How to get from point A to point B

I’ve made documentaries before and it’s not something entirely new. We would basically tell a story and the one way of telling a story is just simply to move forward. “Connecting” seems to be just as complicated as it sounds.

For one, no longer do you have a captured audience for them to digest your work in one sitting. The audience can now jump from one part of your story to another. They can now view your documentary on their own time and only the parts that they are interested in. So is there a way for the filmmaker’s view to translate properly into the hyperlinked form?

I think it’s possible but I think the material requires two different approaches resulting in the same ending. There will be path as determined by the author to be the “true vision” for the work. This is exactly as the creator determined it and should be experienced as such. The other path would be the one created by the user as they go along the story on their time and their own interests.

With this in mind I think traditional documentary methods still hold true for two of my proposals. One is the train ride and the other is Woody Allen map of Manhattan but I think I can narrow it down to his film (Manhattan, 1979).

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=new+york+city&aq=&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=14.84512,90&t=w&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=New+York&ll=40.714353,-74.005973&spn=0.080645,0.175781&z=13&output=embed

View Larger Map

For “Manhattan”, there are various sources for the film such as the Internet Movie Database and Google Maps to determine these locations. For instance, the iconic scene with Woody Allen and Diane Keaton was shot exactly on this spot. As you can see today, there is no park bench. I wonder what this place looks like at sunrise, as depicted in the film.

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=embed&hl=en&geocode=&q=E+59th+St,+New+York,+NY&aq=0&oq=59&sll=40.761958,-73.973443&sspn=0.027565,0.175781&t=w&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=E+59th+St,+New+York&ll=40.761553,-73.966584&spn=79.695795,180&z=3&layer=c&panoid=69sIySJ7ZVcr3Yfe3RQIPQ&cbll=40.757793,-73.959552&cbp=13,107.65876970508172,,0,5.099324376664313&output=svembed

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=embed&hl=en&geocode=&q=E+59th+St,+New+York,+NY&aq=0&oq=59&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=42.987658,90&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=E+59th+St,+New+York&t=h&layer=c&cbll=40.757793,-73.959552&panoid=69sIySJ7ZVcr3Yfe3RQIPQ&cbp=13,109.18,,0,0.44&ll=40.751825,-73.96142&spn=0.020416,0.048237&z=14&output=svembed

View Larger Map

Woody Allen and Diane Keaton in Manhattan

Then embed this scene,

That should work. It would allow the film to be enjoyed in a different way. Something like that.

As for the train, I’ve downloaded maps and brochures from Amtrak that would get me to the west coast. Sadly I couldn’t find an API for Amtrak but Google Maps does the same anyway.

Based on the railyway system of the US, there are two ways to the west, either through the north or sounth, the tracks don’t exactly cross the US like the highways. Also, it would take two trains. The Lake Shore Limited and the California Zephyr. I think this is where the two paths I mentioned above can be created. One is my own journey on the train that would include, videos, pictures, and posts from along the train that would be the filmmaker’s point of view. The other is where the user follow the train as it went through the track in real time via Google Earth. The user can then see the stops that are marked along the way to get from point A to point B and any historical significance it would have. This would also work along the east coast, but I think riding across the country would be very exciting. Or maybe California Highway 1.

Technologies I think I see in integrating would be:

  • HTML5
  • Google Maps API
  • YouTube API
  • a bit of Javascript

That’s all I can think of for now.

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