I totally agree sbaird42. I borrowed a friend's iPad to see what was out there and found a multimedia version of War of the Worlds. It was totally overdone and felt like a video game. Too much onscreen movement is distracting and like you said, having a choice on whether or not to take part in the extras is a good idea. A reader may just want to read and then come back to the extra stuff later. There is some pretty cool stuff out there for kids that a librarian/teacher friend has showed me. Choose your own adventure and really interactive stuff that's all story driven.
The reviews for multimedia fiction (adult) has been pretty mixed. Most people want to use their imagination. They don't want to watch low budget shorts. That said, I think low budget can work for memoir because the homegrown feel is part of it. Even though a lot of Greg Mortenson's facts were debunked in his books, Three Cups of Tea and Stones into Schools, the fact remains he has still done some amazing things. Those books would have been killer in a multimedia format. Maps, raw footage, audio clips, and slideshows, would have all added to the written word.
When I first started my project five years ago, I thought I'd edit a few videos and toss it up on the book's website for my readers. I had shot sixty plus hours of video while teaching and living in New Zealand so I figured to use it somehow.
As time went along, I started editing really tight shorts to go along with specific parts of the book and now, there's technology to deliver everything in one package. As I worked I repeated told myself that the book must stand on its own as the primary storytelling device and not to rely on the videos.
Finding a balance in the multimedia ebook has been fun. It always comes back to "What's my message or spine?" If I put this in there then what am I trying to say or convey? I think creators can get trigger happy with bells and whistles and forget about the story. Sometimes my videos build on the emotion of the moment and they are very personal. Sometimes they give more information in a short doc-style video.
In addition to two dozen videos (40 minutes total) I've added 15 second chapter intros to the multimedia version. Very simple acoustic guitar, voice over quote from the chapter's text, and a picture or video clip. Think about how much we stare at the little pen and ink drawings at the beginning of the chapter. Hopefully readers will find the intros interesting and pertinent to what they are about to read. I'm almost set to hand everything over to the designer so she can put it all together. I'm excited to see how it all "feels" in its complete form. Below are links to one of my favorite videos and I uploaded a couple chapter intros. Let me know what you think. All the videos on Youtube and Vimeo have a branding sequence in the beginning and end that I will remove for the multimedia e-book. Cheers.
No way a multimedia memoir taking place in New Zealand could get away without a video about sheep!http://youtu.be/lMDvIEYapR8
Chapter 10 and 11 Video Introshttp://youtu.be/BQjCf5iMG1U