Digital Project Proposal- An *Interpretive* Program

Have you ever been watching a historical fiction television show or movie and wondered if something was historically accurate or fictional? If you have, you are like me. I often watch historical fiction and always want to look something up but don’t want to pause the show or tear my eyes away to do research. My digital proposal is historical accuracy subtitles for shows and movies. This gives viewers the option to turn them on and for historians from the networks to talk about the historical accuracy or decisions regarding historical integrity in the film or show. This annotates the script and factors on screen to give more context into what is happening on screen. 

This idea came from Spotify using Genius to annotate and give context into song lyrics and to give context into lyric decisions by artists. This could be so beneficial to not only history lovers, but also those who might just be curious and try watching an episode of their favorite television show Bridgerton with the subtitles on to see what is really factual about the show. Audience is important so figuring out how to promote this to historians, lovers of history, and those who don’t even know this is something they would enjoy, would be beneficial to get more engagement in the application. This would also be beneficial to use in classrooms when showing historical fiction films and asking students to think about what is accurate and what is fiction within a show and to engage it with their learning of historical events. A movie that comes to mind for this is Pocahontas where teachers could engage students in a learning activity about the real events of the film and then compare their knowledge to the context given.

This is an example of what the subtitle would look like on screen. It would give content to setting and character as well as events depicted in the programming. Bridgerton.

To develop this project, I will be writing a proposal for the project as well as creating a prototype of scene scripts with historical accuracy annotations to be used for a show or movie. The proposal would consist of the description for the program, the need for digital formatting that would need to happen, historians to complete the annotations, funding, and how this would engage with multiple audiences and how to market it. This project would be a great deal to make with Disney or with Netflix to help audience engagement with historical learning while making it fun and pleasurable.

-McKenna Crews

One Reply to “Digital Project Proposal- An *Interpretive* Program”

  1. Hi McKenna,

    What a fun and creative concept for a project. I think you are very right that there would be an audience interested in this kind of feature. Scoping the project to be a kind of proof of concept/ pitch deck for what this feature would look like with some example scripts makes a lot of sense and I think it would be very doable in the course of a semester.

    One thought I had with this, is that this kind of thing could also work off the model that MST3K and RiffTrax uses. (https://www.rifftrax.com/about ). In their case, they record audio files that basically run the length of any given film and then offer ways for folks to play the audio in sync with the film so that you can hear commentary over it. I don’t think you would need to necessarily go that way, but it is neat to see that there is a model for something like this that wouldn’t require the streaming platforms to buy-in to the idea for it to still be viable.

    Kudos on such a creative and interesting project idea!

    Best, Trevor

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