Project Serpo was conceived in November of 2005. I had just started blogging and was following a conspiracy theory meme online. The moment of inspiration came when the author of the meme story suggested that in the next few days photographs would be released. I realized that you could use a blog and a Youtube channel to tell a story in a way that would unfold over time in bite size plot chucks that could be consumed by the average information worker during the course of their daily work.
By January I had enlisted the aid of Jason Vise and over the course of the next few months we planned out the plot arch, limited as it was, and the production approach. We shot in April, edited in May and launched the one week test program in June of 2006.
I posted a text based blog post each morning, a blog post with an image early afternoon and a video around 8:00 each night. The sole means of awareness generation was a single Technorati tag: “Serpo.”
I sent the blog link to one of the most forward thinking people (then and now) in the merging broadcast and online spaces, Terry Heaton. Terry was kind enough to write a post about it.
From Terry’s post:
“What you’re likely not to notice — unless I point it out — are the numerous product placement ads mixed in with the ongoing story. This is not only clever but, I think, an acceptable form of advertising within an entertainment project. I’ve had this discussion with a major ad exec, and he wasn’t as bullish on the idea as I was. This creative effort by Daniel suggests that we are right and he was wrong.
So once again, we have ideas bubbling up from the bottom that will capture the imagination of users and spawn countless others. Call me a nut, but I think this is a new form of entertainment.”
At what I considered to be the end of the experiment the blog, on July 27th, the blog had gotten 1,000 hits and the 5 Youtube videos had 5118 views. As of September 2010 the Youtube videos have about 23,000 views with Film in a Box accounting for 18,894 views.