Digital Adaptations – Reinventing Storytelling

Moving Targets, the knowledge exchange project I work for, gave me the opportunity a few months ago to visit Tern TV’s digital department and work with them for a while. I take the opportunity to thank Simon Meek and his team for having me there and welcoming my “I stare at you, sorry, it’s research” attitude.

I got very excited today when I started to see their project coming up on Twitter. With the department just re-branded as Digital Adaptations and still a few months ahead of its release, the marketing campaign for their adaptation of 39 Steps has started.

39 steps is a great book on its own right. But now Digital Adaptations have given to it an extra tweak to make the experience more immersive, flexible and insightful.


  • Context – Well the story happens in 1914, which for a reader makes it difficult to visualise how things looked like back then. If there was a word that came across the time I worked with them that was authenticity. They have worked to the greater detail researching every single object or location that appears in the book and finding original references to work with.
  • Interaction – One of the features I loved the most was the exploring mode. In a book or a movie you cannot explore and interact with the objects but with digital technology you can. There are plenty of fascinating objects to discover that definitely enrich the experience.
  • Flexibility – Stories aren’t absolutely linear. There is always room for some jumping around, and Digital Adaptations allows you to do so. They have carefully mapped the story so the readers can explore the book in various ways.
  • Adaptability – the software takes care of you as reader, as it adjusts to your habits allowing you to follow at your own path.

During my time at the company I had the chance of seeing the work of Paul Scott Canavan and Thomas Pollock in action. Both the artwork and the animated effects they were developing set the reader in the perfect environment for the reading.

When I visited the company the project was at a very early stage, so now I am looking forward to its release to:

  • See how the variety of media used have been integrated with the story
  • Feel the interface, especially on iPad
  • and simply to experience the story in a very pioneering way

Great team, great work. Keep an eye on it!


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