Thursday, November 26, 2009

Lecture 24: Inanimate Alice

Today marks our third session working on the multimodal online narrative, Inanimate Alice.

Thanks to all the students who have been posting their thoughts and thanks to Chris Joseph for responding.

Today, before we get started on reading Episodes 3 and 4, I'd like you to review some of the comments made after our first reading. I would like you to respond to one of the comments. Note the student's name (and yours) in your response. Perhaps you agree with something she or he noted? Maybe you have a question about his or her interpretation of transliteracy? Please add your comment on the Lecture 22: Introduction to Transliteracy and Inanimate Alice post.

Once your comments have been completed, we'll begin reading episodes 3 and 4. Remember, Alice is maturing and so is her technical ability. Expect more intricate puzzles, sometimes you (as the reader) won't be "told" of a puzzle you'll have to solve. As a transliterate reader, you will have to explore the screen to find what's clickable.

After reading both episodes please address FOUR out of the following FIVE questions in a comment to today's lecture post (that's this one):

  1. If you were a reporter and were going to interview one of the characters, what questions would you ask? Why? (Write at least 5 questions.)
  2. Pretend that you are “Dear Abby” and Brad writes to you about his problems. How would you respond to him?
  3. What is the one thing that sticks in your mind most about Inanimate Alice Episode 3 and Episode 4? Was it the plot? A character? Why?
  4. Give three examples of scenes which you read as a transliterate reader. These might be scenes where the images do not support what the words say. It might be an example where the loud and quickening tempo or the music does not match the calming images and words. Please write each example (give the episode number and describe the scene) and then explain how you interpreted EACH of the modes (image, sound, text, interaction).
  5. Rewrite the ending of Episode 4 in a comic book style.
    • Use this tool:
    • You need to create at least ONE frame up to a maximum of FOUR frames
    • When complete, click on “blog this,” grab the code and paste it into an e-mail to me: LaccettiJ @
    • Include the link to your comic book ending in your comment


Please bring laptops, colouring pens/pencils/markers, blank paper and anything else that might help you *create.*


  1. 1. If I were a reporter, I would ask Alice numerous questions in regards to her life so far. I would ask her how constantly moving and traveling as a child has affected the way she grew up and developed. I would ask her how different cultures and different climates helped her grow and develop in different ways. I would inquire as to which country did she enjoy the most and why. I would also ask if she has any concrete relationships or friendships with people in her hometown. How does she maintain these friendships when she, herself, does not even know where she will be living next. Finally, I would ask her if she were to have children one day, would she want to raise them the same way that she had been raised. Why or why not?

    2. I would respond by carefully reading and analyzing everything that he has to say. I would approach his issues from an empathetic standpoint and would not judge him on anything he would have to say. I would let him know that he is not alone, and many people are suffering from similar problems, whether he realizes it or not. My approach would be to imagine that I was in the same situation as he was, and think how I would logically respond. My advice to him would be the same advice that I would have given myself in that particular situation.

    3. In episode three and four, the reader seemed to be introduced to more dramatic and thrilling situations. The seemed to be faster paced, and introduce numerous new characters that were not relevant in the previous episodes. In Episode 3, when Alice and her family got pulled over at the airport gates, that was a significant event. It was the first time during this story that I actually became nervous for the character, and I sitting on the edge of me seat. I was both nervous and excited what the outcome would be. I was genuinely surprised when the family was allowed to past through that gates when the reader had collected all the dolls. I thought something more dramatic was going to happen.

    4. In episode three, when Alice is told to pack up her things because they were leaving. You had to be a transliterate reader because there was no image supporting the scene that was being described. The reader had to take the music and the text and create an image of what they thought should be happening. In episode three, when we are first introduced to Alice’s hometown. In my opinion, the town they are showing seems very exciting and interesting, because I was raised in a small town in Canada. The reader had to put themselves in Alice’s situation and ignore the intriguing pictures of the town, and imagine a boring, small English town that would be boring for a fourteen year old. The final example was the maze at the end of episode four. It was confusing, and in addition, that music added to the stress. The reader had to make an constant effort not to be confused by all of the graphics, images and sounds and focus on completing the maze with as little help as possible from Brad.

  2. 1. If I were a reporter and was going to interview the characters in Inanimate Alice I would ask the following: I) what were her parent’s objectives when moving around all the time? II) What do her parents think about their jobs? III) Does her father resent Alice for having to leave Moscow? IV) Will her mother and father stay in England, or move again? V) Are her parent’s content with how their lives turned out?
    2. Brad is possibly upset from being an inanimate object on Alice’s player, having no dimensions, and constantly having to come to Alice’s aid. However, he gives Alice comfort and is always there for her. She is grateful for having Brad and would obviously never give him up.
    3. The images from episodes 3 and 4 were very realistic and gave the reader an in-depth understanding of the scenes and characters thoughts. From when the explored Moscow city and the place where her father worked, to viewing the cities upper limits in England and viewing the beauty of the place. Her experiences where brought to life by all these images, sounds, and animated clips of her travelling and adventures.
    4. The first scene would be when they are in Moscow and exploring the oil machinery. The second when they tour the house in England. When they replayed the jeep scene on Alice’s player, and lastly when Alice was climbed the building and viewed the historic city. These four scenes portrayed a variety of images in the readers mind, and surrounded them with appropriate sounds and actions to follow them.

  3. 1. If I were to interview one of the characters from “Inanimate Alice” I would interview John. We do not get to see much of him. I would ask if he likes his job. If he likes living all over the world? What does he do for his job? Is his job dangerous? Lastly, I would ask, if he could go back would he pick a safer job for himself and family. I would ask him these questions because we don’t find them out in the story, and they have me wondering what the answers are.
    2. First I would read through his problems and try and figure out what I would do in this situation. I would try and picture exactly what it would feel like to be Brad. I would make sure not to jump to conclusions and take my time to answer his question.
    3. The scene that really sticks out in my mind is in chapter three when Alice refuses to give her toy to the guard. That shows she is stubborn but also brave and strong. Also I noticed that she even didn’t give it away when her parents were threatened to leave the car. This shows just how important her toy is to her. This stuck out to me because it’s the exact opposite thing I would do. I would give my top up the instant I was told to if it was a scary guard who was threatening my parents.
    4. One example of me being a transliterate reader is when Alice is climbing up the stair to the roof; I noticed that the music gets faster and makes you feel uneasy. Another example is the music the authors pick when Alice goes to school, you can hear children’s voices, which goes well with school. The last example is at the very end of chapter four, when Alice makes it to the top of the building. The music picked gives the feel of being triumphant; this is a good choice because Alice feels like she has accomplished something.

  4. 1.(a) Alice, Other than your obvious choice of your hometown, did any place during your travels really stick out to you?
    I would ask to see which foreign destination had the most significant impact.

    (b) Where can I buy your multimedia device?
    I need one of those.

    (c) Is Brad as important to you these days as he was in the first episodes?
    I would ask to find out whether Brad is as significant to her as she grows older.

    (d) How do you think has all the travelling has affected your social skills.
    Will she continue to rely on Brad for insight?

    (e) Where do you think your dad's work will take you next?
    Where will the next episodes be held?

  5. 1. The things I remember most about episodes 3 and 4 is the difference in sounds between the two. In episode 3, in Moscow, Alice is unhappy and the music is tenser and gloomier. In episode 4, in her hometown, Alice is happy and the music is more upbeat and bubbly when she talks about the things going on in her life.

    2. Dear friend in need,
    I think it is important that you realize friends come and go. Alice may need you now but as she grows older and starts making other friends you may no longer become a necessity. You do not have to stop being her friend but be prepared for the possibility that in time she may let you go. Don't feel down everyone loses friends, so get yourself out there and make some more friends!


    3. a) How does playing and making games make you feel?
    I would ask this because I would like to know if the game comforts her when she feels unsafe or if it gets her mind off reality.

    b) Why do you think your parents keep so many secrets from you?
    Does Alice think that her parents are protecting her or does she think they don't trust her?

    c) Now that you have moved back to your hometown, do you still consider Brad your best friend?
    Now that Alice is in a more comfortable setting is she able to let go of Brad?

    d) Even though you are very happy in the current home your at, since your parents still are unhappy would you be reluctant to move again?
    What are the effects of moving on Alice?

    e) If you could be anywhere right now, where would that be?
    Is Alice's safe place at her hometown?

  6. 1.) I would interview Alice. I would ask her a few simple questions out of inquisitiveness. First, Alice mentions how her father is a teacher, I’d ask Alice where and what her father teaches exactly. Also, I have a previous work history in the oil industry and I’m curious what her dad did in the oil sector. I’d ask what John’s profession was. I would then ask how moving around as a child has effected her ability to interact with others. As in, what kind of affects moving around had on her social skills? Lastly, I’m curious to know if there has been anyone in Alice’s life whom she has based her imaginative friend Brad off of. It would be interesting to know if Brad is based off of a real person from Alice’s life.

    2.) Dear Brad,
    I understand your frustration about Alice not paying attention to you as much. The simple advice I’ll tell you is that it’s ok. She’s getting older, busier, and her time is being occupied by many things.
    You’re still an important part of her life. Be there for her.
    It’s just a phase, time will pass.

    3.) One thing that has stuck out in my mind about the episodes thus far is how they decided to move to England. There were so many different places they could have chosen to escape Russia, such as Canada, or even USA. I wonder if there has been some sort of cultural influence on Alice’s family which had influenced their decision to move to England. What pricks my attention most is how Alice’s family went from being a well off, wealthy family to a family who seems to be struggling with money. Now, based on my own personal life, I know that a struggling family in England will have much less material wealth than a struggling family in North America. Not to get into the social and political factors of the topic, but there’s a definite difference in land owner-ship and population size when comparing Europe to North America. I speculate that the authors chose England to demonstrate more of a dramatic loss to Alice’s family.

    IA: Episode 4 Ending by Scott Robertson

  7. 1. If i were a reporter and i had to interview one of the characters i would interview Alice. During this interview i’d ask many question about her life including the following:
    - How do you feel about your parents relocating and moving around all the time?
    - Do you miss your parents while they are away? Do you think it affects you more now then it used to when they first started moving around?
    - Are your parents and futhermore yourself happy with the way your
    lives have turned out? Do your parents love their jobs?
    - Do you think when you grow up you will be the same way? Do you think you’ll settle down and have kids of your own and relocate much like our parents?
    - If you could choose one place that you’ve been to that you missed or enjoyed the most out of all your travelling where would it be and why?

    2. If i was pretending to be “Dear Abby” and Brad write to me about his problems, i would respond by asking alot of questions to get the full background of the situation. I would think alot about what i would do in that situation and address it accordingly. I wouldnt assume or jump to any sort of answer and answer the whole question to the best of my ability.
    Dear Brad,
    Everyone from all walks of life change over time and loose sight of the things they need and the things that they enjoy most. Your friendship is really vaulable to her but sometimes she might get lost and confused and loose sight of that friendship for a while. Hold out, in the end it will all turn out and you’ll be back to being the best of friends in no time. Tell her its okay, you are here for her, and when she needs you and when she is ready you guys will be back to the way you used to be.
    3. The thing that stuck in my head the most out of these two episodes was how they were living in Russia for a few years. What also makes my stomach turn especially about the third episode is all the stuff Alice has to go through. It must be frightening as a child to have to sit in a closet and wait for her parents not knowing what was going to happen. If i ever met alice i would want to tell her how brave and grown up for 13 she is at this point.

    4. My three examples of scenes in episode four that i would change and that i dont believe fit with sounds, pictures etc are:

    a. In the beginning with the stairs i believe the sounds do not quite fit with the scene at all. When she is climing up the stairs and says everyone didnt know she might die going up the stairs, there should have been some quiet, scary movie type sound instead of the upbeat music that was playing. To me these episodes have really annoying music that doesnt quite fit at all.
    b. As the story continues it shows you the after math of what happened to the stairs. Again i’m trying to make sense as well as click along to all these weird hands that they have going with the story. I think the music adds to my overall confusion and i dont quite understand why the scene has to be so busy. The less busy it is the more people will be able to understand. Cluttering it with all the sound, clicking along, and pictures makes it hard for a reader to want to get involved much less move along with the story.
    c. A little bit later they are showing snap shot photos of their place in Moscow that they had to leave behind. To me i think that is reallyodd how they chose again an upbeat song to play for that. Alice mentioned that she was too scared to move. To me when you think of scared you think of Texas Chainshaw Masacre scared where its Dun Dun Dun music, not the music the author has chosen.

  8. #1. If I can have a chance, I’d like to find some information that is not in the story by interviewing Alice’s mother few questions. First, I want to find out why she screamed when Alice was hiding in her closet in episode 3. Was there something happened? Also, I want to ask Alice’s mother to see if she knows that Alice is really anxious because of the frequent arguments between Alice’s mother and father. In addition, I want to know how Alice’s mother is so sure that Alice’s father has nothing to do with the financial problem of his company. Lastly, I understand that the family has a financial problem lately, but I want to suggest Alice’s mother to devote more time to Alice. For example, Alice’s mother can talk about Alice’s thoughts, friends, or concerns. Showing Alice affection is needed. Alice’s mother can also talk about drawing which is Alice’s favorite so that she can communicate with Alice through drawing.

    Dear Brad
    I understand that Alice spend less time with you unlike before. So, you probably feel that you’ve lost your best friend. However, you are the only one whom Alice will trust when she faces difficulties. You are the genuine friend, shelter, and supporter for Alice. Alice is going through the first stage of her life which is socializing with her communities. If you are the true friend of Alice, I think you should be proud of Alice when she gets along with her friends in reality. As before, I believe that you are always taking care of Alice.

    #3. It is still mysterious to me what made Alice’s family to leave Russia in a rush. Also, Alice’s mother said that she did not bring enough money in the car. Therefore, I am still curious how Alice’s family could manage to persuade the corrupted policemen who wanted a bribe as well as how the family could fly to England.

    #4. When Alice finds out the way out of the building in episode 4, the song “I did it” indeed matches the situation. I also had a feeling of accomplishment like Alice, so I think it was a good selection of the song. However, I was little bothered by the song that played when Alice introduced her school, project, and town. The song gave me a feeling of tension little bit. I thought Alice was happy when she introduced those. So, it will be better if the song is a bit more cheerful and girlish.

  9. Inanimate Alice: Episodes 3 & 4

    1. If I was a reporter interviewing Alice I would ask her:
    • What was/is your favorite place to live that you have been so far and why?
    • Who would you say is your closest friend? Where did you meet them?
    • Where did you learn the most and what did you learn?
    • When did you make up Brad? How is it that whenever you are in trouble Brad is the person that is always telling you the right thing to do?
    • Why have you always been home schooled until you turned 15? Do you like school now that you have experienced it?
    • How did you come up with so many games? Did you have someone helping you or did you work on them all by yourself?
    2. “Dear Abby”:
    Dear Bashful Brad,
    I know that you have been always there for Alice, and now you feel like she is ignoring you. But do not fret! I am sure Alice knows that you help her through the tough times, and that she truly does appreciate that. She is making new friends because she goes to school with them, and when you start going to school you start talking to more people. I hope you know that you will always be her first and very best friend. You are the one she relies on and the one that will always be there no matter where she has to travel to. I hope I have helped and if you have any more questions, please feel free to let me know.


    3. What stuck with you the most:
    I think the thing that stuck with me the most was the plot of episode 4. It was when Alice had a near death experience, but pushed her way past the fear and saved herself. The part when she gets lost in the building and Brad is helping her out of it, it is symbolic. It is as if she is searching for who she is, and eventually realizing that she can do whatever she puts her mind to; almost that nothing is impossible for her at that time.

  10. Comic strip ending for episode 4:

  11. 1.Question 1: To John: What is your job? (Because I want to know why did John always come home late)
    Question 2: To Alice: Who gave you the player? (Because the player seems important to her)
    Question 3: To John: Why did you leave Russia? (Because I want to know what happened in Russia)
    Question 4: To Alice: Which country you live is your favourite?(Because she travelled too many countries, I want to know her best one)
    Question 5: To Alice: Does Brad represent your courage? (Because i want to know that if Brad is just a person she created or a symbol of her courage)

    2.Dear Brad,
    Although, Alice spends less time with you, that does not mean you are not important to her anymore. You are not just something which is created by Alice's fantasy, you are her protector and represent her courage. As Alice is getting older, she becomes stronger; that is why she did not think of you every minutes. But when she faced the problem, I know you will always be there for her.

    3. Alice's change is the biggest thing that catches my attention. When Alice is getting older, she starts to understand more about the conflict in the world in episode 3; when her family settle down in England which is a more peaceful country, she can go to regular school and makes more friends other than Brad.

    4. As a transliterate reader, in episode 3, when Alice described the Moscow city, the image and the sound of the rain gave me a feeling that something bad is coming. In episode 3, when Alice and her family talked about kidnapping, there was an image of a man with a gun and it is red which represents blood. In episode 4, when Alice was stucked, she said to her self," And now I'am going to die", the words got smaller and then disappeared. It reflected Alice's hopelessness.


  12. 1.Question to Alice:
    Now that you are happy in England do you miss traveling? Being around real friends in England has shown a happier side to Alice.
    Do you enjoy your home school/tutoring? Apart from learning the basics of school and other extracurricular activities and does this affects her social interactions and basic common knowledge.
    When you call your mom “Ming” and your dad “John” does this exemplify your anger towards them or do you choose to call them by their nickname and first name because they don’t understand you? In episode 3 when Alice’s parent fight over the choice of Alice going to school or not, Alice interrupts and calls her mom Ming and her dad John.
    Out of your trips so far have you enjoyed any place that you have visited? Most of her trips have been a search or an adventure, not so much a vacation to explore and enjoy heritage and culture that each country provides.
    Would you consider Brad as your best friend? Apart from talking to her parents, Brad has been there to reassure her through difficult times and kept her entertained to keep her mind of negative issues.

    2. Dear Brad,

    I’m sorry to hear how unappreciative Alice is after all that you have done for her. Most people do not notice how much of a difference or how much of a positive influence someone has until that person is gone. Did you notice though that she does appreciate you being around, every time Alice encounters a new friend you are the first person she thinks of. Alice does like to promote you a lot; you are her pride and joy. So remind yourself that though you have done a lot for her she may show her love for you in other ways that you may not notice.

    Thank you for writing me your problem and concerns and hopefully I left you with a positive outlook to your situation.
    Please write to me if you have any other concerns that you would like me to analyze and I would be happy to give you my advice

    Michael Garcia

    3. The ending of episode 3 and 4 sticks out in my mind, the plot was built like a video game, reflecting Alice’s adventure. At the end of each episode, Alice was congratulated as if she was in a video game. In Episode 3 Alice and her parents fled Russia but before they were able to leave military guards had stopped them before entering the airfield. Once Alice had collected all the Russian dolls the guard took her electronic device and analyzed that she had an innocent game they were

  13. 1. If I were a reporter, I would ask Alice herself 5 questions.
    - Are you enjoying having a somewhat stable life with friends? I would ask this question because Alice mentions this is the first time she has mentioned any real friends.
    - Is there anything you would change about your life right now? If I asked Alice this question this points out if she is satisfied or unhappy with her life and where it is right now.
    - Where is your Country to live in? Since Alice has traveled to many different places, it would be an interesting answer.
    - How has your life recently changed for you? This answer would show the drastic changes Alice is constantly going through.
    - Do you still have a fear for your parents and their own security. This question proves that Alice has many more worries than just any other girl her age, since her dad gets in trouble in some serious issues.

    2. I would answer Brad in a comforting manner. I would have to see the problem through his eyes to get a better perspective of how he is feeling. It’s important to see the situation in his light and also important give any examples of someone who is relating. I would then propose some solutions that I could see myself doing if his problem was mine.

    3. The thing that sticks in my head the most is how Alice goes through so much fear. Not only for her own life in the first two episodes, but also for her dad’s safety and again life threatening adventures her friends and herself endure. She has had a rough life this far, and it seems that she can never catch a break, but rather always in fear.

    4. Three examples of being a transliterate reader is when Alice is at school and you can hear lots of talking in the background, which makes me familiar with school and brings me back to being in school. When Alice makes it through the building and she makes it to the top, the music gives a sort of victorious feeling, and enhances the mood and excitement for Alice. Also the scene where Alice is in the dark closet and is listening to her parents downstairs, there is no image just words and some background murmurs that you have to make out to feel what Alice is feeling.

  14. 1. John- What could you have done to avoid losing everything you possess, and forcing your family to relocate?
    John- Could you have chosen a better career path in order to provide your family with a more stable lifestyle?
    Alice- If your friends told you to jump off a bridge, would you do it?
    Ming- If you hate earning a wage, but love painting, why don’t you turn your passion into a career?
    Ming- Do you believe that Alice could have had better opportunities in her life thus far?

    2. Dear Brad,

    I’m sorry to hear that a little girl has taken fancy to you and will not leave you alone. I’m sure we all can relate to having a constant pest that can never think for themselves. You’re rewards for such determined tolerance will soon become apparent to you. As the girl grows older she will mature to a state of independence and rely on your word less. The animations of you on her player will also become more true to your actual figure. Do not panic, Brad, your situation can only improve from here.


    3. The part of episodes 3 and 4 that stick out most to me is that at the end of each installment is that Alice is becoming more independent from her parents. When approached by the guard at the end of episode 3 she stands up to the guard at the airport wanting her player, despite the cries from her parents. In episode 4, Alice is forced to save herself from the broken staircase and find her own way to the top of the building without the help of her friends on the ground. These differ from the first two episodes since her parents were not involved in the rescues. Alice is becoming a self-reliant individual that achieves triumph through her own determination.

  15. 1. If I were to interview one character from Inanimate Alice I would choose Alice’s dad John. I would first start by asking him what he does for a living because we assume he works in the oil industry however it would be interesting to know what kind of job involves so much travel and in many instances even involves danger. I would also ask him if this is the life he chose to live. The reason I would ask him this question is because he always seems like he is running from something and to most individuals this is not a life they would particularly choose to follow especially considering he has a family. I would also ask him what kind of trouble he was in because in Russia. We see they are forced to leave their house very quickly leaving all their belongings behind. I would also ask him if he likes his job. The last question I would ask him is if he had the chance to go back would he make any changes. My reasoning for this question is that in the viewer’s eyes John has caused a lot of pain and hardship for his wife and his daughter and I would really like to know if he regrets this or if this is the life he believes is best.
    2. If Brad wrote to me about his problems I would assure him that he is going through a time of changes as does everyone. There are always tough times but it is necessary to be strong in order to overcome these obstacles in life. By doing so you become a better person. I would tell him to stay strong and keep your head up during these tough times because before long the sun has to shine again.
    3. One thing that stood out a lot to me while I was analyzing episodes three and four was Alice’s journey through the abandoned building. In my opinion this journey can resemble Alice’s life. For the most part her life has been quite scary, never knowing what to expect next. It’s dark and lonely but she shows that if you don’t give up there is glory to come of it.

  16. 1. Interview.
    Reporter: “Miss Alice, now that you have arrived in a typical urban setting, attend school and have acquired a network of friends, do you often feel different than your friends because of your unique past?”
    “You have recalled hearing your digital friend Brad’s voice in your head in times of desperation. How often do you hear his voice?
    “You make your dislike for boys well known, why it is then you chose a boy to be you’re a digital friend and self described best friend?”
    “You seemed depressed in settings such as China and Moscow (dark view of the world) and have expressed you’re desire to partake in activities of those of a child in a town or city such as owning a dog, riding your bicycle to the cinema, or celebrating at a restaurant. Have you ever lived in a town or city and are creating these desires from experience or are they expectations of what an urban life would consist of?”
    “You seem to be unaffected by your parents relationship only their how they interact but not commenting on your feelings about it. Eg. In episode 3 when you stated that your parents used to argue like normal couples but now arguing was their hobby yet you failed to comment on how it reflects onto you. How close are you with your parents?”
    3. One aspect of the story that occurred in episode 3 and 4 was when they left Moscow, they lost everything. Alice’s dad lost his job when he left but I find this very peculiar. If his job sends him across the world then it is unlikely his boss or owner of the company is in Moscow and is the one pressuring him. I believe he did the right thing by leaving and getting to safety but doubt he would have lost his job over a decision to protect himself and his family. Also for a family that travels and much as they do I find it hard to believe that the majority of their money was tied up in assets which were left in Moscow. Alice’s father would have international bank accounts and money invested in intangible investments not all in assets in their house in Moscow.
    4. Almost every slide in the reading requires some form of transliteratcy. Examples include Episode 2 when Alice is along and afraid without her parents. Her world is dark but when she calls her tutor the screen is bright even though the world around her stays dark. This suggests that when she focuses on the screen she is happy and at ease but when the frame around the screen is shown it is to represent how she still feels uneasy about her situation. Another example could be the ways in which words that describe voices from different parties enter the screen, such as in episode 3 in Moscow. When her father is arguing with men, when she talks about the voices of the men they creep into the screen also when her parents are talking, her mother voice takes one side and her fathers another.

  17. 1. If I were a reporter and were given an opportunity to interview one of the characters of Inanimate Alice, I would choose to interview Alice’s father. The questions I would ask him are
    - Is your job worth putting your daughter through the unnecessary problems that come with constantly moving, and not having a stable home?
    - What are the details of your job that causes you to work in isolated areas and different countries?
    - What is the reason you would not allow Alice to attend the international school?
    - What made you leave Russia so suddenly?
    - Are you enjoying being a teacher now?
    2. Dear Brad,
    It’s understandable how you feel about Alice suddenly not giving you as much attention, I know it’s hard to watch your best friend live a life without you. But try to understand that Alice has never had a stable home where she can make real friends, and having to be constantly moving she was never able to even attend a regular school. Alice’s whole life she has been craving for some normalcy and now that she has school and friends, she’s going to spend a lot of time with them. Be patient Brad she’ll remember all the times you were there for her and hopefully she’ll be able to balance time between you and her new friends
    3. In episode 3 the one thing that sticks out to me the most was the suspense that was caused when Alice and her family had to leave so suddenly and in the night. When they were right about to reach the plane the guards stopped them and allowed them to go through because Alice showed him how many dolls she had collected. In episode 4 when Alice is stuck in the building and needs to find a way out, the story was told like a maze and you had to help her get out and often getting to many dead ends.
    4. In episode 2 when Alice goes in search of her parents in the snow the actual noises of her walking through the snow emphasizes the situation and also the sounds of her breathing deeply. In Episode 3 right at the beginning when Alice is hiding in the closet there is a deep serious type of music playing the background while her father is speaking to the men. The music shows that she is in a serious situation and it’s not as upbeat as other episodes. In episode 4 when Alice finally makes it out of the building, the music is really upbeat as if she has won a game.

  18. Joshua Cunningham Part BDecember 1, 2009 at 12:13 PM

    2. Dear Brad,

    I can understand your concern for Abby. With her father's job subjecting the family to foreign, often unpredictable destinations, and the risks associated with the inevitable rise in peer pressure, I too will worry. The only thing I can suggest Brad is to maintain your watch over her. The results of her misadventures have remained positive as a result of you being there for her. As long as your there, everything will be fine.



    3. As with addressed in question number 2, I feel what stuck out the most to me in episodes 3 and 4 was the increase in the severity of the danger. It seems that as the episodes progress, the issues that arise seem to be much larger.
    The images, sounds, and texts relay a greater sense of urgency in the latter episodes. It's not that I have not been concerned for her safety in the earlier episodes, but episode 3 was the first time I was sincerely concerned for the safety of Alice and her family.

  19. Questions for Alice:
    1) Are you becoming less attached to Brad now that you are socially active with school?
    2) What do you like about school the most?
    3) Do you think your parents will be content with living in England?
    4) Do you ever consider trying to settle your parent’s arguments?
    5) What do you miss about Russia the most?

    2) In regards to your concern for Alice’s attachment, I would suggest turning yourself off when she annoys you. That would be the best way to give her a hint. As far as why she never changes your figure at all, I suppose you could ask her personally. She’s obviously very clingy so the more distance you keep from her, the better. On the one hand, I can understand your concern with never parting ways with Alice. On the other hand, you need to be there for her cause being that her parents are rarely around, she can get very lonely. I realize you don’t have someone to turn to when you are scared and alone, and that may seem unfair, but as I’ve said before, it is important for you to be there for her.

    3) The one thing that sticks out in my mind the most is when Alice is dared to climb to the top of the stairs by her “friends,” and then once she is in trouble, they scatter. I realize they came back, but if she was in serious potential danger, why desert her? To me, that doesn’t seem like loyal friend behavior.

  20. If I interviewed Alice I would have many questions do ask her. What do you wish you could have experienced most in public schools that you missed out in private schools early in your life? What possible benefits did you receive from private schooling? What do you like best about your player? Have you ever felt the connection you share with Brad with a real friend from public school? What do you like best about your new home? What do you miss about your house in Russia?

    2. Brad, I’m sorry to be informed of the unfortunate circumstances that you are going through in your life. To grow up in a family where your father is required to travel a lot would be difficult. Everyone wants to have somewhere to feel at home, and for you to have to consistently change where you call home would be very difficult and it would be understandable for you to creative imaginary friends. Just hold it together for now, eventually your family will settle down some place, and you will find permanent friends.



    3. The main thing that sticks out in Episode 3 is the higher level of suspense and action, which is reinforced by the sounds, texts, and images becoming more suspenseful and intense. Also, a connection is felt between the reader and Alice's family, causing the reader to become more interested in the reading, which is why it was effective for the authors to increase the level of suspense and danger.

  21. If I were a reporter, I would interview Alice's father. We know quite a bit about Alice and what she's all about, but the father has a massive impact on Alice's life and we do not know much about him. I would ask what his job entails and what company he works for. I would ask why he must travel so much. I would ask if he believes he spends enough time with his family and also ask why he doesn't let his wife and daughter settle somwhere normal, while he commutes beack and forth from his exotic locales.

    If I were abby, I would ask how a virtual character like Brad has problems? Are they virtual problems? This would mean that they must have virtual solutions. Better to ask a computer programmer.

    The thing that stands out the most is the mucher darker tone. Episode 3 takes place at night, in a thunder storm, people are yelling, Alice is hiding in a dark closet etc. Then there is a sense of urgency as they try to make it to the airport and are stopped by a scary guard.

  22. 1. If I were to interview Brad of "Inanimate Alice" I would ask:

    What's it like living in the player? Sometimes it looks kind of boring in there, so I would like to know how Brad keeps busy.

    Can you tell when the player changes color? I'm curious as the outside of the player can change to any different color, but does Brad notice?

    How long have you been skateboarding? We always see him on a skateboard, but perhaps he used to like to figure skate.

    Whats your favorite city you've lived in? I'm curious because it always looks to cold or too hot... where was most bearable?

    And lastly, Coke or Pepsi? Because I'm sure everyone's dieing to know.

    2. Dear Brad,
    I'm sorry to hear about your rash. There's a myriad of creams available, so I'd recommend consulting with your physician. As for the feelings of displacement you have; yes, they are normal. It's important for you to understand that as kids get older, they often tend to go their seperate ways. Alice has many new friends, something she's never had, and it is perfectly normal for her to want to make more time for them. That said, I'm sure she still cares for you and misses you, even if she's spending more time for them. As for always having to move, I can name several people who would love to see the places you've lived.
    Best wishes,

    3. What sticks in my mind most about episode 3 and 4 of Inanimate Alice is the maze at the end of episode 4. It is of particular curiosity to me, as it leaves me with a few questions. First off, is it actually possible to get lost? That is to say, do all roads eventually lead to an exit, or are there great big dead-ends one must backtrack from. Secondly, is the design plausible? Great care and attention has been paid in this series, so was the maze plotted in an actual configuration or can I take four left turns and end up at a different room? Lastly, is the maze perhaps an actual location? As it seems like a large part of the story, is it perhaps based on an actual location? Because of these and several other curiosities, the maze at the end of episode 4 is of particular interest to me.

    4. Examples of scenes I read as a transliterate reader:

    Episode 3, Scene 1:
    This scene features the use of an image in replacement of text. By clicking on the image, you are given a doll necessary to view a scene later in the episode. If one were not transliterate, they would not have noticed the image. Sound is of little importance here, however the other three modes of transliteracy are engaged.

    Episode 3, Scene 2:
    This is the scene where alice is hiding in her closet. This scene is of particular transliterate importance as it uses sound as a means of foreshadowing as opposed to the traditional text. The music in the bakcground is quick paced and foreboding, and the voices Alice hears sound less than friendly, perhaps hinting at some shady dealings occuring. The text used is choppy, perhaps adding to the panicked atmosphere, and the screen is dark allowing the reader to better envision the occurence through Alice's eyes. User interaction is of little importance in this scene.

    Episode 4, Scene 2:
    This is the scene where Alice's friends have dared her to climb to the top of a building. This scene uses transliteracy to reinforce a textual use of foreshadowing. At the bottom of the stairs, the words "Keep Clear" a spraypainted, and Alice's friends say that climbing the building is something everyone should do, " least once before they die."
    The music is rather fast paced, perhaps hinting at something about to happen, but isn't worrying. That is to say that while hectic, the music doesn't appear to convey that something is indeed about to happen. Again, direct user interaction appeas minimal in this scene.

  23. Hi,

    I find the depth of your investigative journalism fascinating. There is a feeling of your really trying to get inside the heads of the characters, which is exactly where we need to be. It is interesting to speculate on the balance of power in the relationship between Alice and her father. Everyone wanted to interview John or Alice, no one (unless I missed it) wanted to figure out her mother's point of view.

    You will have noticed the change in the dynamics of the John/Ming relationship since he lost his job. The job that paid for their high-quality lifestyle that becomes just a series of memories.

    I am curious to understand why no one really got into the motivations of the story. Why is Alice telling this story? What is so important that she feels the need to tell everyone what happened to her. Where is the story old will she be in the final episode. That kind of thing.

    Also, there is room to dig further into Brad's motivation. We take to him as if he is a human-like character and yet we know that he isn't. So who/what is he...and what is he up to?

    John's job (as it was in the first 3 episodes) as a seismologist - the bit he likes best is the explosions - and wildcatter takes him to the remotest of places. Since he got married and Alice came along, they have travelled together for the most part. Naturally, there have been the usual tensions between what could be a settled existence and Alice going to school and the challenges of homeschooling. Alice seems to thrive educationally in the homeschooling environment but lacks the company of children her own age.

    The advice to Brad was soooo human! Why did no one say, you are just a computer program - do something else or shut down? Or to take it in the other direction - tell him to get a life!

    Which led me on to thinking whether there might be an equivalent to the Uncanny Valley in human computer relationships? You may well be aware that the Uncanny Valley theory describes the varying relationships humans have with robots according to their form and activity. What is particularly noteworthy is that, as robots become more humanlike, humans increasingly fear them. There is a real in-built human concern that one day the robots will take over. This is graphically portrayed in the movies like iRobot and the Terminator series.

    My take on this is that humans, as yet, display no fear of computers themselves. The computing power in a robot is considerable, but it is the form and actions of the robot that primarily strikes fear. I guess that computers, being for the most part static pieces of equipment, are less forbidding.

    But what of the characters, the avatars we see on computer screens. Should we fear them? What if, one day, they started issuing commands in such a way that humans were unable to avoid complying with them? It seems laughable today....except that advertising works. Advertisers say "Go buy this" and we do...or at least millions of other folks do, but not me. Right?

    So I'm wondering if the Uncanny Valley refers also to computers and avatars we see on them, like Brad. If so, where on the graph of fear are we now? What would have to happen to bring about a wholesale revulsion for the technology? I'd love to know what you think?

    This is fun. But unfortunately, I have to sign off and go do something else.

    Thanks again for all your thoughts. Great stuff!


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