It seems like the new interactive web show “Dirty Work” will stop at nothing to get you to pay attention, calling your phone, texting you, emailing, and Facebooking you at pivotal moments throughout the series. Though it sounds overwhelming, it’s not–the show’s creators were inspired by the fact that we’re always fiddling with our smartphones and tablets while watching television anyway, and managed to bring all of these forms of communication together in “Dirty Work.” The show follows a group of comedic 20-something year olds who work the night shift cleaning up bloody crime scenes.
Viewers can watch the show at Fourth Wall’s Rides.tv website, and if they log in, they will receive all sorts of various-platformed messages while watching the show. Apparently Fourth Wall will debut 8-10 similarly styled shows later this year. As Angela Watercutter of WIRED Magazine writes:
“Interactive bits like having characters call you to share their inner monologues becomes a welcome bonus. You might receive a text message sent by a character in the show (often with clues others in the scene may not be privy to) or get an e-mail from the Bio-Tidy company the main characters work for. As viewers interact more with the platform, they can be rewarded with unseen clips.
Because Dirty Work is entirely web-based (as are the other shows on Fourth Wall’s upcoming slate), the new series is not beholden to standard TV schedules. Even though Rides.tv is intended as a platform for the studio’s shows, the creators said the website could be pimped out to other networks that want to add its features to standard television programs.
If the concept takes off, actors and actresses may soon have to work on their methods. Actress Clayton, who plays Michelle on Dirty Work and notes that the show’s interactive 911 call “scared the shit out of me,” said the interactive elements of the show lead to scripts unlike any she’s ever seen before.
‘I remember when I first got the script, I had to read it three different times before I finally understood what was happening — it was hilarious,’ Clayton said. ‘Literally, you’re reading it and it’s like, ‘Viewer’s phone will ring,’ and I was like, ‘What?!’'” (WIRED)
I think this means exciting things for interactive television and web shows–mostly because it is employing alternate reality games as a method for interactivity (like NIN did with Year Zero). After all, this is just an alternate reality game that takes place only within the time of the show (as far as I know–I have yet to watch an episode! It’s on my to-do list.)