Jonathan Belisle, a Montreal teacher, script writer and web entrepreneur, has a storytelling system that combines old and new, traditional mythology and modern technology, and fantasy and reality.
Wuxia the Fox is a transmedia project that comes as an illustrated book paired with an iPad app.
“The app reacts to what it hears and sees,” explains Belisle. “As you read the story, the app adds the music and sound effects, based on where you are in the story and the tone of your voice. It’s the future of children’s books.”
The iPad app triggers new scenes of content using image recognition, and transforms into a musical instrument when interacting with small wooden blocks provided with the book.
It’s a revolutionary way to tell stories – for young and old. The messages in this kids’ book deal with the climate changes, earth and dreams. “This can be a tool for young people to increase their awareness of the technological and ecological changes currently underway,” said Belisle. “In addition to weaving a great tale, it can inspire people to be more environmentally responsible.”
The story in this augmented book revolves around Oremia, an 8-year-old girl who has vivid recurring dreams of great whales. Convinced she is actually a hologram, she meets Wuxia, a young fox with telepathic powers. Wuxia agrees to join Oremia to search for a legendary humpback whale named Nioma.
The combination of highly sophisticated electronics and lush illustrations has placed a significant price tag on this groundbreaking transmedia project. Belisle needs about $64,000 for book graphics, audiovisual content for the iPad app, development of the sound and symbol recognition algorithm, and copy editing. From now until May 2, 2014, he is running a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for the project.
He plans to make the system available in French and English.
Depending on their donation levels, contributors can receive PDF versions of the book, soft and hardcover editions of the book in various sizes and wooden amulets.
“Our goal is to reinvent storytelling,” Belisle said. “It will inspire adults and children to connect with nature, developing new ways to share bedtime stories and explore their dreams.”