Having grown up on horror movies, the first thing that came to mind when I read “Searching for the Origami Unicorn” was The Blair Witch Project. For those who don’t know, The Blair Witch Project is the story about three college-age filmmakers investigating the legend of the Blair Witch in Burkittsville, Maryland. They interview some of the locals and later trekked into the Black Hills, never to be seen again. It is the found footage from their recording equipment that comprises the movie.
In “Searching for the Origami Unicorn”, Henry Jenkins says that transmedia storytelling “unfolds across multiple media platforms, with each new text making a distinctive and valuable contribution to the whole” (95-96). The Blair Witch Project does just that; not only is the movie extremely interesting, the advertising that went about to promote the movie was ahead of its time. The production company created a website that detailed the story behind the legend, but that’s only the beginning.
There are different tabs on the website that allows for you to learn more about the timeline of events regarding the Blair Witch dating back to the 1700s, learn more/see pictures of the three filmmakers that never made it out of the woods, and view police evidence found at the seen where the three went missing. The creation of this website was a major innovation for the publicity of the movie, especially for 1998 when the website was published (a year before the movie came out)!
The creators of the film also promoted the movie on forums as well as created short, terrifying trailers. By avoiding the typical mainstream ways of advertising the movie, the creators risked not having a large turn out. Luckily that wasn’t the case because, for the audience, it seemed like they were actually ‘finding’ the footage for themselves when they stumbled across it.
Overall, this movie is one of my favorites and it has, by far, the most successful marketing campaign for a movie that I have ever seen. I’d definitely recommend checking it out!
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Jenkins, Henry. “The Origami Unicorn.” Convergence Culture, 93-130. New York University Press, 2007.