THIS PIECE, WRITTEN BY QARA-XUAN ZENITH, HAS BEEN SELECTED AS THE REFICTIONALIZATION FOR TOM PIKE AND DANA SHAW.
Qara-Xuan Zenith wrote:Dana sat back, pen poised above the clipboard. "If we're going to even start on Season Three, we need a way to make the show more self-sufficient. So far, Mr. Administrator hasn't paid us... anything, so we're going to need to brainstorm more options."
Tom spun his chair around to face her, sprinkling some salt on his rice. "Actually, I had an idea. We should make a game!" He waved his fork in the air for emphasis.
"A game," Dana repeated, without enthusiasm.
"Yeah, an alternate reality game, to tie in with Echo Chamber. We'd get players from all around the world to engage with our story and our characters, get yelled at by Mr. Administrator, write stories or songs and stuff. It'll be great!"
"I'm going to tell you something," Dana said, "and I want you to know that I mean it from the bottom of my heart: that is the dumbest idea I have ever heard. No one is going to want to play an ARG about Echo Chamber. Nobody, Tom, is going to want to pay money to get yelled at by Mr. Administator. We don't like getting yelled at by Mr. Administrator, and we get paid for it."
"Yeah, but--" Tom swallowed a mouthful of rice and narrowed his eyes at Dana. "Wait, you get paid?"
"No. Sorry, figure of speech." She wrinkled her nose. "You know what I mean."
Dana breezed into Tom's apartment, making a face at the sight of his lunch. "Tom, there is a grocery store right across the street. You can buy any other food; there is no excuse for you subsisting on rice."
He shrugged. "This is easy. Want some? I'm not totally barbaric, I have salt."
"No," Dana said, with a withering look.
"Suit yourself." Tom turned back to his meal, gesturing toward the laptop on the desk. "I wrote out some copy for the ideas we were talking about yesterday-- you can take a look."
Dana bent over in front of the computer, not sitting down on the chair. Tom could hear the mouse click a few times as she scrolled down through what he had typed.
"Yeah, do you like it?"
"Tom, this is really, really, really awful. What are you even trying to do? 'We are a TRUE PEOPLES!' 'The PAN will take your children!' I can barely read this, and I know it's awful."
"Well, that would just be one of the websites," Tom explained confidently, dumping his plate in the sink and coming over to join her at the desk. "This is for the character who knows what's going on, but has a different view of it than the players, a sort of foil to our playerbase."
"No players. No website. This sucks, Tom." Dana paused, groping for words. "You know how near the end of Season Two, you started having some ideas which really didn't suck? ...This isn't one of them."
"No, but, see, that's the point," Tom argued. "It's like So Bad It's Good. This character comes off as a wingnut, and that's deliberate, but there's just enough ring of truth in there to get people interested. Then BAM, our main character comes in with some videos about the same strange things going on, and then we hit them with the twitter accounts of more characters, and the game is off."
"Tom, So Bad It's Good is for when people actually want to watch something. This is just really, really, terrible, and nobody is going to read it. Even you can do better than this, Tom." Dana straightened, abandoning the computer to settle on the couch.
"Okay, so maybe this site will use some revising," Tom conceded. "But this guy's still supposed to sound crazy. And there will be other characters, who--"
"--sound more normal but are straight out of fiction, and--"
"--Mr. Administrator can make an appearance, I'm sure we can convince him to do it, and--"
"--he can be the one who gives the players their main assignments--"
A mechanical pencil soared through the air and hit Tom on the side of the head. He fell silent.
"We are not making a game, Tom. Your idea sucks. Your website sucks. Literally anything else will be better than this."