Twisted Tales is a transmedia take on familiar fairy tales and characters, told through the medium of webisodes (6 x 12 min), a TV series (26 x 12 min), story apps, AR experience and web playground, and an educational program for kids, teachers, and parents. The series targets 6-8-year-olds, yet uses appropriate language, making it appealing for both younger and older kids.
Twisted Tales is an entire entertainment and teaching universe that offers a new and empowering perspective on the well-known stories and characters from fairy tales, adapting them to modern times and themes. Fairy tales, as originally written, were perfectly suited to the subject of stigmas. It is only in the more recent sanitised re-interpretations that their valuable lessons have become lost. With the darker layers glossed over and removed, more simplistic messages took root. The modern versions of fairy tales like Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Snow White are very different than their originals. Instead of important life lessons, they teach girls to wait for a prince to save them. Stereotypes like passive women with dubious life goals were not always part of the tales, either. It is our aim to reclaim the lost lessons of these fairy tales of old.
Through a selection of fairy tales, our intent is to tackle different stigmas. Each fairy tale episode is a stand-alone story, a retelling of a familiar fairy tale through the prism of a stigma. The first tale in the Twisted Tales series is Cinda Real (our take on Cinderella), a story about a girl who is stigmatised for having only one leg, and her intention to come to a dance “just to dance”. Cinda Real offers a new and empowering perspective on the well-known story by introducing the stigma of physical disability into the narrative. Sexual stigma is told through the story of Sleeping Girl (our take on Sleeping Beauty). Mental disability is explored in the new version of Rapunzel called Real Punzel, and racial stigma is woven into the story of The Not So Ugly Duckling (our take on The Ugly Duckling). Social status stigma is problematised in the re-imagined Midas Touch, our Golden Touch, while gender identity stigma becomes the subject of The Princess and the Real Frog (The Princess and the Frog).
By presenting the stigma within the familiar narrative of the fairy tale, we raise the awareness for the stigma in question and educate children on how to ‘de-stigmatise’. Both those who witness someone being stigmatised and those who have suffered from being stigmatised will be able to recognise first the stigma and its harmful effect, and secondly, they will be shown ways of overcoming the stigma (from within as well as socially).
Twisted Tales balances broadly appealing stories and their style with roots in empathy, love, and critical life lessons. Different mediums and tactics are used to embrace the largest audience possible, assure visibility, accessibility, and participation. The Twisted Tales entertainment and teaching universe is built out of:
6 x 12’ WEBISODES
The webseries is composed of six (6) episodes, each 12 minutes long, offering an empowering perspective on the well-known story of a fairy tale by introducing a stigma into the narrative. They act as a vehicle to build an audience and increase interest in what is to come next – Twisted Tales Universe.
TWISTED TALES 26 x 12’ TV
The first TV series season is composed of six (6) webisodes and 20 new retellings of well-known stories introducing different stigmas into the narrative. Each reimagined fairy tale is a lesson of empathy, love, and understanding. The series targets 6-8-year-olds, yet uses appropriate language for both younger and older kids.
6 x APPS
With the educational story apps, we want to get children and parents to really think about what it means to be disabled, and to educate them on the challenges that those with disabilities face in a manner that will be fun and gamified. Six (6) x apps are thus attached to the webseries’ storylines and characters. The educational story apps target 6-8 year olds, yet use appropriate language to attract even younger kids.
Visitors, or rather co-creators, are able able to explore gigantic sculptures of a castle, garden, house, animated clips from Twisted Tales episodes, and to add their own AR drawings, thus becoming storytellers in their own right. The AR exhibition targets kids from 6 – 10 years, as well as families, to actively participate in the presented topic.
The interactive Twisted Tales web playground hosts six (6) webisodes, apps, educational games, and activities for kids, families, and educators for narrative immersion and deeper engagement/understanding of a topic.
We believe that for a transmedia project to succeed, it has to be participatory, with the participation meaningful for everyone involved, which is why the project was, from the outset, developed and executed through contributions, from both children and their parents.
This project was accepted by the Selection Committee to be presented at Cartoon 360, the 2016 transmedia pitching event, plus Cartoon Connection, Quebec, Canada, in October 2018. It was also awarded at the Kids Warsaw Forum, Poland, in September, 2018 with Best Pitch and Best Participatory Project. Twisted Tales have been presented at the Mediamorfosis event in Lima, Peru and in Medellin, Colombia, in December 2018, and at the Berlinale with Kids Regio, Berlin, Germany, February 2019.