Christina Elizabeth Hall

PComp Final- Dating Stories: An Interactive Film


My final project for Physical Computing and Intro to Computational Media was an interactive film that I worked on with Jina Jung called Dating Stories.

We are handing over the reins in the medium of storytelling to the observer by asking them to choose the direction of a first date.  – Creators


This interactive film is a comedic, ‘choose your own adventure’-style narrative directed towards adults. The lead actress in the film, Christine, has two choices from her search on a popular dating app: will she go on a date with Douglas or Jared? Ultimately the individual observer gets to decide. By using the physical, interactive board, the observer has the ability to choose what path the date goes on in the film by moving the wooden piece from node to node. Their choices and full narrative are executed on the screen.


Final Project Proposal

Build of Materials


What I learned from user testing:

We didn’t initially have a signal for the ‘start’ state on the board. This confused some people because they didn’t know if their action had an effect when they put the wooden piece on the board.  Originally, the first video started playing when the individual put the wooden piece on start, but there was no response on the actual board informing the individuals that they were doing to correct interaction.  So after the user testing, a week before the project was due, we implementing a pulsing glow of the two LEDs around the start node that disappeared when you placed the wooden piece on start.  We also cut the first scene down so that the first choice happens almost immediately after the user puts the wooden piece on start so that they understand from the first second how they are to interact with the board.

When the user is to choose a path, on the screen there is a split screen of the two options, and the two paths light up indicating that the film and board are waiting for their selection.  This feature was very successful in user testung and really informed the user as to when they were to interact.

Final Code hosted on Github

Here are some visuals from how we created the project:

Building the board

This was my original rough sketch of how I thought the board might look like (without images)



With the image in mind above, Jina created this map for our board to be printed on acrylic



We ended up cutting two acrylic surfaces: 1) to hold the magnetic sensors and neopixel LED strips and one board that would go on top as a face plate.  Are first attempt at laser cutting the board didn’t work, so we used it as the board to hold the sensors


We had to also add some wood to support this sensor plate

We decide to velcro the arduino and board to the bottom of the acrylic sensor plate.  This below image is that plate flipped over


This is what the sensor plate looks like from above, with the magnetic sensors.  This was before we added the LED strips. They would go on top of where the paths are shown here.  The holes helped to direct where each LED should be so that they can be seen in the top plate.


We put at magnet in the base of the wooden piece so that when it was placed on a node, the sensor would send the signal via serial communication to p5.js.



Shooting the film

Here are the short boards I wrote for the film:

Image + Storyboard for Jared Scenario

Image + Storyboard for Douglas Scenario

We shot the entire film, which included seven different endings in an 8 hour shoot. Here are some stills from the day:

2b2-douglas-movie-good-00_00_27_13-still001 1-jared-setup-00_00_40_29-still002 s_m_choiceimage

Programming the board and the media in the browser

Here is my ICM post that talks a little bit more about my experience with the coding side of the project.

There was serial communication from the arduino to p5.js and back to the arduino which was something I haven’t done before. I learned a lot of new things while creating this project. Including how to think through and break down the code into small chunks to be able to create your desired effect.  This isn’t something we really go over in class, so I am happy that I am starting to get an intuition for this.


We submitted our project to ITP’s Winter Show.

On the second day of the show, I was interested in seeing some of the statistics of what path people decided on more often.  I attached Mixpanel, an analytics platform and a company I used to work for, to see what paths viewers most often took. On the second day, the Winter Show was a four hour event. We had 80 people watch the film (according to the analytics). Below describes what paths were the most popular:


With 20%, the most popular ending was when Jared forgets his wallet and Christine has the pick up the tab after he drinks more than his fair share of beers.

Jared: Oh shoot… I think I forgot my wallet. Do you think they take Venmo?

Christine: You forgot your wallet? Don’t worry, I got it. <she walks away with the check>

Jared: I can Venmo you?

<Christine continues to walk away, not acknowledging his comment>


PComp Final: Magnetic Circuit


Here is the working LED circuit that is turned on with the magnetic switch


Here is the code:

const int LED = 3; 
const int sensor = 4;

int state; // 0 close - 1 open wwitch

void setup()
 pinMode(sensor, INPUT_PULLUP);

void loop()
 state = digitalRead(sensor);
 if (state == HIGH){
 digitalWrite(LED, LOW);
 digitalWrite(LED, HIGH);

Final Project: BOM (Building of Materials)


What is the story concept?

I wanted to make a ‘choose your own adventure’ style narrative, but more for grown ups.  The main character, Christine, has two choices from her search on Tinder, will she go on a date with Steve? or Jared?.  Ultimately the individual watching the video gets to decide.  There are also multiple ways that the dates can end —each has 4 different endings — Jina and I will be shooting all the scenarios.  Ultimately the the individual watching the short film will be able to  decide what happens in the movie by moving the small wooden Christine piece on the map of New York in front of them:
Why am I creating this project?
I like the concept of turning the rains over to the viewer to decide how a story turns out.  I love being a storyteller and I find it interesting having the option to help others be storytellers as well.
Building the physical map/board
We will need to have a magnetic sensor and paths that light up when the user chooses a particular path. The wooden Christine piece will have a magnet on the bottom so that when the individual moves the piece from one node to another, the new scenario will be triggered.  We are also wanting to light up the available paths with LEDs so that the user knows what choices are available to them.

14 Magnetic Sensors

13 LED strips or multiple LEDs per path

Wooden enclosure for interaction box

acrylic top

transparency film for colorful map

wooden player

TV screen

ICM + PCOMP final proposal


I am really interested in creating a non-linear story that gives the user the ability to choose what happens in the story, ultimately affecting how the story is told.

Below is what the installation will look like for the user:




As for a title, I was thinking something along the lines of “London Effect”.  I haven’t finalized this, and need to discuss it further with my partner.

Roy London has a method of acting technique that I studied in the past for many years. Where the choice of the actor as to what they were to do next in the scene was driven by impulse, as long as it works within the context of the story and scene. Instincts are a very important aspects in this type of acting and when a user interacts with this installation, I want them to be forced to quickly choose the direction of the story moving forward to then dictate how the end of the story will be.