Anatomy of Murder: online focus group

2013-10-13_2156Can you solve a murder case in order to win money? That’s the question being asked of a new TV series concept being pitched by creator Darren McNamara -and he’s looking for your feedback.

TV Tonight readers have been asked to participate in a unique online focus group for Anatomy of Murder, a new mystery series concept.

McNamara has created a show he hopes will attract industry interest, but after a few knockbacks from TV execs he’s decided to think laterally and turn to the audience for feedback.

Anatomy of a Murder is based around a murder mystery where the solving of the case is left for the audience, and in doing so wins a cash prize.

McNamara has been working on the project for a decade and has filmed 3 episodes. Like many creatives, he’s had his share of ups and downs.

“It has been a very difficult path with a few false starts,” he said. “Along the journey some people in the entertainment industry have made some negative comments about the format and me not being in the industry. It has been hard to get to this point as I have had to pick myself up after these comments and keep moving forward.

“I have designed the format, produced the 3 episodes and built the website. Over the years, many people have been involved, but only a few have really helped me, the others has fallen away. Many have said that I am crazy to have spent money on making the 3 episodes, building the website etc. and that I should just give up. I invested the time and money as I wanted to prove to people how much I believe in the format by not just delivering a 4 page glossy.”

Readers are being asked to view a trailer and vote in an online poll. Darren McNamara is genuinely hoping for reader feedback in your Comments.

He is hoping the concept appeals to people tired of the Reality genre.

“I think there are a lot of people like me who are sick of Reality TV singing, dancing, cooking, renovation shows. It’s time for something different that engages with the audience,” he says.

“It has been a rollercoaster ride, both emotionally and financially. In conducting this poll, I am sure there are going to be some negative comments, I am just hoping that the positive comments outweigh the negative comments. And perhaps maybe some good ideas as well.”

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8 Comments:

  1. Anatomy of Murder

    Part 2

    network representatives that we have met to date, as your 2nd paragraph is virtually word for word. The format has been registered with FRAPA since 2007, and I have not come across any TV or DVD/Website/SMS games similar to AOM. I hear what you are saying about the Australian market, but wouldn’t it be nice if the format was picked up in Australia first. There are so many examples of Australian inventions/creations having to go offshore. We are planning to take the format to MIPTV in April 2014, so who knows.

  2. Anatomy of Murder

    Thank you so much to the people who commented, I really appreciate that you have taken the time to do so. In respect to some of the questions and comments. Pertinax, I can advise there are not multiple endings, we have one ending which has been filmed and all the clues on the website lead to this ending. Ren, very good points, if we had the budget our aim would be to greatly improve the script, the production and the trailer. This is the plan for series 2. Networks in the US spend considerable amounts on pilots before commissioning, we have tried the same to determine if people like the format. Backflip, yes if we had the budget. My thoughts are that you could run between 2 and 3 series a year, the story would arc across the whole season(s). Only 1 person would win the major prize, but we expect there will be additional prizes along the way. Billy C, mmm do you work with the only…

  3. I agree the acting looks amateurish but as already said, with funding this should improve along with the general production quality. It really would need to though as i don’t think i could sit through it either, even with the $ on offer.
    If i think of this sort of show with the production quality of Broadchurch, maybe Law & Order SVU, or even on a more local scale, City Homicide, its a more enticing concept, even then i think you’d need a lot of luck on your side for it to work.
    I reckon a better idea might be to forget the prize money to entice viewers, Make the characters all really horrible so we hate them all, then let viewers ring/sms to vote for them to be next one bumped off by the killer. Hmm have i just thought of my own genius idea? has this been done before on tv lol
    Even then, the acting & production values would have to be such that viewers care enough…

  4. Broadly speaking interactive narrative fiction has never taken off. People want to suspend their disbelief not control the plot themselves. You don’t want to be made aware that what you’re watching is a construct. It also looks very 90s.

    Also networks want to be involved in shows they commission, to give their ideas and feedback. They don’t want to watch pilots they didn’t want in the first place.

    It’s an idea that would almost certainly be trialled in the U.S first before risk was taken in a small market like Australia.

    This is not a particularly new concept. There are dozens and dozens of DVD games you can buy where you try and solve the crime.

    It’s the kind of thing that sounds really exciting to some people but could massively flop. Nobody ever got fired for commissioning more of the same but trying to completely reinvent the way we watch stories and link it in…

  5. I too thought the production values and acting was too amateur. But I would guess that would improve if there was funding.

    One thing that put me off, was a quote in the trailer. If Sydney’s best detective cant solve the case, then what hope do I have. Maybe a change along the lines of, Sydney’s best detective is seeking your assistance.”

    Also would it be series with the story arc across the whole season, or a once off like event tv? What if multiple people guess the murderer? Is the $100, 000 split evenly or go to the first correct person?

    @Pertinax if I remember correctly, the ABC did have some success with interactive fiction in 2003 with Fat Cow Motel. I absolutely loved that show. If Anatomy of Murder ends up being anything like Fat Cow Motel, I would definitely be interested in it.

  6. The production values look a little amateur, including the acting/dialogue which doesn’t tell me why I should care about these characters.

    All that coloured lighting and grading make it look like it was filmed in the 90s! The trailer looks packed with every boring cop show cliché we’ve seen many times over so doesn’t give me much hope for the rest of it.

    The problem is exacerbated when you’re competing against so many high budget excellent cop shows. I recently watched the 8 part UK cop miniseries Broadchurch, which had you guessing till the very end (i’m sure there would be trailers on youtube). I would definitely watch a show of that calibre in an interactive format as that’s what i do already in the lounge room with family and friends!

    In the end I watch to be entertained. If you can’t promise me that, a $100,000 carrot is not going to help much.

  7. Every story has an ending and eventually everything must inevitably lead to it. Interactive fiction is an oxymoron. It just doesn’t work.

    On TV you watch someones story unfold along a set path. In a video game you interact and travel different paths in order to uncover pieces of the story. They are different mediums and don’t mix.

    All this is half a murder mystery that multiple random endings can be appended to. It won’t work as a story because it is just a guessing game.

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