The story itself starts off with a harmonic instrumental tune that plays along with the opening sequence and consequently loops throughout the remainder of the story. The layout of the workspace reveals and eventually accompanies what we the audience sees is the opening hand-drawn title card of the documentary.
As the user clicks on the ‘begin’ button, the narrator who we later find out is the director, begins to illustrate the timeline and sequence of events through each set of pictures highlighting specific moments of the story that is being told.
By following along the horizontal timeline and narration, we are able to see the different chapter marks of the story as it progresses as well as the different stages that the narrator goes through as we hover over the indicated points on the timeline. Aspects of interactivity are played here in that the viewer is able to jump forward towards different stages of the storyline and are then given some agency as to what part of the story they see. In turn, the user is able to let the film progress, as it is or take on a more active role in engaging with what stage of the story they wish to hear. When watching the film for the first time, it seemed appropriate to watch the film in its set linear mode in order to fully experience what was being presented within the narrative. As I visited the site more frequently and became familiar with the story, I fast-forwarded to different stages on the timeline in order to hear specific sections.
By understanding the target audience persona, Dorfman is able to understand the types of content that is most appealing to young people. The use of animation is able to develop the characters and emotions and invites the audience to observe and interact with the story through visual representations whilst challenging the conventional notions of representation, imagination and human interaction when addressing these kinds of social issues. Because we often associate animation with kids and children, we are immediately able to perceive the documentary as more lighthearted with a happier ending rather than something that will end sadly.
As we are unable to see and perceive any type of practical or visual view of the narrator, we therefore rely on the music and tone of the narrator to set the mood of the documentary. At times, I found the music track to be quite distracting and takes a bit away from the experience when watching the film. The music volume was slightly overwhelming which made it hard to hear bits of the narration and no option to decrease the volume was made available other than muting the entire track.
Similarly, because we don’t see Dorfman whilst narrating, we are then able to identify and place ourselves as not only the observer of this story but also the role of the protagonist. Because we are being put into a position above the storyboard, the user is able to immerse themselves into the story and therefore able to take a glimpse into her life and identify with the story as if it were their own.
Having looked at some of the other distributed versions of the film available online, I felt that it was quite strange in terms of accessibility that on one of the channels available for the user, there were captions available for the viewer whilst watching the film whereas on the actual interactive site, there was not. I was quite puzzled in the lack of consistency between both sites and would definitely suggest it be included, especially if viewers had difficulties understanding the voiceover narration.