The Shade UniverseThe Shade Universe is a story world designed by creator Glenn Fraser in which a panoply of stories are set. Traditional prose, screenplays, short films, and of course, feature films are all harnessed together to make sense of a global conspiracy in which humankind learns it is not, in fact, at the top of the food chain. Taking his cue from H P Lovecraft‘s nihilistic visions, and the framework of stories like THE MATRIX, Fraser was keen to devise a complex story world that was both original, but had raw connective tissue with our own history. To make best use of our own real world setting, it needed to be set right here, right now.
The goal with any rich transmedia concept is to create compelling narrative footholds that play into our core desires and fears, then embed them in a consistent universe that lives right beside our own. The best of these creatives ask the hypothetical “what if?”, and our story universe centres on a struggle between invisible beings that grow and evolve beside us. Mostly they are invisible, but from time to time, the glimpse of something spectral at the darkest corners of our vision, the demonic figure that presses down on us, paralysing as we wake in night sweats. These are the cracks in a veneer that has in turn guided our own evolution and offered us the dreamings and imaginings that make us so different from our animal cousins. Concurrent, with those imaginings, comes the terror as our inclinations peer behind the curtain into the dark truth of our meaningless existence.
Once our world mythology is secure, we begin to find the touchstones of identification for our audience. To do this, we will create fictional web sites, character profiles on social media and short videos that hook into an eerie and claustrophobic world just beyond our ken. Each of these elements – be they fictional businesses that purport to help VPs (viewer/players) through a sleep-healing institute, or profiles that begin to colour the world around other fictional characters who are suffering from identical afflictions, serve to personalise and grow the story world even further.