by Scott Bullock
The Trial of Usher Randall was a digital-only event that ran for a week hosted on Facebook. It was a collective choose your own adventure story that made compounding changes to a spoof courtroom trial run by LUX with the goal of proving or disproving the guilt of one Randall Scott Thompson in a charge of destruction of property for the ‘murder’ of a LUX-owned robot.
LUX streamed the proceedings ‘live’ with interviews, man on the street segments, and all the infotainment trappings of a network newscast. Meanwhile, witnesses were called, evidence presented, and examinations crossed while the rules of the courtroom were continuously updated to include clowns, puppets, and musical numbers. Each day of the trial, a new rule was added and a an online poll released to determine the next day’s rules. As is tradition for something like this, things quickly escalated out of control into a wild final day, culminating with a resounding guilty verdict, incarcerating Usher Randall in a LUX training center.
Results were mixed. We made a lot of content that, due to the choose your own adventure aspect of the event, never ended up seeing the light of day. In fact, because of the way things compounded, we made far more content that didn’t get seen than did, which just didn’t feel great. Further, due to the time-sensitive side of the thing and the fleeting nature of streamed content, once the event was over a fair amount of what did get released got swept under the algorithmic rug and fell out of sight. That, too, did not feel great, but taught us some important lessons about over-dedicating resources to short shelf-life digital events with no plan to be able to reuse the assets and about the ways streaming content should and should not be utilized.
With the lingering fallout of A Death Well Died wrapped up and Usher Randall shipped off to an undisclosed (but very FUN, we are assured) location, we could move forward to the final event of the 2018 season, where the Resistance faction would finally take center stage.