Tell and Show : the evolving relationship between films and their websites
Roland Emmerich's 'Independence Day' was the first film in the UK to have its own web site in 1996. Since then film sites have evolved from basic "shop window" style advertising to telling stories in their own right. The success of 'The Blair Witch Project''s site set a benchmark which meant that from this point forward no film project would be complete without its companion site. Drawing on N. Katherine Hayles notion of the "writing machine" and other new media theorists, this paper will explore some of the narrative and stylistic traits which have emerged in recent years on film web sites. These include the fictional "corporate" site for films as diverse as 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind', 'Godsend' and 'The Manchurian Candidate'; the "game play" aesthetics of sites for films such as 'Donnie Darko' and 'District 9' and the "home page" site for film series like 'The Matrix' and Peter Greenaway's 'Tulse Luper Suitcases'. This paper contends that media convergences have created complementary as well as competitive relationships between the big screen and the small screen which are, in turn, producing environments for the development of interesting new forms of narrative.