CIA OPERATION AJAX
I was slated to produce this hybrid digital graphic novel of historical nonfiction to be distributed on the newly launched iPad platform. Part of the natural fit were mystudies in political history and my professional experience in nonfiction narrative documentary. Working with developers who were designing a workflow from scratch made budgeting this project very difficult. Our story advisor, writing and art teams were located in different cities across the country, and the investment team was unfamiliar with digital or mobile projects.
We came to the brink a few times as a team, but I flagged issues early, lobbied for and secured some peripheral capacities that brought us across the finish line, and as a result project was number one in its category for much longer than any of us hoped for. The uncertainty of how to position future projects in the market caused the team to dissolve, and it was at this point that I decided to take a step away from work and spend some time studying how to apply these practices to sectors outside of technology and entertainment.
One core feature of this project was the intertwining of animated illustrations and historical artifacts like photographs, government documents and news reels. Hybrid projects like this are uncommon enough to leave us without convention to lean on when making user experience decisions. By anchoring the integration of artifacts directly into the journey of our protagonist, we were able to seamlessly merge the illustrations and writing with the curated historical artifacts.
In order to help our audience navigate the complex cast of characters, I wrote character dossiers in the voice of the time in which the story was taking place, which put readers in the position of the protagonist and helped make real past events feel like they were unfolding as the audiences proceeded through the story.