‘Black Mirror: Bandersnatch’: How It Could Have Been Even Weirder

IndieWire | 6/1/2019 | Staff
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Many filmmakers try to find new ways to tell a story, but few get the chance offered by “Black Mirror: Bandersnatch.” Late last year, this installment of the Netflix anthology presented viewers a chance to control the narrative about a mid-1980s computer programmer hitting the limits of reality while working on an innovative new game.

While Netflix opted to prompt viewers with simple keyword captions on the screen’s lower third, director David Slade said his initial idea was a little more abstract.

Charlie - Brooker - Version - Text - Slade

“I remember at the very beginning trying to sell Charlie [Brooker] on a version with no text at all,” Slade said at a Q&A after a screening at a Netflix FYSee screening in Hollywood May 31. “The ‘David Lynch’ version, where you’ll get to a point in the narrative and see a series of images and if you click during one of those images, it’ll take you somewhere else.”

Those caption screens were just one element that had to be built from the ground up. While most screenplays opt for Final Draft, the ever-evolving “Bandersnatch” script was written on Twine, an open-source tool designed for interactive, nonlinear stories. It became one of the most challenging parts of keeping everyone (literally) on the same page.

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“We had a metatext document that could work on an iPad. It would take about four and a half hours to read it, so he basically had to code his own script,” Slade said.

Netflix - Director - Product - Innovation - Carla

For Netflix director of product innovation Carla Engelbrecht and her team, they wanted to ensure that giving the audience the power to make decisions for Stefan (Fionn Whitehead) didn’t interrupt the flow of the story.

“We did a lot of work to hide the seam, from an audio and visual standpoint,”...
(Excerpt) Read more at: IndieWire
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