And see what makes them so successful....
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The social Web is gradually taking over the Internet. From search to shopping, everything is getting social these days. Time for an overview of what we see in the 1M/1M portfolio from all corners of the social web.
Ali Ahmed, who used to be an entrepreneur-in-residence at Groupon, co-founded Lutebox, a Walkie-Talkie shopping venture that allows users to turn shopping online or in stores into a social experience. Normally, sharing product images is a slow process. People either have to e-mail links of the products or post the photos on social networks. Based in London, Lutebox offers a rich-media communication and collaboration platform where users can quickly share the shopping experience in real time with their friends and family and save conversation threads around products they want to buy....
Today’s guest post is from Simon Pulman who writes an incredibly interesting and informative blog on transmedia: Transmythology.
To me transmedia is the future for independent film – and perhaps all film. It is already happening all around us – whether we realize it or not. I essentially backed into transmedia on Bomb It. We knew we were generating way more content than would fit in one feature. In 2005 – our thought was that we would ultimately make 6 features from the material! But we ended up producing a webseries for Babelgum which was became a transmedia extension of Bomb It – realized after the fact. This in turn led to Bomb It 2 which was conceived of as a webseries for Babelgum – but still ties into the Bomb It “brand”. There is no way that I would have done another graffiti feature this past year – but a web series was a much more manageable way to keep exploring the concept of Bomb It. Simon addresses these issues in his post that follows. (BTW – this is a two part post. Part 2 will run next Thursday).
Transmedia for Low Budget Filmmakers...
If you listen closely to those who advocate for games as a worthwhile medium, you can sense the hope that games will change the world.
Either society becomes enraptured by the possibilities that interactivity presents, or games become another avenue for making a difference—if not both. We stand on the precipice of public awareness when it comes to the merits of interactivity. Everyone and their grandmother plays games now, after all. The second hope is more complicated, but no less achievable despite constant allegations that games are a shallow medium or worse, may negatively affect our kids.
Last week I got an email from Last Pick Productions, a studio from Vancouver, B.C. that, despite having a small development team, boasts talent that has worked on the brutally violent Shank. Like many cities, Vancouver is a bustling, wonderful place...which also happens to have a homeless problem. Recent government cuts have caused homeless shelters to go unfunded, allowing for the unfortunate doubling of the homeless population....
I’m still trying to wrap my head around connectivism, the learning theory developed by George Siemens and Stephen Downes that in a lot of ways led to the growth of distance education and the development of MOOCs. At its heart, connectivism is about where content/knowledge/learned stuff exists, and posits that in an interconnected, technologically-robust world, it is as much about how to access the learning opportunity as anything, but inherent to such a model is the notion that technology has systemically changed not only the way knowledge operates, but also the brain itself.
Part of my difficulty in defining connectivism comes from a lack of application for the term and its meaning: having completed my coursework in learning technologies, I have only run into it after beginning preliminary dissertation research, and the people I run across in my personal learning network who utilize it are rarely separated by more than one degree from Siemens and Downes. So I end up reading the same arguments and verbage, but lack more distanced perspectives on the topic, and also have yet to truly be able to take connectivism out for a test-drive.
At this point in my journey, here is where I am on connectivism: I see it as the result of distance education methods and pedagogy, and its creators are working hard to prove the postulate of technology changing society, ergo learning theory must change too, so here we go. Connectivism is trying very hard to incorporate the social aspect of learning shown as vital through the likes of Vygotsky, Piaget and Bandura, but focuses on networks of all sorts: organizational, technological, and even neurological....
Daniel Donahoo: "One of the most enjoyable games I’ve been a part of in recent times has been an Alternate Reality Game (ARG) being run by an innovative teacher from Australia" ...
DRC: Jess McCulloch's participation at StoryWorld 2012 last week sparked a lot of interest. So, here's an article from the archive which gives great insight into the fantastic work that she's doing ...
One of the most enjoyable games I’ve been a part of in recent times has been an Alternate Reality Game (ARG) being run by an innovative teacher from Australia. We usually think of ARGs as large scale, requiring lots of resources and being part of a marketing campaign for a new movie – or as some funky, alternative techy game that the cool kids play. But it doesn’t have to be.
Jess McCulloch teaches Mandarin in Australian schools and she sent me a tweet asking if my boys (aged 7 and 9 years) might be interested in a game that teaches them about how languages are structured. Of course I said yes. All she needed to begin was our home address and the boys’ names.
The next thing that happened… we received a letter in the mail addressed to my kids. They didn’t recognize the handwriting and they curiously opened it. What they found was an A4 sheet of paper with a Chinese Character on it, and a URL. They were puzzled. My eldest suggested we type the URL into the computer and when we did we were opened up to a world of secret agents, lessons on language and mission after mission that would help them solve the mystery of the character on their piece of paper.
Jess has created an an ARG targeting younger school children called “The Blackline Mystery.” Through email and live Skype sessions with her “virtual agents” she sets missions that they must complete online. She uses video and letters in the mail to give the game a stronger sense of reality and in doing so has my children hooked....
Via The Digital Rocking Chair, univers transmedia
On Friday, conspiracy drama Hunted premiered on Cinemax. The plot of Hunted unfolds in the world of Byzantium, a private security firm which promotes itself by declaring that “we are not for everyone, just for the 1% that matters.” This phrase also plays a key role in Campfire NYC’s elaborate transmedia campaign for Hunted. The phrase evokes associations with the media strategy put forth by Occupy Wall Street—an association that seems anything but accidental. While the Occupy movement uses the 1% metaphor to critique social inequality, the Hunted transmedia campaign finds multiple ways to integrate the metaphor into the system of commercial television.
Veteran transmedia storytellers Campfire previously designed campaigns for programs such as Game of Thrones and Bag of Bones. In those campaigns, as in the current one for Hunted, Campfire relies on a multi-pronged strategy to spread word of mouth about the program and increase brand awareness of the channel on which the program airs. As such, the campaigns combine an interactive web-based component, a physical object sent to opinion leaders, and, in the case of Game of Thrones and Hunted, targeted, local events. All elements of the campaign synch to provide potential viewers with an immersive experience of the program’s characters and storyworld.
The specific elements that comprise the Hunted campaign have been analyzed by multiple media outlets such as ARG Net, Huffington Post, and by Myles McNutt, so I will highlight only a few relevant features. The online component at ByzantiumTests.com consists of personality tests that supposedly decide if the participant is fit to work for Byzantium Security....
More and more entertainment companies are building large complex story worlds and sharing the storytelling load among different types of media.
Technology is changing the way we receive and experience entertainment. Over the course of three or four posts, I want to talk about several interesting trends in storytelling. Today’s post looks at three new storytelling worlds, each of which span a variety of media platforms, and examines why the entertainment industry will be producing more of them for the foreseeable future.
The germination time for an idea in the corporate entertainment industry seems to be about two to three years. That is about the time it takes to make an idea into a movie, a game, or a book, for that matter. A few years ago, the word “transmedia” became a hot topic among entertainment circles. We are already seeing the results with much more on the way in the next couple of years.
Henry Jenkins, USC professor of Communication, Journalism, and Cinematic Arts defines transmedia this way:...
You have to reach a little bit to get our of the social media echo chamber, or, "How Dr. Seuss can inspire great blogging!
Over the last two years I’ve read more books than I’ve read in my entire life. But there’s a slight problem with my reading. Every single book falls into one of these categories:
In the last several weeks I’ve heard two best-selling authors emphasize the importance of reading books over blogs. One of the unfortunate byproducts of our ability to rapidly create content is an incredibly short attention span. Short form content is rapidly flooding the Internet. It’s easier to read 20 different blogs on a daily basis than it is to read an entire book which could take a week. But sit down and read a bestselling author’s book, even when it falls into the self-inflicted “genre bubble,” and you’ll notice numerous references to books from multiple disciplines...
A carefully crafted, well-thought through strategy is the first step in ensuring that you reap the rewards of your social media marketing efforts. Here are nine key pointers to think about next time you're compiling a social media strategy.
1) Set clear and specific objectives
Brand Awareness (fans, likes, follows and subscriptions)
WHAT IS THE HOME MOVIE FACTORY?
The Home Movie Factory invites the general public at no charge, to star in and make their very own movies through a formula designed by Gondry himself. The filming will take place within an interactive exhibition of backgrounds, props and costumes that will reflect the iconic and everyday aspects of Johannesburg....
Can't WAIT! Three directors, three reviewers. A nonlinear take on the sprawling movie adaptation of David Mitchell's time-hopping novel.
'Like Watchmen before it, Cloud Atlas as a written piece of storytelling often seemed unfilmable: The novel is so expansive that a few hours of film could barely contain all its finest points. To that end, Cloud Atlas is the best movie version of the book anyone could ask for. Even when it is nearly collapsing under the weight of its own ambition, it holds up. — AW'
I am teaching a course this fall to the Sheridan Advanced TV & Film (ATVF) students in previsualization. This isn’t the first time we have offered this course as an elective – it was previously taught by John Helliker. We put the course on hiatus four years ago. The value of the course wasn’t in doubt at the time, but we encountered a couple of significant challenges. First, the software that we based much of the course on suddenly vanished (in November 2008, future development of Antics3D was abruptly ended and the product was pulled from the market). And second, John Helliker, who had pioneered this course and several other VFX classes for the live-action film programs, left to found SIRT (Screen Industries Research and Training).
Since it has been four years, it seemed reasonable to adjust the content of the course. I had two goals heading into the semester:
Provide the students with tools and techniques that would help improve the quality of their student films.
We are now more than halfway through the term, so I thought it would be a good time to reflect on successes and unexpected challenges. First, the successes:
The students seem to genuinely enjoy the class, and they seem to be finding it useful. The real measure of this will be when we progress further into pre-production of our 3×3 films and we see if some of the techniques are applied successfully. The class is held in the evening, and many of the students have a full day of class preceding – so the fact that they are still showing up and participating feels like a success!...
The amazing worldwide upsurge of start-up accelerators and incubators was reflected at last week’s Digital Hollywood conference, which featured three packed sessions exploring the topic.
I moderated a “Think Tank” on incubating digital content that featured Ana Serrano, Founder of ideaBOOST (which I advise), Richard Wolpert, cofounder of Amplify.LA and Chris Gartin, cofounder of io/LA
It used to be simple, there were accelerators and there were incubators. (Here's the difference).
But, check out some of the other programs represented at the DH conference and you'll see a wide range of models that are emerging to meet a lot of different needs than the venture backed early stage seed accelerators, as exemplified by Y-Combinator and TechStars. (DH speakers came from Originate, Cross Campus, Tipping Point Partners, Turner's Media Camp, Portland Innovation Experiment (PIE), Mucker Labs, and Idealab New Venture Group.
Along with crowdfunding, the accelerator phenomenon is the most-buzzed-about innovation in the start-up world, inspired by the success of the investor-backed Y-Combinator and TechStars that apply a combination of mentoring, seed investment, and exposure to help launch tech startups....
The streets and sidewalks were lined with 23 different interactive projects, each representing an early stage of what its creators imagined could go viral, improving neighborhoods and cities across the country and the world.
In the alleys behind the San Francisco Chronicle building, an unusual part of town where capital-rich startups flank skeezy porn shops and dollar stores, an experiment was going on. Music from DJs accented the sounds of a warm Saturday afternoon, accompanying 23 interactive project mockups that lined the streets and sidewalks, each representing an early stage of what its creators imagined could become a viral improvement to neighborhoods and cities across the country and the world.
This was the second-ever Urban Prototyping Festival (the first was held in Singapore earlier this year), a one-day event that was the culmination of several months of open-call development, plus a weekend-long makeathon contest.
“[The projects] have all been created, from the ground up, in the last two months,” said Jake Levitas, research director for the Gray Area Foundation for the Arts, which instigated the festival and enlisted the help of six other organizations. “Everything’s going to disappear as quickly as it appeared. At 10 p.m., it’ll be gone.”...
As students settle in for another busy school year, we are checking in with another higher education customer - Brock University. Brock University is one of the fastest growing universities in Canada. Serving more than 18,000 students and a growing alumni family of more than 75,000, Brock University knows that an effective way to keep in touch with its audience is through the social media.
In 2013, the organizers of Star Wars Uncut, with support from Lucasfilm, will involve fans on an even larger scale with The Empire Strikes Back Uncut.
In 2010, Star Wars Uncut redefined what a fan film could be with a crowd-sourced recreation of the original Star Wars. In 2013, the organizers of that project, with support from Lucasfilm, will involve fans on an even larger scale with the sequel: The Empire Strikes Back Uncut.
ESB Uncut follows the same formula as its predecessor -- fans around the world can go to StarWarsUncut.com and claim 15-second scenes from the original film, then recreate them in whatever way they see fit. But this time around, there are plans to make the sequel an even bigger, better experience than Star Wars Uncut.
Each 15-second scene can be recreated by more than one fan, and there's a reason for that. "There's going to be a director's cut, which is going to be something we put together," says Casey Pugh, creator and organizer of the Uncut series. "But at the same time, we're going to make it very easy to download all the other scenes yourself...you can pick and choose [to make your own cut]. And there will be an interactive version so you can always watch the film a different way." That means if you want to watch a version of ESB Uncut with as much fan-made animation as possible, you can. Or if you want to see all of the scenes you submitted, you can do that, too. It puts fans in the editing room and opens up all kinds of possibilities.
And there's another big difference between the original Uncut and the sequel: impressed by Star Wars Uncut, Lucasfilm is working with Pugh to support the new project, extend its reach, and get more fans involved. "The original Star Wars Uncut was one of the most impressive examples of fan creation that we've ever seen," says Ivan Askwith, Lucasfilm's Senior Director of Online. "And since our fans have been creating tremendous things for over 30 years, that's a major accomplishment."...
Your cross-media project is well under way. You have a killer pitch, great teaser content, and are ready to start talking to development and finance partners. But what else will they want to know about it?
This is a question central to The Pixel Market: Power to the Pixel’s co-production market that’s designed to introduce the world’s best new cross-media projects to potential funding partners.
This October, eight of the thirty international production teams selected for the market presented their projects to a panel of decision-makers, financiers and executives, in front of a live audience at London’s National Film Theatre.
The work on show ranged from multi-million-dollar film franchises to kids’ TV series and teenage fiction; while the panellists included key players from companies such as the BBC, YouTube, VICE Media Group and Penguin Books.
So what did those partners want to ask the project creators? Over the course of an incisive one-day session, certain questions came up time and time again. Here are ten of the most frequent.
1. Where’s the emotional core?...
2. It’s powerful – but is it unique?...
3. Is this transmedia – or marketing?...
Transmedia 101 presents Jon Reiss: Think Outside the Box Office...
Jon Reiss’ approach is a practical, step by step guide to create a unique distribution and marketing strategy for your film. During the master class participants will learn:
Power to the Pixel was held in London for the 6th year in a row, showing the world of media production that transmedia is more than a trend: it is a logic of production and an marketing strategy that fits the needs of our global media world....
...Fictional narrative lends itself very well to the idea of cross-media development: first do the viral campaign, then build your community online, release the film and then elongate the life of your film with a game… so it can appear more flexible to this multiple packaging strategy- and maybe fictional producers are more used to think in terms of profits and life-cycles… And yet, Power to the Pixel is here to prove us that things are not so clear, and that a possible transmedia strategy is to mix fiction and factual under a unique umbrella, craftfully using different languages for different purposes . Four out of ten presentations this year were linked to factual content. Although a documentary film might not have always been the core proposition of such projects, some factual elements always seemed to be part of the mix.
This is for example the case of the soon to be launched iPad version of the War Horse book (a Touch Press & Illuminations & Egmont Press collaboration out on the 11th of November) where the core proposition is a book, but the interactive enhancement includes a timeline that allows the reader to link the story of the book with the day to day events that happened in the real world. Matching fiction (the story of the horse) with factual (what happened in the real world during the time of the story) becomes a clever educational hook to be used by teachers at school. Not incidentally, this new proposition has high chances to increase both the sells of the book and of the iPad version, making War Horse a must have for innovative teachers that do not see the book as a stand alone anymore. The film, the play and the iPad are more than mere translations of the original story: they potentially are ways to learn history, compassion, courage through a storyworld. And the iPad here is what makes the linking between factual and fiction fluid and fun: interactive tools are relational at their core and transmedia might just be about creating bridges in archipelagos .
The second thing that I have noticed this year is that films might not be the cash makers anymore. The viral campaign that preceded The Blair Witch Project in 1999 (often cited as a pioneer of transmedia) was meant to create a curiosity phenomenon so that the film would be a success. More than ten years after, the film element is not always crucial to the transmedia proposition....