANTO narrative: the engkanto you sent home was very fond of you and it thanked you well. It revealed it was the spirit of your ancestor but in the end only rewarded you with a tooth of a boar which was so random, but it was for your bravery—a prize given only to warriors. You wake up and you ask your mom or your great aunt to tell you more about the mythology, but they can only tell you so very little, that no matter how colorful the dream of the engkanto was, it was just a dream after all.

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ThesisPaolo Villanueva