Category Archives: Twitter

When Time Is Unevenly Distributed

“The future is already here, it’s just unevenly distributed.” ~William Gibson

Smithsonian Future Is Here

Last weekend, I had the gorgeous, splendiferous, mind-bending opportunity to attend Smithsonian magazine’s “The Future is Here” Festival. Listening to the newest news on scientific discovery, exploration and art by some of today’s Superheroes of History (that is, if time were “evenly” distributed – since I’m safely writing this a week past the event, we can safely say that future is now history by today’s standards of time-keeping), we 300+ participants were regaled with the imperative to record human stories to be sent into deep-space messages; exoplanet exploration and the development of a “star shield” to better “see” via the Kepler telescope the presence and distinctive energetic signatures of potential Earth-like orbs in galaxies far-far away; Antarctic cosmologists’ detection of the earliest signature of the Big Bang; and even some of the ethics of re-birthing extinct species that once graced our own home planet. There were writers who have regaled the earth with science fiction that has been the inspiration for many a scientist who used the fiction as a jumping-off point for her own explorations of the universe. Mind blowing, or as my very creative, Argentine-artist friend Rosana Azar would say, “Blow-minding!”

Tweeting the event, Screen Shot 2014-05-25 at 8.40.11 AMalong with a cadre of avid live conference bloggers, both Charley and I (Robin) were honored to have our tweets quoted in Smithsonian’s live reporting of the event:

Screen Shot 2014-05-25 at 8.39.29 AM

Loved this “capture” by fellow microblogger Summer Ash, quoting science fiction writer Kim Stanley Robinson, on the one stunning photograph from space that could conceivably justify any investment our little exurban planet might put into exploring the multiverse:

Perhaps the most “blow-minding” exhibition of the day was the jet-powered Rocket Man flight: 58 seconds of a young man flying under jet-pack propulsion wearing a suitably superhero-like red-and-white suit and protected by nothing more than a helmet.

Wonder what Leonardo da Vinci would make of this–or wait, did he anticipate it 500 years ago?

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Off to the Past

For those of you who have been brave enough to watch videos Out of Time, thank you. I realize it’s been some time since we first chatted about this young adult time travel adventure, and perhaps you have been wondering what Charley and her friends have been doing since that autumn introduction.

Or maybe not.

But if you’ve tuned in at all, you may have noticed that our modern-day Renaissance genius is a very ambitious teenager. Where some teens dream of becoming tech-geek gazillionaires before the age of 25 (back in the day, when I was growing up, we used to think 40 and a cool million was aggressive!), Charley’s goal is to learn a good chunk of something about, well, everything, by the time she applies to college.

Davinci_formulaBecoming a Renaissance genius back in Leonardo da Vinci’s day would seem to have been a lot simpler. It’s simply a matter of degree.

Anyway, though I’d catch you up on what’s been going on.

LegolandIntroducing Charley: self-proclaimed teen genius. Finds Leonardo’s plans for a time machine in one of his notebooks and decides to build it for the school science fair with her smartest-geek-in-the-class pal Billy Vincenzo. Teacher says, sure, why not. BFF Beth Jacobs says, ha-ha-ha, Charley. You do too much. Besides, I’ve got my heart set on being a normal, fashionista teen with a huge crush on school hot-jock Lex Campbell. So go build your stupid time machine.

Build up: Charley convinces Billy the time machine is doable. Billy knows the science: Higgs-Boson may make faster-than-light travel possible in the quantum field, but in the physical world…fugheddaboutit.

But Charley goes to Take Your Child to Work Day at her dad’s Homeland Security-agency contracting company and learns that, amid the spook agencies of government, there’s something quantum afoot in the physical world. Logging on to Dad’s Top Secret-secured computer while he’s in a meeting, she gets the download for a mysterious formula that seems to tap into a reality-as-hologram science with the Qualia Rosetta. Part of mysterious Operation Firenze.

The messenger is the equally mysterious Kairos, a teen just a bit older than Charley who gives her two keys to time travel, the formula that unravels the Qualia Rosetta with coordinates set to 1492 Florence, and a mini-sculpture—the model for Leonardo’s Man-and-Horse. Not one to look a gift horse in the mouth (LOL), Charley takes the key and runs with it!

Billy’s done more research, now he meets with Charley in her garage to assemble Leo’s version of the time machine. Still skeptical, even after Charley shows him the evidence, Billy knows their science grade—and winning the Da Vinci Middle School Science Fair depends on creating a model that would work if it could.

Meanwhile, aforementioned Lex, clueless to Beth’s crush on him, decides Charley’s time machine is key to his finding out when he’ll be drafted into the Major Leagues…and by what team. He’s holding out for the Nats, when he’ll beat out Bryce Harper for youngest player to join the pros.

Billy goes home and Lex corners Charley thinking she can send him into the future. An awkward embrace and an accidental triggering of the time machine and—poof! Fire, smoke, an inside tornado breaks out. Coughing and teary-eyed, Lex lets the smoke settle before he gets brave enough to set out and warn the kids: Charley’s disappeared!

And the rest is history! Charley whirls through the eye of time into a wild and weird alternate universe, or so she hypothesizes, until she crashes into a rocky outcropping on a field in the black of midnight amid a hail of cannon fire. The first-person shooter: none other than Leonardo da Vinci himself.

When the smoke clears, Charley is astonished to find herself in a close encounter with her Renaissance idol, and a badly banged up foot.

Charley’s been busy getting herself into some interesting new adventures with Bethy II and now involving a pig named—of course—Wilbur, and Billy’s beginning to get into the act. And Gwen may be ill!

No spoiler here… Not wanting to give up the ghost but there is a specter that hangs overCharley in this time and her own.

Pen and ink

Working now on what’s next: suffice it to say that there are Machiavellian manipulations that have Charley worried about her mother and keep her own future—and that of history—in doubt.

Keep your compass turned in this direction for more adventures through time and all around the globe. And join in tweet storytelling @OutofTimeMovie!

The Out of Time Backstory

Creating a Story Tweeting Adventure

OOT_masthead_final

I am a consultant in social marketing specializing in education and health. I am also parent to three great kids. I drove a lot of carpools back in the day and relished spying on the candid conversations playing out in the back of the car.

My passion is storytelling and, because moms are invisible, I relished jotting down the backseat banter. As my kids grew up, I marveled at how their language, ideas and attitudes transformed along with their bodies and brains. It was a complete anthropology lesson in teen social psychology that, as a mom, I found exasperating, but as a writer and science interpreter: priceless.

The result was a flight of fancy from childhood—out of time. I crafted a screenplay, Out of Time, whose protagonist, Charley, is a 13-year old middle school girl and self-styled Renaissance Genius, à la her Florentine Idol, Leonardo da Vinci. Through the marvels of her science fair invention, Leonardo’s plans for a time machine, Charley hurtles back 500 years to meet the Master and becomes stuck, a Washington Nationals Fan in the Duke di Medici’s Court.

Social media makes the element of storytelling more intriguing, so when a friend suggested I take my screenplay public, anticipated Hollywood agents and directors lining up to option the story notwithstanding, the idea of tweeting it and incorporating followers’ voices into the storyline seemed intriguing.

The result is @OutofTimeMovie, a new social experiment to encourage friends and followers on Twitter to interact and direct Charley M. & Friends on adventures through time.

We’ve set up a profile on Twitter where Charley has already begun narrating her tale.

Charley’s adventures with friends and frenemies in multiple “time zones” over half a millennium was seeded by a decade or so of those aforementioned carpool conversations. What happens next will grow out of your participation in the tweet-adventure.

Screenplay Storyline

A couple of too-smart teens get carried away while doing a school science fair project: constructing a time machine. Charley Morton and Billy Vincenzo’s detective work engineers a time machine using modern technology and science to create a working model–and then, are stunned when it works. Armed with nothing more than an iPad, cell phone, rigged up solar battery, Legobot pieces and sour gummy worms, Charley finds herself in a strange world where nothing follows the rules of life as she knows it.

In the process, this posse of 21st century teens learn more than they bargained for, jumping into a time of social, intellectual and religious ferment in contrast to their modern lives, and shocking early Renaissance sensibilities with their relaxed attitudes towards authority, religion, and women’s place in the world.

Charley finds herself continually censored for pursuing her passions—culinary, scientific, technological and musical (ranging from a search for the best spaghetti pomodoro (tomatoes not yet having made it to Florence from the New World-Columbus just circling),  to playing Words with Friends on her iPhone to playing violin with Lorenzo di Medici’s orchestra)—while Leonardo discovers a girl with learning far in advance of his own discoveries, but Charley is endangered by forces beyond her understanding, including the Dominican Friar Savonarola, originator of the famed bonfires of the vanities who deems Charley and her “magic-possessed” friends a threat to the minds, hearts and souls of the people of Florence.

Making it social: drop a Tweet

That’s the foundation; now we want you to get involved. Please follow along in the adventure or, better still, jump in and “Drop a Tweet”!

How? Simply tweet questions, replies, instructions or twists to their adventures to the characters (listed below). Or ask them to describe what they see, hear or smell along the way. Charley has already consulted a pediatrician who’s joined in the tweet chat (@jackmaypole) by asking him whether time travel might bring on motion sickness. Check out Dr. Jack’s response.

She’d love advice from technology mavens on how to stay connected to the present with her iPad or iPhone, since satellites obviously weren’t circling the planet in 1492 (in fact, Columbus was…barely).

And, teachers in every subject area from science to art to music could suggest a rubric for Charley and Billy’s science fair report, how discovery of the Higgs Boson has implications for time travel, whether Charley’s talent on the violin would match the abilities of a professional orchestra in Lorenzo di Medici’s court, or sharing historical context for Leonardo da Vinci’s role under the di Medici’s, or whether advance knowledge of the future (gravity, flying) might change da Vinci’s legacy.

I plan to post a series of short video updates (aka: serial story tweets) to recap the story for new followers, and as catch up for those who may have missed episodes.

Five simple story rules for driving Twitter action:

1.    Tweet as yourself; the characters will respond or change action if, and at the time, your direction fits into the narrative.

2.    Please use only these fictional characters to anchor the story. Will consider introducing a new character if it makes sense as the story develops

3.    Will work on developing only one storyline at a time (past, present or future) to have time to experience the scene, create a narrative line (setup-hook-inciting incident-plot point(s)-challenge-resolution). Will jump into new adventures after these criteria have been satisfied in the time/place involved.

4.    Strive for historical accuracy (please research the time period): consider actions, interactions and dialog suited to time place, and historically accurate figures.

5.    Appropriate use of technology (time travel and other) is encouraged.

 Characters

Charley Morton, 13-year old girl, dreamer, violin player and self-styled modern day Renaissance genius who loves all things Italy and Leonardo da Vinci.

Billy Vincenzo, 13, Charley’s science fair partner, class “nerd”, crush on Charley.

Beth Jacobs, 13, social butterfly, smart but would rather be popular, Charley’s BFF (not!) and rival for Lex Campbell’s attention.

Lex Campbell, “hot” new guy at school, plays on baseball team and dreams of being recruited for major league team out of high school, major crush.

Kairos, 15-year old who appears mysteriously at Charley’s Dad’s office on Take Your Child to Work Day. He can travel across time to show up anywhere, any time. Origins unknown. In 1492, he is Leonardo’s apprentice, and sits to model for his art.

Elisabetta, 13-year old in 1492 Florence. Works in di Medici palace and takes the impetuous Charley under her wing to protect from palace intrigue.

Gwen Morton, Charley’s mom, concert violinist with National Symphony Orchestra and music teacher.

Jerry Morton, Charley’s dad, contractor for Homeland Security, and clueless about teenage girls.

Mrs. Schreiber, science teacher at Da Vinci Middle School

Leonardo da Vinci, Renaissance genius, needs no further introduction.

Lorenzo di Medici, Duke of the Republic of Florence and part of the powerful family that includes Popes, Bishops, arts patrons, military innovators and enlightened citizen-politicians

Giralamo Savonarola, Dominican friar, preacher, and self-ordained prophet. Originated the bonfire of the vanities to burn as “sin” all art, wealth, books and religious tracts. Repeatedly denounced Lorenzo’s “despotic” rule and pursues any sign of “idolatry” or “witchery”.

Settings: Home/School, the present

Takoma Park, Maryland – Suburban Washington, D.C., Da Vinci Middle School, Takoma Park Public Library

Renaissance Italy, 1492, Carnival time

A rural field outside Florence, Italy, di Medici Palace, Pitti Palace and Piazza Signoria, the central square of Florence

Here’s some of what’s happening on Twitter:

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How to Tweet a Story with Charley M. and Me

In presenting at last weekend’s amazing CO14 MOOC (for Connecting Educators Online 14) about my multiplatform storytelling for learning project, I was asked by several people to explain how tweet storytelling works.

I must admit this from the outset: I have no idea. Why? ‘Coz this is such a new form of interactive storytelling that no other author, to my knowledge, is yet treating #TwitterFiction as a crowd-sourced form of storytelling (btw, thanks @magicandrew, for coming up with the idea).

Still, when it comes to @OutofTimeMovie as an social media story, I do know I can’t make it happen without YOU!

What I can tell you for sure is this: Charley Morton, the 13-year-old heroine of this emerging time travel adventure story, Out of Time, fancies herself to be a modern-day Renaissance genius like her Florentine idol, Leonardo da Vinci. She’s busy constructing what she suspects were Leo’s designs for a time machine, only da Vinci had neither the science nor the technology to build it.

Charley abroadBut Charley does. She and her friend Billy are undertaking the project for the Middle School Science Fair, and they’re running into problems that perhaps you can help them solve. Charley’s tweeting about the snafus, among other things. And she would be tweeting much more if it weren’t for homework and her mom making her practice her violin, ALL THE TIME. (Something about 10,000 hours! Really. Check out that magic number 10,000 to see why some grownups think it’s so important.)

So Charley is very curious, and loves learning. Just about anything you might want to talk about/ask her about her time machine project/her friends/ambitions/or her not so satisfying middle school social life is fair game.

She’s busy tweeting about life. And a bunch of folks have been tweeting back, like @drkent, talking about how time travel can be musical!

TIME TRAVEL MUSIC

So really, in these tweep conversations, sky’s the limit. What would you like to know about building a time machine or planning to meet all the superheroes of history? After all, that’s Charley’s goal.

To start things off, here are the top 10 questions about Charley and her obsession with time travel:

  1. Where in the history of the Universe, does Charley think she’s gonna start this adventure, and why?
  2. What’s up with her Science Fair partner, class geek Billy Vincenzo?
  3. Who is Kairos and why’s he got such a weird name?
  4. What’s her deal with spaghetti pomodoro?
  5. What’s Charley’s least favorite thing about herself?
  6. Who are her friends, and what do they think of her mad scheme?
  7. What if she meets Leonardo da Vinci–what then?
  8. Does she really practice her violin 10,000 hours, or is that just something she says to get her mom to stop asking her?
  9. What’s she gonna wear for time travel?
  10. Renaissance history: who cares!

Suggest sights you’d like Charley to visit–in Renaissance Florence for starters. Like, her friend Lex, the hottie and baseball star of her middle school, threw out:

“Hey Charley, if you get to Italy on this mad voyage, check out the Mona Lisa and see if she’s really smiling.”

Only problem: the Mona Lisa is in the Louvre Museum in Paris, not Florence. The French King François I, a patron of Leonardo’s, supposedly appropriated it for France a long time ago. Still, Charley does bring up Mona (or La Giaconda, as she is more formally known) with Leonardo–spoiler alert–when they finally do meet up.

Interested in what old Leo had to say about that? Tweet us.

And a few things Charley would love to hear about from you:

  1. Where would you go in time if you could travel anywhere you wanted?
  2. Do you like to read or see movies with science fiction and fantasy themes?
  3. What are your favorite things to do and learn about?
  4. Do you and your BFF ever fight? How does that usually work out in the end?
  5. Do you tweet? Would you like to join the @OutofTimeMovie tweet storytelling team? Find details here: http://outoftimemedia.com/calling_all_tweeps.html

Any questions for us? We’d love to hear from you. Write us in the comments about any of this stuff. Or follow @outoftimemovie and tweet us and join in the adventure!

Time Traveler Color