|Alex Jansen,Jason Gilmore,Paul Peterson
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“They had a fire in them to tell other people. They wanted others to know there is a next day.”
Paul Peterson, Co-Writer and former social worker, in The Toronto Star
The devastating effects of suicide on family members left behind haunted social worker Paul Peterson in his work for over 10 years. Peterson originally conceived of this project as a traditional documentary exploring the resounding question, What if those who attempted suicide had lived to see the next day? When the idea arrived at Pop Sandbox, Creative Producer Alex Jansen saw in the deeply philosophical content of Peterson’s vision something best experienced in an open-ended interactive format, a contemplative exploration rather than a static story.
The design team sought to highlight the universality of struggles with depression, substance abuse, and suicide by choosing an animated interface, decoupling the specific identities of the four suicide survivors who are interviewed from the emotional experience given in their own words. The style and content of The Next Day was also translated into a graphic novella that accompanies the interactive documentary. The producers chose these forms for their resonance with young people, the social group with the highest suicide rates in their native Canada. But as one reviewer of the graphic novel notes, The Next Day isn’t just for young people. “If you are someone who is prone to moodiness, if you sometimes feel like life has kicked your ass so hard there’s no possible way you could ever recuperate, if you’ve ever felt so profoundly alone that, even for a moment, you questioned your own tangible existence—in other words, if you’re a human being—I urge you to buy a copy of The Next Day.”