The Writing Platform bursaries have come to a close. We caught up with Ben Gwalchmai and James Wheale. This team used the bursary to build on their existing work on story and movement and build a prototype of a mobile app called Fabler. Fabler enables users to experience story through movement: stories will play when the user is moving and stop when the user is still, with bonus content being revealed as the user progresses through the story. You can read their project diary entries here and here.
What did you make and where can our readers try it out?
BG: We made a whole host of funs. We made an understanding that we’re all polymaths now. We also made an app prototype.
In order to try the Fabler prototype, you’ll need to download the AppFurnace app from your app store (iOS or Google’s Play Store, unfortunately I don’t think it’s on the Windows Phone Store) then add an app by pressing the + button, then using this url http://the.appfurnace.com/test/K25Nr/ thereafter you’ve just got to touch the title and press ‘play’. Let us know what you think!
JW: We made a working prototype of our Fabler Move engine, complete with a Tapas of working example pieces. Fabler Move is an audio playback system for stories that requires listeners to move to trigger audio. You can try our early prototype by following the instructions at fablermove.com
You had already developed the initial concept for Fabler before the bursary, what did the bursary enable you to do?
BG: The bursary enabled us to actually spend the time writing for and making Fabler.
JW: Make it. The award allowed us to commission a system whereby we took on the responsibility of testing and fine-tuning thus massively reducing total cost. The initial cash injection allowed us to plan out Fabler properly and build it to be scalable. Getting the ball rolling with the outsourced developer also freed us up away from the tech side of things, allowing us to focus on how one best creates content for it.
How do you work together? Are there clear delineations for who does what? Or do you both pitch in with everything?
BG: We’re a machine – a singular machine with two humans inside it in some kind of Drift. We operate the body Fabler.
JW: Yes. To be honest, applying under the term of ‘technologist’ was a little bit ridiculous given that I am professionally a writer. However, having clearly focused roles, much like a director and producer, I suspect allowed us to progress the app a lot quicker than otherwise. Ben and I are close friends as well as business partners and the Literary platform has afforded us the confidence to create full scale business plans and a set of goals.
The period the bursary covered is over, what’s next for Fabler?
BG: BIG MAGIC FUN TIMES, YES? & <>s. BIG <>s. As well as much <3. More wine, also.
JW: We’ve applied for the IC digital sports innovation contest award and are waiting to hear back from that. We’re also going for arts council funding and are looking at a kickstarter project to provide apps for charities, which would be super interesting. So we’re still at the point of a cash injection before a business really takes off but I’m keen for an extension of this incubator period. We’ve forged some really exciting relationships and developed some integral ideas. A continuation of this process for another 6-12 months I think will really benefit us in the long run.
And what’s next for each of you – any projects we should be keeping our eyes peeled for?
BG: My debut novel, Purefinder, is coming out on December 13th and I’m making an adventure in Bodiam Castle with Splash & Ripple.
JW: Still touring my book Maskboy around the UK. I direct the world’s largest street game, 2.8 Hours Later – the cross city zombie chase game, for Slingshot and that’s touring until November. More info on that is available at 2.8hourslater.com.
Coming soon: @Fabler_
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