Over the next few weeks we'll be talking to the Night & Day Studios' team about our newest app release, BabyLit Jungle Book Hide and Seek. We will all be answering the same questions, but will no doubt have very different answers. Today, staff writer Chris Wrenn, who wrote for the story and summary, will answer our questions.
Let's start with the positive: What is your favorite thing about the app?
Without hesitation I can say it's the gameplay, which I did no work on whatsoever. I'm a grown man, but sometimes when I'm on the train and I've read all of my usual blogs but don't have time to delve into a book, I'll open the app and search for the elephant. For some reason I always find him the most difficult to locate. Already several people have tapped me on the shoulder and asked what I was playing -- it's a great joy to say, "My team made this".
The play feature of this app is somewhat new for Night & Day Studios. What was the biggest challenge you faced during production?
Again, I had nothing to do with the play mode; I (with great help) wrote the story and summaries. In that regard, the most difficult thing was keeping the audience in mind. I hadn't read The Jungle Book in quite sometime -- not since I took a class on children's literature in undergraduate school. Looking back at the collection, I saw themes of alienation, rejection, boredom, and finally, acceptance of the self. I read it something like a John Barth book. As such, it was difficult to keep myself from wanting to say too much. So the challenge then was to keep to the plot and leave underlying meanings there to be explored.
What is it like creating a digital life for something that already exists -- in this case Gib Smith's BabyLit series who had already created an aesthetic and idea? Does that present a greater challenge or take some pressure off of the creation process.
I think it goes both ways. Of course, one wants to respect the work and vision of others, but we also have our own perspective that we bring to any project we approach. For me, this meant summarizing Kipling in a way that was respectful to his work and legacy, while making the text palatable for children who might be younger than his intended audience.
Who is your favorite character from The Jungle Book and why?
I struggle with that question, because I'm torn between the old wisdom of Kaa and the willful searching of Mowgli. The line, "It is hard to cast the skin." which Kaa says to Mowgli, carries so much weight for me though, that I'd likely choose the snake as my favorite. It is hard to cast the skin. Kaa can't quite be trusted, but he knows his way around. At more than one hundred years old, he knows the cost of transformation, but also the benefit.