THE COLONY EXPERIMENT

WRITER & EXPERIENCE DESIGN

PRAISE FOR THE COLONY EXPERIMENT

"The Discovery Channel has teamed up with Campfire to bring you what could quite possibly scare the piss out of you!"
—MovieViral

"A smart creative concept with a great social media interaction opportunity."
—Mashable

"In case you're wondering what the Internet was made for, I now have the answer."
—Digigasm


Humanity is an endangered species … it just doesn’t know it yet.

In 2010, participants learned why by experiencing the groundbreaking personalized online simulation The Colony Experiment — a prequel transmedia experience for Discovery Channel’s The Colony. At TheColony.Discovery.com, visitors discovered how a devastating pandemic could affect them and those dearest to them.

The Colony reality series explored what life might be like after a global viral catastrophe. Campfire hired J.C. to help craft an experience that set the stage for this post-apocalyptic scenario.  By creating a website that resembled a popular social network, their simulation explored how news of a deadly virus might spread online. Further, they used Facebook Connect to inject the truly human element into the experience — audience members' families and friends. 

Visitors found hundreds of updates and comments written by their loved ones (all dynamically inserted and customized via Facebook Connect), as well as realistic newscast videos, blog posts, breaking news stories, photojournalism galleries, online polls and more. Further blurring the line between fiction and reality: well-known online personalities created original content referencing the deadly virus ... and provided survival tips.

J.C. was The Colony Experiment's writer; he also contributed to its experience design. J.C. co-created the campaign's narrative arc with Creative Director Steve Coulson, and wrote its hundreds of "status updates," in-world newscast scripts, news stories, blog posts and more.

The Colony Experiment's site received 25,000 visitors a day in the weeks before The Colony's season two premiere. More than 2 million viewers tuned in to watch the premiere.


J.C. Hutchins    •    site design by J.C. Hutchins & Galin Kozarov