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BBC crowdsources Twitter drama with help from Gracie Otto

​Twitter users are being called on to help create a new five-part drama for BBC First, building up the plot 140 characters at a time.


While Twitter users may be adept at crafting 140-character tweets, can they write a complete five-part drama? That's the idea behind a new project being launched by BBC First, which will combine storytelling with the hard and fast world of the Twittersphere.

The #Whatsnext project, led by actress and filmmaker Gracie Otto, takes the power of Twitter crowdsourcing to its logical conclusion, calling on aspiring writers to submit their contributions to the drama using the #Whatsnext hashtag.

They won't be alone in their efforts: Otto will spur on the action with the introduction of "props and thematic inspiration" over the course of one week, as Twitter users add their suggestions. There are also five characters to draw on, each with their own Cluedo-esque mystique -- the naive heiress, the tragically flawed politician, the greedy actress, the Russian oligarch with a dark past, and the concierge confidante.

The 5-day writing session kicks off Monday at 6 p.m. AEST with Otto guest-tweeting from the @BBCFirstAus Twitter account to inspire other writers. After each day, a new "co-authored instalment" will be released so that "credited contributors can see how their tweets have been weaved into a narrative curated by Otto".

The project is one of the first major events for BBC First, which launched in Australia on Foxtel at the start of August, and is also a new direction for creative lead Gracie Otto.

"#Whatsnext is completely out of my comfort zone of writing, which is what makes this such a thrilling project to work on," she said. "By using Twitter to harness Australia's collective imagination, I'm looking forward to creating something really unexpected and powerfully entertaining."

The drama will be released on BBC Australia's website next week.