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Most people know Snapchat as the social network for watching people you only slightly care about play around with filters you really don’t care about. While that may be all some people see, young innovators are recognising it as a platform to tell stories. Because, heck, that’s what the feature is called, right?
The first ever Snapchat movie premiered in June last year.
Sickhouse was sadistically conceived by Hannah Macpherson, who saw an opportunity to merge creation and distribution methods in one foul swoop. Pairing up with YouTuber Andrea Russett, Macpherson used the social media starlet’s Snapchat account to slowly lure her audience into a thriller that was released over five days.
But if you’re looking for something a little fluffier, you’re sure to find that too. The Gay Women Channel on YouTube released a coming-of-age lesbian romcom that had their followers excitedly awaiting the daily updates over the span of a month with no fear of major character death.
Cracked Screen, the latest Snapchat-inspired flick, will debut on 10 February
More recently (and a sure sign that this mode of storytelling isn’t disappearing anytime soon) is the acclaimed Cracked Screen directed by Trim Lamba. The short film follows the life a young woman looking for a job whose life takes a dark turn.
Stories told through social media cleverly manipulate the way audiences understand the medium. Its ingenuity stems from the way we know social media is an exaggerated reflection of our lives, yet we still understand that there is a base of reality buried in what we see. What Sickhouse did really well was take a social media star — someone who performs her life for a living — and thrust that to the extreme with no warning. Macpherson took what is usually a gentle push and pull with reality and catapulted it straight into the abyss of supernatural horror.
Or, you know, you could just stick to lipsyncing your favourite songs with a voice changing filter.