Introducing… Phrenic version 2.0!

I’m happy/relieved/excited to finally release the second version of my iOS app Phrenic. I’ve learned a lot since launching it in March (and even more since the initial app rejection in October–long story). What’s new? Why should you download it? Why am I making the totally unreasonable demand that you pay .99? First watch the new trailer, then read below…

More Stories, Episodes, and Extras

Now I can add new content without forcing you to install another app update. Just launch Phrenic 2.0 and you’ll have the latest story elements and behind-the-scenes extras. This version has a new mini-episode, a new short story, and a way for fans to submit their own content.

Phrenic still does not have push notifications because I hate those and turn them off except for things like Twitter.

Screen Shot 2013-08-12 at 6.29.50 PM

Audience Participation

I get asked about allowing fans to get involved by submitting stories or videos to be included in the world of Phrenic. Not that fans are actually requesting to do those things, but some people think a good transmedia project MUST have audience participation. I was initially skeptical but I’m coming around. There are some risks to opening a project to fan generated content (which I talk about here) but I realized I can let someone else’s lawyers worry about that.

mike vogel in doll mask

I’m now using Theatrics to allow Phrenic fans to submit videos or other content. To stoke creativity and give people a chance to remain anonymous, I’ve created a cut-out doll mask where people can disguise themselves and record a video about being a clone (or clone protesters). Approved videos will show up on the Theatrics site, PhrenicWorld, and the iOS app. A rough storyline will launch next week that will make it easy for engaged fans to jump in. If you’re thinking of doing it, PLEASE DO!

Here’s a picture of me wearing the doll mask….

No More In-App Purchases

Phrenic_EpisodesPhrenic 1.0 was free to download and watch episodes 1 & 2, but then it cost money for episodes 3 – 7. What a genius way to keep making money off your audience by releasing more episodes and charging for them! Except people don’t like that idea very much and the always-imminent cost becomes a barrier to getting involved in the story. I’m asking for a very small, one-time fee of .99 and I’ll give you a new kind of story that I hope you’ll enjoy so much that you tell everyone with an iPhone to download Phrenic. I like this model better.

The other reason I got rid of in-app purchases is a technical one. To sell the episodes as IAP, you’d have to download them to your iPhone or iPad. That’s fine if it’s a pre-determined, finite amount, like a movie or comic book chopped into chapters. But Phrenic is on-going with no end in sight. There wasn’t a clean way to delete the in-app purchase episodes and adding more would quickly fill up your device. Phrenic used to be about 45MB before you bought all the episodes, at which point it ballooned up to 165MB or so. The more you watched Phrenic 1.0, the more it bogged down your device. What do you do when an app takes up too much space? Delete it! Phrenic 2.0 is down to 9MB now because all of the episodes are now streamed (which means you’ll have to be online–deal with it!)

Getting closer to launching Phrenic

I’m getting closer to launching my transmedia project, Phrenic. The app is being reviewed by the App Store and I’ve got an idea in the works so people who aren’t on Apple devices can watch as well. My hope is to have a story I can continually add to in different ways over the course of the next year or longer. An interactive story here, a five episode video series there. I’m looking at some options for additional video games (there are three mini-games in the app). It’s an exciting project that allows me to be creative in many different ways.

And if you haven’t checked out Life Identical yet, please do, although it is vaguely spoiler-y.

Here are a few screenshots of the app…

AppScreenshots-iPhone-Episodes AppScreenshots-iPhone-InteractiveStory


Bike Movies

I like riding bikes. I usually ride a Vanmoof that I maintain a complicated relationship with, but I’ve also got a single speed Motobecane and an Xtracycle. Here are the movies I’ve made that have been shown at the Filmed By Bike festival. I was once interviewed about making bike movies for OPB.

Tandem Bikes Are Worse Than Ikea

Doored – Fractured Skull, Broken Hearts

(Doored was based on a craigslist ad I saw. Bike Portland has the story about that ad and this movie.)

Right Hook

Claire Rides a Bike


Film festival thoughts (Columbia Gorge Film Festival screening)

Before I made movies, I always thought of festivals as a gateway to having the Weinsteins pluck my movie from obscurity before starting their aggressive Oscar campaign on my behalf. But now I see them as an opportunity to show my movie to an audience and any time I can show my movies to an audience, I feel very appreciative. Unless your film is in one of the top five festivals, there will be no Weinsteins there, no matter how many all-caps, self-inflating press releases you send.

That’s totally okay because the people who attend film festivals really love movies. Why else would you show up to watch a bunch of films you’ve probably never heard of unless you were the type of person who loved to discover new movies? At a time in cinematic history where they’re making an ALF movie and continually rebooting superhero franchises, it’s nice to know some people still take risks when going to the movies. If you’ve ever attended a film festival, you are OK in my book. If you’ve ever organized a film festival, please keep doing it. I hate paying your entry fees, but I’d hate it more if you didn’t exist.

So… my second movie, Did You Kiss Anyone?, is playing at the Columbia Gorge International Film Festival on August 18th, 2012 at 6pm. It’s in Vancouver. This will be the first time the movie has ever been shown in HD. Ever. Oh, and the whole festival is FREE! And there’s some sort of after party with beverages and possibly salty snacks.

Here’s the trailer, which (for me) plays like a moving yearbook of memories of the 13 months we spent filming it. We showed it at the Bagdad and the Salem Film Festival and people really liked it, so please come and see it if you’re in the Portland/Vancouver area!