Have you ever dreamed of making your own TV show? Do you want to tell a story full of action, adventure, and alien invasion? The BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) might just have given you the way to get started with its Mission DALEK competition.
This competition offers a collection of sound, video, and photo assets (around 1GB worth) that they want fans of Doctor Who to use to create a new adventure. This should then be shared online, and linked to on Twitter using the #MissionDALEK tag.
(While the competition is only open to UK residents, the assets are available for fans globally to download and use.)
It’s part of the broadcaster’s Make it Digital initiative, a vast push to promote digital creativity (which also includes the release of the micro:bit, a small programmable computer which we’ll be hearing more about later in the year).
Mission DALEK: What’s It All About?
Are you chomping at the bit to have the TARDIS materialize outside your house? Do you want Daleks to trundle along your local city center or invade the shopping mall? Mission DALEK gives you these powers, and more.
Would a Dalek bring your story to life? Would Missy make you smile? Does the Doctor dancing set the tone for your tale? If you would like to use material from the actual series, we’ve prepared some Asset Packs for you to download and enjoy!
Clips, images and sounds, all to help bring your digital creation to life! Create a mash-up, use a monster, add a blast effect! It’s all here to augment your ideas and original content. But remember, you can ONLY use Doctor Who series material provided in these packs, and not from anywhere else. There’s a wealth of treasures for you to enjoy!
Ignoring the small chance of victory, the real prize here is the collection of assets. The BBC is offering a collection of images, videos, and audio clips that can be reused in your homemade projects, and all you need is your own imagination and a few editing tools.
Want to Create a Doctor Who Adventure? Here’s What You’ll Need
To get started you’ll need to head to the Mission DALEK asset page and download what you need. This might be some images for a photo caption story, or video clips for a more televisual experience.
Don’t be limited by the assets, however; you don’t have to use them if you have something more suitable to hand. For instance, you might be a talented artist, in which case you might create a stop-motion animation project, or an animation using computer software. Alternatively, you might rely on the popular figures from the series, which cover over 50 years of Doctor Who.
The sound effects asset pack might prove useful, however…
In addition, you’ll need an application to edit your footage and sound. Video editing tools for all desktop platforms are widely available these days (we’ve recently covered Windows video editors while Linux and Mac OS X users should take a look at Kdenlive), so make sure you have one that you’re happy with before proceeding.
Meanwhile, should you need additional dialogue, record it using a tool like Audacity. This open source sound editor can be easily tweaked to enable the addition of authentic-sounding Dalek and Cybermen voices, as demonstrated here:
Turning Assets into a Story
I’m a bit of a Doctor Who fan myself: you may recall I recently offered a rundown of the must-watch Doctor Who episodes, and I’ve run the online magazine Kasterborous.com since 2005, offering readers everything from a podcast and even a print and digital magazine.
With this in mind, it should come as no surprise to discover I decided to have a go at Mission DALEK. The first thing I thought was, “Wow,” as there really is a lot of material available. There is certainly enough to give you plenty of inspiration in order to plan your story, which should run for up to 90 seconds.
The premise is as follows:
Lost in space and time without his TARDIS, the Doctor is trying to make contact. The only clues as to where he is are in his 2000 Year Diary, located in the TARDIS Core. Use these clues to create your very own #MissionDALEK adventure to tell us how the Doctor comes face-to face with the Daleks once again.
This is where you’ll find the clues:
It can take a while to download the assets. Sadly the BBC’s servers aren’t particularly fast (certainly not during daytime hours), so don’t expect the assets to be immediately available. The best route is to plan ahead, and preview the assets to ensure the type of footage you want is available.
As per the competition rules (whether you’re taking part as a UK resident or global fan) only assets from the asset packs are permitted, and this is worth noting:
Digital works that feature imagery or clips from past Doctor Who episodes that are not included in the cleared assets on this website, cannot be featured.
In short, you need to stick to the sections of the Doctor Who universe portrayed in the assets, which is largely everything since 2012.
My story was relatively simple, and short. The TARDIS would deposit the Doctor on a Dalek spacecraft upon which he would reprogram a Dalek in order to distract the Dalek fleet with civil war.
But would the assets support this?
What’s In the Asset Packs?
You know about the video, audio, and photos in the asset packs. But what do they show? And what can they bring to your story?
Well, there’s everything here from establishing shots to footage of Daleks exploding, from villains laughing to the Doctor landing on them. Do you want footage of a Dalek council discussing events? You got it! Cybermen, Daleks, Ice Warriors, Missy/The Master, the Silence, Silurians, Weeping Angels, Zygons – they’re all there.
Better still, some of the audio clips come without sound, so you can add your own and further the narrative as you go.
Here’s my finished Mission DALEK entry:
It turns out that making a story last 90 seconds is surprisingly tough…
Other Mission DALEK Videos
Reaction to this competition among Doctor Who fans has been favorable, with many posting their videos to YouTube on the same day the competition was formally launched.
We reckon these are reasonable efforts given the assets on offer. But it seems likely that more ambitious Mission DALEK projects will surface on YouTube in the days and weeks to come.
Will you be creating a Doctor Who episode with Mission DALEK? Should more TV shows provide assets in this way for fan productions? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.