BWW Exclusive Interview: Mardi-Ellen Hill and The Universe of MEND™
With so many creative projects in abeyance in these times of crisis, there are a number that stand out. Big fans of film, television and video, especially those involving A.I. and similar topics, are eagerly awaiting a resumption in this art form. One of the outstanding projects in development is the Universe of MEND™ franchise (https://menduniverse.com).
Described as a multimedia experience / cross-media entertainment, MEND™ ("music encode decode") is the unique concept of Mardi-Ellen Hill, award-winning writer, business consultant, an innovator in the world of business synergy and integration, and creator-inventor par excellence. A new global entertainment enterprise, MEND™ depicts the world of a psychological thriller for young audiences with an intergenerational hook, involving a family dynasty's genetic secret hidden within a penetrating, specifically coded musical composition.
Hill has won numerous awards, honors, and prizes for her work in theatre and music composition and has been acknowledged by the American Society of Composers and Publishers (ASCAP) as a pioneer in music invention. A recognized member of The Wall Street Journal Women of Note network, she works as a thought-leader consultant, speaker, and writer, bringing new knowledge-based platforms to business and educational venues worldwide.
As the project's creator, Hill uses music to show the mystery of a quantum world, within a thriller novel in which can be found a hidden manual. Inventor Henry Barrington's daughter Rachel reveals the family's original royal name in her song, which drives an audience to unlock a secret keypad that links the Barringtons' assets and know-how to access this world. At the core of the project is a musical puzzle: a song that connects the licensing products.
MEND™ will offer the kind of immersive, interactive universe sought after by today's savvy consumers of entertainment. Using unique, geographically linked musical clues, the saga will roll out through projects in print, film, music/soundtrack, video games, mobile, and consumer products. "Ultimately," Hill says, "The vision is one of a global community of devoted MEND™ users who will buy and play the games, read the books, watch the filmed narratives in theaters, online, and mobiles to pick up or transmit new clues."
Hill defines the concept as "an arsenal of tools that emerges with a secret operating system, against the background of a world crisis." Very timely indeed. In addition, the teaching-learning element is of major importance. Though geared to readers and viewers of all ages, MEND™ especially targets a young audience.
"In this disruptive climate, there is an immediate need to provide remote learning to our children," says Hill. "Through a storyline, MEND™ gives access to a world with which our students are already familiar."
"Mardi's MEND™... represents a quantum superposition of Music Art Math Science STEM and elements of A.I. all wrapped up in a Masterpiece," says David Wilks, President CEO and Director of Operation at Torus Tutors Math Science Reading Robotics and Engineering. This view of the project illuminates its timeliness in our contemporary world.
"MEND™ is an act of public good," adds Brooklyn College student Avery Sternglass. Novels like Harry Potter, Sternglass says, "...taught youth how to react to very real and complex problems that adults are too exhausted and set in their ways to understand. [Youth] need a story that validates their critical thinking ability and respects their autonomy as individuals...a blueprint for how to interrogate the world and its secrets. MEND™ is a very elegant solution toward that end."
The Universe of MEND™ begins with Book 1: The Skeleton Score, a stand-alone thriller novel that can be curated in long- and short-form. The book chronicles the Barrington family through generations of intrigue, murder, and virtuoso music composition.
"The storyline shows the world of a dynasty in flux, whose matriarch is relinquishing her arch control over a secret human blueprint carried by her heirs," emphasizes Hill. "The fight to control it launches a catastrophic, world-changing event that in many ways parallels what the world is facing at this moment."
Lily Barrington, mother of pop-star celebrity Rachel, the ex-wife of famous conductor and inventor Henry Barrington, must uncover secrets to Rachel's past in order to deploy a covert mission to restore a balance of power. "In the world of MEND™," Hill says, "Lily is the only hope for survival on the planet. She discovers that Henry has already engineered a plan that is volatile, threatening and explosive. A deadly timeclock is ticking..."
Drama, theatricality and exotic locations span centuries to deliver a living messaging system to young pop-star Rachel Barrington. When Rachel dies, the circulating messages unlock the blueprint of Barrington heirs. The family is driven to keep and store their control in a deep vault connected to the Library of Congress.
Rachel's legacy includes numerous artifacts: her musical compositions, which store encoded explosive genetic information. Lily's discovery of Rachel's last composition, Rae's Theme (https://menduniverse.com/2011/05/19/raes-theme-a-star-is-killed-at-the-height-of-her-career-her-theme-song-holds-clues/), unlocks her own hidden identity and the power to impact the course of history.
According to Hill, "In The Skeleton Score, we enter the story as the US falls behind in the race for global prominence. Science is the hot ticket to knowledge. Each chapter lures the protagonist further into her trial-by-fire test, in order to take control of the dynasty estate.
"Time is running out for Lily... the more she reveals, the higher the stakes..."
An excerpt from THE SKELETON SCORE:
Chapter 2: Murder
At the next cock-crow, the sun was hidden by gray clouds, dampening the ripening fields. The rain delayed the harvest, as the disease laid waste the villagers. Close upon the cock's call, the bells of St. Germain chimed, sounding falsely merry on this grim-looking day. The river grumbling its way past the village added its own note of discord to the morning, strangely at odds with the sun shining brightly at the opposite end of the village.
There, beneath the brightening sun, a lone voice wove a counterpoint to the other sounds, plaiting them together, enfolding them until they became a seamless whole, making lovely what had been merely bothersome noise. The villagers turned to listen, distracted from their chores by the haunting melody. The sound sent the widow to the Abbé again, but not before she had gathered as many of the villagers as would come with her.
"The child is singing again. It is the same evil tune that killed mon mari."
The Abbé asked the widow, "Can you sing this tune for me? The one that you believe killed your husband?"
"If I could, I would not."
"What do you mean, if you could?"
Hidden sniggers from the townsfolk met this response; everyone knew the widow could not carry a tune in a bushel. "The song runs away even as I hear it in my memory. Even as it chills my heart and soul."
"The words, then, do you remember them?"
"Remember? I shall never forget those nonsense syllables. He said, 'Mon âme retournera à travers la porte du rayon.' Nonsense, that's all he said. Nonsense!" She neglected to add that at those words, she had opened her tightly-shut eyes just a little, and had seen - or thought she had seen - the song move past her in the night air. Just a sliver of movement, it was, but enough to cause her to freeze as though she herself were dead. She could no more have spoken to her husband at that moment, even had she wanted to, than she could have moved the earth.
"Perhaps you did not understand."
"There is nothing wrong with my ears. Those are exactly the words he used."
"Well, there may be something to what you say. Give me some time to ponder and pray on this. I will consult the bishop, perhaps. We must move with caution in such cases."
"Caution!" she screamed. "The word you call upon to hide you when you mean to do nothing! We are not fools, and you will not play with our lives! Consult your bishop, and we will consult the source of our ills. We must be rid of this evil child or we will all die!"
The project crosses multiple genres and includes five books, a screenplay, a gaming platform, a variety of music ranging from rock and hip hop to Lion King-style Broadway tunes, and merchandise.
Future books in the series include Marie's Scroll, Odette Rae's Power, Henry and Rose: The Epic, and MEND™. A podcast (https://www.spreaker.com/user/hc-universal-network/yby-episode-208-mardi-ellen-hill) and trailer (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=StyURV_QUiY&feature=youtu.be) are both now available online.
I for one can't wait to see this project come to fruition.
Portrait: courtesy of Plymouth Church, Brooklyn Heights
Presentation screengrab: courtesy of Soundtrack.