Online since 2006, Olga Kay belongs to that pack of YouTubers who have engaged with the community to showcase her acting talents, and has been fortunate enough to collaborate with LisaNova as well as Shane Dawson in the past.
But apparently she felt like her past experience as a circus performer and juggler was going to waste. So Kay teamed up with director Andrea Ball and producer Sarah Evershed to make the Kickstarter-funded Olga Kay’s Circus.
Produced for about $4,600 (at least, that was the Kickstarter goal), Circus is a short film purporting to be YouTube’s first interactive circus — a claim I have no trouble buying into. On a storytelling level, there’s not much depth to it; the story is a simple one, tracking young Olga as she abandons her old life for the adventure of the circus. There’s some juggling, some dancing and a bit of emotional catharsis, but anyone expecting complexity to the narrative will be pretty disappointed.
But in this case, the execution is definitely worthy of notice. Kay as an actress is very charming, and the production values are top-notch, with the cinematography deserving special credit. The muted tones of Olga’s old life shift from sepia to vibrant circus colors once Olga runs away from home and seeks out her destiny, and shot in HD, the result is beautifully done.
I also really enjoyed how narration blended together with a theatrical approach to staging the story of Olga’s journey towards becoming a juggler — set pieces, props and costumes whisk in and out of the single circus tent location while she discovers her talent, giving these scenes a breathless feel.
Also, the execution falls a little short when it comes to the promised interactivity. Annotations link the viewer to other acts from Olga Kay’s Circus, which boils down to a choice between three different dance numbers. Each performer is incredibly talented, don’t get me wrong, but the choices made don’t affect the narrative’s outcome at all. For an example of what real interactivity on YouTube looks like, check out The Station‘s complex and well-executed 8-Bit Twilight Eclipse interactive YouTube game, which premiered yesterday.
I feel like I’m being harder than necessary on Circus, given how much I liked the look and feel of the project. So let me close with this — on a creative level, this is one of the more exciting collaborations I’ve seen lately, and I look forward to seeing what else might come from this combination of talent.
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