Benjamin Cölle: Exploring Storyworlds. How to Embed Audience Engagement Design into EU Feature Film Production Practise.

This scientific-artistic research project investigates specific production practices in feature film development that are about negotiating story and audience from an early stage of development.

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By applying a qualitative case study approach within the framework of a scientific-artistic research, Benjamin Cölle will look at the formation, application and possible impact of specific production practices in feature film development, which are about negotiating story and audience from an early stage of development in a collaborative working practice of writers/directors and producers of feature films. He will be using both observational and interview data, to assess the extent to which the investigated concepts and methodologies proved useful (or not) for the professional practice of the involved team members and how they managed to prepare the film projects for the subsequent distribution.

Benjamin Cölle will start by investigating the practice of Audience Design, which is a specific methodology that was developed and practiced within TorinoFilmLab since 2011. It defines the process of creating audience awareness and engagement around films from an early stage of development through a story-based and multi-angle approach. He will employ and test this practice by conducting three consultancies for feature film projects (fiction and documentary) as an audience designer.

The results of the critical evaluation of audience design will form the basis for the research and development of the practice of Story and Audience Exploration. This practice will be employed and tested within additional case studies to ultimately discuss, in what ways this practice improved the story development and the process of anticipating the film’s audience and non-audience. Benjamin Cölle will furthermore investigate, if this practice rendered useful for the working realities on the ground and for preparing and/or qualifying the films for distribution.

Drawing together the various findings of both scientific and artistic research, he aims to propose a specific production practice that considers the audience from the very beginning of the story development process within iterative and collaborative working processes.