“If I Were You,” RTVE’s Spanish adaptation of the International Emmy winning digital series from New Zealand, “Reservoir Hill,” was a big coup for the broadcaster in 2017, and is participating this week as part of the inaugural edition of Canneseries Digital. It will also compete later this week at the New York Festivals Worlds Best TV and Films.
The story follows Alba, a 17-year-old girl who is forced to move in with an uncle after her parents relocate to New Zealand for work, but decide she should finish her final year of school in Spain. Right from the start things go sideways for Alba however, as she is a near doppelganger of a local girl her age that disappeared only six months before.
This series started as a multi-platform, audience-driven collection of 10 minutes episodes, first available to watch on RTVE’s digital platform Playz. Over its eight episode arc, it received more than eight million dowloads, and was eventually turned into a complete TV movie which played on RTVE’s core network La 1.
Today the series, and the TV movie with extra scenes, are available to be streamed on RTVE’s website.
From the beginning, a group of social media pages were set up which allowed viewers to interact with the series and its characters as episodes were released. Fans even voted on the direction of some of the series’ narrative arcs at the end of each episode.
“This is the future,” executive producer Isabel Raventós at Atomis Media told Variety. “We’re still at a primitive stage, but it’s very important to work more on these kinds of projects.”
However, with new formats come new challenges.
“Branching the narrative is not easy,” Raventós explained, “we had to receive the input of the audience every week. Our scriptwriters had to write, we had to shoot, edit and post produce the next episode that was going to be on the air at the following week. It was very hard work, but audiences loved it.”
With the success of “If I Were You,” it should come as no surprise that RTVE are interested in producing similar interactive and innovative content going forward.
“We’re already working on other projects of this kind,” said Raventos, “First, we think that there is a young audience which is very interested in this kind of projects. Second, I think that interactivity should be developed and explored in all kind of formats. And last, technological developments and evolution of 5G will allow us to work and produce projects in a different way.”
“It will change completely the way we work,” she predicted, “and we are working on projects taking this new context into account.”