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INTERACTIVITY CHALLENGES THE CINEMATIC FRAME

In addition to meta Tiktoks that establish participation/interactivity ‘rules’ for (as in the case of the #malonemob), we can also start to identify several styles of ‘narrative-driven’ Tiktoks as seen throughout Parts 1 & 2 of this case study:

  1. Front-facing ‘TV trading card’ fashioned TikToks that establish or amplify a character
  2. Source Tiktoks that invite duet interaction by acknowledging an ‘unseen’ character/s off frame or by use of hashtag invitation
  3. The more ‘cinematic’ TikToks, like those by The Croes Brothers, which present single story beats to add the texture of a narrative (rather than presenting a ‘scene’ within a cohesive storyline)
  4. The use of this same narrative-texture-driven format filmed in meatspace to present crossover episodes that feature multiple #mafiaoc characters, stitching together various divergent story ‘threads’
  5. Duets and duet chains that unite characters to march in unison embodying the Power Walk trope
  6. And a whole lot of breaking the fourth wall within second POV framing 

One TikToker that best embodied all of the above techniques (and took them creatively further than most) was cosplayer caoimhemorris whose character Frenchie began to quickly be seen as a ‘main character’ in the midst of the #mafiaoc’s hashtag popularity.

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Source Image by <a href="https://pixabay.com/users/BarbaraALane-756613/?utm_source=link-attribution&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=image&utm_content=1727386">Barbara A Lane</a> from <a href="https://pixabay.com/?utm_source=link-attribution&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=image&utm_content=1727386">Pixabay</a>
Source Image by Barbara A Lane from Pixabay

EVERY MAFIA NEEDS A MOB BOSS (OR DOES IT?)

As this section will be discussing Clapdaddie’s role in popularizing #mafiaoc, I have chosen to nestle examples featuring the disgraced Tiktok star so as to not unduly trigger anyone from the community. For those who wish to see, just click the accordion modules to open the video player up. Please refer to the Content Warning in Part One.

Since the deactivation of Clappdaddie’s TikTok account following the accusations against him, it is difficult to backtrace at what point did the once-popular TikToker started his own mafia cosplaying (one source from December of 2019 lists the account as boasting nearly 2 million fans). However, this blog cites August 27th, 2019 as the introduction of the character ‘JJ’ who ‘runs the top casino and moves money for the mafia.’ This date tracks for the earliest duets with JJ, still available on TikTok, starting to appear (that I could find) as early as September 1st.

As we have already seen, by this time #mafiaoc was already a ‘thing,’ driven by mainly the cosplay community at large with mafia family lines (and storylines) already being established. When Clapdaddie introduced JJ, he was already a popular TikTok personality, which most definitely allowed #mafiaoc to reach a broader TikTok audience within both the larger cosplay community/ies itself and beyond. However, a large fan following is not a guarantee for any particular post/posts virality.

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THE BIRTH? OF A HASHTAG

Last fall, just as adults (and marketers) were grappling with the explosive rise of TikTok as being the current app du jour, a new form of participatory fiction was emerging under the radar. While many were busy questioning: “Isn’t TikTok just Vine only for lip syncing?” and “I’m an old…. Am I even allowed on TikTok” and “Is TikTok a backdoor for China to destroy all that we neolibs hold near and dear?,” the ‘kids’ were busy pioneering new forms of storytelling by exploiting the platform’s duet, reaction, and ‘use this sound’ features. (If you are unfamiliar with TikTok’s basic mechanics, for a good grounder on TikTok check out this New York Times article.)

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Congratulations to Hop To It Productions on launch of Sloppy Jones teaser!

Meet the quirky queer Millennial servers that work at the dingy dive: SLOPPY JONES. Their sleazy boss, Frank, has gone missing, his cougar ex-wife has just shown up out of the blue, and each of the dodgy broke staff is now accused of murder.  Which begs the question: will they still be paid time and a half for staying late for questioning? Do not miss this hilarious new dark comedy web series!

Congratulations to Hop To It Productions for the launch of the teaser SLOPPY JONES. Borken Creative president Carrie Cutforth served as a Creative Consultant on the digital series. Watch the teaser below!

Carrie Cutforth announced as writer on Studio Killers 404 TV project

Congratulations to Borken Creative president Carrie Cutforth on being announced as one of the writers in the storeroom for Studio Killers 404 TV pilot and series development!

Studio Killers is an internet phenomenon of vibrant animation and music amassing over 120M views on YouTube! This secretive audiovisual group is comprised of 4 individuals (1 visual artist and 3 musicians). But to the general public, they are known as the virtual characters that represent them: femme boss and frontwoman Cherry, keytarist Goldie Foxx and DJ Dyna Mink.

The story room for Studio Killers 404 follows a successful Kickstarter that reached its goal within 48 hours and includes writers Alison Norrington, Nina Bargiel, Carrie Cutforth, and Studio Killers own Cherry. The pilot for the series is currently in production now.

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Image remix using photos by cesarstrings, Alexander Antropov, and Paul Barlow from Pixabay.
Image remix using photos by cesarstrings, Alexander Antropov, and Paul Barlow from Pixabay.

ARE WEB SERIES DEAD?

Feature image remix using photos by cesarstrings, Alexander Antropov, and Paul Barlow from Pixabay.

A LONG SOMEWHAT UNNECESSARY PREAMBLE FOR CONTEXT (YOU CAN SKIP AHEAD)

Back in the fall of 2013, I penned an article Are Web Series TV Online? that addressed the rising convergence of screen content during the dawn of the early over-the-top (OTT) media service gold rush years and the burgeoning efforts to erase the term web series, which had become synonymous in Entertainment Industry eyes as ‘amateurish’ in favour of more nebulous terms such as original series (popularized by Netflix) and digital series. Soon after, the terms short-form and snackable screen content began to circulate in an effort to further displace the term along with short-lived buzzwords webisodes, appisodes, and the hideous mobisodes.

It was also a time when TV prodcos, who had, with the exception of some outliers, previously held up a nose at online shenanigans, and were now looking to capitalize on the explosive massive popularity of Youtube (with Facebook video soon following), and, in Canada, the ‘growing’ pool of funding available to short form content.

By dropping the term web series, TV prodcos, entering online video distribution after the heels of web series’ turbulent R&D years, were eager to separate their ‘wheat’ from the perceived ‘chaff’ of ‘dabblers’ and ‘hobbyists,’ namely: the conspiracy theorists, the dollar store dilettantes, the kids with too much time on their hands, the cranks, and even the professional ‘upstart’ indie creator in cargo pants equipped with a DSLR, a kino light, and ‘two turntables and a microphone’ eager to make a name for themselves at a time when there was no upward mobility as crew positions were locked by boomers who promised never to retire.

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Carrie Cutforth will be at Storyworld Sessions for Catalyst Festival

Borken Creative President & Executive Producer Carrie Cutforth will be presenting at Catalyst Festival as part of the Storyworld Sessions on Thursday, Oct 10, 2019 for a Salon titled Mainstreaming Marginalized Identities.

 

Salon: Mainstreaming Marginalized Identities

As storytellers, how can we be inclusive of identities that are not our own? Who gets to tell whose stories? And how can we avoid common missteps and pitfalls when writing characters to reach underserved audiences?

Rabblerouser Carrie Cutforth will screen a demo reel for an upcoming interactive documentary to jumpstart an informal but lively discussion on the (mis)representation of queer and other marginalized identities.

The TOP SECRET demo reel to be screened is for a feature-length documentary that explores the representation of fictional LGBTQ+ characters on television, and the real-world impact that these negative or positive portrayals can have.

Open to all creators who want to write it right and those frustrated by lack of representation, negative stereotypes, and queerbaiting.

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