Transmedia Learnings from LA and San Francisco


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What is Transmedia and how can we tell interesting, interactive and engaging stories? The first TransmediaZH meetup focused on Transmedia basics, and sharing some learnings from Los Angeles and the Transmedia Startup Weekend in San Francisco.

*Transmedia SF & startup weekend in San Fran
*Story hack Zurich
*Transmedia LA meetup group
*Story2023 (

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  • As an artist-engineer I’m always jumping between the two different worlds. Looking at storytelling from a transformative perspective, I’m drawn to how design, story, and coding can be combined to create new storylines.
  • In Fed. 2012 I started the Lost In Reality project at Startup Pirates Lisboa, working with co-founders we’re developing a location-based storytelling mobile app. After speaking with Christopher Sandberg at X Media Lab Basel, I got interested in transmedia and flew down to the TransmediaSF startup weekend and visited the TransmediaLA meetup group and the Funny or Die offices to see how stories are told in California.
  • Both TransmediaLA and TransmediaSF are strong communities with regular meetups for continuous learning with great content on their webpages.
  • The TransmedaiSF Startup Weekend followed the traditional format of 54 hours from start to end. The transmedia part meant we needed to include 3 platforms in the final product, ideally using the partner technologies, and centered on “the City” as a central theme.
  • I decided to join the Marshmallow Project team. The overall goal is to hold workshops with young students, where the Stanford design thinking process is used as a way for students to solve problems. 3D modeling and printing is integrated into the process as added tool in the problem solving process. The main idea of the weekend was to work on a story for the project, which was centered on Mars.
  • Our story centered on a city on Mars, while an astronaut is flying to the city he has a problem on his space ship. He writes about his life on a blog, which students can read to understand that his oxygen system was having problems. Then, after getting immersed in the story line and empathizing (key point of design thinking process) with the main character, they can design a solution for the failing system.
  • In many ways Donut Dazzler was the best project from the weekend. Their team developed an easy to access but very compelling call to action, a resistance war to bring back the donut as a favored sweet treat and over-throw the prestigious cupcake overlords (my impression). A mobile app showing resistance areas and integration with social media channels would allow great interaction with users. The project was pitched and developed all during the weekend, while many other projects came as developed ideas, so in the spirit of the event, I think they were awesome.
  • Transmedia Learnings from LA and San Francisco

    1. 1. Transmedia ZurichMay 22nd2013Colab ZurichMark Melnykowycz
    2. 2. TransmediaZH• Who is organizing this, and why?• What’s the goal of the TransmediaZHTransmediaZH is all about developing a community of peoplein Zurch/Switzerland based around storytelling in ourincreasingly fragmented media age.It’s organized by Mark Melnykowycz ( and Elizabeth Henry (
    3. 3. Scientist/EngineerArtUser ExperienceWritingPhotographyStartups
    4. 4. Location-based storytellingWhat’s up with Transmedia?The Company PTransmedia
    5. 5. • Monthly meetups• Town Hall style meetups• Hollywood 2.0 podcase• Regular workshops andmeeups on transmedia,story, technologies, etc.
    6. 6. WorkingIdea Pitch Final Pitch• Minimum 3 platforms• Use partner technologies• Centered on the city theme54 hoursMentorsMentors SponsorsSponsors
    7. 7. Sponsors
    8. 8. CityX process
    9. 9. City X on MarsBlogBlogLearn Solution Idea Making
    10. 10. Interesting ProjectsThe cupcake craze has takenover, we need to rally andbring back the donut!Don’t let the Cupcakes Win!Using a mobile locationapp, residents of LosAngeles can record andgeotag things they wouldlike to change in the city.
    11. 11. The Signpost project is about revolutionizing the printedpress by combining publications with augmented realitytechnology. The purpose is to no focus on the technology,but to create a new way of storytelling that is engaging,intuitive and natural.A printed paper is paired with a mobile app, and using ARimage recognition a person can browse through theelectronic content using the physical printed paper.There are some AR enabled magazines, but I loved seeingthe technology be integrated into a local newspaper,although here the paper is really more of a user interface... SMASH SF is a 3-6 player board game whereyou battle other inhuman demolishers andcarve a path of devastation through our belovedcity.A lot of people liked the I SMASH SF game,they used the weekend to develop somemonsters for the game. It’s an interesting mix ofa board game with a real location (SanFrancisco).
    12. 12. Thoughts on TransmediaSF SWExperience• Totally worth the flight fromZurich to West Coast• 54 hrs. too little time todevelop a story universe fromzero• Greater focus on storycreation tools/methodologywould have been huge benefit• How can we develop aStoryHack planform inZurich?• How can we focus onstory-technologyintegration?• Whatmethodologies/toolsshould be used in rapidstory creation process?
    13. 13. StoryHack ZHStory FirstWriters/Authors UX/UI Design Developers
    14. 14. StoryHack ZHWriters/Authors UX/UI Design Developers• As a writer/artist who have gotten into user experience and startup weekends,a story hackathon is the next logical step• The purpose will be to see how established stories can be transformed throughdesign and integration with new technologies• We’re planning to hold the first StoryHack Zurich in the Fall of 2013• Leading up to the StoryHack we’ll hold workshops on story, narrative, andtechnology to make the weekend significant, good stories takes time. 54 hoursis too short to develop great story material...but it’s plenty of time to hack.
    15. 15. Open to Swiss university studentsText/audio in the story must be in EnglishShow a unique vision of the future with the year 2023Story must use a minimum of three platformsText, comics, graphic stories, motion comics, images, mobile apps,games, audio, video, ARG (Augmented Reality Game), posters,flyers, social media, and emailEncourage transmedia storytellingamong the future generations inSwitzerlandCreate a Swiss-Americantransmedia communityEnhance visibility as pioneers in thisfield for all the initiative’
    16. 16. Links and InfoUS OrganizationsTransmediaLA MeetupTransmediaLA.orgTransmediaSF MeetupTransmediaSF.orgStory Hackathon/ChallengesLos Angeles Story HackathonStory2023StoryHack ZurichTransmedia ArticlesLabour of love: Explaining the transmedia sprawlSelect and arrange: Why transmedia for fiction might be a messBooks on StoryOn the Origin of Stories: Evolution, Cognition, and FictionThe Storytelling AnimalDonut Dazzler: Donut let theCupcakes Win
    17. 17. Thank you Colab Zurich forhosting!