Fiction and Multimedia

Fiction and Multimedia

The lines between fiction and nonfiction in multimedia are blurring. I’m pretty sure this is good. But it is uncomfortable. Why? Because, I think we have come to expect multimedia to be a style used by journalists. But it’s silly to think that it has to stay there. I’ve had this discussion so many times with people about my photography. They have asked, “Was it like that originally?” Or “Was that the way it was? Was it that saturated?” My answer is usually, no, that’s just the way I saw it. It’s an old discussion that goes on and on. And now I think there’s a new twist.

The multimedia show below is produced and directed by Eric Maierson and photographed by Pamela Chen and titled three women, is a work of fiction.  Just as strange, I found it on MediaStorm, traditionally the warehouse of nonfiction and news related multimedia productions. The thing that makes it a little uncomfortable is that it is done in the same style as all the other works found there. It is in fact fiction, acting as nonfiction housed with nonfiction. My first thought was actually a question, “Will this undermine Brian Storm’s credibility?” After I thought about it I realized my answer was, no. It was clearly marked as fiction and it was done amazingly well. In fact, because it was done so well adds to Brian and his team’s credibility.

I think there is no reason that this genre should be confined to nonfiction. We haven’t confined still photography, motion picture or video to nonfiction. So it is silly to think that the multimedia production must only produce works of nonfiction. I think you’ll agree that this is an amazing few minutes of stunning images, and even though fiction, a truthful message.

I’m pretty sure this is the first piece of multimedia that I’ve seen used to communicate a fictional story. I’d be real interested to hear your thoughts on this. I think it opens the doors for more. In fact, I might have an idea or two bouncing around in my head.

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About The Author

Matt Brandon

Matt is a Malaysia based humanitarian and travel photographer. Well known as a photographer and international workshop instructor, Matt’s images have been used by business and organizations around the globe. Matt also on the design board for Think Tank Photo, a camera bag manufacturer. In 2013 Matt founded the On Field Media Project to train the staff of non-profits to use appropriate technology to produce timely as well as quality images.


  1. Brian Hirschy

    I thought the piece was beautiful and certainly impactful despite it being fiction. I think that the disconnect would have existed for me had it been an absurd story or something that they were asking me to give money to directly to help the people listed. However, it’s a well done, sensative, piece that sheds some real light on very serious mental and emotional issues that I have no doubt came directly from their own research. I would suspect that the stories at true SOMEWHERE.

    I say Hollywood makes it feel weird for me. Why? Because they tell some many ‘true’ stories that once you do the research on them you find out the real story is nothing like the one presented. An audience generally knows when they are being toyed with emotionally.

    I didn’t get that feeling from this piece and found it absolutely stunning.

  2. Anonymous

    I’ve been wanting to do something like this actually–from a creative urge. But the focus of my main work doesn’t allow it. With my background in fiction /creative writing I’ve only day dreamed of what a merge in genres might look like. I don’t want to cross ethical lines. I’ve got some dots to connect, but just haven’t yet…. all part of the journey. Thanks for this post. I’m glad you brought it to our attention! Now, I’ve got to go an watch this….

  3. Colortrails

    “Multimedia” in this context may be defined in a more narrow sense than I’ve known it for the last 15 or 20 years but, was there ever a suggestion / movement that multimedia productions be nonfiction? WRT to journalists, I’m not sure the medium matters as much as the context of their story. If they’re acting as journalists, there’s no room for fiction (we have enough of that in our cable news, half researched stories on the web news outlets, and networks that give us pretty much nothing but spin half the time). If they’re acting as artists, then… as long as they make it clear at the beginning that it is a production and not a documentary or news story, fiction is fine.

  4. Matea Michelangeli

    I don’t have an issue with this being fictional. It is beautifully done and portrays a reality. I think you can represent mental illness and abuse in this manner, it is a real story with fictional characters. What would make me uncomfortable is to not know that it is fictional. If it is presented as a documentary it should clarify that you are telling a story that needs to be told but you are not portraying a particular person, just a situation.

  5. Kevin Blackburn

    Wow this is a tough one because even though fictional it carries some very powerful messages Tough call for a guy who came up in this world as a PJ and Now derives the bulk of his income shooting corperate communications and Advertising. Thanks god I am trying to go back to a more pure pursuit in doing some documentery and humanitarian work to clear my mind.

  6. Anonymous

    Okay. I finally watched it. All I can do is copy one of my favorite quotes for about 8 years now…

    “Poets are almost always wrong about facts. That’s because they are not really interested in facts: only in truth…”
    William Faulkner

    That says it all…

  7. Cathy

    Wow! This is a great piece of work.

    I’ve always thought that good fiction matters. Really, really matters. It may not be someone’s literal story, but it is a medium for conveying experience. It can be much more intimate in portraying that experience, and I think that’s where the power lies.

  8. daveb



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