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One year in now media


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A curation of the blog over at, together with interviews with some very sharp minds from different areas of the multiplatform storytelling field - Brian Clark, Christy Dena, Jeff ...

A curation of the blog over at, together with interviews with some very sharp minds from different areas of the multiplatform storytelling field - Brian Clark, Christy Dena, Jeff Gomez, Ian Ginn, Andrea Phillips, Robert Pratten, Inga Von Staden, Nuno Bernardo, Michael Monello, Chantal Rickards, Steve Stokes, Yomi Ayeni, Scott Walker, Lance Weiler, Liz Rosenthal and Nick DeMartino.

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  • 1. INTRODUCTION 7th of January 2013————————————————————————————————Last year I published a curation of my blog posts from that year, combined with interviewswith some of the sharpest minds in the field of transmedia. The publication – ”One Year InTransmedia” – is available for free on Slideshare and as direct download, netting some 2.500downloads all in all so far.This year I thought I’d try something a little different. The title is one thing. My mainprofession is creating new television formats – always with a social media strategy, secondscreen implementations and / or multiplatform strategy – which means that the internationaltelevision industry is the one field I know intimately. That’s why I decided to go with ”NowMedia” instead of ”Transmedia”; I’m enough of a purist when it comes to transmedia torecognize that some of the things I’m writing about are not specifically about transmedia, butrather multiplatform, cross media or sometimes even single media. I acknowledge that thismight be a knee-jerk reaction, especially as most of the articles still are about transmediafrom one angle or another. Still, I like the term “Now Media”, so I’ll roll with that for thispublication. What’s “Now Media” then? It’s my term for describing all of the media availableto the audience and to creators at the date of me writing this book. It is a term that evolves astime evolves, which I kinda like.The second thing is that I’m doing this a dual release. On Slideshare, most of the publicationis available for free, just like last year. Later on - think February, looking at my work load atthe moment - a Kindle version featuring the same content plus some added analysis focusedon television and multiplatform storytelling will be available for 2.99$. If it’s that versionyou’re reading now, thanks. If it’s the free version, an equally big thank you for your interestand time.While thanking, I’d like to thank all the people that have inspired me, challenged me andsupported me during this year. There are so many of you, the tribe of transmedia people, theproducers and creators and friends and foes that I love to talk to, argue with, listen to and justgenerally be around. Finally, a very special thank you goes out to the brilliant people whoagreed to participate and be interviewed for this publication. You all rock.So, here goes. One Year in Now Media. Enjoy!Simon
  • 2. CONTENT————————————————————————————————Introduction 2Television and Now Media 5 How to develop TV shows for a social and multiplatform world Transmedia and fiction in television Four criteria for evaluating IP and transmedia potential Transmedia – knitting brands and television togetherMIP Blog posts 13 Why transmedia is a no-brainer for television Five things we learned from MIPTV 2012 What transmedia lessons can TV learn from video games? Five transmedia myths debunked The keys to transmedia success The audience is your channel TV and cross media - it’s getting there!The Philosophy 25 The five pillars of transmedia The transmedia translator Transmedia - does anyone care? Transmedia - the ketchup effect Time to create transmedia Interview - Brian Clark Interview - Christy Dena Interview - Jeff GomezThe Development 46 Starting out in transmedia - five points of advice The transmedia beat Planning for success in transmedia Trust in transmedia Transmedia and response Clarity in transmedia It’s about what you leave out Interview - Ian Ginn Interview - Andrea Phillips Interview - Rob Pratten Interview - Inga von StadenThe Business 74 Marketing transmedia
  • 3. ONE YEAR IN NOW MEDIA / 4 Transmedia for companies Getting funding for transmedia - a comment Brands and transmedia Interview - Nuno Bernardo Interview - Mike Monello Interview - Chantal Rickards Interview - Steve StokesThe Audience 96 How to get your transmedia project in front of people Closed or open participation in transmedia? Transmedia and the audience The audience conundrum Interview - Yomi Ayeni Interview - Scott Walker Interview - Lance WeilerThe Events 113 MIPTV 2012 - thoughts and comments Nordic Game and Nordic transmedia meetup Cross Video Days wrapup Pixel Lab 2012 half-time report Reflections on transmedia - Nordic Panorama edition MIPCOM 2012 - it’s getting there London Transmedia Fest 2012 Future Media 2.0 - some thoughts Interview - Liz RosenthalThe Future 133 A future for transmedia Interview - Nick DeMartinoResources 140 Ten Transmedia People - Spring 2012 edition Five transmedia projects to follow - spring 2012 Five transmedia projects - May 2012 Five transmedia projects - autumn 2012
  • 4. CHAPTER ONE TELEVISION AND NOW MEDIAAlthough I started out in publishing and radio back in the days, the best part of the lastdecade I’ve spent in the realm of television. It’s a fascinating world with a multitude ofgenres and a stunning breadth of scope. It’s a venue for taking on the world and an arenawhere anyone with a great idea can flourish, while at the same time being an industry with anextremely competitive streak and a fierce struggle to rise to the top. It’s also a great way toreach an enormous mass of people, but that mass of people lie beyond a select fewgatekeepers and some very set production budgets.It’s an interesting area when it comes to trying new things, like integrating social media,multiplatform solutions or transmedia storytelling . On the one hand the potential for evengetting a go-ahead is pretty slim. On the other hand the pay-off is potentially huge, especiallyin comparison with online-only projects. I’ve written a number of posts on the matter, someof which are included below, highlighting possibilities, challenges and possible solutions. Attimes it’s a difficult path to forge, but the audience is already in a state of multiplatformexistence, and television has never been afraid to take the big leaps; only hesitant, until thebenefits are clearly laid out and verified. I believe that day is not far away. In fact, it mightalready have arrived, and we will look back in decades to come and see that it was in the 10’sthat TV finally changed from a single platform to a multiplatform storytelling vehicle.
  • 5. 26/1/2012Developing TV shows for a social andmultiplatform world————————————————————————————————The other day I spent 23 minutes watching a video from the BBC. It was 23 quite well spentminutes, as the journalist in question – Rory-Cellan Jones – had devoted quite a lot of effortto his subject, that of the future of television. The video features interviews with people fromMicrosoft, Google, Dijit, even Robert Scoble. The talks are all about how to harness theallure and the pull of television in a social and connected context, and in the end ofcourse how to make money from it all.What the video shows, is that there are a lot of interesting ventures out there; Google TV,connected TV sets, lots of apps for iPads and iPhones and Android gear and so on. But it also,quite clearly, shows that no one has really ”gotten it” yet. When, for instance, talking aboutconnected tv sets, the challenge is to get the masses to actually connect the sets, to see thebenefits of doing so and have the benefits outweigh the discomfort of actually having to gothrough the hassle of connecting the sets and using them for something else than plainviewing.Here is where I see that tv program and format developers have quite a challenging taskahead of them. Content is King is the old rallying cry for the creative industries. Context iseven more King, is something that has been argued lately, especially if talking aboutmultiplatform, cross media and transmedia. Now, what we need to do, is create compellingcontent in the right context and infuse it with that sprinkling of magic that will make itnear impossible to resist as a connected, social experience.Peter Cashmore of Mashable wrote a piece for CNN the other week, where he talked abouttoday’s television hits not being ”Must-See” television, but rather ”Must–Tweet” television;i.e. the sort of television show that craves interaction – if not with the show itself, then atleast with other people experiencing the same thing right then. This works fairly well withlarge live shows; the final of Idol, Champions League games in football, the Eurovision SongContest and so on. The challenge then, is how to create this craving to interact, comment,laugh and scowl (which admittedly sometimes is more interesting than the show itself) forother types of shows? Well, I propose – admittedly from my limited point of view butnevertheless – four points to take into consideration when designing, re-designing anddeveloping television shows for a social and connected world:1. Create the foundations for success. For many companies the first step will be to pulldown the silos between different departments and make people talk to each other and actuallymake an effort to understand each other and see everything in the same light. For a successfulmultiplatform tv-based project to work, the program development people must makethemselves understood to the tech people and the marketing people, and the tech andmarketing people must make their realities stick with the development people. All else issimply counterproductive.
  • 6. ONE YEAR IN NOW MEDIA / 7 2. Do a lot of research and build on success (or failure). Andrea Phillips is quiterightly adamant in insisting that one does oneself a disservice by not looking at what hasalready been produced and distributed. There is absolutely no shame in standing on theshoulders of others; indeed, many of the best innovations, also in the media and televisionbusiness, are projects inspired by earlier failures or successes. From my own experience Iknow that almost whatever you try to create, someone has already thought of it. Which is allgood and well, as you can use this to make your own project better…3. Consider applying transmedia storytelling methods. Not every show should gotransmedia, not every show should even be true multiplatform. They can still generate a buzz,still build a hype, but do not need to go all the way. But for the ones that do go multiplatform,applying transmedia storytelling methods will be of use to everyone involved in thedevelopment and production and distribution parts of the process. As transmedia is based ondeveloping a thorough background, storyworld, mythology and narrative superstructure, thiswill help immensly when trying to implement point 1 above – getting everyone to see thesame project and understanding the same thing and work together towards a common goal. Itwill help in the development process of any kind of television show, it will give pointers towhere entry points can be implemented to invite an audience to participate, it will assist indeveloping story archs and characters, it will help when keeping multiplatform contentcoherent and logically connected between all parts… it’s all good, basically.4. Listen and respond. This is one strength that, say, a weekly game show has over a multi-million dollar drama series from HBO. It is possible to listen to what people say and discusson social media and use that to tweak the show. Also make sure there is staff dedicated to thejob – if someone has a great idea for the show on Twitter, respond! Drop a line to say ”hey,can we call you to hear you out on that idea?”. No one knows what gems might beunearthed…
  • 7. 16/4/2012Transmedia and fiction in television————————————————————————————————I read an interesting article on the success story of Game of Thrones a couple of days ago,over at Lost Remote. GoT has been one of the transmedia marketing success stories I’vepointed to in talks and articles over the past year, what with their ”Smells of Westeros” and”Food of Westeros” campaigns. I was very happy to see that HBO were rewarded with anaudience for the first episode of the second season that was 73% up on the first episode of thefirst season.Now, the social media buzz around GoT is indeed remarkable. HBO are evidently doing allthey can to maintain and grow this buzz, and it would seem it is paying off handsomely.In the article I read, no one was speaking about ”transmedia” per say. Still, the principles oftransmedia storytelling are what made all the social buzz possible. George R.R. Martin hascreated an enormously rich story world, he already has a great number of story archs up inthe air and the mythology and the narrative superstructure are both firmly in place.This is what I would recommend anyone thinking of transmedia and television, in a drama/fiction setting, to take note of and even replicate. Making a mythology as rich as that of GoTmight seem excessive, but look at the possibilities it generates for entry points, characterinteraction, fan art and fan fiction and so on!If you’re working on a fantasy story, build it all as eloquently as GoT, or at least strive to. Ifyour fiction is more of the contemporary kind, make your own jigsaw puzzle out of factsfrom the world around you, glueing the pieces together with just the right amount of fictionfrom yourself and your creative brain.Above all, plan for the audience to join in. The HBO example in the article above is gettingthere. I do believe there are new routes to explore and new ways to implement, to tie theaudience even tighter to your content.2 comments:Sara Thacher said... Simon, I actually think GoT is an interesting case when youre talking expanded narratives, because (as I understand it) Martin strictly disallowed any additional growth/exploration of narrative not explicitly covered in the book. This makes the potential for thing that take advantage of the richness of the world – like direct character interaction almost impossible. What I think is remarkable are the ways that Campfire has found for fans to join in without directly working with the narrative. Youre right, they do take
  • 8. ONE YEAR IN NOW MEDIA / 9 advantage of the richness of the world – but strenuously avoid the actual narrative/characters within that world. Instead of finding ways for the characters to make the leap out into our world and surround us (by communicating on twitter, blogging, calling the Talk to a Targaryen Hotline), they invite people to enter into the world of GoT (by choosing an affinity for a particular house, eating their food, empathizing with their weather, etc.Simon said... Sara, thanks for your comment, and yes, I agree. I was not aware of the fact that Martin had made such demands, although it makes perfect sense from his point of view. But yes, with something as rich as the foundations on which GoT is built, the very soil of the world can be an entry point into the world of the story - as Campfire have proven. I actually like this better. Having Daenerys actively updating her Twitter account would be at odds with the feel of the story itself; better to let the audience immerse themselves at their leisure
  • 9. 5/10/2012Four criteria for evaluating IP andtransmedia potential————————————————————————————————A quick post on one thing I’ve been looking into lately; with all the rage aroundmultiplatform storytelling, transmedia storytelling etc, many of the examples and projects upright now are ”fresh” transmedia projects, fairly recently developed and released. At the sametime, there are countless great narratives already in existence that could workwonderfully if looked at from a transmedia angle.A lot of these will be on display in Cannes the coming days during MIP, but often not eventhe IP owners will have realized the transmedia potential inherited in their property.Here are four points that matter when it comes to evaluating a TV IP and its transmediapotential:StoryThere’s no contest here, at least not for me. Story is everything when it comes to transmedia.Is it a compelling and immersive story that has the weight and the bones to stretch todifferent platforms? Does it have a story world already in place, or is it easily conceivablehow such a world could be designed and developed? Are the protagonists and antagonists(and side characters) suitable for a deeper mythology? Is it possible to sense the existenceof a narrative superstructure somewhere along the road? If a project’s Story supportstransmedia, you’re halfway there. If it doesn’t, don’t bother.ContextI’ve heard several people arguing that in today’s world, context beats content hands down.While I don’t agree, I can see that they have a point – context matters. When assessing an IPfor transmedia potential, very much so; if transmedia extension does not make sense in thecontext of your IP, there’s absolutely no need to go there. ”Not making sense” can meanthat you realize the ROI on developing a full on transmedia experience would not justify theexpense. Or it can mean that you come to the conclusion that your property is better exploitedby extending the narrative on the original platform, without going into apps, online ARGs,graphic novels or whatever. Don’t get swept away by the hype, basically.AudienceIt’s quite simple really; even if you’d be hard pressed to find members of the potentialaudience harrassing you for not implementing a transmedia strategy for your IP, the fact isthat they – especially if they belong to a younger demographic – already AREtransmedia, multiplatform, 2nd screen and all that. To NOT create and extend with thatfact in mind is simply not realizing the full potential of ones IP. Even the older demographicsare increasingly up for some mulitplatform niceness. But always analyze your targetaudience; perhaps the young niche demographic you’re targeting is the one, that single one,that is actually averse to online existence?Financial / business models
  • 10. ONE YEAR IN NOW MEDIA / 11Seldom do we get the luxury of having a budget split into fair parts for the different parts ofthe transmedia narrative. Mostly it’s about cannibalizing other parts of the project, or findingingenious ways of funding online and mobile and live events. But transmedia can work theother way around as well. Say that you have no way of getting sponsors to fit into yourtelevision series. A spin-off or parallell narrative on YouTube, however, might be theperfect fit for a sponsor to enter. One good thing about having to be very creative withfinancing when producing transmedia, is that it has a spill-over effect on the original IP aswell. We just have to go find money in strange places!If you would like to add to this – and I know the list could grow a lot longer and a lot morespecific and detailed (I haven’t covered issues with demands from collaborators, or marketingneeds, or the need to tap into existing audience behaviour, or….) – I’d be quite happy to hearwhat you think.
  • 11. 1/11/2012Transmedia – knitting brands andtelevision together————————————————————————————————At the London Transmedia Fest at the end of October – an event put on by DMIC, Ogilvy andother parties – the power of brands was readily apparent. As commissioning budgets dwindle,producers worldwide are looking for new ways of funding content, and one of the moreattractive options is brand integration. The challenge is to succeed with such an integration inthe best way possible, so that the brand connection doesn’t detract from the content on offerwhile it at the same time gives the brand value for money.One effective method in such a case is to utilize transmedia storytelling methods for thedesign, development, production, distribution, marketing and audience engagement phases.By diving deep into the values of a brand, the history of the brand and the particular productat hand, the people who had developed said product, the people in the history of the brandand so on, we will be able to design campaigns that not only immerse themselves totally inthe fabric of the brand, they also have a number of entry points into the narrative, spread outover a number of media platforms, and a logical way of piecing all of this together.What I feel in the aftermath of LTF2012 is most of all a change in attitude. It might not bereadily apparent, but it is there. If ”storytelling” is the answer to the question ”what next forthe marketing industry?”, then ”transmedia methods” is the answer to the questions ”how onEarth are we going to accomplish that then?”.
  • 12. CHAPTER TWO THE MIP SESSIONSTying in to the subject of television, multiplatform and transmedia are a series of blog postsI’ve written for ReedMIDEM and their MIPBlog. I’ve included a selection below, since I feelthey represent a slightly different angle than my usual one. ReedMIDEM arrange, amongstother things, the MIPTV and MIPCOM events in Cannes every year. These are the biggestevents of the year for the television industry with billions of euros worth of TV and othercontent exchanging hands over the course of a couple of days.The television world is a strong world still, commanding the attention of an impressiveamount of people, for hours every day, every week. But the world is changing and so couldand should television. In the posts I write for MIPBlog I’ve made it a mission of sorts to lookat transmedia storytelling through the lenses of the television industry and try to look at whenit actually makes sense in the scope of things. There are television content that does not lenditself to transmedia storytelling, for sure, but there is a lot more content that does. In mybook, it should be in the interest of anyone working in television to look at new philosophiesand methods to engage with the audience, co-create with them, increase immersion andloyalty and move from silo-filled ivory towers (or broadcast masts) to a living, breathingcontent-organism focused on integrating and immersing with the audience.Below is a selection of the posts I wrote for MIPBlog, starting from the beginning of the year.
  • 13. 16/2/2012Why transmedia is a no-brainer for television————————————————————————————————There’s no denying it. The audience has moved on. It’s no longer a question of whether ashow should be developed for second screen action, forinteractivity and for a sociallyconnected, proactive audience. It doesn’t matter whether anything in television is developedwith this in mind or not,it’s happening anyway.If your content evokes any sort of feelings in anyone, they will Facebook it, tweet it, blogit and talk about it. What we’re experiencing right now is a whole industry which is tryingto find coherent best practices to address the challenges and opportunities that this situationbrings.Some productions have taken to this beautifully; Glee have been doing this for three yearsalready, shows like True Blood, Game of Thrones andDexter (the above image is from a‘transmedia timeline‘ of the show) are very much proactive in this area and just last week the2012 Grammy Awards saw over 17 million social media messages in one day, coming insecond only to the Super Bowl a couple of weeks ago (which achieved nearly 17,5 millionmessages).When developing a television show – be it a live show, a documentary, a drama series orsomething else – with social interaction, audience engagement and interactivity in mind,using transmedia storytelling methods make very much sense.These methods:- help creators and find logical, engaging ways to give the audience tools and reasons tocreate and interact- help marketing people find logical entry points for an audience to connect themselves to thestories told- and will give birth to new ideas and highlight new possibilities when it comes to usingtechnology, apps and software in connection to a given show.These are some of the points I raised in my publication late last year, One Year inTransmedia, where I curated one year’s worth of blog posts and combined them withinterviews with some of the brightest minds in transmedia today.Looking ahead at the coming years, Andrea Phillips, the award-winning transmedia writerand game designer, sees great possibilities for television:“I think we’re going to see tremendous shifts happening in television. It’s the medium best-suited to anchor an interactive transmedia narrative right now. It’s episodic, very often entirecommunities consume the work at the same time, and it’s fairly nimble compared with featurefilms and print publishing. I think we’ll see such a volume of work that the transmediaelement of a TV show will become a no-brainer. It won’t be special; it’ll be expected, and ashow that doesn’t do anything will feel like it’s missing a beat.”
  • 14. ONE YEAR IN NOW MEDIA / 15Nicoletta Iacobacci, Head of Multiplatform at EBU, acknowledges that television facesserious challenges as well:“We are in a transitional phase, where TV is increasingly considered to be just a biggerscreen. Those able to use space and layout (and by space I mean the “living room” and thepower of family aggregation, and for layout, the user experience of Smart TV) will win thegame in the coming months. I agree that Transmedia is impacting TV, but TV needs tobecome one of the screens in a multiplatform ecosystem.”Finally, I also interviewed transmedia guru Jeff Gomez, of Starlight Runner, and asked him atthe end how he envisaged the discipline in three years’ time. His answer was encouraging tosay the least:“By 2015, transmedia narrative will have taken root as a form of artistic expression untoitself.”There is much more food for thought in the publication, which is available for free on aCreative Commons-basis.With these encouraging examples and discussions in mind, I’m thoroughly looking forwardto experiencing MIPCube, MIPFormats and MIPTV 2012 and all the brilliant new venturesthat we can take part in there.
  • 15. 4/6/2012What transmedia lessons can TV learn fromthe gaming industry?————————————————————————————————The international game industry is currently worth something in the region of80 billiondollars annually. The TV industry by comparison is worth more than 200 billion dollarsannually. It could be argued that these two industries would benefit from looking at whatsynergy effects could be had from collaborating over IP and development. In this,transmedia storytelling methods can help a lot, when getting everything to synchroniselogically to create a greater whole.At the recent Nordic Game Conference (NDC), television came to the fore on severaloccurences. Yves Bordeleau from Cyanide gave an interesting insight into the challenges ofworking with the upcoming Game of Thrones game (photo); challenges such as keeping thesame tone and feel as the HBO hit series, while at the same time build a great gameexperience. He revealed that the development team had to put up two different wikis – onlinedictionaries – one for the game development and another for the IP itself. These had to beconstantly mirrored against each other to make sure that everything stayed logicallysynchronised.Another example is the rapidly increasing number of services offering second screensolutions for TV shows, where companies like UK’sZeebox are opening up for producers tointegrate own play-along apps via their platform. Another prominent company at theconference was Rovio, the creators of the blockbuster Angry Birds game franchise, who, aswas reported at MIPTV, is moving into television with a 52-episode weekly animation series,premiering in autumn.At NDC, I had the opportunity of talking to Andrea Phillips, a transmedia writer, designerand producer who has worked on projects like the Maester’s Path and marketing campaignfor Game of Thrones. She held a talk entitled ”Why Gaming Needs Transmedia”, wheremany of her key points could be related to the television industry as well.She agrees fully that television and transmedia can be a perfect match, especially whenlooking at some of the core characteristics of television:- “Television is brilliant, not only when it comes to storytelling but also since it has the greattrait of being scheduled. You know when a television show will be aired and you know howlong it will be until the next episode. That means that any producer or broadcaster has thepossibility to use transmedia methods to keep the conversation and engagement goingduring the span between episodes.”One solution would be to add what Andrea calls a ”B Plot”:- If the ‘A Plot’ is the story told in a television series, there exists the possibility to add a‘B Plot’, something that a character could conceivably do in the meanwhile leading up
  • 16. ONE YEAR IN NOW MEDIA / 17to the next episode. This can keep the audience engaged and talking about the programme,not only the day after a episode is aired, but the next day as well, and the next day, and thenext.An example could be one character riding off at the end of an episode. His or herexperience could be shown as webisodes or blog posts or social media posts during the daysleading up to the next episode, furthering the plot or acting as a separate plot, while still notcontradicting the ‘A Plot’.The possibilities are many, while the challenges are almost as numerous. Still, fusingtelevision and games in a transmedia context has the potential to engage an audience on aneven deeper level than merely a great TV series, provided it is done well.
  • 17. 9/7/2012Five transmedia myths debunked————————————————————————————————As with any new trend, a lot of falsehoods are banded about on the nature and potential ofcross-media storytelling. So I thought it was about time to debunk some transmedia myths.Ready?1. Transmedia is the newest of the new!Actually, no. It might be a new term for a lot of people, yes. But stories moving over differentmedia have been around for ages, from storytellers combining with cave painters andonwards. People have argued that the Bible was the first great transmedia campaign. Itis, admittedly, a pretty long-lasting project. Just goes to show what you can accomplish if youproperly budget for community management and get the word-of-mouth going!2. Everything will be transmedia and you’ll get bypassed by your competitors in aheartbeat if you don’t do transmedia!Actually, no. This is a line that can be used to try to tip a sales pitch in a favourable direction,but it holds no truth whatsoever. There is no need for a successful novel to think abouttransmedia components… unless they make sense and fit the needs of the story or thedistributor or the publisher, obviously. Accepting this statement for a fact would lead to alot of creative minds shutting up shop. From my own experience, I know that you can spend aLOT of time creating story worlds and narrative superstructures, without actually ever gettingdown to the point of MAKING THE ORIGINAL STORY into something that will appeal tothe audience. If transmedia doesn’t make sense in the context of a story – if that story isbetter as a stand alone novel or film or graphic novel or TV series – “going transmedia on itsass” won’t improve the overall experience.3. Today’s audiences crave transmedia!Actually, no. I have met many many members of “the audience”. Not a single one of themhave told me they’re explicitly CRAVING transmedia. It’s not oxygen, or food, or funnypictures of kittens on the web; you know, all those really essential things in life. On theother hand, of course, a well-crafted transmedia project will give participants and audiencemembers a richer and more fulfilling experience. So while they might not crave it, not in the”give us transmedia or your dog will die!” way, most audiences appreciate it when it’s there,it fits the concept and it adds value.4. Transmedia is really really complicated and only the gurus can get it right!Actually, no. If you can tell a story well, you can do transmedia. If you hear someoneshopping the “go to the gurus”-line, chances are they’re basically looking to get hired(as they are inevitably ‘gurus’ themselves, of course). Now of course, you should getcollaborators aboard, people who are better than you at coding, marketing, filming…whatever it is you need to do. But in essence, it’s all about telling a great story in a great way,utilising any means that make sense.
  • 18. ONE YEAR IN NOW MEDIA / 195. Transmedia is just a buzzword!Actually, no. Even though it’s not the newest of the new, it’s not something that isinevitable for all content in the near future, it’s not something that an audience craves andgets upset about if it isn’t present and it’s not something that need a batallion of self-proclaimed gurus to get right, it’s still some pretty awesome stuff.Living in a world filled with social media, online interaction, dissolving barriers betweendifferent types of media and a growing acceptance that stories actually matter, utilisingtransmedia storytelling methods when developing, designing, producing, marketing anddistributing makes absolute sense. It’s worth remembering though, that just as witheverything else – if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Go transmedia, but when itmakes sense in the context of your content. And if someone sells you the above lines, well,just point them here!
  • 19. 28/8/2012The five keys to transmedia success————————————————————————————————So, transmedia. The buzzword that alienates creators, producers and buyers alike. The termthat is almost impossible to define in a way that would go down well with everyone inthe media industry. The oldest of the old that at the same time is the newest of the new.Confusing? Yes it is, but it is also the direction that everything is moving towards, more orless willingly. See, the audience is already there. It’s just a question of who manages tomake the best out of the situation.I would liken transmedia to the encores at a concert. Whatever band you go to see,everyone knows that the last song is by no means the last song. After the band has struck thefinal chord and smashed a guitar or two on stage and left, all you, as the audience, need to dois clap your hands and shout ”ONE MORE SONG!” and lo and behold, the band re-enters thestage and does at least three more songs.Transmedia is the encore of the media industry, minus the clapping and the shouting; whenthe television programme or series is finished, transmedia storytelling gives theaudience an encore to go to, to immerse themselves further into the world of the story. Agood example might be the continuation of the Avengers-franchise, which is now reportedlybranching out into television, opening up untold possibilities for brand extension, mythology-building and revenue-reaping.With this in mind, here are five handy tips to keep in mind when travelling to MIPCOMthis year, to maximise your chances of transmedia success with your IP:1. Can you extend it?This is key if a property is to be considered appropriate for transmedia storytelling methods;there needs to be an underlying foundation to draw on and build from in order to create andproduce meaningful transmedia extensions or parallel storylines. For fiction this is almostalways a given, but when you start looking at game shows and quiz shows, for instance, thechallenges become more pronounced and demand thorough development work from theoutset.2. Can you integrate an audience into it?While not an absolute necessity, the possibility to interact with the audience and make thempart of your narrative and property is one that should not be overlooked, and one thattransmedia lends itself very nicely to. By engaging the audience in a logical and immersiveway you foster loyalty, which is a very valuable commodity in the fickle media industry oftoday.3. Can you format it?Transmedia formats – possible to sell as packages to different territories – are relatively fewand far between. But if you can get your hands on one that works, you might just have a
  • 20. ONE YEAR IN NOW MEDIA / 21winner. If you can see a transmedia property that has worked in one territory, and onethat does not rely on hoaxing to succeed (since the hoax in that case would have beenrevealed in the initial territory and not work in others) you can localise it for almost anyterritory and use the experience garnered from the first territory to make it an evenbetter experience in another, ensuring the all-important revenue stream. Which leads me tothe next-to-last point, namely…4. Can you monetise it?Don’t get me wrong, I love art projects. I love properties that are created for the love ofcreating stuff and I’m in awe of many of the transmedia producers out there who manage tofulfill their visions, often with very limited budgets. But coming from a televisionbackground, I know that if you can’t make the financial side work — i.e. get revenue infrom sponsors or ads or the audience or somewhere — you won’t get to make the secondseason of that show. So when looking at different possible transmedia properties, alwayscheck to see if they include financially viable solutions.5. Can you get it?The perhaps most important aspect is that you actually get it. In a multi-platform world, it isquite easy to get mixed up in definitions, challenges, solutions and opinions. If you feel youdon’t get it, don’t buy it; whomever is selling it should be able to get anyone to understandthe property on offer. At times I can testify that it is a struggle, but any project, no matter howbig, needs to be able to be elevator pitched to anyone and convey the essence of the project.Otherwise, the end result runs the very real risk of turning into a shambles.
  • 21. 5/11/2012The audience is your channel————————————————————————————————Are you looking for an audience for your content? Or are you perhaps looking to expand theaudience of your TV channel? Or are you trying to reach a new demographic, a newaudience? You are more than welcome to try achieving those things in the traditional ways,but one thing you have to take into account is a whole new channel that has opened upfor everyone – the audience itself.The beauty of looking at the audience as your channel to other members of the audience, isapparent when looking at the equivalent in marketing –propagation planning. The art lies increating not only for the people you want to reach, but the people you want them toreach. Namely catering for “friends of friends”, in social media parlance.This is where transmedia storytelling principles can come effectively into play. Bycreating interconnected stories at the foundations of your content, it is possible to offer theaudience content and experiences that could cater to many tastes and become the stories– with inherent tools –that your audience will spread to new audiences.When setting out creating and developing, producing and distributing with propagationplanning and utilising the channel that is your audience in mind, the following three thingsare good to remember:- Make the experience transparent. Let the audience experience your content through andwith other members of the audience. The audience’s best reactions can be had if themembers of the audience can ‘see’ each other. In today’s world this doesn’t mean that theyliterally sit with each other to experience content, instead they connect, comment, debate andlaugh with each other online. Make sure to give them the proper tools though, such as forinstance a clear and concise hashtag for Twitter conversations around your content- Plan for success. No matter if you subscribe to the 1-9-90 rule of audienceparticipation (1% actively contribute, 9% intermittently; and 90% simply consume) — or theBBC’s assertion that it’s actually now a question of the 17-60-23 rule — you will need toplan for there to be quite a substantial amount of content, challenges and so on availablefor a more inquisitive audience- Make it easy. No one likes a headache. Take your audience by the hand when necessary,and lead them in the direction you would want them to go.Create content so that they arealways led back on track should they stray. And be sure to celebrate their participation;make them feel utterly and greatly appreciated.All in all, the audience is your channel. You hold the remote control. Now you just have tofind that red ON button…
  • 22. 10/12/2012TV and cross media - it’s getting there!————————————————————————————————After MIPCOM last October I wrote a blog post entitled “It’s getting there“. That sentenceperfectly summed up my sentiment about the television industry; the media world right nowIS a multiplatform world, and people and companies left and right are starting to getcreative around this fact. This includes all aspects of television, from initial development toscript writing, from marketing to distribution and from technical implementations to audienceinteraction.The one thing that is not necessary getting creative enough yet is the funding. At theFuture Media 2.0 conference in Riga, Latvia, Triona Campbell from beActiveEntertainment talked about beActive’s take on crossmedia, especially with regards tofunding. According to her, there has been a clear change in how broadcasters approachcrossmedia proposals: “I feel that the broadcasters increasingly want projects to have a clearcrossmedia or transmedia angle. The problem is that they are not prepared to paywhat it costs to develop and produce that kind of content.”This in turn means that the producers need to get creative, not only when it comes todeveloping content, but also when it comes to finding the fundsto actually produce thecontent. Tishna Molla, COO of Power to the Pixel, another speaker at the Future Media 2.0conference, has observed an increasing level of maturity among producers: “We’ve seen a clear change in how producers approach cross media at ourPixel Market since we launched the event three years ago. Back then it was very much afilm focus, while last year we saw an upswing in factually-driven TV series. This year, forthe first time, we’ve seen people coming in with native transmedia projects, both fictionand non-fiction. On the other hand, it’s getting harder to define the term ‘producer’, as theone fronting the project no longer necessarily is the one owning the IP. Still, if you want totake a look at a good example, look no further than “The Incredibles”, a great projectmeshing TV / film and comics.”But if you’re a producer and you’re faced with the need to go crossmedia, multiplatformor transmedia in order to get your project produced, and you know that you need to startlooking at the audience in a different way, where should you start? At the beginning, ofcourse. Here are three handy tips to keep in mind:1. Look at your project from all angles from the outset, without prejudice, to find outwhich platforms are necessary, which platforms are unnecessary and which platforms hang inthe balance. A platform can be needed for financial reasons (SMS-votes or suchlike) but betotally unnecessary story-wise. In such cases, story always takes preference.
  • 23. ONE YEAR IN NOW MEDIA / 242. Find your audience… and BE your audience. You can never research your targetaudience too much. As soon as you know what your story will be about, you should findwhere the people from the target group exist. If many of them are on an online discussionforum, you should be there too, and not just when your TV series is coming out, but wayahead of that. Building credibility in the circles where your content ought to be received thebest can have very long-reaching implications. These can stretch from viral marketing booststo actual co-creation together with the audience.3. Be creative at all times with all aspects of the project. This is admittedly not whattelevision does best; releasing the hold of the IP is seldom what comes first to mind forproducers or broadcasters. In a constantly fluctuating world, with an audience that has amultitude of choices competing for their attention, any crossmedia project needs to bequickly adaptable to deal with demands, challenges and opportunities. Such an agility is hardto achieve, but possible, especially by applying transmedia storytelling methods from theoutset of the development process.
  • 24. CHAPTER THREE THE PHILOSOPHYThere is a lot of thought behind most aspects of Now Media. Scores of articles and books andtalks and presentations and slideshows and discussions and arguments, all - or at least most -helping to move the knowledge about and the relation to Now Media just that little stepforward every time. It’s very easy to get caught up in the tangle that is the interaction andintegration between all media platforms and all media practices today; while we are spoiledwith possibilities, those very same possibilities can at the same time become our downfall ascreators.A lot of great minds have shared their thoughts and paths of reasoning over the past year. I’vetried to contribute some myself, when I’ve encountered something that I’ve felt I shouldshare, that might help someone else take that next step forward, hopefully in the rightdirection. One thing I am absolutely convinced about is that we should never stop discussing,debating and arguing. Even though it’s not the same as doing and making, it’s a great way tohone the arguments for one’s position and one’s reasoning. It’s also a great way to find flawsin one’s own reasoning - something that I’ve personally found happens with almost alarmingregularity.
  • 25. 11/2/2012The five pillars of transmedia————————————————————————————————Again this past week I find myself impressed by the amount of thought processing thatpeople put into thinking about transmedia and its’ impact on all kinds of media (and otherkinds of art expressions, such as theatre for instance, (which admittedly was from last yearbut popped up on my radar only now).Reading through a number of posts and articles on everything from socialtelevision to transmedia in marketing, I think one thing stands out very clearly. Everyone islooking at transmedia from their own angle. This is very natural and exactly as it shouldbe, as everyone have their own area of expertise, everyone have their own skillsets andeveryone have their own projects in mind when deliberating using transmedia storytellingmethods.What this means, however, is that on many occasions a full-fledged transmedia projectcannot be successfully developed and implemented – at least not one that would realize thefull potential of transmedia storytelling – without there being people representing all thesedifferent areas of expertise present in the project. This, in turn, points to what wasdiscussed over atTransmythology earlier, the need for translators between different possibleparts and people in a transmedia project. These translators – or a very comprehensiveglossary that everyone would be required to memorize – are crucial in order for everyone tounderstand everyone else and pull in the same direction.Basically it is very easy to get lost in the myriad of storytelling, technical and otherpossibilities and connections outlined in the picture above. We need to remember that it isactual people who will design, develop, produce, distribute and market the content that iscreated; these people need to gel, at least in the context of the project, or else well havesomething worth less than the sum of its parts, instead of the other way around.
  • 26. ONE YEAR IN NOW MEDIA / 27 Five people we need to get to talk to and understand each other, if a transmedia project is to be a successThe five pillarsAs I see it there are five pillars that a successful transmedia project must strive to get to worktogether and understand each other (disclaimer: there are transmedia projects where the sameperson sits on two or more of these chairs, as well as projects that differ in some other way;this is based on projects Ive worked on, where for instance tv has played a big part).The creative part.First off, this is not to say that any other part is not creative. They are, more often than not.By creative I mean the people responsible for creating the story, the content. They build thestoryworld, fill it with characters and plots and stories and plan how these can extend overdifferent media. They write the scripts, they plan the overarching story arc, the narrativesuperstructure and look at possible entry points via seeded storylines on different media.One thing that the creative people sometimes miss are the technological aspects of whatthey want to create. It’s comparatively easy to say ”…and then we’ll tell the story of XX viaa casual game on Facebook”. I mean, there are TONS of casual games on Facebook, right?How hard can it be? In reality, it’s a little trickier – a Facebook game can cost quite a bit (try100k€ and upwards) and you need to find someone who knows how to program it as well.And get them to GET your idea… and so on.It’s also often hard for a creative (I know, I count myself as one as well) to relinquish hold oftheir story or characters, whether it be to other people in the development or project teamor in the end to the audience. But if this is what makes sense, then this is what needs to bedone; we must try to keep a certain distance, while not letting go of any of the passion.The technological / production part.
  • 27. ONE YEAR IN NOW MEDIA / 28Now, for tech people (of which I am not one, so any techies reading this and feeling harddone by, blame me) other challenges exist. Programming is an art form – you can writebeautiful code or ugly code or anything in between, that much I’ve learnt from myprogrammer brother – but lives bytotally different constraints than the creativestorytelling part. Deadlines in the programming world are often not the same as deadlinesin, say, the television world. There is no ”putting forward the release date” of theprogramming part of a project, if the television part of it is supposed to air at a certain dateand time.This is a minor problem though; a greater challenge for tech people can be to immersethemselves in the story to the extent that they actually try to enhance it with technicalpossibilities, not just make the stuff that the creative team asks for. There are a lot ofpossibilties with apps and web portals and HTML5 and what have you, that creatives simplydo not know about.If the tech people can immerse themselves in the story, they will start to see possibilitiesthat the creative people then need to be able to take in and understand, in order to work theminto the story. This all takes some time and a lot of trial and error – believe me.The financial part.These are very important men and women. Not only because they are the ones who will getyou the funding you need to be able to do what you are setting out to do, but also becausethey will be very close and intimate with your project.See, money very seldom comes without any strings attached. It’s your financial people thatoften will broker the deals that say which strings will be attached where and why. Thecreators will have their say, naturally, and so will the tech people. But in the end, if there isno money, nothing gets made. That’s why it is so very important to integrate these peopleinto the story and the story world, using transmedia storytelling methods to tell the stories tothem as well to ensure they see the same project and the same content and the samestories as everyone else. Only then can the financial people properly care for the project intalks with possible partners.(Or you can crowdsource on Kickstarter etc; that again brings its own challenges (unlessyou’re producing Double Fine and start a Kickstarter campaign, of course, then its all coolsailings :)).The distribution part.The distribution people are the ones that ultimately will be in charge of makingsure everyone can take part of what you’ve created. If you’re a small indie (or youvecreated something that doesnt need any bigger and more costly platform) you might simplydistribute your story on YouTube (if that is an applicable platform), via an e-book or by someother means, depending on your content. If you’re relying on television you have yourbroadcasters or IPTV providers, if it’s a film then you deal with the theaters and the DVDdistributors, and so on. A lot of this is technicalities; follow the set of rules for submittingcontent and the end result will be as projected.What distribution people increasingly need to pay heed to is the fact that they too are a part ofthe bigger story. Distribution (and this goes very much for the ”old” media, such as
  • 28. ONE YEAR IN NOW MEDIA / 29television) need to adapt to fit into a bigger picture; for instance, the television part of astory can no longer dictate all other parts of a transmedia project, or everything willsuffer.Distributors need to take into consideration the instructions from the creative people aboutthe story and the storyworld as well as the possibilities and demands the tech people mightoffer and have. This in turn means that the distribution people need to look beyond their corearea of interest – distribution – and be prepared to take in the whole of the narrativesuperstructure, the mythology and the story world, to make sure the distribution modelsADD to the overall experience, not DETRACT from it.The marketing partI know many people scoff at marketing when it comes to transmedia. And yes, a cause can bemade for transmedia marketing not being a ”true” form of transmedia, but since no globalorganization has established a single definite definition of transmedia yet, I guess you cancall transmedia marketing ”transmedia” if you want to. In this post though I would lookbeyond this and focus on the role that marketing has for any transmedia project.As I wrote last week, there should be no ”build it and they will come”-thinking when itcomes to transmedia. You have created compelling content with groundbreaking use oftechnology, good funding and distribution secured. You even have a set target group asintended audience. Now you need to put it in front of them, and here’s when the people atmarketing come in. They are – if they are worth their salt – usually very good at gettingthings in front of people. The more people you can get to take note of your content (andproviding your content is good enough to measure up) the more chance you have of yourproject turning into a breakaway success.What marketing people need to ponder and understand is that transmedia most often has aparticipatory nature. It’s not marketing in the sense of ”show them this can of soda enoughtimes and they will buy it!”, it’s ”tell the story of the content, give them a reason to tell it– or their own connected stories – onwards and the tools to do it”. There’s quite a bigdifference that needs to be understood and adhered to, in order for marketing to work for atransmedia project.The sixth part - the audienceAll of this leads to one thing; the need to create a transmedia experience that will engage,excite, enable and enrich an audience. This, while all the people representing the fivepillars above need to communicate fully and thoroughly with each other, communicationwhich may or may not include the use of translators and glossaries to assist with theunderstanding. What it all boils down to is that everyone must strive to understandeveryone else and open ones eyes to the possibilities and challenges that will arise.Or, rather, open one eye to possibilities and challenges, as the other eye needs to stayconstantly fixed on the audience, ready to adapt, respond, re-develop and communicate.The audience is the foundation that all these pillars need to be grounded on, else we’lljust have a heap of rabble in the end. More on them in another post.
  • 29. ONE YEAR IN NOW MEDIA / 302 comments:Kevin Beamer said... The ultimate goal of these five pillars of transmedia is to please the audience or consumers. It should find ways on how to excite, and effectively communicate to the audience its products and services. The gauge of a successful transmedia can be determined whether the content has been fully relayed to the consumers and whether they fully understood and appreciate the message. 12:20 AMMarc Binkley said... Hi Simon, Thanks for the link to my article. I thought your post was very insightful and I do agree that my position is taken from my own frame of reference namely - marketing. Cheers, Marc
  • 30. 29/3/2012The Transmedia Translator————————————————————————————————A brief post from Helsinki Airport, as I’m off for six days of the craziness that is MIPCube,MIPFormats and MIPTV. As I look at the people and companies congregating on the Coted’Azur, I’m once again struck by how difficult many of these will have when it comes to notonly talking to each other, but actually understanding each other.I’m not talking about a language barrier either, but rather a barrier that arises from context.This is all perfectly natural, as tv producers will talk another language than for instance 2ndscreen app providers, in much the same way as someone working in publishing would have ahard time grasping the fine details of a corn farmers professional life and vice versa.The difference there is that the publisher and the farmer seldom would have anything to dowith each other. In a transmedia world, everyone have to collaborate with each other, to acertain degree at least. And just as the farmer would have needed a person who understandsboth farming and publishing in order to explain publishing to him, and understand whichquestions he is asking and why he is asking them, in the same way transmedia projects needsomeone who understands it all, at least up to a certain level, and is able to facilitatediscussions and collaborations by greasing the wheels of conversation and informationexchange.Christy Dena touches upon this issue in her post ”Do You Go Both Ways”. People want toexcel in one area and leave the rest to others (some practicioners apart, who enjoy leapingover the boundaries). And, precisely because of this, I feel the Transmedia Producer end title,or Transmedia Director or whatever, should be accompanies by one more – TransmediaTranslator, responsible for getting everyone to talk to each other and UNDERSTAND eachother.
  • 31. 23/4/2012Transmedia – does anyone care?————————————————————————————————I’ve had a blog post sitting on my computer, half-written, for quite some time. The essence ofthe post was that there are only about 200 people around the world that actually care if yourproject is a ”true transmedia project” or not, the 6.999.999.800 others either don’t care or willnever hear of your stuff.Brian Clark beat me to it though, and in a much more profound and challenging way, in hisfollow up to last years debate-post over on Facebook; this time, the title is ”Transmedia is alie”, and it, and the comments, are well worth a read.I feel the need to write something here on the subject as well; I, contrary to Brian (I think?)still believe there is a use for the term ”transmedia”. Granted, there has not been a definitedefinition over the past 12 months, and granted, there has been a severe dilution of the term(if I could get 10 cents for every new ”transmedia producer” I met at MIPTV this year, thatwas a ”cross media producer” only 6 months earlier, I’d have…. about 50 cents). As a termfor working together with other professionals in the field, it has therefore probably outlivedit’s purpose – much better to take a longer route and explain the concept thoroughly,including platforms, interaction, plot (if applicable) and so on. Other professionals will seewhere they can slot in quite easily, while not being confused by differing definitions of the
  • 32. ONE YEAR IN NOW MEDIA / 33”transmedia” term.Also for pitching purposes the term has become next to redundant; what you’re selling is thestory. Everything else only serves to confuse. This goes for upwards of 75% of thecommissioners, producers and buyers I pitch to. This in turn is quite healthy for you, eventhough it means harder work: you need to a) make the story good enough to stand on it’s ownlegs and be sellable, while b) you need to have the transmediated parts lined up so you cananswer any questions about them should they arise and preferrably c) have a next-to fool-proof financing plan for these ”extra” parts.Now, the discussion over at Brian’s note is quite existential at times. It’s a ”what is this andwhy do we do it and really there is no such thing as transmedia and NO YOU SHUT UPand….”. I.e., it’s all great fun, and something of a necessity. I believe people will float in andout of the term ”transmedia”, while still continuing to create and tell stories interconnectedover multiple platforms, under different headings. Nothing wrong with that.I will, however, continue to use the term transmedia. For this I have two reasons:It keeps my mind straight when developing and producing content. I have my own definitionof what transmedia should be and what I aspire to, and keeping this in mind really helps mebrainstorm, create and refine content.For anyone entering into this which perhaps is transmedia and perhaps isn’t transmedia, it canbe a confusing world. I’d like people to come into it the way I did – with a solid backgroundin storytelling and media, then getting your mind blown away by extremely inspiring peopleand projects, then gradually starting to pick up on nuances and relevant discussions,implementing the methods into my own work, experiencing what works and what doesn’t,stretch my mind and my imagination and get better at coming up with engaging and doablestuff. This is something I would not have done without a term – ”transmedia” – to hangeverything on, to keep my mind focused. Only by embracing a term can we truly understandthe critizism of it (wow, that sounded profound :P)Rant over. Now off to evaluate some transmedia projects….8 comments:Lucas J.W. Johnson said... Simon, well put. I agree with you 100%. I find the term useful in organizing a community and in organizing my thoughts, and as long as it *continues to do so*, its useful to me in that regard. Thanks for the post!Simon said... Lucas, thanks for your comment. Yes, I believe the term will remain useful for quite some time... Simon
  • 33. ONE YEAR IN NOW MEDIA / 34ihashimi said... Well I think transmedia will always inspire people and how the social media environment will be. It will be the impetus from nothing to everything.Unknown said... Im beginning to wonder if the mis-use of the term is just an American thing. It does seem to me that most of the European community gets it, and generally doesnt confuse it with marketing/franchising. Hmmm.Simon said... I dont know either - even if there are differences between the US and the ROW (Rest Of the World) I find quite a few real and genuine transmedia people in the US as well as in Europe, and also quite a few of the other kind.Doro said... Simon, great post. I try to focus on the story and decide then how were going to tell it. In this way were trying to avoid becoming to narrow-minded because of definitions. But the term helps to create communities of like-minded people, and thats great! Thinking about wether a project is transmedia or not helps me to improve my own work - so the term is still useful,I think.Simon said... Doro, absolutely! And in that sense I, as Ive said, agree that the term needs framing; itll cut a lot of corners when collaborating with other transmedia-minded people... but if it becomes an excluding term, then I believe the gain to be had from it will diminish substantially.
  • 34. 8/8/2012Transmedia - the ketchup effect————————————————————————————————Transmedia, as we all know, originated some 20 years ago. As a practice it has existed waylonger, depending on how you define it. The Bible has been quoted as one of the firstinstances of transmedia in practice.For several years a lot of talented people around the world have been working on transmediaprojects, producing transmedia projects, promoting transmedia practices and lobbying fortransmedia as a way of thinking, creatively as well as financially and from a marketingperspective. Right now, I have the feeling that the long-awaited ”ketchup-effect” has finallyarrived.I hear of a new exciting transmedia project almost every other day, ranging in scope from thefairly small, like the ARG ”Miracle Mile Paradox” to the fairly big, like the Avengers-rumours about interconnected tv-series and films, from the areas of theatre to the areasof gaming – transmedia, world building, narrative superstructures and mythologies are all ofa sudden found everywhere. Simply brilliant to witness. And I think I can see one shifthappening already, one that only six months ago seemed like an impossibility, but now notonly looks probably but even quite inevitable – the lessening of the importance of the term”transmedia”.There are quite a few people tired of the term, which has become readily apparent indiscussions over the past couple of years. I know myself that I hesitate to use the term incertain discussions; at the Pixel Lab, for instance, there was no problem using the term, buttalking to possible sponsors or buyers I prefer to explain the actual setup of the transmediaproject rather than branding it ”transmedia” from the outset. But now I believe the shift ishappening. ”Transmedia” is rapidly becoming a term as common as ”television” or ”media”,and is starting to represent the notion of ”something more than just a movie, a book or a tv-series” in the minds of people. The fact that this ”something more” can be just about anythingin scope and size is of lesser importance. And it is increasingly being taken for granted; justas the mantra has been that the audience wants to access their media anywhere, anytime, nowthey want to access the continuation of their stories, anywhere and anytime.It’s a bit like going to a concert. Everyone knows that the band goes off stage, the crowdshouts for a bit and then it’s time for the encore. The same thing is happening with theaudience with regards to media now, except they don’t have to shout – when the book or themovie is finished, it’s time to explore the encores.
  • 35. 17/8/2012Time to create transmedia————————————————————————————————On Wednesday the research company Latitude released a pretty interesting study called TheFuture Of Storytelling. I highly recommend it as essential reading, and I’m thoroughlylooking forward to the second and last instalment in the study series.There are a lot of good points in the study, and in my mind they all clearly point to one thing.”Transmedia” might have been a buzzword for a while. It probably still is, in the minds ofmany. But the term is of infinitely lesser importance; of greater importane is the fact that theaudience – anyone we wish to target with our content – is already inherently geared towardstransmedia.For us as content creators it can only mean one thing. Kicking and screaming, or willinglyand eagerly, we will move into the world of content transcending media platforms, or storyworlds and neverending narratives, of co-creation with users and co-distribution with others,of using technology to weave stories to evoke feelings and induce experiences. There is noturning back, and we do ourselves a severe disservice if we do not acknowledge this withopen eyes and strive to make the very best we can of this fact.At the same time, my ”old-media-developer-and-producer”-character raises its head andhighlights the fact that while all of this is very nice, someone also need to pay for everything.Just developing the mythologies and / or story worlds needed comes with a cost. As doesproducing for different platforms, as does distributing content to different platforms. Will wejust end up doing a helluva lot more work and paying a helluva lot more money for the samereturn?I may be naive and I may be overoptimistic, but I am convinced that financially viablemodels will appear, more and more frequently. Crowdfunding is one way to go, working withsponsors another. My firm belief is that – just as with Kickstarter, IndieGoGo and otherventures no one had envisaged five years ago – we will see new financing models come tothe fore that will make us all go ”oh, ok! Yeah, that’ll work! How come I didn’t think aboutthat?!?”In the meantime what we can all do is create. Create, create, create, and then create somemore. Create magical worlds and stunning characters, create enchanting narrative arcs andriveting interactive possibilities. Create more and better (and why not harder, faster andstronger while we’re at it). Exciting times indeed!
  • 36. 27/11/2012Da Vinci on Transmedia————————————————————————————————I’ve been reading a bit about the genius that was Leonardo Da Vinci these past weeks; hislife, his innovations and his pure brilliance. I will admit this might have something to do withme playing AC a bit over the past few weeks, but I find it fascinating to think whatsomeonewith a mind like his would be able to create, were that person alive today. Still, eventhough we’re closing in on half a millennia since Leonardo died at Clos Lucé, so much ofwhat he thought and taught is applicable today. It’s even possible to directly relate some ofthe truths he spoke to the multiplatform transmedia cross media world of today. Here are fivegreat quotes from the thinker and my take on their application today: Life is pretty simple. You do some stuff. Most fails. Some works. You do more of what works. If it works big, others quickly copy it. Then you do something else. And that’s the trick, the doing something else.Amen to that. There is no other way to succeed than to be prepared to fail and learn. Thelearning part, especially when it comes to something as volatile as the media industry, iscrucial; what works and what doesn’t, and being able to identify why something works ordoesn’t and how that applies on other projects. This is something that naturally becomeseasier with experience… and again, you will not get that experience by anything else than, asDa Vinci put it, ”doing some stuff”.I would also recommend people to not copy. Let yourself be inspired, without a doubt.Learn from what other people have done, of course. But be original, don’t copy outright, andyou will learn so much more. Building on that… I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.Planning is great. Reading up on stuff and projects and case studies is important. Discussing,debating and defining is essential. But at the core of it all, it’s the ”doing” that gets ussomewhere. I find myself frustrated when projects do not move ahead for one reason oranother; not only because of the projects themselves, but because I don’t get to actually DOwhat I feel I need to be doing. This goes for most of us, I assume; I have, however, goneincreasingly towards the decision toalways have at least 2-3 smaller side projects running,without any strict deadlines, that I can apply my skills to when other, bigger projects are heldup. And quite often, through work on these smaller projects, I gain knowledge or come upwith ideas that can be directly translated into something that will be a gain for that biggerproject. We must do.It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.I love that sentiment. I want to be a person that goes out and happens to things; preferrably
  • 37. ONE YEAR IN NOW MEDIA / 38the media industry, the art of storytelling, an audience and so on. As another of my favoritesayings goes: ”It doesn’t matter if you’re on the right track; you’ll get run over if you just sitthere”. I firmly believe that transmedia needs to be this as well; a movement that goesout and happens to things. It’s already getting there, of course. But from a transmedia POVit could be happening even more. Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.As someone who has created a lot of content for publishing, radio, TV, online, cross mediaand transmedia, I can vouch for this. The hardest part, as I think you all know, is to keepit simple. Keep trying to simplify whatever you’re doing, over and over again; when you feelit’s too simple, it’s probably just about right. And whenever you feel like something willrequire that you spend more time explaining it than what it would take to just experience it,you should seriously consider to re-develop that part. For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return.For me, the moment happened some years ago. I was developing a kids show for the FinnishBroadcasting Company, developing physical games to be played on the show andsynchronizing them to similar content online, knitting it all together through a narrative thattook place on a gigantic Space Cruiser. We went to the studio to test it all with kids from thetarget audience, not really knowing what to expect. Watching the kids do it all, with aneagerness and an engagement that transcended anything I could have hoped for, wasawe-inspiring.For different reasons, the final product was limited in comparison with the blueprints we haddrawn up, but that feeling – of integrating media, physical stuff, online interaction intosomething that made that Willful Suspension of Disbelief feel like a given – led me to the artof transmedia storytelling. I might have to do a lot of toiling down here on the ground, tocater for customers and get the job done. But my eyes are steadily turned skywards, towards aworld where platforms have ceased to exist and all there is are the narrative and the story.
  • 38. INTERVIEW - BRIAN CLARK————————————————————————————————Founder and CEO of GMD Studios, experimental media theorist and experience designproducer. @gmdclark on Twitter.You held a brilliant talk at Storyworld this year, a talk which also is online, basing it allon phenomenology? How did that come to be?I had a chance this year to really dive deep into the theories of experience design lurking ineach design discipline and started to recognize some common threads. Then I realized thatdead German philosophers had beaten me to the insights by at least 100 years and that Iwasnt even the first artist to dive into that question.The core ideas - that meaning is created by the audience and that the experience of a thing isdifferent (but related) to the thing - seem like exactly what weve been dancing around in thetransmedia community, but are suddenly freed from the messy language of practice bycentering the conversation on the audience experience. So Storyworld was the first time Itried to talk about these insights publicly, but I hope it is just the beginning of a larger dialog( have a knack of lifting the cat on the table so to speak, be it about transmedia oranything else. How do you find the discussion climate when it comes to transmedia?Defensive? Too narrow? Just about right?I swear that cat jumped up there all by itself! I think like many communities (especially onesas intimate as ours) if we arent careful it could become a self-congratulatory Tony Robinscult. We also suffer from the curse of the Internet era where we feel a need to be inventingsomething instead of building on whats come before. We can certainly tie ourselves intoknots if were not careful.But on the other hand, the community is exceptionally open to new voices and newperspectives, much the way the independent film community loves new talent and first-timefilmmakers.There’s been some upheavals, looking at what happened to 4th Wall etc; what would beyour predictions for 2013? And wishes?Entrepreneurs are risk takers and not all risks are going to pay off, but those kinds of cyclesseem less like upheaval and more like research & development to me. I certainly wish formore risk taking in 2013, not less. My other wishes (and predictions) are that this communityis going to start looking like the American independent film movement of the late 1970s. Ifwe look at that model as inspiration, the roadmap of what we need to do seems clear: create amarketplace for financing, build systems of hands-on peer education, and move from apatchwork of regional communities into some larger organization we could all pour ourenergy into.
  • 39. ONE YEAR IN NOW MEDIA / 40When I started my career in early 1990s, the organizations filmmakers had built in the U.S.were fifteen years old and provided a roadmap and instant community for new artists. Weneed to start now building that legacy that we want to leave behind for artists just enteringthis field in 2026.
  • 40. INTERVIEW - CHRISTY DENA————————————————————————————————Transmedia PhD, Director of Universe Creation 101, writer, designer and director. Followher on @christydena.Are you keeping tabs on the academic part of transmedia? If so, is there anythinghappening there that you’re excited about?I don’t actively look at academic publications and so I can’t give an overview of what ishappening. I was an internal assessor for Markus Montola’s PhD “On the Edge of the MagicCircle: Understanding Role-Playing and Pervasive Games” (,and Silvina Bamrungpong’s PhD “Stories in Motion: Inviting immersive possibilities throughthe chimera of transmedia and chameleon of mediatecture” ( As for upcoming events, I’m really excited to see what comes out of“Narrative Minds and Virtual Worlds” in Finland ( – thereare great speakers and the topics look spot on. Last year’s “Storyworlds Across Media” wasequally interesting, and the videos are online ( Anotherupcoming event is “Transmedia Storytelling and Beyond” in Sydney. It is a mix ofpractitioners, academics, and educators and I’ll be the opening speaker! ( 2012 turn out as expected?Ummm. Not really I think. For myself and many of my colleagues, it was a difficult year. Wedid see some cool and meaningful projects come out (which is good), and we also saw someindie projects funded. So more coming!Tell a little bit about what you’re working on right now; as much as you’re allowed totell, I guess - AUTHENTIC IN ALL CAPS for instance?And speaking of forthcoming things – my project (! We did a playtest at the beginning of last year, thendeveloped it and did an iPad prototype. The prototype was actually nominated for a “BestWriting in a Game” award for the Freeplay Independent Gaming Festival – so very happyabout that! Now we *just* need the last bit of funds to finish the project at the beginning of2013. We’re very excited about getting it out in the world soon, along with the Creator’s LogI’ve been working on (which is diary of my writing, design, directing and producingdecisions). Stay tuned for our crowdfunding campaign for a chance to make this unique webaudio adventure happen! :pWhat are your wishes and predictions for 2013?Gosh. I wish for things to be a bit easier for all of us. I would love to see more peopleat peace with what transmedia is for them. This great article about UX and craving external
  • 41. ONE YEAR IN NOW MEDIA / 42validation sums up my wishes for transmedia practitioners in 2013: I would love to be pleasantly surprised in2013. As for predictions? I foresee being pleasantly surprised!
  • 42. INTERVIEW - JEFF GOMEZ————————————————————————————————CEO of Starlightrunner Entertainment, evangelist of transmedia. Follow Jeff on@Jeff_Gomez.You participated in "One Year In Transmedia" last year; did 2012 turn out as expectedback then? What were the highs and the lows in a transmedia sense?From the perspective of Starlight Runner Entertainment, the year has been fantastic. Thougheverything has always moved a bit more slowly than wed prefer, there were a number ofsignificant moments that reflect both advancement for the company, and by the fact that thesewere firsts, advancement in the transmedia space.As noted in Variety this past June, our involvement in the Men in Black III project, anddevelopment of the Men in Black Universe for ongoing transmedia implementation hasevolved into the very first ongoing major studio-level transmedia consultation and productioncontract in history. This means that our attorneys and Sony Pictures had to hammer out anagreement that incorporated the new terminology of transmedia and entirely new models ofengagement, credit and compensation. It took over six months to create, but it kicked inimmediately and I feel that all parties are deeply satisfied with the results. This was a year-and career high for me.You premiered the Ten Commandments at Storyworld; I know even the word”franchise” is touchy for some people but you’ve never shied from it. What’s your viewof franchise and transmedia?Lets put this to bed once and for all: the goal of Starlight Runner has always been to promoteglobal adaptation of narrative techniques that have been enhanced by new technologies anddistribution methods. We have never been in a situation where we have the time or financialwherewithal to make our point from the "bottom up" through independent art projects orsmall scaled creative endeavors.The success I experienced in the 1990s with Turok and Magic: The Gathering allowed me toleverage what influence I had to larger companies and C-level executives. Why not speak tothem about multi-platform narrative? I wanted to keep doing what I loved, and I wanted tobuild a business and career doing it, not just sit around as a freelancer waiting for the stars toalign and give me another opportunity to tell stories that way. But the problem was that veryfew of those executives understood what I was talking about, and it was enormously difficultto get them to understand how this seemingly radical approach can make them any money.My personal style has always leaned toward populism. One of my biggest heroes is BruceSpringsteen! I was the kind of storyteller who cared about who was in the audience, and Iwill always customize what I have to say to whom it is Im speaking with. In this case, myaudience is Hollywood, my audience is Madison Avenue, my audience is comprised of thetop executives of Fortune 500 companies. The whole rest of the world may not be
  • 43. ONE YEAR IN NOW MEDIA / 44Hollywood, but most everyone understands the language of Hollywood. So those are thewords, words like franchise and brand and property, those are the words Ive used.At the same time, Im not precious about words. Words are just sounds in the air, subject toyour interpretation. You dont like a word Im using, well all I ask is that you get the gist ofwhat Im saying and if you find it useful, fantastic! If you despise the word "transmedia,"plug your own word for it into my sentence, but know that the word stands for a combinationof concepts that is unique and meaningful. It took a while, but people are getting that, but Istill run into people who look like they ate something bad when I use it.As for "franchise," all I mean when I use that word is that the property that you own, thestory world, is capable of being extended across multiple platforms in a way that generates afamily of products. Each one of those products is distinct and adds meaningfully to the storyworld. Some of these are used to market the narrative (even though they are part of thenarrative), and many of these products can be sold for cash on an ongoing basis to a large andengaged audience. Collectively this is your transmedia franchise. Its a story that makes youmoney in different ways across different media over an extended period of time. Who doesntwant that? Suffice to say, the language Im using is working, not just for me but for many inthe field.You have a knack for igniting the core in people; looking back, what ultimately ignitedyour core? And what keeps it burning?What truly ignited my core this year has been the magnificent evidence that you can take aconcept like transmedia narrative and affect change in the world. No one in Hollywood isasking me to define transmedia storytelling for them any more. Journalists are dropping theair quotes around the word and using it casually. Conferences and meet-ups are cropping upall over the world to share ideas about best practices and how to communicate it to localindustry. Mayor Bloomberg in New York City discussed transmedia with the leaders of thebusiness incubator were advising. That Made in New York Media Center will be the firsttransmedia entrepreneurial incubator and education facility in the world. How cool is that? Sowhat ignites my core? Stepping foot into fresh snow, into spaces where few have tread. Lotsof that in 2012.What keeps it burning? Waking up before dawn! By that I mean coming into projects earlierand earlier. With Avatar, production was already under way, but with Men in Black III, thescript was still being written. The impact we could have is more powerful. On our next majorproject, which were negotiating now, we would be coming in at the concept stage. Wereshowing everyone involved how big the canvas can be. Its not just two hours on a screen, itsdozens of hours across everything! Thats not licensing, thats a new storytelling art form, andwe can help you think about how to do it beautifully. That hasnt quite happened yet at thisscale, but it will, and I want to be there for it!What would you want for 2013?More please! Its only just beginning, isnt it? In 2013 I will be watching eagerly as
  • 44. ONE YEAR IN NOW MEDIA / 45transmedia practitioners come into their own. People like Andrea Phillips, Lucas Johnson,Ivan Askwith and our own Caitlin Burns are going to show us some amazing work. And justas important will be that credit for this work is going to be attributed. The Fast Companypiece on Starlight Runners work for Nickelodeon on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was themost detailed and explicit about our contributions.The derivation of brand essence for the purpose of transmedia spreadability, how best toleverage aspects of a story world on different media platforms, and best practices in 21stcentury franchise production are all going to be criteria that companies will be proud to talkabout. Each of these require skill sets embodied by writers, designers and producers oftransmedia narrative. This coming year were going to see significant (and far more public)advances in this space.
  • 45. CHAPTER FOUR THE DEVELOPMENTThe hardest part of transmedia is not surprisingly the art of actually getting it all done. Donein time, done in the fashion intended, done according to available resources, done in a waythat will make sense to an audience… done, and done as well as possible. From my ownexperience I know what an uphill struggle it can be, even when resources are available, to getwhatever project you’re working on to turn out the way you envisioned it when you startedout.There are as many ways to develop a transmedia or a multiplatform or cross media projectsas there are projects, but some general guidelines (and some quite a lot more specific) canstill be of use to people in different stages of the development phase - the development phaseof their projects as well as of themselves. These are points I’ve tried to address in the postsbelow - from what to think of when you start out in trying to create something that will moveand exist on several platforms, to the nitty-gritty of killing your darlings and actually havingto think about an audience. And as stressful and painful a development and productionprocess can be, most often it’s a hundred times more rewarding in the end. Here’s to a greatmany more brilliant projects in 2013!
  • 46. 6/2/2012Starting out in transmedia - 5 points of advice————————————————————————————————I was approached the other day by someone looking for a bit of advice on transmedia. Hersituation is one that I believe is similar to a lot of people’s. With the growingacknowledgement of transmedia storytelling as a possible way to tell stories and engageaudiences, drive brands, foster interaction and generate revenue, many have started to lookat incorporating these methods in their own work.This is all well and fine if you work at a company (although this has its’ own challenges,what with tearing down silos etc) or if you have a proven track record as a producer, designer,writer or developer, a record and a network of contacts that will enable you to get traction foryour idea from the start.But what if you don’t have a company? What if you don’t have a track record or a networkof contacts? What if what you have is a brilliant idea for a transmedia project, andnowhere to turn? The situation differs, naturally, depending on where in the world you aresituated. Here though, some points that can help a bourgeoning transmedia storyteller on theway:Write down your idea in as much detail as possible. Include everything, from story tocharacters to story world to technical specs to possible revenue models to… well, everythingyou’ve developed so far. Also use this to work on a 30 second pitch (the so called ”elevatorpitch”), as this will help you hone your idea considerably. If you can’t explain your idea in asellable manner in 30 seconds, it’s probably too complex. You can, if you want, take a look atScreen Australia’s template for a Transmedia Production Bible – if nothing else, it will giveyou some pointers on the areas people will have questions about.Do some research (which is a point that has been mentioned before) on what else has beenmade that is similar to your project. Whatever it is that you’ve come up with, chances aresomeone, somewhere has done something vaguely similar. Study and learn as much as youcan from these examples and tweak your idea accordingly, to simply work better. There isalso quite a few case studies that can give valuable information – take a look at the Game ofThrones case study or … well, just do a Google search and pick the ones suitable for you!Look at entry points for collaborators from the outset. If you’re creating something wherea novel or a graphic novel (physical or online) is a major part of the property, perhapsapproach a publisher or someone connected to a publisher? If a game is an integral part, lookat how a game developer could come into your team, and which developer that would be. Ifit’s an online treasure hunt (as at least 60% of transmedia ideas are wont to be (don’t quoteme on that, it’s just a feeling I have ! )) then a web agency or suchlike might be the rightone to approach. Try to think of the project from their point of view – how can they applywhat they know and get the most possible out of it? (This is me guessing you do not have thefunding to hire them outright; if you do, call me ;)
  • 47. ONE YEAR IN NOW MEDIA / 48Build your network. It can be slow going, finding the right people, getting to talk to them,getting them interested… It’s also hard to get past the initial adversity you might encounter assomeone who approaches out of the blue, barging in with a totally new idea that they thenhave to try to relate to in some way. As everywhere else, personal connections count for alot. Just to be able to tweet someone to ask for a good sound engineer in the area they live incan save you a lot of time and effort; it’s well worth putting time in to get to know people. Inthe field of transmedia you could apply for different courses and classes, national andinternational, where you can not only hone your idea but connect with mentors andlikeminded people from all over the place. (There are quite a few, The Pixel Lab for instance,or different training courses). Some might be fairly costly, but applying is usually free andonce accepted it’s possible to apply for different kinds of funding and grants. This is one ofthe upsides of ”transmedia” being a bit of a buzzword at the moment; it is (at leastsometimes) easier to convince funders to invest in something that is so clearly pointingto the future, even though not all financial support mechanisms are in place yet. Also, don’tignore the value of online activity. Most transmedia people are more or less active on socialnetworks and blogs; connect, make contact, offer your thoughts, discuss and share. Just likeanywhere else.It is quite possible, perhaps even likely, that you still will have no traction for your idea afterhaving honed it, worked on it, done your research and built a network. I’d suggest you makesomething as proof of concept. This proof will a) show a lot more than mere words can sayabout the essence of your project. It will also b) give you a chance to build a following forwhatever you are offering – a following that will give you more leverage when approachingpossible sponsors or collaborators. One advice is to look at current trends and try to findsome that sync with your idea on some level. Use that trend to get your content, your idea, infront of people, and be prepared to harness those people (in a mutually satisfactory way,naturally) when they decide to invest time in what you have to offer.I won’t lie, for the most part it’s an uphill struggle. On the other hand, if this is somethingyou want to do and feel strongly about, and if you believe your idea will have legs just aslong as you can get it done, then by all means go for it. A very miniscule percentage ofcreators / ideas are picked up and launched into the proverbial orbit out of the blue; mostdemand time, dedication, hard work and patience. And luck. So - best of luck!2 comments:Simon Pulman said... Simon, I want to add another point, which could easily be added to one or two of those you list: invert! When seeking potential collaborators, financiers, contributors (or perhaps even earlier, when brainstorming the idea) consider why somebody would want to get involved with the project. Financial upside? An opportunity to meet new people and expand a network? Pure creative thrill?
  • 48. ONE YEAR IN NOW MEDIA / 49 This is, in my view, something that people dont do nearly enough. I see a lot of pitches and potential partnership opportunities and more often than not, people are looking for help, access, assistance without looking at it from my perspective. Always put yourself in the other persons shoes and try to decipher their strategic goals. Thats the best way to find a mutually beneficial, "win-win" relationship.Simon said... Absolutely! We do quite a bit of consultancy re: formats, which nowadays more often than nothave a multiplatform aspect. But yes, try to look at it from the angle of potential partners isnecessary; not only that, but it will also help you look at your project from another angle.Most likely, itll give you food for thought re: how to engage an audience, i.e. whats in it forthem? Thanks Simon, for adding that.
  • 49. 16/1/2012The Transmedia Beat————————————————————————————————As some of you might have noticed, I published ”One Year in Transmedia” a couple of weeksago, a curation of this blog combined with a number of interviews with some reallyintelligent and creative people in the field of transmedia. In one of the answers – ”Whatinstrument do you see yourself playing in the transmedia orchestra?” – Andrea Phillips wrotesomething that got me thinking. She answered:“[…]I’d say percussion. Im the inexorable drumbeat that keeps each section on time andcoordinated as the symphony plays out. With no beat, the rest of it kind of falls apart, doesntit? And even in places where there is no drumming, the section is still an invisible presenceas the rhythm keeping time in your head. Thats me!”This feels very true to me. If you talk about transmedia, one of the most interestingchallenges is how to engage the audience in whatever you are trying to offer them, and onceengaged, how tokeep them engaged. In this, the “beat” that Andrea describes above feelsabsolutely crucial. Talking about rhythm it all makes even more sense:Rhythm - Rhythm is made up of sounds and silences. These sound and silences are puttogether to form patterns of sounds which are repeated to create a rhythm. A rhythm has asteady beat, but it may also have different kinds of beats.So you have the sounds of your transmedia property – the videos, the web sites, the blogs,the social media output and so on – developed and produced and distributed in order tocatch the imagination of your target audience and hook them to your story and your content.Then you have the silences of your property. Some might call them ”sandboxes”, some”cheese holes”; they’re the parts of your story and your content that simply are not thereyet.If you’ve designed your property and story well and hooked your audience, this is where theyengage themselves to contribute, create and communicate. It doesn’t matter if it’s an ARG ora treasure hunt online, if it’s contributing to a book or a graphic novel or if it’s somethingcompletely different. These silences are where you give your audience two sticks and a drum,and ask them to keep the beat going. It’s a possibility to be genuinely amazed by the skilland the devotion and the creativity of the ones who engage themselves.Personally I feel the studies of the art of composing and creating for a number of instrumentsbear a lot of resemblance, at the very least on a philosophical level, to the work of atransmedia producer, creator and storyteller. Just look at one of the definitions of the specificterm ”upbeat”:An unaccented beat or beats that occur before the first beat of the following measure. In otherwords, this is an impulse in a measured rhythm that immediately precedes, and henceanticipates, the downbeat. It can be the last beat in a bar where that bar precedes a new bar of
  • 50. ONE YEAR IN NOW MEDIA / 51music. 3. The upward stroke made by a conductor to indicate the beat that leads into a newmeasure.Anyone else feel this is a good definition of one of the transmedia conductor’s importanttasks? The task to get everyone’s attention and point to what’s coming next, to make surethe orchestra plays in sync and the audience stays onboard.
  • 51. 14/3/2012Planning for success in transmedia————————————————————————————————A short post on a matter I feel is not taken into consideration enough when drawing up atransmedia project (a failure I’ve been guilty of as well); the challenge to not only dream ofsuccess, but actually also plan for it and execute said plans.When a transmedia project is devised, the plans often stretch as far as a successful rollout andperhaps the distribution of a full season (or episodes or [insert proper term here]). There have,hopefully, been thoughts about continuing the project for more episodes or seasons. Theremight even have been thoughts on how to use transmedia methods to span the gap betweenseasons and episodes. What seldom is thought, however, of is how to actually cope withsuccess. Dreaming of success is all good and well, but harnessing success is hard work. Hereare three points I feel are valid to take into consideration:LongevityIf people like your content, they will want more of it. This could mean not only one seasonbut several, perhaps even many. Your storyline and storyarch will come under scrutiny, yourstory world should be able to withstand this added toll on its resources and you yourselfshould be prepared to buckle up and stay in the game for the long run. This could also meanthat the value of your content rises considerably, which in turn means added pressure on yourlegal resources (due to more collaborations, more distribution and production deals, morerevenue to consider, more business propositions to address). As success does not turn intomoney immediately, a contingency plan needs to be made for this aspect as well; line uppossible partners well ahead of time, so you don’t have to climb into bed with the first suitorwho turns up.Great numbersIf people like your content, you could possibly have a lot of people suddenly liking yourcontent. This in turn means that you will need to plan for devoting time and resources tocommunity management and social media presence, for answering emails and tweets and forkeeping everything coherent and logically connected. A great number of people engaged willalso solve your riddles and ARGs quicker, which might result in added pressure on yourdevelopment team (or you yourself, if you are that development team). This then not tomention the stress a really great number of people will put on your technical resources –servers, connections and so on. Plan for small numbers, but have a contingency plan in handif the numbers suddenly turn big.Open up for audience participationIf your content is a storming success people will want to engage more in it. This is whereyou should be able to offer up sandboxes to create in, or whole vistas if you’re so inclined;
  • 52. ONE YEAR IN NOW MEDIA / 53invite fan fiction if that suits the bill or why not encourage your audience to create own fan-based social media characters á la Mad Men, if that’s what they fancy (or just about anythingelse you can think of that fits your project). Or simply add a PayPal button to let them showhow much they care by contributing. The point: if people want to engage and create sincethey like your content so much, you really really should let them.
  • 53. 29/4/2012Trust in Transmedia———————————————————————————————— See what I did here? :)I’ve read a couple of articles over the past few days that has got me thinking (in part becauseit looks like we’re getting the go-ahead on a couple of projects that I’ve been itching to diginto for some time now, and this subject will be very much amongst the ones on top of the”solve-this”-list).I think we all agree that simply aiming for Likes and followers and views gets us nowhere asfar as telling stories go. It’s what we do with these Likers and followers and viewers thatmatter. And in that context, trust is a major factor (there’s a good post up from Februarytouching on the subject here).So, how can I as a creator achieve the level of trust that will not only make people want towatch and take part of my new content, but also advocate the content onwards to theirfriends and acquaintances? And as, for instance, participation and co-creation – UserContributed Content – implies that people have a great deal of trust in me as a creator andprovider to a) offer them the experience they assume that they will get and b) take care ofwhatever it is that they have created, in the best way possible, that trust needs to be earned.If we look at the word itself, it does give some hints of how to achieve this. Trust is definedas the firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.Looking at those words, there are some routes we can look at.First off “Reliability”. The audience should look at our project, then look at us and go “yeah,I can rely on those to provide me with what they promise”. This is either down to us ascreators and the reputation we’ve built for ourselves, or the quality of the brand we’reworking with, be it the IP or the backing production company or something else that peoplefeel they can rely on.Secondly, “Truth”. This is so very important, to not be seen lying or withholding the truthfrom the audience. This is not to say that ALL of the truths need to be spoken about orrevealed, but we need to be able to explain WHY we’re not revealing those truths and have a
  • 54. ONE YEAR IN NOW MEDIA / 55good reason to back the decision up. And not, never, hoax. Not if we want the audience’strust.Thirdly, “Ability”. This has a lot to do with how we present our content, our project. A wellexecuted trailer or pre-ARG or support from respected people in the industry or in the targetgroup the project aims to reach can help. It’s the belief that what’s promised will bedelivered, and that, if anything, it won’t stumble on the people involved not having therequired skill sets to complete what they’ve set out to do. A good reputation doesn’t hurteither.Fourthly, “Strength”. The audience of today could care less about which studio is producingwhich movie. But the audience is also increasingly savvy when it comes to mediaconsumption, savvy enough to realize that when something sounds too good to be true, itprobably is. If you’re a small company without any backers, content- or funding-wise, don’tpromise the world to the audience. Be honest; refer to “Truth” above. On the other hand, ifyou are backed by HBO, use that to your advantage! People want to invest in winners, andthe stronger the partners of a project, the more likely it’ll end up on the winner’s side in theend.So, trust. Hard to get, easy to lose. Build on your reliability, your truth, your ability and yourstrength. And when youve gained someones trust, be sure to take every precaution to notbetray that trust in any way. Best of luck to everyone.
  • 55. 7/6/2012Transmedia and response————————————————————————————————A brief post to highlight what I feel is an important thing to take into consideration intransmedia projects.For once I’ve found the time to read something a little bit longer than blog posts and tweets,so I’ve been reading up on communication, on pitching, and am thoroughly waiting forAndrea’s book on producing transmedia.I felt the need to share one sentence that I found in one of the books I’m delving into, as I feelit resonates pretty intensely with a couple of projects I’m working on at the moment. Thequote comes from Richard Bandler and John Grinder, who co-created an effective definitionof communication: "The meaning of communication lies in the response it gets."Too often, especially if caught up in production/distribution, do I find myself occupied withdeveloping what is going to be put out there next, too busy with planning next moves andnew updates and next series and further installments. Too seldom to I take the time to actuallyanalyze responses, ask further questions, show interest and engagement back, interacting withand involving the audience.My point is that this is crucial. And it needs to be the creative(s), the director(s), the producer(s) who are doing this. It’s not enough to hire someone to be “community manager” and bethe voice of the production or the project or the brand. The people creating more content needto be in touch with the responses, analyze these, draw the right conclusions and amendcoming content in accordance with the results of the conclusions. This, whether they like it ornot.
  • 56. 3/9/2012Clarity in Transmedia————————————————————————————————A couple of days ago I was alerted to Google’s new study, going by the name of “The NewMulti-screen World: Understanding Cross-Platform Consumer Behavior.”. It’s an interestingreport, especially taking into context where it is coming from – you can’t go much biggerthan Google, especially not in online video content.To sum the report up, it points out a number of key findings, chief of which are the facts thatmost of today’s media consumption is screen-based, that viewers move seamlessly betweendevices and that TV no longer holds the full attention of the audience, the major part of whichchoose to accompany TV viewing with some other device, be it laptop, smartphone or tablet.Now, there is one thing that strikes me as obvious in all this, at the same time as the creativein me shouts with joy at having so many possible engagement points with an audience. Thatthing is a well-needed quality called Clarity.In her brilliant book “A Creator’s Guide to Transmedia Storytelling”, Andrea Phillips talks toJay Bushman, who points out the exact same quality as one amongst others, saying: “…whenpotential new players first encounter your experience, they need to know exactly what theyare being asked to do.”. This is very true, and for me the same goes for non-players; passivemembers of the audience electing to merely observe. Even though these take part only asconsumers, it is extremely important to keep the right level of information so as to guidethem correctly while, of course, avoiding the loss of the wilful suspension of disbelief.An example could be the pan-European transmedia drama venture The Spiral. It has receivedmixed reviews after the first episode. As someone who signed up for the online game – thetreasure hunt – well before the launch of the TV series, I will say that it was not a projectoverly keen on taking the audience by the hand and leading them to new pastures. The wholewas not explained – at least not in a form I understood – leaving me quitting playing after abrief while. I have since picked it up a couple of more times, but again been baffled by onething or another. My attention span is usually a bit longer than 15 seconds, but if I do not getthe feeling that “I will understand this very soon”, I do tend to wander off.There are many other examples, ranging from neglecting proper marketing for a project tonot keeping in line with the story’s own overarching mythology; anything that confuses anaudience detracts from the experience and the message, and would need to be rectified.Clarity therefore: the single thing that can help turn your potential disaster into a projectpeople love. Use with abandon!
  • 57. 25/10/2012It’s about what you leave out————————————————————————————————I am currently working and writing on an experimental form of storytelling, that probablywould fall under the ”transmedia” category. I am not yet sure whether it will all bear fruit ornot; I’ve taken an old pet project of mine and am trying to translate it into a whole new form.If I can get it to work properly, I believe it’ll be pretty interesting; basically it’s aboutbringing the storyworld closer to the audience in every instance of the narrative.Still, working on this project – and also enviously following the Twitter feeds from theStoryworld 2012 conference in Hollywood, and the Pixel Market in London – has made meacknowledge one thing that is as true for transmedia as for any other art form out there. It’s asmuch about what you leave out as about what you put in.The saying ”Kill Your Darlings” has seldom been as true as when it comes to transmediaprojects; it’s so very easy to overelaborate your content and your multiplatform strategies,into totally – for the audience – unnecessary detail and scope. Use what makes sense when itmakes sense and scrap the rest. The key is, as always, to be able to know what it actually isthat makes sense. I actually wrote something on that earlier.But leaving out does not only mean that you kill your darlings and streamline your content.Leaving out stuff can also mean that you open up possibilities for the audience to come inand create things themselves. If there is one area where I believe the future lies for media as awhole and transmedia in particular, it’s in engaging the audience in meaningful ways, toparticipate, co-create and co-distribute our content.That the 1-9-90 rule should read more like a 1-900-9000 rule (according to Steve Peters overTwitter from SWC12) doesn’t strike me as that ominous; I believe the barrier when it comesto co-creating and participating is growing thinner and thinner by the day, and soon (if it’s notalready actually done) the audience that likes and loves your content will rip holes in yourcontent themselves, to be able to take part, no matter what you as a creator had planned. It’sjust simply time to get used to this and plan for it.
  • 58. INTERVIEW - IAN GINN————————————————————————————————Creative Producer, Interactive Storyteller and Educator. TransmediaLabs and HubbubMedia. Follow Ian on @ianginn.You’ve been teaching and talking a lot about transmedia and met a lot of up-and-coming content creators; what’s the new crop of producers like?Youre right, over the last 36 months Ive been speaking widely and participating in manylabs and workshops in Europe and in North America. These events fall into two broadgroups: the first are usually organised by industry platforms or festivals, attract establishedindustry professionals from TV, film, publishing, advertising, education; and the second,often organised by regional innovation hubs, are for the new generation of mediaprofessionals, including storytellers, writers for film, TV, games, novels, and social media,producers, directors, documentary makers, game and interaction developers and designers,musicians and audio designers, animators and technologists.So what is this new generation like? This is the first generation of multi-skilled digital nativesto have entered the industry, they grew up with the internet and games consoles and manyhad access to multimedia CD-ROMs when young. They are informed about coreconcepts, easily discuss where transmedia could be heading and the projects they arecreating, and many have their own meaningful take on how they intend to work withtransmedia. They come to these workshops to collaborate and to co-create. I have a prettyfull-on style of teaching, and I appreciate how open-minded and high-energy most of themare. I think these remarks say as much of the lab participants as they do of me:"Radical feedback. Intriguing and infectious passion for transmedia. Made me open for somenew idea channels. Love that!"“Tore up some walls in my head - not only on transmedia itself, but also about thepossibilities on how to approach it.”"A marathon of knowledge, innovation and open-mindedness...I felt highly privileged andgrateful to take part.”Here are two projects and some people that really impressed me this last year, although therehave been many many more as well:Ghost Rocketshttp://www.ghostrockets.se Cavanagh and Kerstin ÜberlackerExpats Berlin
  • 59. ONE YEAR IN NOW MEDIA / 60 KohlweyerNørlumJeanette Nørgaard and Frederik VillumsenCreative partners know you’re exploring new ways of expressing transmedia storytelling; which areasdo you find are the most fruitful right now?Great question! In a nutshell:Story-telling + Game-playing + Spectacle + Experience DesignTo elaborate:Around a year ago, while we were running the first installment of sci-fi transmedia thrillerSALIGIA-7, our storytelling and live events on the streets of Amsterdam created anunintended call to action and our audience let us know that they were ready to get involved.They made it clear that they wanted to play, to participate in live missions and assignments,while I had intended to share an immersive story with them. We had touched a deep-rootedhuman need to engage and to play, and I realized then that Story and Game are much moreclosely related than I had previously understood. Its nothing new that kids immersethemselves in the roles and characters that they encounter in media: when I was young weplayed cowboys and indians for hours on end during long summer days. No-one taught methe rules of this game, I picked them up by watching and immersing myself in the storiesand mythologies of cowboy heroes on the big-screen and on TV. Todays kids play the sameway, mimicking fictional heroes, although less cowboy and more Buzz Lightyear, and theirstarting point is often a richer mix of TV episodes, web content, toys, movies, video gamesand theme park rides.I didnt take the Story/Game insight a lot further at the time, noting that its not the same asthe narratology vs ludology argument which has been rolling on for years in the video gamedeveloper community: this isnt a matter of game design. Our transmedially architected storyproject had immersed our audience of teens and young adults to the point that they wanted toplay with us, inside our fictional world. This was something different.The last year has been busy for me: Ive been working with a creative team to develop thenext installment of SALIGIA-7, and writing and developing two new original projects whichI hope will see the light of day over the next twenty four months. Ive also provided creativeservices to three brand clients, helping to shape their transmedia projects. All of this work,my own and for the brands, includes my creative focus on the mix of live events andspectacle along with video, mobile, online and social media. Together it has led me to a
  • 60. ONE YEAR IN NOW MEDIA / 61further insight: that while experience design is often established as a creative function incollaborative design teams, a new order of Experience Design is required specifically inrelation to the transmedia projects and productions that we design and architect. I feel surethat over the next few years, developing this body of knowledge will prove to be one of theessential developments in transmedia design. It holds the promise of describing designapproaches and best practices, perhaps even a formal design approach, which shouldlead toward more meaningful Experience, and more subtle and layered transmedia. For thosewho get trigger-happy at the term transmedia, perhaps we can call this Experience Design forstory- and game- Worlds (XDW).Its useful to look more closely at what is understood by Experience, in order to provide somecontext for what XDW could comprise. Taking a closer look at Experience leads us in threedirections:The first is to the Experience Economy, which was coined in a Harvard BusinessReview article in 1998 and which argues that businesses must orchestrate memorable eventsfor their customers, and that memory itself becomes the product - the "experience".Commercially this has led to communication agencies delivering Experience as a key skilland service, evidenced by McCanns recent appointment of Lynn Teo as Chief ExperienceOfficer (CXO). Teo comes out of the field of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) whichshouldnt surprise too much, as agencies are largely focusing on the user experience ofinteractive media; according to Teo "Experience designers are T-shaped leaders who havehoned their core design skills in disciplines such as user research, user interface design,interaction design, industrial design or information architecture."So the second direction is Experience Design and HCI. I got involved in interactive digitalmedia in the early 90s as creative director of one of the CD-i studios funded by PhilipsMedia, and as part of the four-person team to design and teach Europes first degree course inInteraction Design, at the Utrecht School of Arts new Faculty of Art, Media & Technology.At the time cognitive scientist and usability engineer Donald Norman set the agenda with hisseminal book "The Design of Everyday Things", and the professional forum SIGCHI(Special Interest Group Computer-Human Interaction) allowed us to share research anddefine Usability, User Centered Design, and Interaction Design. Today HCI designers areasking: "How do we distinguish Interaction Design from Experience Design?". Ill leave youto read this blog to get a sense of the identity crisis in the UX community.These are important perspectives as we edge toward ideas on Experience Design for story-and game- Worlds, because they are what people generally think of when we start to discussExperience Design. Aspects of both of these are included in, but are not at the core, of what Iam proposing.The third direction is to consider the nature of Experience, which leads us toconsider phenomenology, and then: our "experiencing selves"; mystery and magical thinking;and flow.Phenomenology
  • 61. ONE YEAR IN NOW MEDIA / 62During the last year Brian Clark, co-founder and CEO of boutique experience design firmGMD Studios, set the scene to discuss Phenomenology in one breath with Experience Designand Transmedia. Brian has been writing and curating his blog Phenomenal Work,culminating in a superb keynote at the Storyworld Conference, in which he highlighted twoideas: 1/ we have to put the audience at the center of our work, and 2/ the intentionality of theaudience, in other words their commitment to our work, creates the magic moment ofdiscovery when they start paying attention. Our work is the context for their intentionalitywhich creates their Experience.We can get a top-down view of Phenomenology from the Stanford Encyclopedia ofPhilosophy as: "...the study of structures of experience, or consciousness. Literally,phenomenology is the study of “phenomena”: appearances of things, or things as they appearin our experience, or the ways we experience things, thus the meanings things have in ourexperience." Stanfords description gets useful to our search for a new order of ExperienceDesign when it states "phenomenology studies the structure of various types of experienceranging from perception, thought, memory, imagination, emotion, desire, and volition tobodily awareness, embodied action, and social activity, including linguistic activity. Thestructure of these forms of experience typically involves...“intentionality”, that is, thedirectedness of experience toward things in the world...our experience is directed towardthings only through particular concepts, thoughts, ideas, images, etc." And cruciallyStandfords description includes "Conscious experiences have a unique feature: weexperience them, we live through them or perform them. Other things in the world we mayobserve and engage. But we do not experience them, in the sense of living through orperforming them. This experiential or first-person feature - that of being experienced - is anessential part of the nature or structure of conscious experience: as we say, “I see / think /desire / do …” ".This leads me to the insight that engagement is not enough! We need to achievethe experiential first-person feature in which our audience says "I am here."As Brian Clark states, we have to put the audiences experience at the center of our work, andlooking at that experience we find:Our "Experiencing Selves"Nobel laureate Daniel Kahnemans focus is on human behaviour and decision making. In hisbook "Thinking, Fast and Slow" he discusses how we use two mental systems: Fast andSlow. And he argues that these two systems are incompatible and lead us to be wrong asoften as we are right. Kahnemans TED talk "The Riddle of Experience vs.Memory" discusses our "experiencing selves" and provides a valuable perspective how weperceive, value and use Experience He discusses happiness, complexity, and cognitive traps.He notes the general confusion between Experience and Memory, and how they relate toWell Being. He identifies the Focusing Illusion, that is that we cant focus on anythingwithout distorting its importance. And he discusses how the experiencing self handles time -he identifies Time as a critical variable, and notes that it has little impact on the stories thatwe construct and remember from our experiences. I recommend that you take twenty minutesto listen to his talk!
  • 62. ONE YEAR IN NOW MEDIA / 63This leads me to consider that in designing Experiences we are in large part also designingfuture memories and the stories that our audiences will share.Mystery and Magical ThinkingIn his essay "The World As I See it" Einstein states: "The most beautiful experience we canhave is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art andtrue science. Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is asgood as dead, and his eyes are dimmed. It was the experience of mystery - even if mixed withfear - that engendered religion."Einstein was one of the greatest creative minds in our recent past. What does his perspectiveon a class of experience add to our investigation toward an Experience Design for story- andgame- Worlds? In this far-reaching article Scott Barry Kaufman discusses the criticalcombination of intelligence and openness which results in great creativity . He has somevaluable things to say on experience and creativity and how they relate tomystery: "...creative minds are often chaotic, untethered and unhinged. These thoughtprocesses enable a creative person to bring together lots of seemingly disparate streams ofinformation in a unique way not immediately obvious to those grounded in "reality"...I foundthat implicit learning - the ability to automatically learn covariation patterns in sensoryinformation through experience - was related to Openness but not Intellect. In other words,people differed in their ability to soak up patterns from experience and this ability wasntrelated to I.Q. or an intellectual cognitive style but was related to Openness (...and to...)Experiential Permeability." The article then explains how some forces drive Intellect awayfrom Openness and Experiential Permeability while other forces bring them together in akind of resonance, which is argued is the optimal state for Genius. Further, it discusses astudy in which "a sample of 100 artists from a wide range of artistic fields (including music,visual arts, theatre and literature) report aspects of their personality, their experiences ofcreativity and their levels of "positive" experiential permeability traits including absorption.Turns out, those reporting higher levels of engagement in the creative experience alsoreported higher levels of Absorption and Openness. Absorption is related to Flow - themental state of being completely present and fully immersed in a task. Flow is important forcreativity, and but is not related to intelligence." My one edit on this passage is torestate: Absorption is related to Flow - the mental state of being completely present and fullyimmersed in a task or experience.This leads me to intuit why sitting together in a large darkened hall with hundreds of otherpeople immersed in patterns of light and sound is so magical, and transports us sosuccessfully to other worlds and times. And it also provides me with a new insight into Flow,which I regard as one of the key elements of successful XDW.FlowProposed by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi (for those of you staring at his name and trying tosound it out, try: mee-hy cheek-sent-məә-hy-ee ), Flow is "the mental state of operation inwhich a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, fullinvolvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity...flow is completely focused
  • 63. ONE YEAR IN NOW MEDIA / 64motivation. It is a single-minded immersion and represents perhaps the ultimate in harnessingthe emotions in the service of performing and learning. In flow, the emotions are not justcontained and channeled, but positive, energized, and aligned with the task at hand. To becaught in the ennui of depression or the agitation of anxiety is to be barred from flow. Thehallmark of flow is a feeling of spontaneous joy, even rapture, while performing a task...adeep focus on nothing but the activity - not even oneself or ones emotions." Flow orsimilar states are also known by descriptions including: to be in the moment, present, in thezone, on a roll, wired in, in the groove, on fire, in tune, centered, or singularly focused.Csíkszentmihályis research identifies that among other factors, an experience of flow isaccompanied by "a distortion of temporal experience, ones subjective experience of time isaltered" and "an experience of the activity as intrinsically rewarding".The mechanism of Flow appears seductively simple to explain: ones prefrontal cortex, whereconcentration occurs, can attend to "only about 126 bits of information per second. That mayseem like a large number (and a lot of information), but simple daily tasks take quite a lot ofinformation. Just having a conversation takes about 40 bits of information per second; thats1/3 of ones capacity. That is why when having a conversation one cannot focus as muchattention on other things...when one is in the flow state, he or she is completely engrossedwith the one task at hand and, without making the conscious decision to do so, losesawareness of all other things: time, people, distractions, and even basic bodily needs. Thisoccurs because all of the attention of the person in the flow state is on the task at hand; thereis no more attention to be allocated". In other words we simply dont have the bandwidth toconcentrate on many things at once, and if we become really absorbed and engrossed insomething we forget ourself, time and everything else, because there is no capacity left toexperience them.This leads me to consider that an audience experiencing an extended Flow State, and over thelifecycle of a transmedia production, a series of Flow States, is a possible key indicator ofhaving created a successful Experience Design.Toward Experience Design for Transmedia...Experience Design for story- and game- Worlds(XDW)Examples of successful production of Experience DesignThese are examples of successful Experience Design, which can perhaps be consideredcurrent best practice, and which succeed in the terms outlined above. Together they illustratemany of the structures, media elements and experimental paths which lead towardan Experience Design for story- and game- Worlds.Robert Wilsons & Philip Glass "Einstein on the Beach"An opera in four acts. Widely credited as one of the greatest artistic achievements of the 20thcentury.Wilson: You dont have to understand anything.
  • 64. ONE YEAR IN NOW MEDIA / 65Wilson: "Einstein on the Beach is structured through Theme and Variation: 4 Acts and 3Themes that repeat 3 times with variation.There is no narrative. You are invited to free associate….happenings in NY in the 70s didnttell us a story…to experience something is a way of thinking…"Glass on process: "We divided the day into three parts: Vocal rehearsal, Dance rehearsal,Staging rehearsal. It was a process to get to know each other. We started from Bobsdrawings. We spent 9 hours everyday... it was an incubation period. After 6 months we had apublic run through...No-one was waiting for this piece, no-one knew what they were doing.Each day we learned about each other and the work. There was no dramaturge. Bob wasusing photos from newspapers, Patty Hearst on trial became the trial scene. Our texts camemostly from the radio…"Wilson on Theme and Variation: "It was simple material, and we stayed with it until we haddone something new with it. There was no agenda. We were finding out what worked andletting go if it didnt work. Its all Time/Space Construction…soft louder…in out…softrougher…stillness movement."Punchdrunks "Sleep No More"An immersive, site-specific, interactive theatre piece.“Because language is abandoned outside the lounge, we’re forced to imagine it, or to makenarrative cohesion of events that are unfolding right before our eyes. We can only watch asthe performers reduce theatre to its rudiments: bodies moving in space. Stripped of what weusually expect of a theatrical performance, we’re drawn more and more to the panic the pieceincites, and the anxiety that keeps us moving from floor to floor.""Players of first person video games will find the Sleep experience highly gratifying (and thenotion of becoming a camera highly familiar). The amateur cryptographers of Lost will be besimilarly pleased, as will the Escherheads who fetishized Inception. “Did I do it right?” Iwondered afterward, having realized I’d missed half the plot points my fellow travelers hadstumbled upon - and they’d, in turn, missed half the things I’d seen. Upon reflection, though,I don’t think there’s a right or wrong way."Secret Cinema Future Cinemas "The Shawshank Redemption"Live Cinema.Future Cinema is a live events company that specialise in creating living, breathingexperiences of the cinema. Through a unique fusion of film, improvised performances,detailed design and interactive multimedia, Future Cinema create wholly immersive worldsthat stretch the audience’s imagination and challenge their expectations. FutureCinema presented The Shawshank Redemption in London’s East End, transforming a formerhospital and school into the world of the Shawshank Prison."Following instructions to show up to a court summons wearing a suit with a t-shirt and longjohns (or leggings) underneath, the early stages of the production saw participants sent to jail
  • 65. ONE YEAR IN NOW MEDIA / 66for one night. One element included being ordered to change into a prison jumpsuit, so wasRiggall concerned at all that this was a step too far into the immersive world of SecretCinema? It’s tough to be able to communicate this to an audience where they’re notsupposed to know anything, but the idea is really that with every new production, we’regoing to create a truthful world inspired by that, he explains. Prison’s a tough place and ifwe’re really going to go into the world of Shawshank, it’s a tough world. There was concernbut at the same time, we’ve got systems in place and I think most of the audience really wantthat experience. They want the truth of it. "Mercedes-Benz TV "The Invisible Drive"Projection Mapping: Physical Brand PresenceWinner of 2012 Grand Prix at the "Cannes Lion International Advertising Festival" in the"Outdoor" category.Plays brilliantly with the idea of invisibility to talk about the cars invisible carbon footprint.Red Bulls "Stratos Live Jump"SpectacleCreating a shared sense of wonder and mystery, shared by over eight million people.Campfires ‘Maester’s Path’ promotion for "Game of ThronesMulti-Sensory Experience"When I opened the package, I felt like a 4-year-old kid on Christmas morning. At firstglance, it appeared to be a box of buried treasure...The inside was filled with what looked likeMaester’s vials, a map, and scrolls, all hand-crafted with remarkable detail...Each vialincluded a scent indicative of a particular location."Campfire sent these high-value objects to leading bloggers, bringing the fantasy into theirworld.Six to Starts "Zombies, Run!"Mobile app which augments and overlays the users physical environment."Zombies, Run! is an ultra-immersive game for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and Android whereyou help rebuild civilisation after a zombie apocalypse. By going out and running in the realworld, you can collect medicine, ammo, batteries, and spare parts that you can use to build upand expand your base - all while getting orders, clues, and story through your headphones."Points the way to playing any console game as an immersive mobile version.Final ThoughtsThere is a lot more to be said! This is only a beginning! For now here are a couple of finalthoughts:
  • 66. ONE YEAR IN NOW MEDIA / 67Film and Media Schools need to teach new and different Experience Concepting Skills. Ithink one of the most fruitful approaches would be to adopt a Hacker approach: “Hackersbelieve that essential lessons can be learned about the systems - about the world - from takingthings apart, seeing how they work, and using this knowledge to create new and moreinteresting things.” Steven Levy, JournalistIn terms of Storytelling as Mick Jones makes clear "Everything that you know aboutcharacter, drama, tension, action, catharsis, conflict, and genre still counts. Mechanicschange, principles remain". And while this is true, we need to focus on structure and serialityin these complex story and play forms, and consider how performance, spectacle, oralisttelling, and new folklore are woven into the fabric of the piece. Serialization and Story Arcsare well understood, and we can use this knowledge in designing structures for story and andgame worlds that will run for several weeks or months over multiple channels.When we consider Game and Play we get closer to phenomenology and to a number ofuseable elements for an Experience Design for story- and game- Worlds. Its not Ludologythat is of interest, as that focuses on rules and systems. What is of interest is the relationshipbetween the game designer and the player. The designer designs these rules and systems, andthe player creates meaning through his intentionality and the experience of play. Finally asRouse explains in Game Design Theory and Practice there are two perspectives onstorytelling in games, the designer’s and the player’s. The storytelling that occurs during playcombines the designer’s story with the interactions and choices the player makes. Theresulting experience results in the player’s story.Finally, what are your wishes and predictions for 2013?OK, well to take a few Predictions first.1. PublishingAll of the traditional media are in turmoil, but if I had to pick one to watch in the next 12months it would be Publishing. Why? Everything is in motion and all bets are off. • The big players are making moves to reinvent their business, with Random House launching three new digital only imprints and Penguin partnering and co-producing TV and Apps in order to gain more of the value that their books create. • Many creatives - authors - are either self-publishing or engaging with new platforms, and are gaining access to new audiences, and much more significant shares of sales. Heres a wonderful interview with Margaret Atwood which puts a lot of this in perspective and an interview with Bruce Sterling including advice for new authors. • There are some interesting new platforms and start-ups creating new ways to publish. If I had to choose one it would have to be Atavist.2. BrandsAll the signs are that brands are poised to get into various forms of transmedia in a much
  • 67. ONE YEAR IN NOW MEDIA / 68bigger way. As they do it will seem more like a whisper than a shout, and suddenly well lookaround to find that branding and advertising has changed beyond recognition. I think thetypes of projects in 2013 will largely fall into one of Experience, Content Marketing, orsomething that perhaps could be called Data Spectacle such as the IBM THINK Installationin New York . The big agencies will get a handle on Experience Design and Narratives,which I guess is a light version of my discussion on Experience Design for story- and game-Worlds in the previous question. Ogilvy sponsoring the London Transmedia Event is goodexample of this trend.Wishes.How Utopian may I be?1. Someone, somewhere manages to create a rallying cry that wakes us up to the fact thatMoney is the Token, which stands for other things, and those Other Things are important.2. Politicians the world over wake up and realise that they are here to serve the people. Thisis one world, and we have real challenges. No more blame avoidance. We get the politiciansand political organisations that we need.3. A new worldwide Education Charter is established, focused on educating our global kidsfor their future, and not our past.4. A worldwide Utopian movement emerges focused on the year 2099, with an approach toworld issues based on positive action, and with an agenda that leaves 19th centuryindustrialization and 20th century warmongering in the dust.
  • 68. INTERVIEW - ANDREA PHILLIPS————————————————————————————————Transmedia writer and game designer. Follow Andrea on @andrhia.In 2012 you released a book, did a great many talks and created an impressive amountof stuff in different projects. Which was your proudest moment?My proudest moment of the year was actually a private one. I have a YA project about luckcalled Felicity; Ive been talking about it and planning how I want to play it out since earlythis year. I envision a core story e-published in episodes, a community of fans given a way toinfluence the story, and sales of objects from the story world, and if all that works... skys thelimit. This fall, I finally sat down and wrote a synopsis and the first few thousand words, andthe wheels for bringing that project to life are in motion. One way or another, its going to bea real thing.Ive done a lot this year -- from releasing A Creators Guide to speaking at a crazy number ofconferences to working with Investigation Discovery and Campfire and Stitch, and a fewsecret projects and pitches that may never see light of day, but that I feel I did great work on.But none of it compares to taking those first concrete steps toward the work of your heart.Having worked as an independent producer / creator for years now, how do you viewthe transmedia landscape? Is it still fruitful, is it getting crowded?There really is a lot of transmedia storytelling being done right now. Some of it is amazing,and some of it isnt very, but thats how it is in every art. I dont think there was ever a timewhen we were concerned that there were too many poems being written, or too manyphotographs snapped. So with transmedia. The landscape cant get overcrowded, becausetheres no such thing as too much art.What this opens us to, though, is the possibility of real and meaningful criticism. Most poemsand photos are pretty terrible. And a lot of transmedia projects are kind of terrible, too. Sonow we need to move on from "what is transmedia?" to "what makes good transmedia?"Theres enough work in the field that we can begin to identify what makes something work --and why some projects just dont work.If you would have the luxury of choosing anything to work on, what would be yourdream project and why?Well, of course Felicity is the dream Im chasing right now. Though -- heres a confession foryou, some days I dream about just writing flat not-even-a-little-transmedia novels all day,because the process is so comparatively peaceful. The deadlines are more generous and thereare many, many fewer conference calls in traditional print publishing. And so many of myprojects work on a short timeline; Im in and out in somewhere between six weeks and threemonths. Perplex City was athree-year project. Id love the luxury to craft and refine one thing over a longer time.
  • 69. ONE YEAR IN NOW MEDIA / 70But I also feel like collaborative work brings out the best in me, so Id really love to beinvolved in an enormous original content project -- television, maybe, or even web series --with its tentacles in everything and a great team all around me. Depends on what day you askme.At the heart of it, though, Im deliriously happy with just about every project I get to work on.Its an amazing thing: I can make up stories and think of crazy new ways to put them in theworld, and people will pay me money for it. Im the luckiest girl in the world.Other than those, what are your wishes and predictions for 2013?Weve been talking about tipping points for a decade now. We have a messiah-like vision ofthe one breakout transmedia project that changes everything.I dont see us at any tipping point for 2013. And more, Im not sure were ever going to seethat one breakout project. Instead, well simply see a sea change where media all adopt ourtools for their own purposes, and itll be so natural that the audience will never even commenton it. Your typical theater-goer doesnt really recognize what sound design and lighting aredoing for their enjoyment, they just know they like whats going on overall. Im thinking itmay be that way with us, too.As for wishes: Well, I hope theres a lot of work to go around for everybody who wants it, fora start. The last few weeks have been rough for a lot of amazing creators. I also hope we seesomething surprising and wonderful launch this year that makes us look at our work andourselves in a different way. I hope that we get away from our action-adventure heritage, too,and spend more time on rich, emotive, human stories. My biggest wish, though, is that we allget to keep running after this dream of ours, even if we dont catch it. The chase is worth iteither way.
  • 70. INTERVIEW - ROB PRATTEN————————————————————————————————Founder and managing director at Transmedia Storyteller Ltd. Follow Rob on @robpratten.It seems like every time I blink, your transmedia production and distribution toolConducttr appears with a new feature or two. At the same time, competition is more rifethan ever before. What’s the transmedia tool marketplace like in 2012?Actually we dont see any direct competition even though one vendor has recently plagiarizedmy words and tried to clothe themselves in our robes! Cheeky lot ;)What we see is a lot of activity of course in second screen synchronized apps and interactivevideo players, interactive HTML5 pages and thats causing a lot of producers to be curiousabout how they might add interactivity into the mix.However, in terms of true transmedia storytelling platforms that bring together digital,physical, fictional, real world, social & mobile Conducttr is the only platform designed fromthe ground up to meet those needs and the needs of those creatives & producers.All of the interactive tools available today offer nice ways for people to dip a toe into thewater and thats good for us all because itll generate more knowledge and conversation aboutthe need to engage audiences differently. But its important to me to maintain a thought-leadership position and that means the R&D we invest into Conducttr is looking as much athow we expect the industry will evolve as it is meeting todays needs.Did 2012 pan out like expected? What were the best things you experienced this year?I cant say I had any particular expectations of 2012 so I can say for sure that it panned outbetter than expected! We have signed a strategic partnership with a creative studio in LA thatsees us delivering Conducttr for a range of branded entertainment projects. And this is how Ienvisage the industry maturing - each player playing to their strengths - us with the tech andthe creative people with the creative. Weve seen the change of strategy at one company whotried to be a content creator and a tech company because it doesnt work trying to be both. Ifyoure a creative company your USP is in creative ideas, not maintaining a lot of code orworse re-coding from scratch for every project. It makes sound business sense to use an offthe shelf tool to manage the production and run the interaction (e.g. to use Conducttr).Weve also picked up some very nice clients this year from unexpected places and theirappreciation of Conducttr has been very heartwarming. Its allowing them to do things theydidnt know was possible which is not only empowering for them but its inspiring for us too.Expect to see some major announcements in 2013.You’re engaged in a lot of development work on different transmedia projectsconnected to Conducttr. Do you feel the transmedia tribe of producers has matured overthe years?
  • 71. ONE YEAR IN NOW MEDIA / 72Im not sure actually. I think theres a greater willingness or perhaps even a desire to engageacross multiple platforms but the knowledge of how to do that well hasnt moved on verymuch. I do think that nobody expects to "go viral" any more or somehow organically pick upfans without a solid plan for outreach and engagement.What’s your wishes and predictions for 2013?I hope that everyone lives a happy and healthy life. And I hope that the transmediacommunity sticks together as the friendly bunch we are at the moment. My concern is that itbreaks into fighting factions and petty squabbles which would be very damaging.On the positive side I see a lot of producers and consultants looking for ways to support thedevelopment of transmedia projects so if youre a writer or creative then theres going to bemore place to go to get trained, to get advice, to get money and to see your project come tolife.
  • 72. INTERVIEW - INGA VON STADEN————————————————————————————————Director of studies, Interactive Media, Filmakademia Badem-Württemberg. MediaConsultant and Coach. Follow Inga on @ingavonstaden.You’re one of the most structured transmedia persons I know; how important isstructure and discipline in transmedia?I think:1. you need to have a very strong core idea (operative idea as Raimo Lang calls it)2. you need to be agile in design and production in order to react to developments in markets,funding and technology3. having said that you need to define very clear goals and milestones so as not to get lost inthe agility of design and productionWhat are the things you’re the most proud to have been involved in in 2012, and why?Proud? I would rather say excited...To see younger persons speak and think in worlds rather than formats and to hear AlexMcDowell of 5D-institute do the very same things independent of a transmedia movement.For the future and for future producers, I’m hoping for more meaningful content that cancompete with bland entertainment....How do you view the field in, say, 2016? What have we accomplished then?We are already seeing younger persons speak and think in worlds rather than formats.By 2016 it will be a given to do world building and exploration before writing a script ordesigning a game. The challenge will be the community factor as more and more producerswill try to lure an audience into engagement.
  • 73. CHAPTER FIVE THE BUSINESSI am a very firm believer in financial sustainability. I believe in making stuff that people - orcompanies, or sponsors, or NGOs, or whomever - will want to pay you money for; moneythat will get the production finished and leave the creators and everyone else with a livingwage as well. If a project does not reach this level of funding there quite a few possibilities asto where it all went wrong; it could be that the content is not good enough and no one caresabout it, it could be that the marketing was flawed and no one knows about it, or it can be thatthe roll-out and interaction strategy missed the point and no one wants to be associated withit. It can also be a mix of two or all three of these, but the key thing is always the story. If thestory is a good story, there is an audience out there for it.I believe that transmedia and multiplatform content has more possibilities than “regular”content when it comes to finding funding of different kinds. This is absolutely needed aswell, as true transmedia projects are quite good at ramping up the budgets. In the articlesbelow I’ve tried to discuss different aspects of multiplatform storytelling with regards tofunding and getting money in to the projects. The key, as always, is to keep an open mind andlook for possibilities rather than fret about perceived obstacles.
  • 74. 1/2/2012Marketing transmedia————————————————————————————————I read a good post by Marc Binkley the other day, entitled ”Transmedia Storytelling andContent Marketing”. The post brought up what I believe will be a very hot trend inmarketing; realizing that (as Marc lines up in his post) 1. Consumers are media, 2. Peopleyearn to belong and 3. Communities identify themselves in each other’s presence.It is all about conversation, about not only being in front of your potential customers but alsoabout having a reason for being on front of them other than the obvious ”we want to sellyou stuff”. This reason should surpass the banalities of trying to sell things to people; theyshould be about telling stories and/or enabling the audience to tell stories and give themsufficient reason to want to do so.Now, this is all laid out quite succintly in Marc’s post, so I’ll let you read his take on it. Whatoccured to me is the fact that everyone involved in transmedia storytelling need to takeproper note of this development as well. We need to sell as well, the only difference beingthat we (often) do not have a physical product in the end (unless you count possible DVD:s ormerchandize connected to a main property). What we need to sell is what we create – content.We need people to invest time and engagement in it in order to make the returns that willmake our project count as a success, in order for us to be able to obtain funds or commissionsto make the next project. In this, we can learn a lot from marketing.One thing I see quite often is a strong belief in a sort of ”if we build it they will come”mentality. This might’ve worked for Kevin Costner, but it’s most assuredly not the right fitfor everyone. What is needed is marketing; what is needed is knowledge of how to getthrough to the ones that might actually want to partake of what you have to offer. RobPratten has a good post up at Transmedia Storyteller, where I would urge everyone producingtransmedia (and not building on something that has a clear and eager fanbase already inplace) to read the paragraphs on the stages of audience engagement closely. They feel verytrue to me – that there is a discovery stage (where the content needs to deliver the goods tothe extent that people care to engage further), the experience stage and the exploration stage.Well, the stages could perhaps be named differently, but the fact that most people won’twant to explore further if the first stages are too demanding or not rewarding enough,that’s just common sense.To continue on what I wrote above, that transmedia can learn a lot from marketing, let’s – asconclusion – take a look at some general marketing advice and translate it into atransmedia reality: 1. Look at marketing in the right light. Marketing should be seen as an investment, notan expense; a way to get the attention of possible clients and audiences. Attention is thesecond most important aspect of any transmedia project (the first being the quality of thecontent, naturally). Have great content and grab the attention of enough people, and you’re
  • 75. ONE YEAR IN NOW MEDIA / 76sorted.2. Do not frown at market research. In the vein of ”build it and they will come”, manypeople creating transmedia do not really know who they are creating their content for.Market research can, as with any other product, help you find out whom you should target;what demographic, what age, what media habits and so on. This will make the first pointabove click a whole lot better.3. Following up on that, do not frown at marketing research. Where market researchfocused on the market, marketing research delves into the spending habits and behaviours ofthe target group you’ve decided to target with your content. Use it to help you avoidmistakes, basically; the more you know about the people you ideally would want to beinterested in what you have to offer, the better odds you have of achieving that goal.4. Spend time on your marketing plan. Your content is worth spending time on, right? Ifyou’re at all like me, you’ve spent more hours than you ideally want to realize (waking andsleeping and in-between) on your content. Now, you want people to take part of it, so that itwon’t all have been in vain. Use a marketing plan to find holes in your strategy forreaching your customers, and in the long run as a road map to give you stability andsecurity (and success, no doubt).5. Be realistic with your marketing budget. Talk to someone, look it up on the web…there is advice to be had on the subject of budgeting for marketing. Don’t be too cautious.But neither should you overstretch.6. Stand on the shoulders of others. Just as with developing transmedia in the first place,there is no shame in using a tried and tested successful method of marketing. So look around,look into similar projects; what did they do right? What did they do wrong? What can youlearn and how can you implement it?I hope this has been of use to someone; would be happy to discuss. Hit me on Twitter orcomment here! The points above are based on Laura Lake’s basic marketing advice over at comments:transmythology said... Its a fascinating issue that extends well beyond "transmedia," to the very heart of the entertainment and media industries, and beyond. How do you market something that many people consider to be marketing in and of itself? This question, and the definition of what constitutes "marketing" today, speaks to the fundamental question of what constitutes a business model in the digital age. Theres no doubt that, from a traditional perspective, virtually all transmedia content built around a traditional media release must be considered marketing. The majority of online transmedia - social media, ARGs, even games - does
  • 76. ONE YEAR IN NOW MEDIA / 77 not generate substantial revenue in and of itself. Even extensions that ostensibly seem intended to generate revenue - books, console games, graphic novels - are often more about raising awareness of a brand by getting the logo into stores and in front of consumers. For a traditionally-structured media company, the easiest place to put transmedia endeavors is with a nascent "digital marketing" department. The difficulty here - and this speaks to your post, I think - is that a savvy creator could find his or her efforts to expose the entirety of a story to a mass audience frustrated. When somebody is accustomed to traditional models, the transmedia extensions are considered marketing materials for the driving platform. Thus, it would seem counterintuitive to expend time or capital on trying to get people to try out the web experience or the comic book. Simply put, it doesnt make business sense to attempt to drive eyeballs to something that doesnt generate revenue when you can use that time, money, and attention to target more people to watch your show or buy your movie ticket. Of course, the problem is compounded when you have multiple divisions and/ or licensees all working in their own best interest. For a creator who wishes each piece of the story to be additive to the experience, its tricky. The same issue rears its head with properties that are closer to "native" transmedia. With Perplex City, for instance, if youre employing a traditional mindset there is only one way you can view it: a massive marketing campaign (and arguably an inefficient one) to sell collectible cards. The same applies to an independent creator. Im really intrigued by what Jan Libby is doing with Snow Town, but if her "enclosed" iPad app is a success, wouldnt she just focus 90% of her efforts on the app next time (perhaps with some revenue generating features built in) and skip the ARG?transmythology said... But heres the crux: you could make an argument that the old model above simply doesnt exist in the media business any more. The Facebook IPO is a decent example. Whats Facebooks core business? Selling targeted advertising. However, they do a lot of things as a company that doesnt necessarily contribute to selling ads by adding experimental new features, and extending the Facebook experience off site. Many digital companies are the same way, because their primary focus is ingraining themselves into users daily lives. For an MBA trained in identifying inefficiencies and tracking correlation between activity and revenue, it can be a difficult philosophy to understand. While "Free: The Future of a Radical Price" by Chris Anderson has its skeptics, it constitutes great insight on these ideas. So thats where we may eventually get to with entertainment brands - an understanding that the line between "marketing" and "content" has become blurred, and an acceptance that certain activities are more about building engagement and brand equity than instant payoff. Its a longer term game, not
  • 77. ONE YEAR IN NOW MEDIA / 78 keyed necessarily to a culture of quarterly profits, but it seems to be where were headed. I fully endorse what youre saying about market research. The majority of the (vocal) transmedia community consider themselves artists, so there is a desire to create from the heart. However, the most effective things tend to come from insight, research, and analysis. The question I would be asking as a transmedia creator right now is "how can I combine these techniques with the evolving behaviors of a mass audience?" Naturally, we also have to consider the other side of the coin - data and analytics will potentially become extremely useful in guiding future endeavors, as well as functioning as a way for transmedia producers to demonstrate value beyond dollars, through user activity and engagement data. So there you go Simon - you asked for thoughts, and you got them :)Simon said... Simon, thanks for your thoughts. I agree with a lot of what you say above. I will definitely sign off on the blurring between "marketing" and "content" - what its all about is getting in front of people (for a reason), giving them the opportunity and tools to tell spread your content (and a reason to do so) and following up on this action and interaction (always for a reason). I also believe strongly in what you say in your next to last paragraph - user data and behavior analysis will be a hard currency, even more so than today. Here is another area where transmedia can enter the fray and contribute - building a world, a story, a narrative superstructure where it is natural and logical for people to allow their data to be collected, since the reward is worth it. Ah, interesting times ahead :)Kevin Beamer said... These pointers are very impressive, Simon. Indeed, spending time in reviewing the marketing plan will certainly produce desirable results. And the duration of a marketing plan is also important, as brands should be able to set the momentum when they entice people to start patronizing them.Simon said... Thanks Kevin. I agree fully; it is very much a matter of anticipating the needs of everyone involved, from possible brands to the content itself to the end users; timing and adequate time allotted for marketing is thereby quite essential.
  • 78. 15/2/2012Transmedia for Companies————————————————————————————————This post I’ll keep short and to the point. It’s my thoughts about how companies can benefitfrom utilizing transmedia storytelling; not only when it comes to marketing a productor a service, but also when it comes to the company itself.There are many companies that think about transmedia and use transmedia storytellingto break through into the consciousness of the masses – Audi’s "Art of the Heist" comes tomind – and do so successfully. There are others who look to transmedia storytelling to helpthem accomplish other things, such as Cisco, with their salesperson-targeting "The Hunt"campaign. There are yet others, often with pretty impressive muscle, who think deeplyabout new forms of storytelling and new ways to grown nearer to customers. Coca Cola’s”2020” vision is a prime example.But the use of transmedia storytelling methods doesn’t have to stop there. Neither does ithave to be companies the size of Audi, Coca Cola or Cisco who look to transmedia to helpthem evolve.Transmedia storytelling methods can be of tremendous use to anyone in anyfield.An example: a colleague pointed me in the direction of Black Milk Clothing. It’s a gooddesign brand with interesting creations, yet what makes me remember them is the story ontheir About page. In short, it’s a brilliant read about how Black Milk came to be, the story ofthe man behind it and his passion from years back, about not giving up and about succeedingthrough brilliance and perseverence.This, in effect, goes beyond mere branding. It is the mythology, the story world of Black MilkClothing. With this mythology as a foundation, if they decide to connect to their customers ona deeper level they have a wealth of entry points to work with and choose from. Do acompetition about who can design the best re-design of the first creations of the creator.Create an app which is a replica of the stands where he tried to sell his first creations, wherecustomers can trade second-hand items of the brand… these opportunities, and many more,spring from the mythology sketchily written on one web page.It doesn’t end there though. Black Milk’s mythology gives the company something to pointto to any future employee – ”this is where we come from, this is who we are!” – orcollaborators.It’s their gene pool, basically. It’s a true story (I assume), but as with allmythologies, it could be embellished, as long as the different new parts do not conflict withthe earlier core parts.This then is something that can be accomplished by just about any company. White booksand Rules of the Company and such documents are all well and good, but they seldom tellmuch of the core of the company, the stories it’s built on, the future it might hold. Its alsomuch too common to merely look ahead, when looking back from time to time can help with
  • 79. ONE YEAR IN NOW MEDIA / 80directions, ideas and future entry points.Tell your company’s story. Not just with words, but also with deeds. No one tells a rulebookonwards. A good story, now that’s another thing.
  • 80. 16/4/2012Getting funding for transmedia – a comment————————————————————————————————A brief post on funding and transmedia; I read the Storify of the latest StoryCode event withgreat interest, as I – along with most other practicioners in this field – am constantly on thelookout for new ways to get the funding in to create and produce and distribute what I wantto create and produce and distribute.The event had some good advice and some good links to follow up. A couple of things weremissing though, if I look at it from my angle. The following couple of things need, in mybook, to be taken into consideration if you want to raise funding for a transmedia project:Split it up. Take a good look at your content and what platforms you intend to distribute iton. Is part of it good enough to make a television fiction series or a television documentary,the revenues from this alone might pay for the rest of the transmedia venture (depending onscope, naturally), and also open up for roll-out of the full transmedia experience in globalterritories. If you can hook into a current trend with the part of your project you’ve designedto work as a graphic novel, you might get either a publishing deal or rack up some revenuethrough e-books. Bottom line; look at the parts of your transmedia project from a revenueperspective; add them all together, and you might just achieve your goal.What new knowledge can be gained from your project? Yes, you have a great story and awell crafted mythology and narrative superstructure. Yes, you have tapped into an existingcommunity relating to your content and you are quite confident of actually having anaudience. But you still lack a bit of $$ to actually create what you plan to create. Now, look atwhat new knowledge there is to be learned from what you are about to do. Will you knowmore about a certain segment of the population? Will you understand more about how call-to-actions work? Will you develop the way social media is integrated into a campaign or astory? This knowledge can be turned into funds, if packaged the right way and sold to theright buyer – a brand, a service, a research institution (who might even offer to put aresearcher on your team to do the dirty work) a governmental institution…There are probably as many ways to get the full funding as there are transmedia projects. Myadvice would be to be creative, not only when it comes to your content, but also with regardsto your funding.1 comment:Robert said... "Split it up" is what I call "sell what people already buy". Its great that the project is innovative but if the world isnt familiar with "it" then its better to do exactly as you say - find the parts that the world is familiar with and sell what people know. Just because there maybe platforms or media or experiences that arent
  • 81. ONE YEAR IN NOW MEDIA / 82generating revenue doesnt make them marketing. Not that I have any problemif they were mind you...
  • 82. 21/6/2012Brands and transmedia————————————————————————————————I was interviewed by Stefania from Italian magazine Subvertising last week. It was aninteresting interview, that really made me think through my stance on brands and transmedia–the how, the why, and the why nots.One point I feel the need to elaborate a little bit on is how I think brands and companieseasily can benefit from applying transmedia storytelling methods for their products aswell as for their brands and companies. Stefanie asked me if I saw a likeness betweentransmedia on the one hand and brand engagement on the other hand. My answer was:Certainly. That’s why I believe that brands can have so much use of transmedia storytellingmethods; there is no need to go all out and throw iPad apps paired with graphic novels atpeople in order to market a cookie brand, but the cookie brand could make enormous use ofthe way transmedia projects are developed – building the story world the brand wants to existin, planning narrative superstructures that fit the image of the brand and its products,developing entry points for the audience, things to collaborate on and share as well as areason to do so and the tools to do so, and to share their creations with their friends… all inall, transmedia storytelling has a lot to offer brands.To clarify the brief answer above, here are five points I believe matter for brands andcompanieswhen thinking about applying transmedia storytelling methods to their marketingand image building:
  • 83. ONE YEAR IN NOW MEDIA / 841. Building and strengthening foundationsOne core trait of transmedia storytelling is the art of creating more. The art of either findingout a lot of background stuff that is not readily apparent, or creating new background stuff ifneeds be. A good example is the case of Avatar, where the team from Starlightrunner spent alot of time interviewing all the creators, from James Cameron onwards, about life onPandora, linguistics, flora and fauna etc. With this as a tome, a bible to refer to, creating newadditional material becomes easier.Looking at a brand, the same principles apply, whether you’re a 100 year old Fortune 500company or a startup fresh out of Y Combinator. By researching the background of thecompany, the key people from its’ history and the key current people there, milestones in thehistory, accidents and events and successes, dreams and hopes and thrills and bellyaches, thefoundation (or ”story world” as it would be called in a transmedia setting) becomes that muchstronger and can therefore support an increasingly greater number of stories, campaigns andintiatives.The likeness of the story tunnel is a good one, told by Jeff Gomez; if your story is a tunnelleading from point A to point B, the walls of the tunnel are the story world. Whereever thereare inconsistencies or something missing from the story world, cracks appear in the walls,spoiling the experience of your story. The solution is to build your story world, yourfoundations, solid enough not to let anything unwanted to shine through.2. Finding new entry points and new routes of communicationWhen that foundation, that story world, is in place, there will be a deep well to turn to. This isa well filled with possibilities; dip your creative bucket in, haul it up and examine all thepossible story lines, entry points and interactive elements you’ve just unearthed. Choose theones that will fit your purposes the best this time and pour the remaining ones back into thewell; they’ll be there the next time you need new inspirational material.Examples are difficult to tell, as there will be at least as many different possibilities / storyworlds, as there are companies. But, for instance, imagine a 70 year old brand, unearthing inthe process of working on the foundation, that the grandson of the company’s co-founder hasa charity running in Latin America. This would one way of engaging customers in a way thatconnects logically with the brand and achieves a lot of goodwill. Or perhaps there is anamateur theatre company working out of the brand’s original headquarters, where a co-operation would be natural, or just about anything else you can think of. New entry points forthe audience and the customers, new routes of communication to the audience, to thecustomers (and routes that do not feel like ”advertising”, but as natural parts of the company /brand).3. Get closer to the audience / consumersNow, this is what I would like to do as a brand; identify my target audience and become anatural part of their everyday life. Granted, this is easier said than done.
  • 84. ONE YEAR IN NOW MEDIA / 85On our transmedia panel at Cross Video Days last week, one of the topics we talked aboutwas the subject of approaching and building an audience. Starting from scratch is always anuphill struggle, unless you have some form of inroad; great, well known creative talent, bigmarketing budget etc. Another way is to approach an already existing community; aFacebook group, a discussion forum, a club or an organization of some kind, that correlateswith your project and your content. Finding these can be hard, and approaching them can beeven harder; just dropping a link or do a ”hey! Look at what we’ve done!” smacks ofshameless self promotion and is likely to achieve derision rather than appreciation.But, having developed the project and the content according to transmedia storytellingprinciples, you have a greater chance of finding inroads into the community that will feellogical and compelling. This is helped by the fact that researching such communities andbecoming a natural part of them should be one of the top priorities of your project during thedevelopment phase.4. Creating spokespersons within the companyAt times, I have had a hard time explaining exactly what my company does. I guess the samegoes for a lot of other people, more so for the ones working in bigger companies. Many alsostruggle to find any reason to communicate about the company they work for themselves.By utilizing transmedia storytelling methods in the context of a company, or a brand for thatmatter in cases when these two are not synonomous, anyone working in that company or withthat brand will have a number of avenues to go down when it comes to acting as advocatesfor the company they’re representing.A good slogan or a good tagline is good, yes. But often it doesn’t tell very much about thecompany or the brand. What passes for ”About” pages on the web sites of many companiesalso make for pretty unimpressive reading. The gems that are unearthed when applyingtransmedia storytelling methods on the other hand, are stories. Stories that reflect the desiredimage of the company, stories that are coherent and sync with each other – stories that anyemployee can relate onwards, thereby strengthening the power and image of the company orbrand. Furthermore, such stories will help employees arrive at the same view point when itcomes to looking at the company. The question of ”Who do I work for and what do we do?”becomes easier to answer if you can relate to the number of stories that form the mythologyof the company or the brand.5. Planning for the long haulMany ad campaigns or brand awareness-raising campaigns have a beginning, a middle and anend. Some have a second campaign planned to build on the first one. Some might beconnected to some other form of IP (movies, TV series, book etc) and thereby gain a form oflongevity. Many, however, have not and are not.When applying transmedia storytelling methods in the context of a company or a brand, this
  • 85. ONE YEAR IN NOW MEDIA / 86should be one of the great advantages. By researching thoroughly, creating more, laying thefoundation, build the mythology and document it in a tome or bible, not only is it possible toachieve the things mentioned in the points above, it is also possible to create longer-lastingcampaigns that follow each other in a logical way, each offering new unique insights andinroads to the brand. By creating a story arch that spans over several instances – with anadded flexibility to adapt according to feedback and input from the audience – it is possibleto discard the one-offs and create meaningful, long running stories that support the desiredimage of the brand (one case could be made for the way the Avengers brand has beenhandled, see Jeff Gomez’ case study here).
  • 86. INTERVIEW - NUNO BERNARDO————————————————————————————————CEO at beActive Entertainment. Follow Nuno on @nmfbernardo.You’re constantly looking at new ways to fund your projects. Whats been thefallout of Pinterest’s Beat Girl?The Beat Girl Pinterest was just an experimental project we did to try to learn more about thepotencial of this new social network as a storytelling device. It generates no revenues (yet)but it was a nice way to, through images, give our audience an overview of the world of thisstory, the characters and some story glimpses. It was supposed to be act like a five-minutesguide to the Beat Girl universe, a place where you can start your experience before jumpingto more detailed content and interactive experiences.What other areas can you see, where transmedia and multiplatform can find $$?I believe that Transmedia allows producers to build IP (build solid Entertainment brands)because allows them to connect directly with the audiences, build fan-bases, focus onmarketing and brand build, and have a multi-platform approach to content distribution andmonetization. Basically, it puts the producer in the driver seat in the exploitation of theproperty and not just some service provider that delivers tapes or film cans to distributors andhope for the best.What kind of mindset should a new developer have to be able to flourish inmultiplatform and/or transmedia? In the short term is more work, learning more skills for less money. Producers need to workon marketing, learn about new platforms, new about games and apps, that sometimes canbe overwhelming for traditional Movie and TV producers. But in the long run, when you hitjackpot, when you are able to secure a loyal audience around your project, the revenuepotential can be so much higher, as you can start licensing content to different platforms,exploit new markets and platforms, probably owning a big chunk of the IP.You’ve been doing this for close to a decade now; do you think you’ll be doing thesame in another 10 years?The world went Multi-platform so theres no way back. We will be keep serving theaudiences needs, and if they want their stories anywhere on their favorite device, we need todeliver that. Our goal is, as the market and this industry develops, is to do bigger and moreambitious projects that connect with wider audiences worldwide.
  • 87. INTERVIEW - MIKE MONELLO————————————————————————————————COO and Partner at Campfire NYC. Follow Mike on @mikemonello.There was a discussion earlier this year over Twitter on sustainability and transmedia.The jury is still out on the question of whether therell ever be clear-cut business modelsfor transmedia, in a similar fashion as the movie or TV industry. Whats your take onthis - will transmedia and revenue always be unique solutions for each project? Orwhere do you think the money will come from?I dont really see "transmedia" as a specific thing that can be packaged and sold but rather asan approach to telling a story using all the tools and opportunities available to us. In thatsense, the business model is a combination of the current (and future) business modelsassociated with the platforms/tools/technologies utilized. Within that framework, there aresome people and companies earning revenue under the guise of "transmedia," from producerswho consult with studios and production teams to help them better understand and apply theprinciples to companies like Campfire who collaborate with creators, studios, brands, andnetworks to develop, produce, and deploy transmedia extensions for existing properties (orproducts, in the case of brands). Business models, or more broadly "value" is a core issuefacing transmedia in 2013 and Id like to see the practitioner community spend more timeexamining how creators are currently applying transmedia principles and what actual valuethese methods have, monetary and otherwise. Its time to make the case with hard facts ratherthan platitudes and possibilities, and I hope we hear more from people who can make thatcase with hard experience rather than observations and assumptions while pointing to StarWars or The Avengers as proof. My mantra for 2013 is "your own case studies or GTFO."Youve done a lot of impressive stuff over at Campfire, not least the Byzantiumcampaign for the TV series "Hunted". If you take a look around though, what otherprojects have impressed you during 2012?Thank you! In no particular order, here are some of my favorite transmedia related projectsand experiences of 2012:The Walking Dead: The Game from Telltale GamesThe Walking Dead game uses the original comic book as cannon, and while it tells the storyof a new group of survivors, you come in contact with key cannon characters and learnaspects of the central story without ever feeling like you are playing a cheap licenseexploitation. In fact, I think this game surpasses the TV show and the comic in emotionaldepth and storytelling. Its primarily story driven, but never feels like a hokey "choose yourown adventure" experience because your relationship with the characters changes based onhow you act and the choices you make.Prometheus TED Talk video & David 8 video - I wasnt a fan of the movie or of most of thedigital extensions that I saw, but these 2 videos were exceptional. Both videos introducedmain characters through well-known formats, TED Talks and corporate promos, giving the
  • 88. ONE YEAR IN NOW MEDIA / 89story a more pervasive feel while generating excitement for the film. The biggest criticismyou can make of the videos is that they were smarter than the Prometheus script and perhapsset unfair expectations that the movie could not meet.The Lizzie Bennet Diaries is a great example of a web series using social media to becomemore net native while adding interactivity and narrative depth to grow a passionate audience.Adapting a well-known story frees the creators to experiment with the form and proves onceagain how you dont need to have massive resources to beat the big budgets at their owngame.Bear 71 - Im a huge fan of the National Film Board of Canadas interactive work, particularlyWelcome to Pine Point and this year they continued to experiment successfully with Bear 71,telling a moving story of one bears life in wilderness rapidly altered by humanencroachment.StoryCode - From humble beginnings as the Transmedia NY Meetup to its currentincarnation as Storycode, Aina Abiodun and Mike Knowlton have fostered a vibrantcommunity of creators, fans and academics who gather each month to share information,advice, and resources. This year they held a Beta Story Hackathon and in 2013 they aretaking it to Hollywood, growing into a national organization.MIT Futures of Entertainment Conference - (Full Disclosure: I serve as a Futures ofEntertainment Fellow) - Hands down my favorite conference of the year, not just fortransmedia but for anyone interested in exploring the issues surrounding participatory culture,fandom, copyright, and the entertainment industry. Panels are 90 minutes long and expertlymoderated to avoid the usual talking points and case studies to explore deeply a range ofrelevant topics. If you find yourself feeling bored by the same old talking points heard atother conferences like SXSW, then get yourself to MIT next year for the 7th edition. Get aquick fix now by watching videos from past FoE conferences here.Andrea Phillips A Creators Guide to Transmedia Storytelling - (Full Disclosure: Andreaoccasionally works at Campfire on a freelance basis) - No nonsense information about thenuts and bolts process of creating transmedia stories from a true creator and a passionate fan,I hope Andreas book inspires many amazing new projects in 2013.Youll forever be associated with "Blair Witch Project", a unique and groundbreakingproject; how do you think it would fare in 2013?This is an impossible question to answer, as the cultural landscape in 1998 was radicallydifferent than today. Horror films were suffering through a horrible jokey/ironic phase andfound footage movies were not being released with any regularity. I do believe that whatmade Blair Witch Project work in 1998/99 is still relevant today as it was largely the socialinteractions and connections between the fans around the open ended mythology that drovethe success more than any of the individual elements such as the website or the comics orgames, etc. Its easy to forget that the internet has always been social, now its just betterorganized and more accessible.
  • 89. ONE YEAR IN NOW MEDIA / 90And talking of 2013; what would you wish for, for the year to come?I hope that 2013 will be a year of refinement for practitioners. Weve had an incredible periodof experimentation and growth, and that has led to a bit of "shiny new object" syndrome,where attention is paid to the newest tactics, tricks, and platforms rather than refining thethings weve learned and have seen work in the past. I want to see projects that do things Ivealready seen done but do them better, smarter, and more effectively, and as a result reachlarger audiences and achieve greater success. We sometimes spend a little too much timetrying to impress early adopters, but the real opportunity in 2013 is in refining what works toattract more general audiences. Also, I wish 2013 would be the year that Andy Kaufmanreturns.
  • 90. INTERVIEW - CHANTAL RICKARDS————————————————————————————————Head of Programming and Branded Content at MEC EMEA. Follow Chantal on@janechantal.You’ve seen the business from both sides, as a producer, a commissioner and as someoneon the brand side. How have things changed over the past few years?Things have changed gradually but branded content shows consistent growth. Brands are farmore curious now about branded content. They know they need to use content as part of theirmarketing mix. They understand that dialogiue between customer and brand can be createdand enhanced with the use of content – content is entertainment and entertainment isengaging and doesn’t create an interruptive function in the way traditional TV advertisingdoes. The brand benefits from the feelgood factor content provides.Are content creators more eager on brands and vice versa?Yes, it’s a bit of a love fest – everyone wants to be in bed with everyone else.Are brands getting braver in order to gain more attention?Much braver – brands look very closely at what other brands are doing and this moves themcloser to using content themselves. When you see the success of Red Bull you can’t fail tosee content in action in the best way and this provokes everyone to want to replicate theirsuccess.Are they also getting increasingly clever?Yes, brands are becoming more clever and each new campaign moves the dial even more.Where brands have really made big strides is in forming substantive partnerships with mediaowners that benefits all parties.What has the advent of multiplatform / second screen / transmedia meant for you inyour profession?Two screen isn’t a dead cert yet. It has to be handled with care. It is only right for certaintypes of programming as anything that becomes overly distracting from the content willultimately have an adverse effect for all concerned. It mustn’t disrupt the entertainment valueof the content. Will I Am’s suggestion of getting brands involved in drama on tv is bonkers( he suggested that as the victim is running away from the murderer he makes a phone calland then your phone would ring with the victim on the line – see his i/v on Click the BBCshow a few weeks ago ). Clearly if you have two screen on X Factor where the singing takesup such a small part of the show, or sports programming, there is plenty of time to use asecond screen to enhance the show by offering stats etc.
  • 91. ONE YEAR IN NOW MEDIA / 92Finally, from your point of view, what would be the best example(s) of good brandintegration with content and multiplatform?I still love the use of Usain Bolt, Visa’s brand ambassador, in A League of Their Own on Sky1 just before the Olympics. We integrated a whole new round in the show all about speed, weshot special material with Usain in Jamaica which we put into the show, we got JamesCorden to introduce The Visa Sprint Challenge which all the other celebs on the show tookpart in so getting brand enhancement through all the other celebs too. We had productplacement in the show too as well as taking the programme’s broadcast sponsorship. We alsoplaced the Usain/Visa Olympic ads in the centre break and then we took over the Skywebsite with ads and extra content that sat on the Visa site where we had competitions fortickets to the Games too. As Visa’s message was all about the speed of contactless paymentthe whole campaign worked brilliantly together and gave personality to a brand in thefinancial services sector which is notoriously difficult. This was a ground breaking mediapartnership.
  • 92. INTERVIEW - STEVE STOKES————————————————————————————————Strategy Director, Manning Gottlieb OMD. Follow Steve on @stephenstokes.You’ve been working with a number of big brands in today’s multi-platform world.How has their perspective (of the multi-platform world) changed over the last fewyears?The best way to start to answer this is to look at things from the perspective of people (orconsumers as they are more formally called in marketing circles, but I prefer people). Howhas a new multi-platform world (driven by new technology) changed their behaviour, be thatmedia, buying, consumption, product research, purchase or interaction with others? Whatopportunities for brand building and selling result from this? And are brands reacting to this?New technology and behaviour has allowed us to explore location based marketing forStarbucks through mobile phone, targeting likely customers who live or work near aStarbucks store at relevant times of the day. For brands such as Waitrose, the social aspect ofFacebook has allowed us to create on-going quality food content related to the seasons whichcan be shared but also importantly discussed amongst a genuine community of interestedfans. Recognising the importance of YouTube to create and define a cultural “hit” andunderstanding how and when people interact between TV and YouTube, whether that be as“second screens” or at other times, has enabled us to create an online “hit” out of every long-format John Lewis TV ad in the past few years.Our biggest task is how we integrate brand ideas across traditional and digital channels. Wewon the social media category in last year’s Festival of Media category (shameless plughere!) for PlayStation’s KillZone3 but in reality the idea lived beyond social media channels,in Press, PR, events, digital partnerships etc. But when you think about it makes total sensefor ideas to live across a range of channels, using the strengths of each media channel, whichis in turn based on people’s use of the media in that channel.I think increasingly we need to look at things from people’s points of view (I know thissounds obvious, but it’s not always followed). Understand what their behaviour is first acrossthis multi-platform world and then work out what value we can give them to earn theirattention, respect, consideration to purchase, sharing to their networks etc…In what way can brands be approached by creators? Many plan for brand engagement,product placement, sponsorship etc. but have no connection to brands. Via mediaagencies?I think that there are four predominant ways brands work with content. They create theirown, such as advertising or content on their own sites. They “badge” other content such assports, film, TV sponsorships. They ask people to create content for them (and of coursepeople create content on their behalf which they may not want them to create, some of whichcan be intentionally negative). Or there is some kind of collaboration with any of these
  • 93. ONE YEAR IN NOW MEDIA / 94parties such as media owners or fans. The two prime opportunities for content creators areprobably “badging” the content and or some kind of collaboration with the brand, but creatorsneed to work out which camp they want to sit in and what if any control are they willing tocompromise on.First, however there has to be a great “fit” between brand and content. The areas I think areinteresting are: Passion areas, Points of view in the world and Aspiration (There areundoubtedly others). Many brands try to build interest, relevance and status with peoplethrough being part of their passion areas. This could be big passion areas such as majorsporting and music events and teams for big brands who want to relate with big audiences ormore niche passion areas such as extreme sports, niche music or The Arts. Increasinglybrands are expressing a point of view in the world that surrounds them and Dove’s“Campaign for Real Beauty” is a brilliant example of this. And finally plenty of brands stillthrive by using aspirational communications, especially image based advertising andaspirational partnerships. So the best opportunities exist for content creators if there is agreat “fit” and if there is potential compromise (E.g: product placement, sponsorship,limited edition products, advertising partnerships etc..) .Who is the best party to deal with? I think any client or agency that is progressive enough tobe creating or partnering with similar content creators. Definitely the top media agencies, butalso forward thinking creative, digital and through-the-line agencies too. But the “fit” withthe brand has to be there first. Content creators would be best off doing a bit of homeworkfirst on specific brands and their recent communications activity before proclaiming that theircontent is a perfect match for a given brand.How do you view the future? Will brands start to create more in-house, commissionmore, go more transmedia?I don’t think that there is necessarily one perfect place for content creation (and itsmanagement) to take place. It will depend on individual brands and brand owners. However Ithink the four key areas that will help determine this are: 1. Expertise. 2. Control. 3. Timeand resource. 4. Integration.Expertise, because in a world of content over-load, only the best content will shine. Mediaagencies are in a good place due to their consumer understand and their relationships withmedia owners and their production company partners.Control is particularly important in the social space or if a brand is operating in real-time,creating or changing content on an on-going bases, dependent on real-time insights. Somebrands choose to bring this sort of content in-house because of this, however the right agencywith a close relationship with and strong understanding of the brand can ease any potential“lack of control” fears.Time and resource are linked with expertise. An expert in content creation is likely to bebetter resourced than an in-house brand team, particularly when there are seasonal orunknown spikes in resource demand.
  • 94. ONE YEAR IN NOW MEDIA / 95Finally, integration is an ever important area for brands. Brands and there agencies need to setup processes where marketing and content activity can be more joined up and less siloed.Media agencies are in a great place to provide the “glue” between the different activity,particularly if they take the lead in mining insights via emerging real-time data analysis ofconsumer behaviour and attitudes.
  • 95. CHAPTER SIX THE AUDIENCENow I know - or at least I hope - that everyone who reads this knows the importance ofknowing your audience. Back in the days when I was a radio show host we used to imaginethe viewers we were talking to, to get the most natural and comfortable tone possible - orwitty, or angry, or whatever feeling and impression we wanted to convey. In the world of nowmedia, it is not nearly enough to imagine an audience - you need to go out and meet theaudience head on, get to know as much as humanly possible, and take it all back to thedevelopment lab with you. This is all as educative as it is scary and time consuming, andabsolutely, totally necessary. This applies even more when we talk about multiplatform andtransmedia storytelling, where the audience often is encouraged to participate, to activatethemselves and even to contribute and collaborate.
  • 96. 6/3/2012How to get your transmedia project in front ofpeople————————————————————————————————This is a short post about one thing I’ve thought a lot about in the past, which also is an issueI believe many – especially smaller, indie-type – producers of transmedia are confronted withwhen trying to launch a project: the art of getting your content in front of people.This, I’ve found, is quite naturally key to many things regarding a successful project. Youmight have beautiful and compelling and immersive and interactive content, but unless youcan get someone to take note of it, you’ll never capitalize on its potential. You need to placeyour content in front of 100 people in order to get 10 to act on it and one to become anevangelist; this means you need to reach the 100 people first. If you do, you’ll have an easiertime convincing partners, distributors, commissioners, sponsors… How to do this differsfrom case to case, but here are three general guidelines I think feel right to point out (and thisis assuming you’ve created content that is great, that is accessible, that opens up forinteraction and that people basically will like or even love):Make use of trendsWhatever it is you are creating, there is some trend going on that you can attach your contentto (or more than one, preferrably). Without compromising your story or the integrity of yourcontent, you should be able to enter into discussions and point to relevant aspects of whatyou’ve created. You might also find inspiration to develop your content further in accordancewith certain trends.This, providing the content is good, will lead to your content beingimmersed in conversations about something bigger and greater, leading to an often muchneeded boost.Conclusion: if the discussion is already ongoing, take part of it. This must be done on anhonest and suitable level, of course (i.e., NOT marketing)Identify beacons and approach themYou’re probably already familiar with Malcolm Gladwell’s book ”The Tipping Point”, wherehe talks about Connectors, Mavens, Salesmen and other types of people with greaterinfluence on others than regular people. For whatever you’re doing, you need to do yourresearch and find the people that a) might be interested in your content and b) have a reachand a credibility that will further your cause. A great example is the campaign for ”Game ofThrones” and the sending out of the boxes of materials and smells from the world ofWesteros. This generated quite a buzz, along with all other activities pre-launch.Admittedly, few of us have the financial muscle of HBO. This is not to say you shouldn’t try;again – honesty and great content will pave the way. (For examples of how NOT to dragpeople into rabbit holes, just google ”failed transmedia marketing campaings” (or read aWired article on the subjecthere) ! )
  • 97. ONE YEAR IN NOW MEDIA / 98Conclusion: If you can get other people to do your work for you, you should. Again, yourcontent and your approach should provide these people with enough incentive to do thatwork.Market your contentTransmedia is not a question of ”build it and they will come”. HBO built ”Game of Thrones”,a way bigger building than any of us will be able to accomplish, and still found it crucial tomarket their content heavily. The same goes for your project, be it small or big or somethingin between. You will want to market it, in order to get as much exposure as possible before aneventual launch. Your budget should have a marketing post in it, and your research prior todevelopment should include market research, so as to target your marketing as adequatly aspossible. One strength you do have as a transmedia producer, is the possibility to thinkoutside the box. Take the prelude to your content or story and play it out as a marketingcampaign, for instance. Use the powers of transmedia storytelling methods to further yourcause as much as possible. But market your content; build it, yes, but also tell people about itand preferrably offer them free rides to what you’ve just built.Conclusion: don’t sniff at marketing; just use it in a way that suits your project.
  • 98. 9/5/2012Closed or open participation in transmedia?————————————————————————————————We hosted our bi-monthly MindClub in Vasa, Finland, the other day, and had the greatpleasure of welcoming Christy Dena as our main speaker. Something in particular stuck tomy mind from the chat with Christy and other participants afterwards, and that’s what thisbrief post is about.See, transmedia is many times (and in my opinion most often should be) inclusive of theaudienceand encouraging audience participation in one way or another (just googling”audience participation in transmedia” yields 80k+ hits, for instance). But then, opinions startto differ, especially regarding the level and the way and the openness of the participation.Now, any participation must, naturally, make sense within the scope of the project andas a part of the story world. If this is a given, however, we come to the question of thenature of the participation.Will it be a closed participation, where the audience is given a set number of choices oralternatives to play around with, a participation that is 100% in the hands of the creators? Thebonus is of course that the audience will experience more or less exactly what the creatorshave intended, the story arch will continue as planned and there will be no deviations, notrouble ahead, and the next instalment that follows will continue along a logical path and notconfuse any member of the audience. The drawback is that it might be less engaging, aspeople do not invest anything of themselves in the content, and that the creators miss out on apotential huge mass of creativity by not encouraging the audience to create anything withinthe ramifications of the story world. The very interesting Rides engine by 4th Wall Studioscould be considered to fall into this category.Will it be a closed participation which gives the appearance of an openparticipation? This is most commonly referred to as ”sandboxes” or perhaps Jeff Gomez’”Swiss Cheese Model”, where certain ares, places or gaps in the narrative and/or the storyworld have been set aside for the audience to create stuff themselves. The bonus is a moreengaged audience, a creative output within the context of the story world and the narrativesuperstructure and possibilities to spread the ”gospel” of the story world through eageraudience members sharing their creations with their friends, becoming evangelists in theprocess. The drawback is an added need to create more in order to accommodate thesesandboxes or cheese holes; they need to have logical places in the narrative superstructure.Another drawback is an added need for more manpower in order to moderate contributionsand creations – a need that, with time, can be handed out to credible and realiable members ofthe audience, but in the beginning probably must be in the hands of the production team.Or, will it be an open participation that also gives the appearance of an openparticipation? This then would go somewhere in the direction of the SharedStoryworlds propagated for by Scott Walker, for instance. I.e., the story world is created, a
  • 99. ONE YEAR IN NOW MEDIA / 100narrative superstructure is in place, and the audience is given more or less free reins withinthese parameters, to create, collaborate, share and design. Bonuses include a vastly increasedmass of creativity around the content, the possibilities for new and unexpected (and brilliant)stories and facets to emerge and basically work power for free. Drawbacks include the needto be able to let go of the control of the content; either you don’t control it, and it’s openparticipation, or you try to control it, and it’s not. Can’t have it both ways. Moderation mightstill be implemented though.Now, there is no way to say which of these is the right choice. Many I’ve spoken to wouldnever go along with a totally open participation, which I understand perfectly. If I wouldpropagate for any one model, it would be for an overarching strategy, planned for the verybeginning, which gradually opens up the story more and more for participants. Whatstarts off as a series of novels that no one can influence grows into an online experience withsandboxes for people to create their own characters and their own villages/cities/areas, whichevolves into a shared story world where stories are told from all corners, within theparameters of the story world.I’d join!UPDATE: Rob Pratten of Transmedia Storyteller and Conducttr wrote a post on his/theirview of participation. This "layered participation", blending the ones defined above byoffering one content "as is" to be consumed, while opening up the surrounding story worldfor participants to explore and add to, is definitely a very good way to go if it fits the contextof the content on offer (and Id imagine itd do that for almost any kind of content, fromfiction to documentaries and onwards).Layered participation could be seen as a well working blend of the types of participationoutlined above, all according to the wants of the creators, the needs of the audience and thecontext of the content.2 comments:Scott Walker said...Simon: this is a recurring topic in my talks about shared story worlds.I think any kind of either-or, dualistic approach unfortunately ignores the various shades ofgrey that creatives can take. "Open v. closed" so simplifies the concept of participation that itremoves any kind of possibility for discussing the space between (and I wont even dive intothe semantic implications of putting this kind of "unspeak" dichotomy to the audience - Imean, how many of us *want* closed systems?).As I try to communicate whenever I talk about shared story worlds, the participation in anSSW is customized for both the creative who made it and the audience the creative invitesinto it.Participation can be scoped, scaled, framed, expanded, and reshaped countless ways.
  • 100. ONE YEAR IN NOW MEDIA / 101Curation can be light, moderate, or very rigid.Roberts post touches on the kind of narrative pathing I blogged about a few years back - theidea that the audience is given control over where, when, and how they decide to enter anexperience and move around inside it. And for transmedia experiences, control over narrativepathing is an illusion, anyway (I choose whether I start with the comic and migrate to thegame or enter via the TV show but then dive into the comic).I suspect I need to write a post to further explore this, but it will have to wait until Im backfrom the FMX conference!As always, thanks for surfacing great topics and raising great questions. :)Simon said...Scott, thanks for your reply and very valid points.I agree that - as with almost anything in media, art or even life in general - either-orapproaches tend to limit the scope of how one can approach a certain subject. My intentionwith this post - where Im, as always, writing from the select point of view of a formatdeveloper - was to get my own head straightened a bit around these points. "Participation" asa term can mean vastly different things depending on what project we talk about. In my mind,with regards to this post, I imagined "participation" to mean input of some kind from theaudience.To answer your question, how many actually want closed systems (and again, "closed" canmean so many things!) the answer is probably surprisingly many. Not only from a possiblebrand or marketing experience, but also from a creative point on view. Weve been involvedin projects - hired in as consultants - where the creators from our point of view would havebenefitted enormously from simply letting go of control to a certain extent. In the end, theychose to SAY that the audience would play an important part, while actually NOT lettingthem do so. Frustrating to say the least.Im thoroughly looking forward to your post. Have a good time in Germany!
  • 101. 15/5/2012Transmedia and the Audience————————————————————————————————In a post in February I talked about what I saw as the ”Five pillars of transmedia”, thedifferent types of people that need to work together to successfully develop, produce andlaunch a transmedia project. There was a sixth pillar as well, which was the Audience. This iswhat I wrote back then:All of this |the five pillars written about earlier in the post] leads to one thing; the need tocreate a transmedia experience that will engage, excite, enable and enrich an audience.This, while all the people representing the five pillars above need to communicate fully andthoroughly with each other, communication which may or may not include the use oftranslators and glossaries to assist with the understanding.What it all boils down to is that everyone must strive to understand everyone else andopen ones eyes to the possibilities and challenges that will arise. Or, rather, open one eyeto possibilities and challenges, as the other eye needs to stay constantly fixed on the audience,ready to adapt, respond, re-develop and communicate. The audience is the foundation thatall these pillars need to be grounded on, else we’ll just have a heap of rabble in the end.More on them in another post.I’ve been having a number of discussions lately on this subject, transmedia and the audience.Here then, a brief post looking at some of the issues:Experiences from an earlier lifeI have a solid background in traditional media, newspapers, tv and a lot of radio. I still think Icould do a three hour radio show without breaking a sweat (although my music selectionmight be a bit dated). When doing radio, the target audience becomes extremely important. Iused to close my eyes and imagine the persons I was addressing my next speak to; listeningto it afterwards, the voice changes, the wording changes, the whole persona changes – whichis something that cuts through the static and reaches people.The same goes for transmedia project, only here it’s not enough just to close your eyes andimagine an audience. Having done that, you need to research that audience, find out whatthey do, what they like, how they behave, how they connect, how they share, how they playand who they really are. This is, in parts, gruelsome work, especially in the beginning. Butthe more data you have, the more knowledge you have, the more you have to build on forfuture projects, and the more knowledge you have about what knowledge is actuallynecessary to focus on. Whatever you do, don’t ignore the need to target your audience.The inactive audienceThis is a mistake I still do, when I get too caught up in the whirlwind of creativity. Fact is thatthe major part of your project’s audience, be it on TV or online or wherever, will choose notto be interactive. So, when planning and developing and producing anything, you need to
  • 102. ONE YEAR IN NOW MEDIA / 103make sure this large part of the audience are offered a full experience even withoutinteractivity. That is, you need to make a great show or a great project, that simply becomesEVEN GREATER if someone chooses to interact with it. I’ve seen quite a few pitches gohaywire on this point, as the show might be good, but no one on the creative team couldanswer the question ”what do the people who don’t have an iPad do then?”. Think ofeveryone in the audience.The active audienceThat said, you will (hopefully) have an eager crowd participating and being active andinteractive. In which way this happens is of course dependent on your project and what youhave developed. One thing I’ve learned (and heard in discussions with a number of othercreators) is that you can never create too for too much interaction. If you’re aiming for anARG or for interaction with characters or for exploration of the greater narrative, theaudience – if your content is compelling and engaging enough – will always be quicker thanyou anticipated. As you’d ideally like to have an audience hungry for more, you need tocreate more in order to not have a sated (or even worse, frustrated) audience at some point.This in turn takes its toll on resources and manpower; one solution is to design for audienceco-creation in a more open environment, but this needs to be incorporated from the verybeginning of the development process. Or the project will be limited in scope and time, whichultimately will make it more of a one-off. Choices, choices… but as a rule, use transmediastorytelling methods to always create more than you think you have to.Harnessing in the long runIn the same vein, think about what to actually do with your audience. Be they silentspectators or active participants, they have still invested either time or effort or both in whatyou have created. Providing the experience was a positive one you’ll have a more or lessdevoted audience to engage with. Many projects, for practical, financial or other reasons,think of their project in the scope of what is at hand, nothing more. I’d argue that it pays offto think a bit further, from the outset. Yes, it is harder to think of your project as a two- orthree-step rocket. Yes, it is very much difficult enough to create ONE good project and get itfinanced and produced. But at the same time, not doing so will mean you’ll have to playcatch-up at the point when you HAVE an audience, and that audience is clamoring for more.Also, think about what else you’d like to use your audience for; perhaps you’d like to doresearch on a very specific target group? Perhaps you’d like to engage them in a charity orget exposure for a start-up or something else? If this is something you want to do, you need toplan for it from the beginning, so that it in some way sits naturally in the narrative and thestory world; having the main character support UNICEF at some point will make it possiblefor you to champion UNICEF’s cause to your audience, for instance. Bottom line, thinkahead (there are always painkillers for the inevitable headaches).Respect without grovelingFinally, I think this is a point well worth remembering. The audience deserves our respect.
  • 103. ONE YEAR IN NOW MEDIA / 104This would in my book involve not hoaxing them, not stepping outside given ramifications,not exploiting them, not treating them like commodity. ”Do unto others” is a phrase thatcomes to mind. That said, there is no need to grovel; you have created something, of whichyou have all the right in the world to be proud. If someone else starts giving you a hard timeover it, just give them a friendly reminder that they can go do something else with theirtime. Haters gonna hate, no matter what; don’t let it get to you. Sensible and constructivecritizism on the other hand, THAT is something you should let get to you !.Good resourcesI’ll finish by stating, as a disclaimer, that the views above are from my limited point of view.There are many others with insights greater than mine, who discuss the importance of theaudience, who explore the interaction with audiences in their work and who are great peopleto keep tabs on in this regard. Lance Weiler comes naturally to mind, as do NunoBernardo and Gary P Hayes.
  • 104. 11/12/2012The audience conundrum————————————————————————————————I had a conversation with the quite brilliant Tishna from Power to the Pixel, while we bothwere attending the Future Media 2.0 conference in Riga, Latvia. It concerned the delicatequestion of how to actually nurture an audience, and what lines there were that could becrossed but probably should not be crossed.In a world where narratives are created and developed and produced and distributed with thehelp of transmedia storytelling methods as an essential part of the process, there will beample opportunities for the producers or IP owners to, in a very logical and natural fashion,integrate themselves with the target audience.To give you an example: a story where the protagonist is a storm chaser on the great planes ofmidwest USA would require whomever working on the story or the whole concept to gain athorough understanding of how storm chasing works, how storms are born and live and dieout, etc and so on.Earlier, this was research only, in order to be able to write that story.Now, with, amongst other things, transmedia storytelling methods, new possibilities exist. Ifyou, as a producer or an IP owner, have the opportunity to engage with the target audience ontheir own level way before the launch of the story, shouldn’t you do so? You would have thepossibility to gain a following for what you will release unto the world before anyone elsehas even seen it. Again, this can be called out as having been done many times before, underthe heading ”Marketing”.Yes, but marketing is also changing. What if you were to integrate with the storm chasercrowd well in advance of any launches? You would talk to the other storm chasers, youwould make a name for yourself, and after nine months you would start to release sketchy butamazing material, sharing them with your tribe. One month on, you would excitedly telleveryone that ”They’re making a film out of my storm chase!”. The film would be released,to a crowd that is already informed and primed.The obvious possible backlash would be the audience finding out about the hoax. This wouldruin months of work in a heartbeat or two.And precisely this was what we discussed. You should definitely prime your audience, ifyou have the chance, to make them more susceptible to the stories you are about to tell. Buthow much developing of your audience can you do, before we’re moving into dangeroushoaxing land?My suggestion would be to approach the matter in this order: 1. Analyze your project; does it need an engaged audience, or would a spectating one suffice? Would a hoax be seen as a natural part of your project, providing it was produced well (i.e. nothing that would anger people was it to be found out)?
  • 105. ONE YEAR IN NOW MEDIA / 106 Basically make sure that you know all you need to know to, with certainty, proclaim a yes or a no for your show to apply any of the methods discussed.2. Analyze your audience; is it one open to alternative things? Is it one where trust is of the utmost essence? Is it a very critical one? Is it a very suspecting one? The better you know this audience the better you will be off in the end, as you’ll be able to pull the plug if necessary, or run with them if that’s needed.3. Analyze your plan; has anything similar been done? How did that turn out? What flaws are readily visible? Do look up different articles on hoaxing in transmedia and make sure you don’t make the mistakes the other projects did.
  • 106. INTERVIEW - YOMI AYENI————————————————————————————————Creative and Transmedia Lead at Clockwork Watch Films. Follow Yomi on @yoms,2012 was the year Clockwork Watch was born. What kind of year has it been for you?It has been a very remarkable year with immense highs and lows. To put things into context,participants are co-creating a story about a Victorian age that theyve never experienced.Some have taken the concept further than I could ever have imagined, launching independentbusiness concepts based on the stories contributed to our narrative. Our press coverage andunderstanding of Clockwork Watch has been overwhelming, were getting attention from allquarters, with hardly any PR. Were on course to take Clockwork Watch: Breakaway to theSan Diego Comic-Con, and have live events planned on a global scale. Its been hard keepingall the plates spinning, especially as I am currently the only person working fulltime on thisproject and we have a budget of zero.In your mind, and looking at what you’ve done in the context of Clockwork Watch, doyou feel have an audience, or do you have a tribe, a bunch of collaborators… in whatmindset do you see the people you make content for?I think we have a cross between all three, an audience, tribe and collaborators. The audienceis the several thousand people who receive our newsletter. Many of our dispatches are openedand read, while some people actually correspond with us, and click the links. The Tribe arethe people who generously amplify our social media channels, blog about us, as well as cometo our events, book signings, etc. The collaborators or co-conspirators - as I call them - arethe engine that really drives this bus, they tend to roll deep. They contribute, create, debug,champion and love what were co-creating.What wishes do you have for 2013?Clockwork Watch changes gear in 2013, we are going for a more engaging story, told throughlive events. While the start of this narrative has been online, the next stage is more engaging,immersive, and physically participatory. The tone of the storyworld changes, people will beencouraged to claim real estate in the world, and bring it to life at our events.I would like to tie up all the commercial partnerships in Clockwork Watch, find a distributor /publisher for our comics, and a producer to take on the film. Id also like to know what itslike to have a wage - something I havent experienced in the three years I have been workingon Clockwork Watch.
  • 107. INTERVIEW - SCOTT WALKER————————————————————————————————President of Brain Candy, LLC. Storyteller, world builder, creative catalyst. Follow Scott on@scott_walker.You, like no one else I know, believe in shared storyworlds. Has anything come along tochange your mind, or do you still believe?With a tip of the hat to Fox Mulder, I definitely believe. : )I believe well continue to see an increasing number of entertainment properties applying acollaborative commercial framework from a legal, operational, and creative perspective.And to put this in some context, heres what I mean. I often talk about "value co-creation" asthe foundational concept on which these collaborative commercial entertainment propertiesare built, with "shared story worlds" being one specific implementation arising from thegeneral concept of value co-creation.To date, most of the shared story worlds I have found are outside Hollywood or evenmainstream media. Independent creatives are the true pioneers in this area.However, Im even seeing signs in the past couple of years that media companies areexperimenting with value co-creation.One example is the Mann Company Store created by Valve for its Team Fortress 2 onlinemulti-player video game. Valve used the online store to sell virtual, in-game goods for playersto use in the game, and they invited anyone to submit their own original virtual goods for salein the store. These effectively put user-generated virtual goods on the same "shelf space" asvirtual goods created by Valve. The company paid out roughly $1M in revenue sharing overthe first year to contributors whose goods were sold in the online store.Another is "The Hunger Games" Cafepress store, which allowed anyone to use imagesLionsgate made available on the website to create custom goods that fans could sell throughtheir Cafepress accounts. In short, fans were allowed to sell goods on Cafepress using official"Hunger Games" images and keep a portion of the sales. While I cant verify this, Im sureLionsgate got some cut of the sales, but the salient point is that Lionsgate shared money withaudiences and fans.These examples are solidly in the merchandising area and far from the "come share yourstory thats set in our world" invitations of shared story worlds, but they point to a graduallyshifting mindset that acknowledges audiences can do far more than simply consume content.You told me you’re edging away from ”transmedia”, why is that?The short answer: My personal interest in transmedia had eclipsed my professional interest in
  • 108. ONE YEAR IN NOW MEDIA / 109shared story worlds.The long answer: My focus since 2007 has been exploring new legal and creativeframeworks for entertainment properties that allow audiences and artists to collaborate andco-create without stripping artists of all commercial rights to their work. That interest led tome co-founding Brain Candy, LLC in 2008 and launching an original shared story world laterthat same year (Runes of Gallidon). In mid-2009, I happened across Henry Jenkins"Convergence Culture," and I became fascinated with the concept of transmedia storytelling.I attended the Futures of Entertainment 4 conference that fall (the theme was transmedia),and in December 2009, I co-founded Transmedia L.A. with Jay Bushman.I was personally fascinated by the concept and the practice, and by the end of 2009, I foundmyself in the company of some very talented, smart, and friendly folks who were producingor analyzing transmedia.But transmedia is not synonymous with shared story worlds (though they are highlycompatible and complementary). After all, if youre going to invite audiences to play in yoursandbox, why not give them as many mediums and options to choose from as possible? Andif youre going to go to the trouble of rolling out a transmedia property, why not take the nextstep and invite audiences to co-create with you?But as early as 2010, I had to make a clear distinction between what Brain Candy was doingand what I, personally, found interesting. So I blogged about how Brain Candy never was atransmedia company, and Runes of Gallidon never was a transmedia property. I tried to makeit clear I personally remained fascinated with transmedia but professionally, my focus wasvalue co-creation and shared story worlds.I even blogged about it again a year later, mostly out of my growing concern of possiblybeing confused as some kind of transmedia expert (community builder perhaps but never anexpert).I was fortunate enough to meet the practitioners and academics who had done some amazingwork in transmedia, and they welcomed me into their community. Its why I continued to beinvolved in the transmedia community for so long - I personally liked and professionallyrespected them.But at the end of the day, my goal was to explore shared story worlds, and for most people,transmedia doesnt include an explicit invitation to contribute, collaborate, or co-create. SoIve been (slowly) pulling back from transmedia.As for Transmedia L.A., Im happy to report that Hal Hefner has stepped up as ManagingDirector, and hes got an impressive vision for the organizations future. Under his leadershipand with the team hes assembled, Im sure hell realize it!How do you see the role of the audience changing? Is it gearing towards collaborationor co-creation, or towards a more fragmented landscape?
  • 109. ONE YEAR IN NOW MEDIA / 110I see the line between artist and audience becoming blurred, though the line will remainbright in some cases and become quite fuzzy in others.I dont see a wholesale rejection of pure content consumption (i.e., the audience is a passiveconsumer of content), but I do anticipate a growing percentage of audiences will no longer becontent to stay in their seats. Happily, more creatives are inviting fans to do just that - get outof their seats and even come up on stage.Now, theres been a lot of criticism aimed at this kind of audience participation, and some ofit is quite accurate. Story-by-committee, exquisite corpse storytelling, and similar structuresfor narration do not generally result in what most would consider "high quality" stories.Furthermore, limiting participation to "choose-your-own-adventure" does a disservice both tothe audience and the artist in terms of ignoring other types of collaboration. Finally, fanfiction is often dismissed as painful to read…and much of it is.Yet, who among us would argue that Hollywood, the video game industry, or the publishingindustry - the very gatekeepers whose existence is generally justified on the basis of filteringout poor content and delivering good content - consistently produces high quality content?The dismissal of value co-creation based solely on a high-quality bar completely misses theprimary point of inviting audiences to co-create: it fundamentally changes the relationshipbetween the artist and the audience, and that change opens up new opportunities not possiblewhen the audiences ability to deliver value is measured only by its capability to consumemedia.Shared story worlds can and do yield high-quality content, but in my experience, thats notthe over-arching reason for the artists who launch these kinds of properties. Theres usually arecognition that either the artist needs the audience in order to achieve the vision they havefor the property, or the artist wants a different kind of relationship with their audience. Thecontributed content becomes a testimony to the new relationship, not the causal basis for it.Certainly, many consumers will remain just that, and most entertainment properties willcontinue to diligently guard the wall between artist and audience. But some walls now havedoors in them, and a few have come down altogether.For the artists and media companies who can stomach the legal hurdles and put aside theircreative egos, there is a whole host of opportunities waiting for them.But one thing is clear: the question for artists isnt whether audiences will continue passivelyconsuming content. The question is how artists will respond to the audience members whorefuse to sit quietly in their seats.
  • 110. INTERVIEW - LANCE WEILER————————————————————————————————Storytelling agnostic, writer, director, producer. Professor at Columbia University. FollowLance on @LanceWeiler.You are very good at working with the audience, in everything from ”Robot HeartStories” to ”Wish for the future”. How do you view your relationship with the audience,and how has it changed over the years?Over the years my relationship with audience has shifted dramatically. I often call them"those formerly known as the audience," since I see them as potential collaborators. Ichallenge myself to design with them instead of for them. At the core I build off threeelements 1. Value (is there a way for story to become a utility?) 2. Care (how can I design andbuild storyworlds that have strong emotional cores and connections?) 3. Fun (how can Idesign in ways that are fun and participatory?). I use these as design filters as I work. Theother thing that I do is give time to understand the "why" around what Im designing. Toooften there is an urge to jump directly to the "how." By spending time exploring the "why"Ive found that it aligns nicely with the opportunities for collaborative design.You’re well traveled to most corners of the world - do you see any differences in theapproaches towards the audience in different territories? Or is it mainly due to type ofcontent?On my travels Ive see a shift across various industries with regards to their relationship tostorytelling. Everyone is trying to understand how to deal with the everchanging digitallandscape and many feel that storytelling is a universal base. How do you communicate amessage, tell a story, position a brand, or stand out in a world of white noise? Over the lastyear my journeys have included an array of interesting conversations and partnerships thattouch into publishing, gaming, television, film, world governments and academic institutions.There is a greater sense of potential as it shifts from a dire situation into an evolution ofpossibilities and exploration. Ive seen new funds emerge, the rise of purposeful storytellingand the launch of storytelling-focused incubators and accelerators in an effort to support thedevelopment of new projects and what hopefully will become new business models.What are your predictions and hopes for 2013?2013 is going to be an exciting year.1. The story layer.Well see more people experimenting with bridges between the real and digital worlds.Storytellers will begin to let their work talk to the internet. The "internet of things" is uponus; a world in which everyday objects become connected to networks. Youll see a rise of thestorytelling layer which provides an opportunity for story to be placed over the real world -enabling stories to become more pervasive, social, connected and personalized. I often write
  • 111. ONE YEAR IN NOW MEDIA / 112about the subject in my column over at Filmmaker Magazine.2. Purposeful storytelling - Design "with" instead of "for"In 2013, youll see storytellers move to give their work greater purpose. My theory is thatstorytelling in the 21st century has an opportunity to be transformative in a way that enablesthose formerly known as the audience to become collaborators. Thanks to thedemocratization of tools to create and distribute media, the formerly top-down entertainmentindustry is now bubbling up with new stories and business models. So at ColumbiaUniversity where I teach a course on Building Storyworlds, we are working to build a StoryDesign lab that mixes narrative design, game mechanics, and design science to tackle socialproblems.This past semester, we concluded a pilot for the Story Design lab. Columbia students andformer foster kids (one being filmmaker Lydia Joyner) worked together to build animmersive storytelling experience. Participants came to realize that this was not just a sci-fitale, but a story rooted in the experiences and feelings that our collaborating foster kids wentthrough when they aged out of care.By designing with instead of designing for, the students and former foster kids built anexperience that created emotional connections and empathy for those who age out of care.The results were so strong that the framework for the experience is being considered byorganizations like the Brevard Family Partnership as a way to help potential foster careparents. The hope is that by placing someone in an immersive experience, they will be able tounderstand on an emotional level what it is like to be a foster child.3. Fail faster.In 2013 well see a rise in people failing forward. Since the infrastructure to tell immersivestories is so fragmented, there is no single path or process to build emotionally charged work.The ask to the audience is too great and is not intuitive. While its exciting that there are norules, there needs to be more of an open sharing around what works and what doesnt. Byembracing failure faster we can learn from it and evolve the immersive worlds we wish tobuild.
  • 112. CHAPTER SEVEN THE EVENTSThe transmedia tribe is a loosely knit one. It spans the globe, with people weighing in withprojects, comments, discussions and articles from all corners of the world, from New Zealandto Canada, from France to South Africa, and nearly everywhere in between. At the same timeas it is a loosely knit one, however, it is a very inclusive one, with no shortage of friendlypeople to help newcomers on the way or give feedback on projects or solutions. Still, with alltechnical possibilities and all the buzz around transmedia and nowmedia, the fact remainsthat the only way to really get to know people is to meet them face-to-face. That’s the onlyway to be 100% sure that any criticism or advice can be attributed in the right way, and that’s- for me - the best way to know with whom I’d be comfortable to enter into a partnership orco-operation when it comes to development work. I’ve been lucky enough to be have beenable to attend a number of the media gatherings taking place, meeting interesting people,hearing about their even more interesting projects and making great connections for futurepotential collaborations. In this chapter I’ve collected my reports and wrap-ups from all theevents I attended during the year.
  • 113. 7/4/2012MIPTV 2012 – thoughts and comments————————————————————————————————So, MIPTV 2012 is done and dusted, along with MIPFormats and the inaugural MIPCube.The days – and the nights – flew by at a breathtaking pace, so now I find myself in Antibeswith my family for what I definitely feel is a well-earned vacation.With the events of the past few days still somewhat fresh in my head, I thought it prompt towrite up a short recap of some things I saw as important. Mind you, I was in the MIPFormatsPitch final and had, as a consequence, quite a number of meetings, so I missed out on a lot ofinteresting stuff. On the other hand, business is business, and I’d rather have it than not, so…Still, here are some things I thought worth taking note of:The TV industry is moving in the right direction.With this I mean that amongst the clutter of animated cuddly bears and 14-hour long dramaseries with serious bearded men from the Middle East, there is a growing number of people inthe TV industry who get that there is a real need for everyone to take note of where theaudience is heading and make plans for how to be there to welcome them when the majorpart of them arrive. Granted, the ways of doing so vary wildly, from Lisa Hsia and her MasterChef-transmedia-extension to companies geared solely towards connected TV-sets, andeverything in between. Still, I was positively surprised to see TV people talking to techpeople and actually discussing issues and challenges, not just mmm-ing and aahh-ing along.The brands are in the mixAlongside the tv industry are the brands. These have in several cases shown a readiness to gobeyond their previous limits when it comes to offering true and engaging stories, and to someextent even build it all into something touching on transmedia storytelling principles. Still,many simply do not have a clue.As transmedia can help in so many ways, it just feels a bit silly not to utilize it to get deeperaudience engagement, more serious interactive possibilities and a firmer story world, ormythology, to build further story archs on and offer logical and immersive entry points into.Milking the ”transmedia” buzzword for all it’s worthThere were a lot of transmedia creators and producers in Cannes last week. Some actuallyare, while others are more of the kind that like to jump on any buzzword that might buy thema free lunch or three. All in all, I can’t help but observe that the term itself is becoming prettydiluted. Add to this the fact that everyone who actually knows something about transmediaseem to find it impossible to talk about transmedia without starting with ”aaaand, so, myview of transmedis is…” followed by a description that differs less than 2% from thedescription of the previous speaker. For the first time in my life, I’ve actually felt a yearningfor a definite definition of ”transmedia”, if only to be able to get rid of all these definitions
  • 114. ONE YEAR IN NOW MEDIA / 115hopping about.TV going social… controlling the uncontrollableMany people, many companies and many apps on exhibit (especially at MIPCube) wereabout taking the TV experience into a social direction. For the most time though, this wasabout pointing people to the Facebook page and to the correct hashtag to use if tweetingabout the program. Still, less than one third of new shows commissioned actually launch anFB page as well, which is just appalling statistics. I.e., what people in the biz are trying to dois control the uncontrollable, harness that which can’t be harnessed, basically using tactics ina social space that never should be used in a social pace.
  • 115. 25/5/2012Nordic Game and Nordic Transmedia Meetup———————————————————————————————— Yves Bordeleau from Cyanide and Asta Wellejus from Die Asta Experience talking about the upcoming Game of Thrones game.It’s Friday mid-day and the transmedia track at the game conference Nordic Game has abouthalf a day left; right now I’m listening to a presentation of the game version of Game ofThrones (pictured above, sorry about the quality :).Now, Nordic Game is a game conference. 1600 people, most of them coders, gamers andother industry people; lots of game showcases and a lot of talks on how to create and co-create and finance and market games and game content.On the transmedia track, talks have been slightly different. The Nordic Transmedia Meetupday on Wednesday 23rd drew a crowd of 70+ producers from the Nordic countries. Thetheme was financing, with some sidetracks into unconference territory as well. Some keytake-aways, especially from investor Doug Richards, was the importance of actuallyunderstand what need your project or product is addressing. It’s basically always useful to doa NABC (Needs/Approach/Benefits/Competition) analysis of any given project. Anothertake away from Doug’s feedback to people pitching their projects to him was that one shouldnever reveal too much about one’s company or product, especially when talking to potentialinvestors. If no one knows your metrics and what you’re worth, you could be worth anything!In the open discussions many different issues were treated by the participants; from the art ofcollaborating with music in a transmedia setting via how to create a framework engine for thepre-production of transmedia projects to an idea of a Kickstarter-like online service forselling content.Randy Pitchford from Gearbox in the US – they’ve made games like Borderlands and Halospin-offs – talked about how to manage the image of a company. He stressed the importanceof letting the employed invest in the company, to encourage them to think about image and
  • 116. ONE YEAR IN NOW MEDIA / 117profit. There is, he observed, a need to really invest in the people at the company as well; asyou spend a lot of time on yourselves, this investment permeates the image of the company.Andrea Phillips gave a great presentation on ”Why Games need Transmedia”, highlightingthe fact that games are about experiencing flow. By breaking up the frame of a game, it ispossible to let the story flow over to other media. This would also, she argued, be the mostnatural thing. When a player sits at his or her computer or console he or she wants to game,not watch cut-scenes for minutes. There is also a real and tangible need to know the Contextand the Backstory, in order to be able to create and develop it all into a coherent whole. @jonatchoo on designing - "Dont Expect Anything Original from an Echo"Jonathan Jacques-Belletête from Square Enix / Eidos talked about designing, issues andsolutions that can be applied to a number of other areas aside of game development. Key takeaway would be the advice to use Originality mixed with Familiarity when designing justabout anything – originality will make the brain log your content in more ways with morenew connections, so that it can be retrieved easier, while familiarity will add a feeling ofcomfort, security and even nostalgia.All in all the Nordic Game conference and the Nordic Transmedia Meetup was and is asuccess, in getting people from different industries get together and discuss the issues andopportunities gaming and transmedia can offer across the board. My only regret is that Ivenot yet been able to clone myself to attend more presentations, talk to more people andnetwork even more. The next step in the Nordic Transmedia saga will hopefully be a NordicTransmedia Finland meetup in Oulu at the Nordic Panorama festival in September.
  • 117. 14/6/2012Cross Video Days Wrapup————————————————————————————————First of all I should say – as you do with substitute football players given 10-15 minutes ofplaying time at the end of a game – ”he featured too short a time to be properly rated”. As Iflew in Tuesday afternoon and out again directly after our ”How to create successfultransmedia projects”-session on Wednesday morning, I saw a lot less of the conference than Iideally would have.That said, my impression was of a well-run conference with good speakers, interesting topicsand a very easy-going feeling to it all. Even the buyers who were present were quite relaxed.The only sessions I managed to take part of fully were the one I was on myself and theshowcase of ten transmedia projects on Tuesday evening. I was quite intrigued by the varyingshapes transmedia is taking nowadays, from the early-stage interactive television project”Jurors” by Italian G-Com to the ambitious ”209 Days” by The Workshop Production fromAustralia. My personal favourites were probably the documentary venture about Philip KDick and the interesting project "Generation Tahrir", both of which, in my mind, had capturedthe essence of transmedia storytelling; creating more, thinking multiplatform and engagingthe audience on a number of levels. You can judge for yourselves, as all the participatingprojects are featured on the Cross Video Days website.Our session was the second one on Wednesday, following an interesting presentation fromEurodata, which put transmedia and cross media into perspective by looking at crossmediated tv shows of the past few months.To evaluate our panel is a bit hard as I was on it myself, but I think we all in all managedquite well to cover a lot of ground regarding transmedia storytelling and it’s principles and
  • 118. ONE YEAR IN NOW MEDIA / 119challenges. The session was live streamed and should be up on the Cross Video Days websiteas well. We – me, Rob Pratten, Ian Ginn, Raymond Van Der Kaaij and Boris Razon,moderated by Laurent Guerin– touched on everything from great examples of successfultransmedia projects (my point being that you need to clearly define what the criteria forsuccess will be for any given project, so that funders and producers and distributors andsponsors are all on the same page when it comes to evaluating the success or lack thereofwhen it comes to a transmedia project) to production challenges, the art of creating a buzzand mistakes we’ve made ourselves in transmedia (from ”creating too much content” to ”notbudget properly for community management” to ”underestimating the audience and trying tokeep up after the fact”).All in all, it was a great experience. As our panel talked about and as the pitched projectsclearly showed, there is no shortcut when it comes to creating great transmedia projects. Youjust have to keep on keeping on, get better all the time, gather a trusted bunch of collaboratorswith the necessary skill sets and go do it.
  • 119. 4/7/2012Pixel Lab 2012 half-time report————————————————————————————————I’m currently attending the 2012 edition of the Pixel Lab, one of the foremost professionalworkshops / seminars in the field of multiplatform / transmedia in the world, IMO. 36producers are attending from all over Europe (and some from even further away), backed upby a host of tutors, experts and Power to the Pixel people.The days are long and totally jam-packed with information, inspiration and great discussions.As I reflected over breakfast just now; it’s very rare and extremely nice to be able to sit downwith anyone in attendance and NOT have to go through the initial 10-15 minutes of trying toexplain exactly what it is you do. These are all professionals, and whereas some might comefrom the ad sector, some from film, some from gaming and some from distribution ortelevision, the mere fact that they have applied for the Pixel Lab means that they have an urgeto explore the future of multiplatform and transmedia to a greater degree. This in itself makesfor good connections, no matter whom you talk to. Quite a nice venue, Resort SchwielowseeNow, there are things I can’t write about, as we’re working on actual projects as well in outgroup work (must add that Sean Coleman is a very good mentor for hte group. Also slightlyaddicted to post-it notes) and I am under obligation not to share the details of these. But manythings can be written about, such as the presentations of experts and tutors. I’m slightlypressed for time right now, so will just briefly mention the people we’ve had the pleasure oflearning from up until now. A more in-depth studie will be available later in the week.If you’re so inclined, I’m Storyfying each day of the Lab – here’s Day One and Day Two –with tweets, links, quotes etc.Lance Weiler, enigmatic as ever, kicked things off on Monday with a great introduction towhat the week basically will be about. In the talk – Igniting the Imagination of many – hepointed out the theory of information foraging as something for producers and storyteller tostudy, something I completely agree with. Another key point was the need to prototype a lot
  • 120. ONE YEAR IN NOW MEDIA / 121of stuff fairly quickly, fail fast and learn fast and not be afraid to try things out. I can relate –coming from a television background I feel my projects often swell out into too large thingsthat are unnecessary cumbersome to produce and get financed.Adam Sigel on the other hand talked about strategy development, again something thatmakes perfect sense – designing a plan of action, in order to achieve a particular goal. Hetouched on many other good points – the need to develop user personas in order tounderstand them better, the need to explore the themes of your story as they are the ones thatwill carry over to different platforms, rather than your characters, and so on. A lot of goodstuff.Stephen Stokes from Manning Gottlieb OMD spoke about the changing brand landscape,where brands increasingly are re-appraising values, becoming more authentic and generous,recognising the need to earn attention; they essentially need to DO more and adopt modernstorytelling techniques. Key is also to focus on actually understanding the audience; forinstance, ”always leaving them wanting more” just doesn’t cut it anymore. This was the firsttime I’d heard Stephen, and I’d say that he gave a very good impression, talking about a facetof the development processes and the industry that other speakers merely touched on.On Tuesday morning Nuno Bernardo took to the stage to talk about business models fortransmedia and/or multiplatform. Nuno is a great example to follow when it comes to simplygetting your content out there, building an audience and getting things commissioned andfinanced. One way that seems to work pretty nicely is getting R&D funding in to do, not astory world, but Specs. To produce, not a pilot but a Prototype. To do, not distribution butDissemination, and so on. The major bonus is that you will have an IP of sorts at the end ofthe process, and probably an audience and a community to use as leverage in negotiationswith broadcasters.Paul Tyler, another new acquaintance for me and a good presenter to boot, came in fromHandling Ideas in Denmark to talk about gaining insights about the audience, starting offwith the very true assertion that content developers are more focused on delivering content toplatforms rather than users. He also pointed out that the most important action a contentcreator can take is to ask the right questions. This in order to understand existing needs andprovide a solution. His take on brainstorming was also quite neat, called Reversedbrainstorming; think evil, how can you make the experience worse. Then take the suggestionsand turn the around.Tom Putzki started Wednesday off with a sessions on the games industry. It’s a pretty big onefor sure, worth billions and billions… 40 billion € worldwide to be more precise (which I wasunder the impression was a bit more, but perhaps not).
  • 121. ONE YEAR IN NOW MEDIA / 122 Martin Ericsson from Bardo talked about gaming from another angle, that of a Live Action Roleplayer. ”Games are not fun because they are games, they are fun because they are welldesigned”. He also pointed out that we can look at a lot of different sources to find inspiration regarding transmedia projects we develop; if you want to learn about sharing and socialnetworks, look at for instance Dragon Age II on FB. If you want to learn about the process ofleveling up, look at computer-based roleplaying games, and so on. Interesting talk! Finally Id just like to say that even though Im attending without a project of my own, its immensely interesting to listen to experts like Inga von Staden, Lance Weiler and others evaluate the projects on the table. Very interesting stuff.
  • 122. 23/9/2012Reflections on transmedia – NordicPanorama edition————————————————————————————————I’ve spent this weekend up in Oulu to attend the Nordic Panorama festival for documentariesand short films, and more precisely to act as a consultant at theTransmedia Hackathon thatLaura Marie Kiralfy put on there via her Encounters project. The company I workfor, MediaCity Finland, also played host to the 2nd Nordic Transmedia Meetup on Saturdayevening, getting a lot of decisionmakers around some glasses of wine to talk definitions,strategies, projects and challenges. Tomorrow I’ll be moderating a session with Soren Fleng,the producer assigned with managing the television adaptation of Angry Birds. All in all, aneventful weekend.Talking about what I do during the weekends is not the main topic of this post, however. Ithought I’d share some of my reflections from the past couple of days, things that hit mewhile talking to documentary filmmakers from around Europe as well as with aspiringtransmedia startups from different fields:Not many people get transmedia. That is understandable. But not that many people – not eventhose working in media – have even taken the time to reflect on how people actually areusing media nowadays and how that can, and must, influence how they develop, produce anddistribute content.Many people would want to get transmedia. This is the first time that I’ve seriously felt thelack of a definite definition as a hindrance; usually it is possible to explain the term, even if ittakes some time, but it becomes more difficult when people really want to understand on avery deep level, comparing “transmedia” to “cross media”, “multiplatform” and other terms.Vagueness and generalizations just won’t work in that case.When working with a transmedia project, one of the most important things to learn (and thisis something that can only be achieved through making stuff and drawing conclusions) is thatit’s immensly important to know how to limit oneself and ones project; there is never time todo everything that would be possible, and if there was, one would most likely be lackingfunds or skills instead. The key is to use ones own experience – or someone elses, if onesown doesn’t cut it – to know which parts are actually essential for the project to achieve thedesired goal, and which are not.
  • 123. ONE YEAR IN NOW MEDIA / 124In that context, one must strive to use the media platforms and the storytelling methods thatmake sense. Don’t ever go for preferred ways of doing things, just because they are preferredways. And there is no need to be lured by the latest technology or the newest possibilities;just because you can make an app, for instance, there is nothing that says you should. Again,this is where experience and knowledge – ones own or someone elses – comes into play.Any creator of something so complex as a transmedia project (reflecting on the documentaryprojects I’ve consulted on here) shouldn’t do the mistake of thinking that (s)he does thingsbetter on their own. Always collaborate if possible; if it’s with hackers or storytellers orphotographers or business gurus, that doesn’t matter, just find the best ones possible andcollaborate.Always scout for other, already existing projects, that tie into the project. If they agree to,collaborate! They probably already have an audience and experience to draw on so not onlyare you giving these projects a new breath of fresh air, or perhaps access to a new audience orpossibilities for new revenue streams, you’re also tapping into an existing audience that canhelp boost your project.
  • 124. 11/10/2012MIPCOM 2012 – it’s getting there————————————————————————————————So, the last night in Cannes once again as MIPCOM 2012 is done and dusted, and once againthere is that feeling of things moving slowly in the right direction. Yes, there is a lot – anenormous amount – of content that is as content has been for quite some time already; gameshows, drama, animation, what have you. At the same time, there is a feeling in the air thatthe ones rooting for cross media strategies, for social media strategies, for transmediastorytelling and for taking the audience into account on a whole new level, are gaining involume and strength.This is a slow industry though – or at least it has been. With good reason as well, astraditional television has done quite brilliantly over the past 40 years or so, now being anindustry worth well over 200 billion € annually. Why change a winning concept, you mightask? Well, some of the answers became quite clear during MIP; YouTube, for instance, held acouple of convincing sessions, showing that building a report with the audience and treatingthem more like friends than an actual audience, involving them in the stories and keeping upa line of good content released systematically can lead to viewing figures even the majornetworks would be hard-pressed to sniff at.What it all comes down to is that the world is changing – as I’ve mentioned a couple of timesbefore – and the sooner everyone realizes that and take proper action, the better for everyoneinvolved. I am not of the über-zealous digital kind, that would need for everyone to dropeverything they have and jump on the multiplatform bandwagon, but I firmly believe that ifwe decide NOT to branch out our narratives over several platforms, NOT integrate our IPwith social media in a logical way that makes sense and NOT consider 2nd screen viewingand interaction, those decisions need to be based on well-informed, conscious reasoning andnot just because we don’t feel like it.Some highlights of the show was Angry Birds revealing their teaming up with Star Wars (myson will be absolutely thrilled , 4th Wall Studios getting to talk shop at the Future ofTelevision session, YouTube announcing more new channels and more new money than youcould shake a stick at, Shazam talking about a serious userbase and some new and innovativeways of telling stories through their services… And a lot of other stuff. The Wrap Up Panel at MIPCOM 2012If you want the full report of the week, I can think of no better place to go than MIPBlog,where James, Angela and Stu quite brilliantly have gathered everything that happened over
  • 125. ONE YEAR IN NOW MEDIA / 126the past few days. The Wrap Up panel I took part in at the end was pretty neat, go look at thatvideo when you have the chance, but so were a lot of the other talks.
  • 126. 28/10/2012London Transmedia Fest 2012————————————————————————————————The London Transmedia Fest event has concluded, with one day of branding and storytellingin focus and another day with the Future Media Bootcamp (where I talked a bit on newfunding models), a TV Hackathon and an Immersive Writing Lab.On Friday it became quite apparent that there is a very tangible interest in transmediastorytelling, not least among the marketing crowd. And it’s no surprise; utilizingtransmedia storytelling methods when working on content – be it together with a brand or not– simply makes sense. It forces a creator to examine the subject at hand in great detail,document all aspects of it and thereby gain new inspiration and see new ways to offerentry points to the audience and engage them as participants and co-creators, fosteringengagement and establishing loyalty towards the content and/or the brand.Friday kicked off with Ogilvy talking about brands and storytelling. I will readily admit, Ithink they have gotten a lot of things right. The showcases were for the most part pretty awe-inspiring, beautifully produced and very well designed to cater for an increasingly scepticaudience’s appetite. At the same time, it’s not so much about creating what I’d call ”truetransmedia”, it’s still about marketing, only now with a greater understanding of where theintended target groups actually are nowadays. There is quite a lot of talk about story worlds,about deeper narrative… but in the end, it’s most often ”just” a campaign, only a lot fancierand on more platforms than before. And I’m not judging anyone now, I believe it’s a greatstep forward for marketing to go into storytelling more than ”just” witty ad spots, but at thesame time it could be so much more.The BBC also impressed with their numbers for the Olympics – all online streams had morethan 100k views, 12 million people watched the Olympics on mobile etc – but in my bookthat’s still not really transmedia storytelling; enabling people to watch the same events on anumber of platforms. I know there are people who are of the opinion that it is indeedtransmedia; I guess it all comes down to your own definition of the term (once again).
  • 127. ONE YEAR IN NOW MEDIA / 128A couple of other things that stuck in my mind was firstly the fact that Red Bull have beendoing their thing so consistently and so well, that they now can start to reap some seriousbenefits. By going into the niche of extreme sports and – through their media house –creating brilliant content there, for a long period of time, they have now reached the pointwhere they are breaking even on their content, and are looking to turn a profit nextyear. For a brand, that’s just awesome. Make your marketing material and have broadcasters /distributors pay you to feature it on their shows? Good work.Secondly I was thrilled to hear that we might just be reaching a point where we’ll see a newpricing model for content on television, based not solely on ratings but on audienceengagement as well – recording tweets, FB updates, ”buzz”, interaction etc, combiningthem with traditional ratings and coming up with new ways of pricing a show.The Future Media Bootcamp saw some really good speakers on Day Two of the LondonTransmedia Fest. Matt Campion gave a great overview of where the money is in the digitalage and how to best try to get hold of it. I spoke about funding from the POV of a creator/producer, citing our ”The Mill Sessions”-project as an example, and referring JeffGomez’ ”10 Commandments” post from last week as a checklist for anyone wanting tonurture their content in the best possible way. Chantal Rickards from MEC talked aboutbranded entertainment, and I can’t but long for the kind of budgets they have to throwaround. Some terms were actually new to me. It’s quite natural to understand that brandswant to go from paid-for content, via owned content to the area where someone else writesabout them and talks about them for free – ”buzz” as you would have it – but the importanceof ”Brand in Hand” had eluded me (i.e. the practice of getting people to take your product intheir hands, be it free soda bottles or tasters of youghurt or Nintendo controllers).A little interlude was had after Utku Can’s (Mint Digital) and Rob Pratten’s (Conducttr /Transmedia Storytellers) interesting talks, when a small debate started, prompted by aquestion from the audience on the ethics of multiplatform and transmedia. Now, I get wherethey were coming from – there was precious little talk about ethical matters with regards tofunding, sponsoring, data mining etc. I absolutely believe this is an area that should beexplored further and discussed and hopefully agreed upon… but this was on the other handperhaps not really the best venue for that.The TV Hackfest also concluded – the winners were a team that had come up with a browserplugin called ”Don’t Tell Me!” that blacked out potential tv series spoilers from friendsupdates on Facebook. Pretty neat, althought similar stuff had been done before with babys vskittens etc.I won’t write about every single detail that happened, but for those inclined the back channelis up on Epilogger here. All in all, a couple of good days out at Ravensbourne college; hopethat next time we’ll see some more truly innovative transmedia examples!
  • 128. 6/12/2012Future Media 2.0 – some thoughts————————————————————————————————First Motion, a pan-Baltic area EU project, organised a conference this week in Riga, Latvia,and were kind enough to invite me to attend and take part in a panel discussion on fundingand transmedia. From two pretty packed days, here are some thoughts I had: ◦ Transmedia, cross media, multiplatform – no matter what you call it, it’s permeating the media industry. The Latvian Minister of Culture sent her greetings to the conference, and even that greeting talked of ”transmedia” and ”cross media”, without using them in the wrong way. I will admit, I was a bit impressed. ◦ There is an impressive amount of creativity out there, but when it comes to money, not so much. There was an inspiring lot of varying content on display, from the strange but genial Ghost Rockets from Sweden to the app-game-to-tv-series project The Great Jitters from Germany and anything in between. The different solutions that people had come up with were sometimes impressively neat. ◦ Initial funding is essential. I’m not sure I saw any project during these two days that would have seen the light of day without some sort or other of seed funding. Even though I’m a strong advocate of projects – and especially cross media and transmedia projects – being financially viable propositions, I readily acknowledge that most of what we want to do either takes an extremely long amount of time, or cost a bit of money. If you’re a small producer, you need some sort of kickstart, that regional, governmental or EU-funding can provide. ◦ A VC-forum for business angels and content producers to meet and team up would, in my book, be a brilliant addition to the flora of funding bodies. There were a couple of people that informed me that something along those lines would be coming along, in 2014 at the latest. I hope that pans out well. ◦ BeActive know what they are doing. Triona from beActive presented their look on how to finance content, and I’m always impressed by their clear strategies, their broad-spanning content development and rollout and their quick and nimble production schedule. Great stuff. ◦ As always, although the talks all were good or even great, the networking was arguably the greatest part of the conference. The multiplatform tribe is an energetic and welcoming one, also in Eastern Europe – if the Baltic states can even be considered Eastern Europe.All in all, a very good two days in Riga. Looking forward to the next corresponding eventalready!
  • 129. INTERVIEW - LIZ ROSENTHAL————————————————————————————————Founder and CEO of Power to the Pixel, Cross Media and Digital Media Expert. Follow Lizon @powertothepixel.With the lab and the market and all other events you do, how do you view the playingfield right now? Is transmedia getting up to speed?Since 2007 when Power to the Pixel launched, we’ve seen the quality of projects growexponentially. We now develop up to 20 projects annually through The Pixel Lab and selectaround 30 projects for our Pixel Market taking place during our annual Cross-Media Forum.This year, we could have happily chosen more if we’d had the capacity. At the beginning,many of the submitted projects were what I call wrap around cross-media where a traditionalformat is the primary driver and the cross-media elements, web, game, app etc are secondaryor generally considered as marketing afterthought. A large majority of projects often seemedto be a checklist of cross-media and social media elements without any clear strategy to theirdevelopment or roll-out.We now see a wider variety of native cross-media projects where the producer or creatortakes a platform agnostic approach to story design. This is the kind of approach that we’vebeen encouraging in our labs and other workshops. Where storytellers adopt a more user-centric strategy, where the motivations and behaviour of their audience are an important partof how they begin to engage and design for their audience.You talk to commissioners and funders and producers alike; do you feel everyone istalking the same language? Do you see any areas where there is something lacking,when it comes to creating great transmedia content?Cross-media and transmedia are still considered by most in the media industry as buzzwords.Or often as some kind of high budget marketing afterthought aimed at hardcore fanboys andfangirls. Transmedia is not the easiest of words to swallow. We spend a lot of time trying todemystify the term and also trying to get people to understand that there is not a magicformula but it is more of an approach to developing IP for today’s fragmented audiences whoare demanding stories and entertainment that are way more social and interactive than everbefore. So understanding the motivations and behaviour of your audience and building astrategy to how you are going to start engaging them is an important part of story design nowtoday.Generally the different media sectors are still mostly silod. Everyone is still taking a businessas usual approach to project development and finance which usually still orientates aroundsingle traditional media formats, where projects tend to get developed in a vacuum for manyyears, with no audience engagement until they are about to launch. We’re interested in theidea of prototyping ideas with audiences early on. It’d be interesting to be able to have moreopportunities to rapidly prototype ideas. You could spend a couple of years developing a hugetransmedia project but technology, platforms and devices evolve so rapidly that your ideacould be obsolete before you even go into production. You have to be able to adapt fast andbe prepared to fail rapidly. But to do this we need appropriate financing structures and
  • 130. ONE YEAR IN NOW MEDIA / 131development methods. Hardly any of these exist. Most financing models are based aroundtraditional single media formats and not around platform agnostic approaches or an R & Dapproach which is less restrictive. Another essential element is to bridge gaps betweendifferent media sectors and technology expertise. This is one of our main goals at PttP wherewe help build and broker relationships between creators, financiers and producers fromdifferent sectors who need to start working together to negotiate this rapidly evolving world.What blew you off your feet in 2012, any particularly great moments?The Pixel Lab residential week was one of my professional highlights. The spirit ofcollaboration and generosity between participants and mentors is always infectious. Also it’san amazing chance for us to get together with some of the leading innovators andpractitioners in the field and to share ideas, compare notes, show work and to generally enjoyeach others company! Such a great opportunity to think and breathe projects and ideas over aweek without being interrupted by day-to-day running of the company. It always blows meaway how much has changed in a year. Another favourite was the collaborative storyprototyping session that Lance Weiler ran first in The Pixel Lab for around 65 people whichwe then expanded out during the the Cross-media Forum Conference Day to be the largestever of its kind. In the last 90 minute session, over 400 people who attended the conferenceday in the National Film Theatre in London, together identified a problem that faces society,prototyped a solution, and constructed a narrative around it. The audience voted to create aworking time machine and despite the theme seeming rather whimsical, the session illustratedthe power of participation and creative collaboration.What are your predictions and wishes for 2013?Three interesting trends amongst many I’d love to add!1. 2012 has seen the huge growth in the adoption and effectiveness of crowd-funding.Traditional media financiers are beginning to look into new ways of combining crowd-funding, -sourcing and -curation into their finance and business models. Until now crowd-funding has operated though a rewards-based system. President Obamas JOBS Act, wassigned into law in April and includes new provisions that will make equity crowd-fundinglegal. Exciting stuff! This could create a whole new revenue stream for projects and the riseof new types of hybrid financing models.2. The growth of connected objects where we are beginning to see media platforms anddevices as the only way of relaying and communicating broadcasting stories and ideas as athing of the past. Storytellers will soon be able to take advantage of a world of connectedobjects in what has been termed the “Internet of things”, providing a whole new canvas forstorytelling.3. Last year we started to see new some beautiful new formats emerge for the tablet thatcombine longer format storytelling and interactivity and even more important - the potentialfor a new revenue stream. The web and the PC have never been the ideal platform/device forinteractive story formats, web docs or graphic novels - tablets are already proving a place
  • 131. ONE YEAR IN NOW MEDIA / 132where video, text, animation, graphics and fiction and narrative can happily co-exist in newtypes of multimedia formats. One big issue for app-based products on iPads/ iPhones is thedependency on iTunes approval. Independent voices could be facing a whole new regime ofcensorship!
  • 132. CHAPTER EIGHT THE FUTUREWho wouldn’t want to be able to predict the future? Unfortunately, that is quite difficult todo. Increasingly it’s also becoming more difficult to look back and draw on experiences andhistorical evidence to point possible future developments, as technological, sociological andbehavioral aspects change and move on with constantly increasing frequency. The old adagiothat we - as Bill Gates said in the 90s already - always overestimate where the world will bein two years time and underestimate where it will be in five years time no longer really holdseither, as it’s no longer two years and five years, but increasingly leaning towards two andfive months instead. So, what can one do? Try one’s best, that’s why. I remain optimisticregarding the future of multiplatform storytelling though. It’s where most parts of the worldexist already, so to not create for a multiplatform world would be contra-productive indeed.
  • 133. 21/2/2012A Future for Transmedia————————————————————————————————In an article over at GamaSutra the other day the author, Leigh Alexander, asked the verylegitimate question ”where’s this glorious transmedia future?”, referring to his view that thegaming industry is leading the social media revolution, and televison and film are slow tocatch up.He has a point. (On the other hand, looking at the 17,2 million social media imprints theGrammys generated during one day, and the 17,5 million the Superbowl generated a weekearlier, television does make an impact in the social sphere (although not harnessed to anygreater degree, more’s the shame)). Transmedia is not ”there” yet, wherever we envisage”there” to be. We have experimental projects, we have big-budget marketing campaigns, wehave art projects, we have crowdfunded projects and any mix between these. Very few ofthese will have a significant impact on other transmedia projects, as all new projects need tobe handled from the ground up as unique challenges.To the man (or woman) on the street, the term ”transmedia” means nothing. Whatmeans something is great stories. What means something is funny and/or interesting and/orexciting and/or engaging interaction with characters as well as peers around content andconnected to content. What means something is the feeling that ”I matter in thiscontext”, that someone is listening, that something is created for me, that I can participate if Ichoose to and I’m welcome to. What means something is to achieve that willful suspensionof disbelief, with regards to the story being told as well as to the different media it’s told on.What means something is have different pieces of the content puzzle available on differentplatforms that I have easy access to. What means something is to have the feeling ofdiscovery and the tools to share this discovery with my friends.All this can be ”transmedia”, and the development, design, production and distribution (andmarketing) of all this is made easier and better by using transmedia storytelling methods.Still, ”transmedia” in itself will mean nothing to the people taking part of the story. I willnever sell something to a broad audience with the "transmedia" tag only - perhaps toacquisition people or sponsors, but never an audience - I can only do that with great content.Lucas JW Johnson had a post yesterday over at Silverstring Media where he talked abouttransmedia not being a ”thing” itself, but rather could be viewed as an aspiring artform. Or, asLucas put it: ”Transmedia is a way of thought, a way of conceptualizing storytelling andexperience in a way that is not limited to a single form or medium, and at its best takes fulladvantage of that tack.”What we have is a situation where we’re still looking at people in silos looking at each other,expecting something to happen. It won’t, not by just looking. Every project is a different one,and I’m increasingly starting to believe that any “best practices” that we will come up with,with regards to transmedia, will be pretty broad in shape. Definite definitions of best
  • 134. ONE YEAR IN NOW MEDIA / 135practices will be as rare as definite definitions of transmedia itself.On the other hand, I’m increasingly of the opinion that this is nothing essential. As little asthe term “transmedia” means to the man on the street, as little will it mean to all of uscreating it in the future. Dennis Crow writes in the comments to the GamaSutra articlethat “ If a brand new IP could have a movie to tell the story, a game to immerse the playerinto the world, and a TV show to produce additional episodic content, then it truly couldconnect with a huge audience in a way that hasnt been done before.”This is where we will end up. It’s just – as always – taking a bit longer than everyonehoped for.
  • 135. INTERVIEW - NICK DEMARTINO————————————————————————————————Strategic consultant for businesses, producers, non-profits and educators. Follow Nick on@nickdemartino.Last year you said the transmedia field reminds you of the indie filmmaking communityof the early 90s. Is that still the case? For good or for bad?The analogy between 90s indie filmmakers and the current transmedia movement is stilluseful in a number of waysSimilarities:The nineties were a breakthrough decade for the US (and worldwide) movementof independent filmmakers, sparked by the Sundance Film Festival and what appeared to bean audience appetite for more personal, quirky and challenging films. The revolution was oneof distribution, with the rise of specialty distributors who put the resources (both financialand human) into customizing the process so that these niche films could find their nichemarkets. The heyday lasted roughly 15 years, until the recession of 2008 knocked the legs outof the distribution market, and most of the specialty distributors vanished, and the remainderstruggled to find a business model that worked. With a glut of product on the market -- manymore indie films are made now, thanks to lower costs of production --- it has becomeincreasingly difficult for the specialty film to break through the clutter to find an audience.The need for customized distribution and marketing remains, but with less money sloshingaround the system, filmmakers are often forced into the DIY model, which usually entailsreinventing the wheel.Transmedia producers, at least those who are themselves independent of the mainstream, facethe same requirement to build a bespoke model for reaching the audience. Indeed, becausemost transmedia properties are built around some form of audience engagement from theiroutset, the customization imperative is pervasive -- even for the big studio franchiseproductions and those transmedia projects build around brands. The difference between theindies and the big boys, of course, is that the latter have marketing budgets behind theiraudience strategies.Differences: The indie film of the 90s was the inheritor of four generations of creativepractice in the production of feature-length films. Even if the themes, scale, subjects,character and tone varied between those that went before, the indie film was still a variationthat audience understood. Its a movie. Transmedia suffers from a crisis of definition, evenamongst its most ardent advocates. To some, the template is the ARG. To others its webinteractivity. Others frame their work in the tradition of games. So we have the spectacle ofthe nomenclature flame wars, which are really turf wars over a very small available numberof budgets from clients who need to start by creating a content strategy first, and thenfiguring out how to build to that spec. If the project is truly independent, meaning it is thework of an artist or a small team with a passion, they must first define the transmedia tale,and then, very much like indie filmmakers, reinvent their own wheel by finding funders,lining up distribution, connecting with audiences, and playing out the project. So its similar
  • 136. ONE YEAR IN NOW MEDIA / 137to the indie model, only it involves more components.You were not convinced that transmedia should be considered a new artform 12 monthsago; has anything happened to change your mind?Well, as I mention above, transmedia is the elephant surrounded by a lot of blind men -- alltouching different parts and proclaiming with conviction that the damn thing looks a certainway. Depending upon whose description is used, the elephant can look pretty different. Thetrouble, for my money, is that the consumer doesnt recognize the container consistentlyacross different case studies, as they do with movies, TV, games, and the other constituentplatforms with longer histories. The conventions of the feature film are well understood. Wegrasp the container, even as we see a very wide range of expression within the container.There are elements that make it recognizable. Ditto with TV shows, series, games of allsorts.At the current state of things, the vast proportion of transmedia properties encountered by thetypical fan are subsets of a dominant commercial culture. So naturally, they are regarded aspart of the movie (Batman), book and movie (Harry Potter), TV show/comic (Walking Dead),etc etc.They are, simply put, extra stuff that somebody has made for them to extend the world of anexisting property. How similar is that to a Lance Weiler or Christy Dena indie project, inwhich the entire experience is brand new?I think the indies are the place to look for the emergence of new models. Whether they willcoalesce into a new and recognizable art form, or simply be examples of a broader category(interactive art? digital media? electronic arts?), its probably too soon to tell.Are there any particular trends you have been able to pick up on during the past year,that reflects on the evolvement of the multiplatform / transmedia world?To me the most interesting work is being done by folks who invite the audience into a co-creation role with the author (showrunner). Ive been working with a company, which has a platform that allows a story to be guided by the author, butperformed by audience members who create accounts in roles -- its almost like a videodocumentation engine for a LARP. Because the story form is open to a wide audience, thechallenge they have is scale -- so once large numbers of people accept the storytellersinvitation to participate, especially in an ongoing way, there has to be a way built into theexperience that lets the audience curate, refine, select. Otherwise, its not really a story, its anarchive. This interaction between user engagement, capture, sorting, display and sequencingis fascinating.Heres another example of the capture/display dilemma: I thought Daniel Knauf BXXHaunted was an interesting experiment. Heres a guy who did a big-budget series for HBO(Carnivale) who launched a storyworld inside a haunted house. The user didnt create contentso much as discovered it by navigating a customized website that featured the floor plan of
  • 137. ONE YEAR IN NOW MEDIA / 138the house. Cameras were recording the goings-on in the house, updated each week. Knauffinally ended the experience with the conclusion that the story was not digestible in its pure,randomized format. So he edited the whole thing into what amounts to a 32-hour movie. Imnot sure its any more digestible -- its a very low-res unfolding of the story, which is prettyfreaky if you like the genre. But still, its only for the true believer.Disney Imagineering unveiled StoryEngine, which weaves virtual and face-to-face storycomponents into a single back-end platform that will allow new types of experiences to occurat their parks. This addresses several of the persistent problems with ARGs, which typicallycome and go, and are lost forever after--rarely repeated; are difficult for audiences to find,and therefore tend to appeal to a super-niche of ARG fan types; and often have to have anengine built to contain the experience.Finally, in addition to Theatrics, which is still pivoting from a story to a platform, we saw theemergence or growth of quite a few storyform engines that address one or more segments ofthe industry, including Galahad, Zeega, Cowbird, Zeebox, Watchwith, Storify, Story Nexus,Chute, Story Bird,, Social Samba, StoryRide, Animoto, Conductrr, Gloto,, Switchcam.How about the distant future? You mentioned earlier that ” zeitgeist seems almostentirely dominated by rapid turnover of functions and fads.” Have you seen any signsthat would contradict this?The digital developer lives and dies by the rules of delight and discard. Microsoft eclipsedApple, which returned with a vengeance and now dominates the world, even as its challengedby Google and its licensees. Facebook, and to a lesser extent, Twitter have become the seawithin which we all swim, and yet in the last year, the shiny object is undoubtable Pinterest,which grew to 11 million monthly uniques in less than 9 months. The same with Tumblr, veryrapid growth and adoption. YouTube is the 900 pound gorilla, even as it pivots its model toimitate cable TV, which is still going strong with a business model that defies logic. Most ofthe startup buzz is around mobile-first apps. But nobody has really nailed a business modelbeyond apps which is dominated by casual games. Advertising will grow, but the userexperience is painful. All of these are business/consumption/audience/product shifts that startsmall but grow. So yes, the only sane conclusion is that we have arrived into a world wherethe consumer has more power, but often, in the name of convenience, s/he cedes that powerto a monopolist or an oligopoly which acts like everyone who gets that power, and milks itfor all its worth because they know that empires begin to crumble at the pinnacle of success,the place where its hardest to see the fissures.Finally; have you, during 2012, experienced something in the transmedia field that hastouched you in the way a good book or a film could do? A year ago, that was missingfrom the experience.When will we cry? My only gasp/cry moments this year came from books, movies, TV. Itshard to imagine the "transmedia" experience that gave me the jolt I received fromHOMELAND, which compelled me to sign up for Showtime again from my cable provider
  • 138. ONE YEAR IN NOW MEDIA / 139so as not to miss a minute. Or BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD, which made me feellike I had taken acid, just from watching the movie. Or a half-dozen other movies. Or a newmystery series like THE BUTCHER BOY, which I really loved, especially because I listenedto a superlative audiobook version. Maybe the closest Ive come is Bear 71 from the NFB/Canada, an interactive documentary.
  • 139. CHAPTER NINE THE RESOURCESI’ve written a few articles on different features of the field of transmedia and multiplatformduring the past year. These have been conscious pieces, aimed at helping out someone who’dbe in a position much like I myself was some years ago - absolutely fascinated by the worldof transmedia and the possibilities unfolding, but with very little knowledge about whom toturn to and where to go to get more and adequate information on the subject. These articlesare my way of trying to guide newcomers - and why not old heads as well - in some of themany right directions there are, by pointing out brilliant people to listen to and interestingprojects to keep tabs on.
  • 140. 19/3/2012Ten Transmedia People - Spring 2012 Edition————————————————————————————————Transmedia is a fascinating genre, as the imagination to quite an extent is the limit of how faryou can go, how far you want to reach (well, imagination… and funds… and deadlines… andmanpower… and other annoying variables).This in turn means that new examples of transmedia rise to the surface all the time.Reactions and comments, analysis and case studies abound, from a great number of creativeand intelligent people. Next to creating, developing and producing myself – i.e. learning bydoing – this is where I find I learn the most about transmedia; from brilliant people allaround the world.For anyone starting out in transmedia, I thought I’d compile a small list. Here are ten peopleyou could do worse than following on Twitter, on blogs and anywhere you can find them, tobe inspired and awed and kept abreast on what transmedia is and where it’s heading. Theseten people dont necessarily overlap that much and would therefore be a good combinedstarting point for anyone looking to learn more about transmedia. The descriptions arepurely from my own point of view, so I hope no one is offended.In no particular order, here they are, ten transmedia people, spring 2012 edition :) :Christy Dena should be a household name for anyone in transmedia. Her transmedia PhDgives her quite a lot of cred in the area, cred that she manages very well. You can have thefortune of catching one of her talks at some point, you can get up-to-date stuff on Twitter, orread one of her insightsful posts somewhere. She’s also working on some interesting stuff, soyou should definitely keep tabs on her.Brian Clark is a bit of an enigma, and offers a slightly different point of view on whattransmedia is and what transmedia could and should be. We agree quite a lot when it comesto transmedia and finances, and you should definitely read a) his series over at Henry Jenkins’blog on financing transmedia and b) this thread on Facebook; ”Reclaiming Transmedia
  • 141. ONE YEAR IN NOW MEDIA / 142Storyteller.” (not to mention his new one - "Transmedia is a lie")Lina Srivastava is for me the person personifying Transmedia Activism. She’s worked with ahost of companies, projects and people, from UNESCO to ”18 Days in Egypt”. To keep tabson that which not necessarily touches on Hollywood, fiction, ARGs and so on, but rathersocial change through transmedia, Lina is the person I turn to.Jeff Gomez can, like no one else, enthuse a whole room full of people with the possibilitiestransmedia storytelling can offer you. If you have the chance to hear him talk, I’d very muchsuggest you do that. Not only that, but his company Starlightrunner Entertainment is also oneto keep your eyes on if you’re starting out in this field.Simon Pulman has a great analytical mind, which he puts to very good use for the transmediacommunity over at Transmythology. He is good at keeping up-to-date on major and minorindustry currents, especially in the US, and mirror them against the transmedia movement tosee what implications they might have. Essential reading.James Carter hails from the theatre world of New York, but brings this highly interestingworld in touch with the world of transmedia over at his blog. Many interesting posts,especially for someone like me – I know television, I know web, I know print, I knowmobile, I know radio… I do not, however, know theatre. As another platform for transmedia,I think I would have to know that area as well.Rob Pratten has recently moved back to London to continue working on their flagshiptransmedia storytelling engine-of-sorts, Conducttr. Not only do they have a highly interestingproduct, Rob also frequently shares his slides and talks on everything transmedia, most withthe – for me very important – sound financial foundation.Andrea Phillips is a constant source of inspiration; she’s been involved in a lot of transmediaprojects, and she’s obviously quite successful at it as well. The inspiration comes from herposts over at Deus Ex Machinatio, written from a ”been there and done that” POV, and in thenear future from her upcoming book on developing and producing transmedia. She also holdsgood talks, so if you have the chance, go see her.Scott Walker for me epitomes crowdsourcing content, building storyworld together with theaudience, respecting your audience and communicate all these principles to practicioners inthe field. He writes good stuff over at MetaScott, founded the site ”Shared Story Worlds”, co-founded Transmedia LA etc and so on. He’s also amazing at connecting people with eachother.April Arrglington hosts the blog ”The Arrglington Jump”, and quite correctly describesherself as ”a Transmedia enthusiast” on her Twitter page. She is quite probably one of themost energetic persons in the transmedia field when it comes to informing, reaching out andcommunicating. She’s also very much involved in the Transmedia LA meetup, so if you wantto get info about transmedia, April would be one to keep tabs on.
  • 142. ONE YEAR IN NOW MEDIA / 143There are, naturally, qute a few other people you would do well in following in one way oranother –Mike Monello, Nicoletta Iacobacci, Karine Halpern, Tom Liljeholm, Paul Burke,Steve Peters,Sparrow Hall, Lucas J.W. Johnson, Ian Ginn, Jay Bushman, Lance Weiler, JimBabb, Siobhan OFlynn, Gary P Hayes, Nedra Weinreich, Nick DeMartino, Carrie Cuthforth-Young, Alison Norrington … they, and many others Ive now forgotten to mention, allcontribute a lot to the transmedia community. Look around, find the ones that talk to you thebest, and start your search from there. Best of luck J.3 comments:Carlos A. Scolari said...Great people in this list, but transmedia also speaks in Spanish and Portuguese and... whoknows.Some links:Rodrigo Dias Arnaut (Brasil):!/rodrigoarnautAlejandro Piscitelli (Argentina): Carrion (Spain):!/fernandocarrionMontecarlo (Spain): groups:- Transmedia Spain: Red Transmediaticos: Era Transmedia:, me:!/cscolari said...Carlos,thank you for your addition, and yes, I deeply regret my lack of Spanish and/or Portugueseskills.Watch out for the "Summer 2012" edition of this post :)SimonAlexandre Antunes said...
  • 143. ONE YEAR IN NOW MEDIA / 144This was a great resource to complement my transmedia circle on google+ always developing, and some people have a profile there but its virtually inactive, still Ithink it can be a great resource.I tried to create an interest list on Facebook also, but doesnt work that well, because peopleneed to post publicly or allow subscribersThanks for the great reference post.
  • 144. 27/3/2012Five transmedia projects to follow - spring2012————————————————————————————————I’ll be heading to the frenzy that is MIPTV (and MIPCube and MIPFormats) in a couple ofdays, so whatever reports there will be will probably be centered around those events.MIPCube in particular is looking tasty, with some people present there who are doing somereally interesting stuff. If you feel like it, you are more than welcome to keep your fingerscrossed on Saturday – I’m up against four others in the final of the MIPFormats PitchCompetition with our cross media game show ”Which One Out”.In the meanwhile I thought I’d write a brief post to highlight five transmedia projects thatI believe might rock 2012 quite splendidly, in slightly different ways. I will admit I’m intosome of these because I’m invested in one way or another, but on the other hand I would notinvest unless I saw something interesting in them. In no particular order, and withoutsnubbing any other projects out there that I’m either ignorant of or have simplyforgotten due to mushy-brain-syndrome; here are five projects you might do well to put inyour bookmarks:Clockwork Watch is a steampunk adventure crossing over two graphic novels, interactivepromenade theatre, live action role-play, online adventures, an interactive book and a featurefilm, all over the course of three years. The first novel – “The Arrival” – is out any minutenow and looking good. Yomi and the Clockwork crew are doing an impressive and dedicatedjob of bringing this to life, steaming and billowing. Definitely one to keep an eye on –participate in the live event in London in May if you get the chance! And yes, for fulldisclosure, I backed this on IndieGoGo.The Karada is a project by some really creative people, James Martin, Tom Liljeholm andCarrie Cuthforth-Young, amongst others. ” A young woman struggles to save the multiverseas realities collapse around her.” as the tagline reads.I really like the tone of the project, and spanning over televison and graphic novels and liveinteraction, it promises to be great fun. Development phase one was reportedly wrapped upjust some days ago, and it all looks pretty fab. Keep an eye out for this one!Balance of Powers is a project I backed on Kickstarter the second I laid eyes on it. Thepeople behind it virtually guarantee it must be something good, as Andrea Phillips,Adrian Hon, David Varela and Naomi Alderman are all involved and have been for sometime. An alternate history tale set in the Cold War, Balance of Powers will be a free-to-readonline episodic story with lots of special content for subscribers, where you receive lettersfrom the characters, take part in live story events online, and even get newspapers from theworld through the post! Looking forward to seeing this one run!Miracle Mile Paradox is brought to you, me and everyone else through the Transmedia LAmeetup group and April Arrglington. An ARG, playable live IRL and online later this year.
  • 145. ONE YEAR IN NOW MEDIA / 146Help the hero, Rex, to solve a paradox and save the world from evildoers. Prettystraightforward, pretty interesting… but that which struck me was a sentence on the firstpage: ”…we are doing this in hopes to be educational for the local and globalTransmedia community. We plan to document the progress of the project in our main siteand have the free game up and running and available to all this summer.”Yup, it’s only by doing you learn, and if there is one sphere that could use more teachingmaterial, it’s transmedia.We Dream Of Nothing – full disclosure; I’m consulting on this project – comes at it from aslightly other angle. As Paul Burke, the main creator behind the project, writes: ”We Dreamof Nothing is an original, science fiction fantasy story that connects two characters atopposite ends of the universe. The story is hidden inside the female lead’s dream researchwebsite. From there the Audience can explore the story through 28 episodes –combinations of video, comics, audio, collaboration, data swapping, and, well… all sortsof other fun things to see and do.”I can tell you, it’s shaping up to be pretty darn interesting, and well worth to keep informedabout.There are, of course, a lot of other projects as well. For instance; from the humongous andcommercial side, I’m very curious on what the teams behind Game of Thrones, HungerGames andPrometheus might cook up for us, while I am quite convinced there will be anumber of other transmedia projects Ive never heard about that will blow me off my feet.A honorable mention too, to Andrea Phillips project Felicity, something that was anabandoned 20.000 word novel but now is re-emerging as a transmedia project. Generouslyenough, Andrea has decided to share development process and decisions in a series of blogposts. For me as a developer, this is simply great. Thanks!To sum it all up, there are plenty of things to look ahead to and get excited about. And themore successful transmedia there is, the easier everyone else has when it comes to gettingnew transmedia projects commissioned. Heres to creating more and better!
  • 146. 3/5/2012Five transmedia projects – May 2012 edition————————————————————————————————It feels a bit like that good ol’ ketchup effect, when you squeeze and squeeze and mutter andsqueeze some more and then, with a mighty BRRFPRPRRRTTT you’ve got half the contentof the bottle all over your plate. It’s a bit like the transmedia scene right now, where peoplehave been chipping away at projects left and right and now releasing them. It’s a great feelingand something I’ve been waiting for for quite some time; we’re rapidly moving in thedirection where everyone can look beyond the ”oh it’s a new transmedia project!” effect andinstead focus on the content, the context and the delivery.Below is a list of five projects I’ll be keeping an eye on this month, as they all look inspiringin their own way. These are all quite subjective, from my point of view, naturally:Dark Knight Rises. Well, it has something to live up to, as ”Why So Serious?” still functionsas a kind of a blueprint of what can be done with transmedia when looking to raise awarenessand market an upcoming blockbuster. Still, this one seems not to be willing to loom in theshadow of aforementioned ancestor, but is instead developing legs of its’ own quite rapidly.Let’s see when all those graffitis around the world have been decoded… JTry Life. This is an interactive drama that I find interesting; granted, so far it’s ”just” a”choose the storyline” drama, but it’s well produced and the creators are promising ”a lotmore to come”. The series itself is in the educational vein, helping teenagers to tackleconsequences of sex, drugs and violence, under the british National Curriculum. As anexample of how to use new storytelling techniques for something else than pureentertainment and marketing, it’s looking quite neat. Also, 100k+ likes on Facebook mustmean someone’s interested!Alt-Minds is Orange’s new venture and is branded ”The Very First Total Fiction”. The teasertrailer is looking slick, and I had a chat with Stephane Adamiak from Orange at MIPCube;they’re drawing on some good experiences of earlier projects and are going to have Alt-Minds play out as a paranormal thriller on social media, apps and web TV. Will be interestingto follow.Rides: Dirty Works. So, here it is, finally – the follow up to teaser ”Home: A Ghost Story”,the first series that shows what you can do with 4th Wall Studios’ Rides-engine. It’s a wellwritten script and good actors; overall a good story. And yes, the Rides solutions do give thatbit extra to the experience, once you get used to it – even if you just experience it online. Ithought I detected some glitch in the logic of the script when taking part of some of the extracontent, but that might’ve been just me. Looking forward to the next episode!Endworlds popped up on my radar a couple of months ago; it’s initially a three-part onlinepublication with strong online presence, live treasure hunts around the globe and a lot of FBand Twitter followers. I think it looks like an innovative way of telling stories, meshing
  • 147. ONE YEAR IN NOW MEDIA / 148marketing with user contribution with storytelling with good strategies, and will be followinghow it evolves.All in all, exciting times. Looking forward to see what other new projects will see the light ofday!
  • 148. 6/9/2012Five transmedia projects - autumn 2012————————————————————————————————All of a sudden, it’s autumn again and we’re coming to the home stretch of the year. Fear not,even though the days grow shorter and the weather colder (unless you’re reading this downunder, in which case I envy you a little bit) it looks like we’ll have plenty to take part of andbe excited about in the realm of transmedia. Here are five projects that in one way or anotherhave caught my eye during the past weeks.The SpiralThis is a very big project, bringing together eight European countries (Belgium, Denmark,Sweden, Norway, Germany, Finland, France and the Netherlands) to one production. It’s alsovery transmedia, with online and real-life treasure hunts, a narrative superstructure knittingtogether the whole and (as of the 5th of September) some 80.000 active players engaging inthe series.There has been critique, mostly about the quality of the script and the quality of the tv series,but there has been at least as many reviews applauding the project; visit the site, take part andmake up your own mind!Also – it will be very interesting to take part of the case studies afterwards…WhenaboutsNow, WHENABOUTS is currently ”just” a Kickstarter project. But what a project! Knittingtogether the physical and the online worlds in a logical and engaging fashion, letting parentsand kids play together and experience together… ambition-wise, this is pretty awesome. Atthis time, they have only raised a fraction of their projected goal sum on Kickstarter, but evenif the funding campaign fails, I sincerely hope they do not give up on the idea but ratherrevamp it, or get new partners in who can stump up the required money. I’d very much like toexperience this.RIDES.tvTalking about big, 4th Wall Studios continue to refine their RIDES-engine and fill it withmore and more good content. As of now, they’ve started up what looks to be a very fruitfulcollaboration with Rick Heinrichs as a Creative Director, which looks to promise new andinteresting output. I believe the show The Gamblers is the next thing to look for on theRIDES-engine, and anyone interest in transmedia storytelling should keep tabs on these guys.Anne Frank’s DiaryIt’s the most read diary in the world, both horrifying and spirit-lifting at the same time. Nowit’s getting a work-around with the help of Penguin Books, Viking and TradeMobile, and Imust say it sounds pretty awesome. It’s what publishing and transmedia should be about,giving context, letting the reader move into the world of the story, experience how it wasback then or how it is there right now; if only they could go full Alternate Reality, it’d beeven more neat.
  • 149. ONE YEAR IN NOW MEDIA / 150The Time TribeI happily backed this on Kickstarter earlier this year, and the beta version seems to be runningvery well indeed. Again, this goes into the education / edutainment field, but that is no badthing. A good game play, an immersive story with a mission… all in all, this is a project I’lltake into my reference library for when I venture into edutainment next time.There are of course a multitude of other projects out there, many of which I probably knownothing about (but I’d love to know more!). Sound off in the comments or let me know overTwitter!
  • 150. CHAPTER TEN THE ENDYou’ve reached the end of ONE YEAR IN NOW MEDIA, and I thank you for reading thisfar. Hope fully you’ve found it worthwhile! If you want to get in touch on any of the subjectsmentioned in this publication, drop me an e-mail and we’ll take it from there. To all of youwho’ve read this, I wish you all a great 2013 and may your projects all be immenselysuccessful! Simon
  • 151. LINKS————————————————————————————————Here is a brief collection of useful links, for those inclined:My blog: simonstaffans.comThe company I work for: www.mediacity.fiMIPBlog, which I blog for: blog.mipworld.comSome great transmedia resources:,,,,