The nature of a live transmedia event unfolding over 3 weeks means that it's very difficult to recreate the dynamic that occured at the time. Ever changing technology means that even creating an archive website has proven difficult, with tweet links becoming defunct and softwares/hosting websites shutting down. Even the original archival website on WIX has become defunct as the flash software was pulled, hence me re-creating this website here. Also, as tweets automatically show from newest at top, the story would have to be read back from the bottom upwards, which has always remained a thorn in my side. It's time consuming to change it by retyping and to be honest as this is an archive website - I've decided to display the tweets @KarenBarley made, as they appeared at the time. I have recreated almost all the links (hosted elsewhere for archival purposes) and you may be able to get a sense of what the audience were seeing over the 3 weeks. NOTE: The bad spelling and grammar was deliberate! I wanted to recreate how people type on their phones when they're stressed or in a hurry, to show how Karen's mind was deteriorating.
If you prefer to just watch the videos or scroll through the story photos- feel free to do so below.
There are also a few backhistory photos I used to build her Karen's character over on her Facebook profile, a few weeks before the Twitter live event; so that she seemed like a real person. There are photos of my research and finally, a gallery of Karen Barley publicity shots, (with actor Gemma Giddings).
Otherwise click here to read the tweets as they happened.
The tweets started innocuously with Karen and her boyfriend Darren, going to Stonehenge. A precursor to the druid sacrifice to come in the climax.
I wanted to include tweets that were random and baseless like most tweets. Yet I also made each photo show their characters in some way. Karen loves animals. (This was actually a photo I took on holiday in Turkey).
Tough man phoooawr
Karen introduces Darren to the audience, gradually. She builds up the notion she's in love with him.
Darren comes across as charming and cheeky and a bit of a practical joker.
PHOTO 1 -MY LOVELY MAN
The live story officially begins in June 2011. More photos of Darren being silly with Karen.
PHOTO 2 - BF READING AS USUAL
We start to see that the paranormal interests Darren. (I found this book and bought it as a prop).
PHOTO 3 - WE'RE GOING TO THE WOODS!
Karen has told her followers (the audience) that she has been told to go to Croham Hurst to look for signs of ancient druids. She takes Darren with her on her first trip.
PHOTO 3.2 - ALMOST THERE!
We see how dedicated they are together.
PHOTO 4 - WE'RE HERE!
They arrive at Croham Hurst. (I start using the 4sq landmark location website, to prove she's really there).
PHOTO 4.2 - TA DA!
PHOTO 5 - SUNLIGHT COMING THROUGH TREES.
As with many tweets, I used random photos that didn't always mean anything.
PHOTO 6 - BRONZE AGE PLAQUE
This is a real plaque at Croham Hurst about how old the Hurst is. Karen gets told a spooky tale of what happened here. (I made this part up).
PHOTO 7 - PICNIC TIME!
While on her first trip to the Hurst, Karen has a picnic with Darren. This was to show more character building of their relationship. Also because this is the type of photo people tweet. I wanted to make her interactions with social media as real as possible.
PHOTO 7.2 - NO WE REALLY DO HAVE FOOD...SOMEWHERE
PHOTO 8 - BONES
Karen comes across the only interesting thing in the Hurst at this point. Bones. She doesn't realise what they are at first.
Black insect in the sky
After their trip to Croham Hurst, strange things gradually start happening. Karen begins to notice more insects around. (This is a shot I took of a grasshopper on my window that I wrote into the photo story).
PHOTO 9 - I LOVE YOU
More strange things. A message written in sticks. Karen thinks it's her boyfriend.
PHOTO 10 - EAT YA HEART OUT GIRLS
I wanted to build Darren's character up and show what he is like... a jokey fun character. This was to allow the audience to realise why Karen may not trust him in the end. She ends up tweeting that he's played nasty jokes in the past, to scare her.
PHOTO 11 - MY POOR FELLA
After Darren has found a particular track (and subsequent portal) - he begins to feel sick and act strange.
PHOTO 12 - PIZZA
Karen ends up cooking for herself, and is none the wiser as to what's happening with Darren, but soon her tweets will show her fear.
PHOTO 13 - DARREN'S SO CHARMING
Darren's illness subsides but is he OK in the head?
PHOTO 14 - COMPLETELY ABSORBED
PHOTO 15 - MORE UNINTERESTING PHOTOS FOR THE RECORDS
Karen goes on her second trip to the Hurst and finds nothing but boring stones to bring back to her job at Croydon Museum. Darren is with her, but something else is watching. (Croydon Museum is a real place and they loved what I was doing, but asked that I made it clear this was a fictional character. In the end I put up on the website that this was fictional although it still seemed like people thought she was real).
PHOTO 16 - SOMEONE IN THE BACKGROUND
They take this selfie and there's someone just seen in the background (if you zoom in). This photo made the audience react and try and warn Karen someone is there with them.
PHOTO 17 - LOL! LOOK WHAT MY SWEET MAN HAS DONE
After Karen gets upset with Darren's creepy stories about sacrifices and massacres on Croham Hurst, he tries to make it up to her with a romantic gesture. (I bought this tent as a prop).
PHOTO 17.2 - AWWW
PHOTO 18 - HE'S GONNA BE PISSED IF HE FINDS OUT I TOOK THIS
Darren gets lost in his thoughts while at the Hurst, although Karen still can't figure out why and makes jokes about it, although her tweets show concern.
PHOTO 19 - THIS IS WHAT MY BF IS READING
Karen discovers the book he's been reading and becomes convinced Darren is trying to create an elaborate joke on her.
PHOTO 20 - MANFLU ALERT
Darren becomes even more lost in his mind as his Other enters their world and creates paranoia. He starts to understand that he may've let his Other in.
PHOTO 21 - MUDDY AND SCRATCHED
Karen finds her boyfriend has been entering the Hurst alone at night. By this point in the story, she's becoming paranoid and scared, which comes across in the tweets over the 3 weeks.
PHOTO 22 - MORE BONES!
Karen has lost Darren, and after a spooky phone call from the parallel universe where Darren tries to warn her... she enters the Hurst to look for him, and stumbles across ritualistic bones.
PHOTO 22.2 - WHAT IS THIS
She's being lured into Croham Hurst but she's not sure if it's Darren playing tricks.
PHOTO 22 - ROLF FAIRY FUCKING BONES THING
Karen's birthday coincides with a special sacrificial druid ritual. Little does she know, she was chosen all along, from the moment she was born, to conduct the sacrifice of Darren. This is the last photo in the story before she loses it and posts various videos of her wandering through the Hurst before finally filming herself killing Darren.
This was taken on the first day the actors met. Gemma and Benjamin did a script read at a Croydon pub with me. I used the opportunity to build up their backhistory with Facebook photos.
It's a testament to their professionalism that they were able to create the illusion of a steady relationship after only just meeting in real life!
Burt the dog
On her Facebook profile is an album called "In memory of Burt". In was character building their history, showing a beloved pet.
In actual fact this dog belonged to the owners of the pub we did the script read at. I wrote it into Karen Barley's history.
Friend of Karen
I included myself in a shot to show she at least had one friend.
I built a few different shots over the filming period, to show them together in different clothes and locations, to give the illusion they've been together awhile.
Both actors did a great job of acting for the stills photos.
Traditional knucklebones came from pigs. Pigs were very important in the Druid religion. Karen stumbles upon many of these bones, indicating that the Hurst was and is being used by Druids.
Mystical tree arch
I ended up finding the perfect tree arch on Croham Hurst, which served as the portal to open up a parallel universe and let in Darren's Other.
Ritual hidden arch
Druids would worship nature - with trees being sacred. I made up the idea that these arches were portals to parallel worlds.
The B story was of the druids using Karen to sacrifice Darren in their ritual, that they'd been observing for hundreds of years on the Hurst.
druid meeing at Stonehenge
In the beginning of the story, Karen goes to Stonehenge, serving as a foreshadowing of the druid society using her for the nefarious rituals.
Undercover Druid - fake website
These images were used on a fake website I created on Wordpress as the character Undercover Druid. I wrote an article which Karen discovers on Darren's computer. The audience would click on the link and discover the druid story.