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Interview with Ian Hinden of Orphan, a new alternate reality game

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I recently spoke with Ian Hinden, creator of a fantasy web show called Orphan. It has elements of an alternate reality game (ARG): After the untimely death of his father, Jason Diego inherits a mysterious document which he is told is an account of Genesis written by Eve. In his quest to translate it, he must travel to a land claimed by no country but ruled by a villain who controls a masked anonymous army. The Kickstarter is currently at $1,100 of its $12,000 goal with 33 days to go.

Geisha, Orphan
Geisha, Orphan Scott A. Woodward (http://www.scottawoodward.com)

Geisha, Orphan

Michael Tresca (MT) What is this Kickstarter all about?

Ian Hinden (IH): This Kickstarter is to receive funds to produce a professional and high quality pilot episode of the fantasy drama Orphan. Orphan is designed from the ground up for the way that people can interact with their entertainment. We want to build this as a proof of concept to get picked up by an on-demand service such as Netflix or Hulu Plus for a full run. 

Orphan tells the story of Jason Diego. After his father's untimely death, Jason inherits a document he is told is an account of Genesis written by Eve. To solve the riddle of the document, he must travel to a land claimed by no country but ruled by a villain controlling a masked Anonymous army. 

Orphan is half show and half game. Each episode is a puzzle. When the online audience works together to solve the puzzle, they can unlock more content. 

MT: What is the goal of your company?

IH: The goal of our company is to create transmedia content, including videos, pictures, fashion, and music which strengthen each other and allow the audience to feel more involved and affected by our art. We want to build stories that can surround your life.

Bible Jacket, Orphan
Bible Jacket, Orphan Scott A. Woodward (http://www.scottawoodward.com)

Bible Jacket, Orphan

MT: What can contributors expect?

IH: Firstly, the most important thing they can expect from us is communication. We want to make sure we are addressing any of their concerns or making prizes available if there is high demand. They can also expect to be surprised, as we want to really make sure we give back to them and decorate the entire experience as much as we can. 

MT: Any stretch goals?

IH: Our initial asking is for enough to complete a short pilot. If we can surpass that, we have the entire first season scripted and we would love to make an extended full television length episode of the show. After that, there are plans to release a CD soundtrack which delves deeper into the mythology and culture of the world of Orphan.

Hiroshi, Orphan
Hiroshi, Orphan Scott A. Woodward (http://www.scottawoodward.com)

Hiroshi, Orphan

MT: Where can fans find out more about you, your company, and your Kickstarter?

IH: I try to make myself available, so they can actually reach out to me directly if they have any questions! But they can also read some interviews other publications have had with me. Here are some good ones: 

guardianlv.com/2014/04/orphan-breaking-boundaries-exclusive/

issuu.com/lbecker/docs/zen_march_2014_issuu

MT: What conventions will you be at next?

IH: Currently in talks to see what we would be able to present at Comic Con. 

MT: Anything else you'd like to add?

IH: Fantasy is a great genre for telling important stories about the world. The Internet has forever changed our notion of borders, both between countries and between each other. When the borders between people dissolve, the indistinguishable figure Anonymous emerges. We want to prove that important stories can be told through games, fantasy, and the internet.

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