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One year in transmedia


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A curation of one years worth of blog posts from my blog at, combined with interviews with some of the sharpest minds in the field

A curation of one years worth of blog posts from my blog at, combined with interviews with some of the sharpest minds in the field

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  • 1. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 1ONE YEAR INTRANSMEDIA 2nd Edition by Simon Staffans 27 December 2011
  • 2. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 2INDEX————————————————————————————————Introduction 4The Core of Transmedia 6 The Three Facets of Transmedia Transmedia - the Story of the Story Twain on Transmedia The “Why” of Transmedia Interview - Jeff Gomez Interview - Nick DeMartinoDeveloping Transmedia 23 Musings on Transmedia Development Creating a Transmedia Symphony The NOT of Transmedia Transmedia, Time and Context The Value of Truth in Transmedia Interview - Andrea PhillipsThe Transmedia Format 36 What Makes Good Transmedia? The Mixing of Real and Not Real in Transmedia Transmedia Sans Fiction The Transmedia Format Interview - Nicoletta IacobacciTransmedia and the Audience 48 Transmedia - Story, Experience and Needs What Motivates a Transmedia Audience Users, meet Story. Story, meet Users Interview - Yomi AyeniTransmedia and the Market 58 Pitching Transmedia Funding Transmedia - a comment On Transmedia and Funding On Funding Transmedia, part two Interview - Brian Clark Interview - Robert PrattenReports from Transmedia Gatherings 79 Transmedia - it’s kind of everything; SXSW MIPTV 2011 Wrap Up Transmedia and Multiplatform Business
  • 3. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 3 MIPCOM 2011 Roundup Storyworld - Five Thoughts Interview - Alison Norrington Interview - Karine HalpernOther Transmedia Musings 98 Ten Advice for Transmedia Storytellers Doing it the Transmedia WayTransmedia - a Future 104 Transmedia in 2020 AD Interview - Lina SrivastavaResources 115About the Author 118
  • 4. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 4INTRODUCTION 27th of December 2011————————————————————————————————UPDATE for 2nd edition - As I read this publication again some weeks ago, Isuddenly felt there was something severely lacking - the voices of other people. I’velearnt so much from so many people and have had so much inspiration andawesomeness thrown at me from all corners, it felt unfair not to include the thoughtsof some of these great thinkers and practitioners. Said and done; I contacted anumber of people and asked them some questions, each connected to one chapteror another in this publication. I’ve decided to include the interviews at the end ofeach chapter to put them into as much context as possible. Thank you to all whograciously agreed to answer my questions! I’ve been in media for more years than I would ideally like to remember. Since theage of 13 I’ve been writing, producing, reporting and hosting everything fromnewspaper articles to tv reports to radio shows. In 2005 I left for the life of a formatdeveloper. The past couple of years might have been the most exciting in my professionallife. I love doing radio and writing articles and producing television, but utilizing thepowers of a connected multiplatform media landscape, drawing on transmediastorytelling methods, learning from a lot of great people all around the world andtaking part of so many brilliant projects… it’s a whole different and very enjoyableballpark. To come to grips with my thoughs and jot them down for further reference, Istarted blogging about my development work, my thoughts on transmedia, some ofthe talks I’d listened to and ideas that had been put to me. I also thought that ifsomeone else could find something of essence in my writing or find something in myexperiences that would help them in their work, it would be a truly beautiful thing. So,without (hopefully) breaching any NDAs, I’ve written some 70-odd posts on thesesubjects to date. So, what’s this publication? Well, a couple of days ago I was reading somethingin an article and suddenly realized I had thought and written about the very samesubject in a blog post myself. I went to look for it and had to search for ages (well,“Internet-ages”, I.e. more than 3 minutes) until I found the paragraph in a post fromDecember last year. Then it struck me: why not curate my own writings on thissubject so far into one single accessible and hopefully coherent document? That’s what this is. I’ve divided the texts loosely into eight different subsectionsand start each subsection off by introducing it. I’ve also added the original publishing
  • 5. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 5date for each entry, as I think there is a bit of an evolution to be seen from how Ithink and write about transmedia and how it correlates with events and projects Icome in touch with over the year. Also, the examples and links that are prevalentmake more sense if related to a certain date. As always, if you find something of interest or something useful, that’s great. Andif you want to talk transmedia, formats or fishing, hit me up :). Contacts are includedat the end of the document. PS. I’ve included some of the comments on some of my posts. All of you, thankyou. You’re linked and all, and I greatly value your input. May the discussions neverend :). DS
  • 6. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 6THE CORE OF TRANSMEDIA————————————————————————————————Key elements: philosophical, “deep thoughts”, “not sure I understand what I’m reallysaying either”, “but really I do” “I think”In this subsection I’ve put the texts and posts that talk about transmedia andtransmedia development on more of a meta-plane; some might be slightlyphilosophical, some perhaps less so. What the texts all have in common is that theytry to look at the essence of transmedia and different transmedia genres, andexamine bits and pieces of that essence, many times through things I was workingon at the time of the posts. The posts are divided by their own headline and date oforiginal publishing, but they do not necessarily appear in a chronological order.I believe this might be the right place to jot down the expected “My Definition ofTransmedia”. I’m pretty sure there are as many definitions as there are professionalsand scholars in this field, something which became quite clear in the definitionsdebate in the spring and summer of 2011. In my book, transmedia is telling storiesover a number of media platforms, stories that are connected to a higher or lesserdegree, but always connected and rooted in a common story world. Simple as that,really; and as I usually need definitions of transmedia for only one purpose - to keepmy mind straight when developing transmedia - it works well for me.For a clear and concise post on what transmedia is NOT, I’d suggest you’d readJenkins’ post on “Seven transmedia myths debunked”.The IntervieweesThe two people interviewed under this headline are Jeff Gomez and Nick DeMartino.Jeff is one of the foremost advocates of transmedia that I know, and Nick has awealth of experience reaching back decades - I believe between them they’recovering most of the ground needed!
  • 7. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 7The Three Facets of Transmedia21st of February 2011There has been an interesting discussion going on over at the Storyworld group onLinkedIn, about transmedia; what should be constituted as transmedia and whatshould be filed under ”flimsy cross media marketing”, to quote, and what should betaken into consideration when transmediating content. Deriving from that, I felt theneed to expand on a couple of points, regarding the three different facets of atransmedia project:The telling of a storyTransmedia storytelling is, at its core, simply that. By spreading out over differentmedia and by creating a greater whole, we move deeper into the realms oftransmedia. What it is, is basically the art and technique of telling a story, or rathermultiple stories, connected directly or indirectly inside a larger story world and/ornarrative superstructure and/or mythology.As we all know, this can be done in many ways; through characters in blogs, throughexciting and engaging television drama series, through sms, Twitter, Facebook,apps… The key is create the stories and the world, and use the platforms that comesnaturally to the different parts of the storyEngaging an audienceThe second facet is also crucial, that of embracing the audience and bringing theminto the story/stories, to sandboxes or cheese-holes or perhaps even to lessstructured, more open areas in the structure of the stories and the story world.This, of course, as many have discussed, profoundly changes the notion of anaudience. Your audience is your audience, but at the same time they are your co-creators, investing themselves in your story and inevitably bringing change withthem. It is then up to you, the creator, to choose just how much change you want.But generally, the more people invest, the closer they will feel to your content. Bestcase scenario, you not only have an audience and a horde of co-creators, you alsohave advocates that bring your stories to people in a fashion you yourself nevercould.
  • 8. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 8Financing your creationsThe third facet is that of building sustainable financial structures, which have to bere-developed for each case, just as the stories and the worlds are re-developed foreach new project. Transmedia projects have so many variables in play, that theyinevitably become different from each other – more different than, say, televisionseries or feature films. This leads to the creators needing to re-think the financing forevery project; for sure there is a measure of recycling financing models fromprevious transmedia projects, but there will always be new possibilities in the contextof a new project. This – sustainable financial structures – can take many shapes;from brands financing the lot to crowd sourced funding via IndieGoGo or a similarservice.Win-win-winI firmly believe that to transmediate content opens up a whole lot of new possibilitiesto turn a project into a win-win-win situation, where you as a content creator winsince you can tell more stories to more people in more ways, and get more andbetter (as in more fitting with your project) money in when you can play with anumber of platforms and a number of stories. The brands or financiers win since youcan target their message better, and since there is room for more financiers topartake - tv, online, books, mobile - the cost is less per participant with more bang forthe buck as the end result. Finally the audience wins, as you have more money tomake better content and make it available on more platforms to be even easier toobtain, engage and participate with and advocate for the audience.
  • 9. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 9Transmedia - the story of the story10th of November, 2010.I find it exhilarating and exciting to follow the current flow of interesting discussionsand even more interesting projects and examples of transmedia bouncing around theInternet these past few weeks. Suddenly it seems like everyone is talkingtransmedia, from a great number of angles.So, having read some tweets and comments on current transmedia projects today, Ifound myself sitting staring vacantly into space, my mind trying to grasp somethought that just did not want to be grasped. Irritating in the extreme, as Im sure youall agree.The glimpses I could see of the thought implied that it had something to do with thecore and underlying premises of transmedia. I finally gave up and decided to startwriting instead, hoping it’d show up.After a while, it did. And with it, and in the sentences before this one that gave thesetting and the background of it’s arrival, it brought the meaning of transmedia. It’snot the story you’re telling. It’s the story about the story, that gives your storymeaning - that’s transmedia.In that sense, we actually don’t need media. So, in the most simplified sense, there’snothing for the transmedia to trans- around from and to.OK, so we have no trans- and we have no –media. What’s up with that? I foundmyself thinking. Wasn’t it namely transmedia that I’ve been happily embracing for thepast year or so?Actually, I don’t think it’s transmedia I’ve been embracing. I have not, for instance,been embracing the production of storylines on three different media, stemming fromthe same storyworld but adding to each other rather than copying or duplicating eachother. Or rather, I have, but that has rather been a by-product.What I’ve been embracing is the thought process and the development process ofcreating more than you need, just in case (and there is always the case). Theprocess of not saying ”this is enough, we don’t need more than this” but rather ”heyhang on, let’s elaborate on that for a bit”. The process of building the story, and at the
  • 10. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 10same time the story of the story, to enable new stories and explain and expand onold ones.It’s like you’re planting a sapling and nurse it to be a massive tree, trunk and all –even if audiences just pick the fruit, i.e. your stories, the stories would not be there tobe enjoyed without the work before.At this point, the elusive thought let out a sigh and went away, mission fulfilled. I willcontinue to grow the tree tomorrow, and at lot of other trees as well. See, the tellingof the story, that tells of the story, thats work thats never done.Comment: Paul Burke said...Agreed. If you come at a project from a tech perspective things fall apart veryquickly. Story and narrative can **lead** to undiscovered narrative structures andjourneys for the audience. You probably could have a go at doing it the other wayaround but you will surely come back to story / narrative in the end.There is something about story and experience which are subtly different though.Need to think on that a bit!To extend your analogy: I really like that you can grow different and super tasty fruiton the well crafted branches of one transmedia tree;)
  • 11. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 11Twain on Transmedia17th of February 2011 Ideally a book would have no order to it, and the reader would have to discover his own. - Mark TwainThrough the wonderful world of Twitter, I was pointed in the direction of a post onMark Twain and social media from last summer. Twain had, some 120-odd yearsago, written a piece on how to tell a story. It’s a good and true read, and in manyways instantly transferrable to any transmedia project being considered or developedtoday. In his text Twain refers to the two ways to tell a story – the humorous way andthe witty way. Says Twain – The humorous story depends for its effect upon the manner of the telling; the comic story and the witty story upon the matter. The humorous story may be spun out to great length, and may wander around as much as it pleases, and arrive nowhere in particular; but the comic and witty stories must be brief and end with a point. The humorous story bubbles gently along, the others burst.The humorous story, Twain argues, needs an artist to tell it right. The witty story, onthe other hand, is a story that could be told by a machine.This is, I feel, a kind of crossroads where transmedia is today, as more and morepeople are beginning to see the uses of a transmedia approach to telling a story, asproducers and companies can point to increasing revenues from transmedia projectsand as technical and sociological means and practices open up newer, quicker anddeeper ways of telling stories over different media.Some will be – are, already, actually – going the ”comic/witty” way of developing andcreating transmedia. To, again, quote Twain: […] the teller of the comic story does not slur the nub; he shouts it at you-- every time. And when he prints it, in England, France, Germany, and Italy, he italicizes it, puts some whooping exclamation-points after it, and sometimes explains it in a parenthesis. All of which is very depressing, and makes one want to renounce joking and lead a better life.
  • 12. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 12I see that as a great pointer to what NOT to do with a transmedia story. There is nomagic and no fun – and most of all, nothing to discover – in a story that someone isbanging you over the head with, no matter how the story unfolds over different mediaplatforms and/or turns out hundreds of different merchandize possibilities. On theother hand, as the quote on top says, an ideal transmedia story could also have ”noorder to it, and the reader (user) would have to discover his own.” …which is anapproach that tickles the imagination a lot more vigorously.As Bill Wren, who wrote the post on Twain and social media, translates Twain’smusings, there are two ways to tell a story; the right way and the wrong way. It alldepends on your ulterior motives: As Twain describes it, telling stories is manipulative. However, the reason for the manipulation is what makes it a good or bad thing. Doing it to delight your audience is good; doing it to bamboozle them into doing something that profits you, is bad.So, with the possibility of transmedia as a term being connected to a lot of not-so-beautiful projects in the near future – and with Steve Peters’ tweet from yesterday,which I believe was a reaction to the massive transmedia hype at the NY Toys Fair(which actually was mostly franchising in the traditional sense), in mind – we mightbe wanting to take care of the term transmedia a bit more. For me, transmedia hasbeen - and still is - a term that tells of possibilities and excitement, not necessarilyrevenue streams and franchising. If too many projects labels "transmedia" are told inTwains comic/witty way, we might be looking for a new term in the not so distantfuture.On the other hand, terms are terms, and should not be taken too seriously. It’s whatwe create, why we create it, how we create it and how we execute it that matters.However, to round off with a final quote from the great Mark Twain, I thinktransmedia, in all of it’s momentum forward, might want to rein in a bit and reassess: Let us make a special effort to stop communicating with each other, so we can have some conversation. - Mark Twain
  • 13. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 13The ”Why” of Transmedia21st of June 2011I’m thrilled to see a great many transmedia projects springing up all around theworld, in different settings; from marketing campaigns for blockbusters and tv seriesto crowdsourced international mystery-stories, from web based crime fiction projectsto socially engaged documentaries – the powers of transmedia storytelling are beinggrasped and acted upon my a steadily increasing number of practitioners. The like-button is firmly pressed for my part.One thing I myself have found to be of great importance to keep in mind whendeveloping stories and content for a transmedia project is the simple question”why”? It might sound naive, but believe me, it can at times be a hard question toanswer, at least in a way that would satisfy yourself, let alone anyone you would liketo invest in your project.A simple ”because I (or we) can” just does not cut it. That’s a sure-fire way ofdeveloping something that doesn’t fit together in the seamless and logical way that’scrucial for any transmedia project. There are just too many pitfalls along the way;there is no need to go digging them yourself.”Because it’s cool” or "because its what everyone is doing nowadays" are hardlybetter reasons. Yes, it will be cool, providing you get it right. Chances are you won’t,and it will not, therefore, be particularly cool. Yes, many others are doing it. This doesnot mean that you, necessarily, should be doing it as well.If it’s a transmedia marketing campaign for a release of some kind, that makes itinfinitely easier. It’s”to raise awareness of this particular property” or ”to make peopleengage in the content and get more viewers in through word-of-mouth”. In this senseyou know what you’re aiming for and your results are possible to observe, analyzeand draw conclusions from.Another reason, especially if we are talking about a transmedia campaign connectedto an existing property (the new Pottermore instalment might be an example) can be”to extend the storyworld and offer more content to an engaged audience”. This is areason that probably could be adapted to most transmedia projects, and in thatsense needs more clarification – is it ”to offer alternative or complementary storiesset in the original storyworld”? Or is it ”to give the audience a playing field, a
  • 14. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 14sandbox, intended for user generated content”? Is it something else?It can also be ”to explain the background and the history of the main property in thestory” or ”to expand on the mythology through new stories” or even ”to act as abehind-the-scenes view of the main property” (especially in the case of transmediadocumentaries).Whatever reason you have for developing transmedia content (and the answers tothe ”why?” above are probably as many and as diverse as the number of transmediaprojects in existence), ”Why?” remains a good question to ask, at any point of thedevelopment, production and execution phase.PS. It was swiftly pointed out to me that one - perhaps one of the most central -reason for transmedia would be "to generate revenue" and in the long run "toincrease the value of the IP". I will concur, although I will add that at the moment Ithink most of the transmedia projects we are seeing are pretty happy just to breakeven. Thanks Simon Pulman for pointing it out. DS
  • 15. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 15Interview - Jeff GomezJeff Gomez is the world’s leading producer of transmedia entertainment properties.He is an expert at incubating new entertainment franchises, strategic planning andproduction for cross-platform implementation. As CEO of Starlight RunnerEntertainment, Jeff leverages intellectual properties into global franchises thatsuccessfully navigate an array of media channels. Jeff has worked on suchblockbuster universes as Disneys Pirates of the Caribbean, Microsofts Halo andJames Camerons Avatar. He sits on the board of the Producers Guild of AmericaEast, as well as on the PGA New Media Council. Jeff has also recently joined theAdvisory Council to Power to the Pixel. Follow him on Twitter at @Jeff_Gomez.There’s been an at times fairly heated debate on “what is transmedia?”. You’vekept a fairly low profile, not arguing for or against any notion. How come?Not my job, man. Ive been working for a very long time to get a lot of people tounderstand the basic concept of transmedia narrative, the bits that most of us canagree on. That task is pretty much done, at least in the entertainment industry, soStarlight Runner is moving on to joining with our partners and clients do this betterand better.Many of your projects constitute marketing to some extent; is this a future fortransmedia? In the post of Mark Twain on Transmedia he talks about the wittystory (marketing, shouting from rooftops) in contrast to the humorous story(which needs an artist to tell it right). Where do you feel transmedia has its’home and why?Good transmedia storytelling involves marketing on two fronts: 1. The infrastructure of marketing can actually be leveraged to help tell the story. Itcan be used to familiarize people with the story world, and familiarity helps to drawpeople in. I so wish that the pre-release marketing of Martin Scorceses "Hugo" didmore to familiarize young people with that story world, so that the audience held astronger stake in seeing how the movie turns out, because it is such a great andimportant film and its underperforming in the United States. Instead the movie wasjust sprung on its audience, and odd-looking period fantasy dramas simply haventdone well without an indoctrination process. Transmedia marketing could havehelped introduce Scorceses story and direct connect with the audience well in
  • 16. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 16advance. And, 2. But the true role of marketing in good transmedia storytelling is that it becomesa flourish of brushstrokes on a much larger canvas. Marketers need to beempowered by the studio to extend the voice of the storyteller. They need to usetheir talent to engage a mass audience, but with the firepower of being able to buildupon the narrative or further explore the story world. But the same holds true forlicensees, social media campaigns, everything.Above is a post I wrote on the “Why” of transmedia; do you stop and ask“why?” Is it something you do for every project or not at all? And what is mostoften the answer?Well, first I appreciate that you ask such questions. "Why?" is everything to me.Asking "why" things need to be the way they are is what got me as far as Ive comein life. Any good storyteller, whether they are communicating through music, throughtelevision or through prose, needs to understand (intuitively or through experience)what techniques are going to be most effective in their chosen medium. The sameworks if you are mixing or combining media. Starlight Runner has turned down worknot because the project was too large or too small, but because the project didntlend itself, in our opinion, to transmedia narrative. Sometimes a violin concertosimply doesnt necessitate the composition of a symphony around it.You’re probably the best speaker on transmedia I know. One of yourcornerstones is authenticity; there needs to be authentic content, based onreal feelings, real pain, real longing… so, what would your ideal transmediaproject look like?You just described it. My ideal transmedia project tells a story that is striking andresonant with its audience, fostering their participation and creative expression withinthe context of the story world, but also sparking dialog between us all outside of thestory world. The power of this technique is that it triggers action, whether that is theaction of "liking" something on Facebook or the action of taking an insight from thestory and your dialog with the story world and applying it toward improving your life inthe real world. Think of all the scientists and computer experts inspired to theircareers by Star Trek and Tron; all kids moved to become environmentalists becauseof Avatar; the Harry Potter Alliance committed to acts of social good around theworld. Amazing!
  • 17. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 17I’ve heard several voices arguing that transmedia isn’t quite “there” yet anddoesn’t have the ability to evoke the same deep feelings as more traditionalmedia forms. At the same time, transmedia can encompass all these types ofmedia forms if they fit the context of the property. Is this a concern for you onany level? If transmedia is to be an own artistic expression, what steps areneeded to get there?I look at the things youre talking about here from a completely different perspective.What ever the entry point to the story world might be—movie, television show,YouTube video—if the narrative resonates with me and I want more, Im going to goafter it. So the content has to be evocative and compelling in the first place.Whether the transmedia implementation was created purposefully or not, Star Wars,Doctor Who and Star Trek have been generating exciting, emotionally enthrallingstories for years, as have any number of rich fictional worlds from Japanese popculture. So whats relatively new here, and what we are doing at Starlight Runner, isto bring a true and meaningful design sensibility to the unfolding of these storyworlds across these platforms.By thinking about the best way to tell different aspects of the story in different mediaforms in such a way as to increase the level of intimacy and emotional intensity ofthe experience, and then to play these aspects out in concert—thats what will makefor transmedia as artistic expression.Finally, how do you envisage the future of transmedia in, say, 2015?By 2015, transmedia narrative will have taken root as a form of artistic expressionunto itself.
  • 18. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 18Interview - Nick DeMartinoNick DeMartino has a background as Senior VP for Media & Technology at theAmerican Film Institute for over two decades, creating a range of innovativeprograms at the intersection of technology and creativity, leading the AFI intoinnovative developments and creating opportunities for thousands of creativeprofessionals. A visionary pioneer in the development of breakthrough media,DeMartino provides strategic consulting services for creative businesses, producers,nonprofits, philanthropists and educators. He is @nickdemartino on Twitter.How have you seen the transmedia industry evolve during the past couple ofyears? Where do you think it will end up? An accepted part swallowed by therest of the media industry or something else?Its interesting that you set "two years" as your marker. In March or April it will be twoyears since the formalization of a "transmedia" credit by the Producers Guild, thespecifics of which drew fire from some practitioners, and gained a good deal ofattention from all parts of the industry, as I have written in my series in June, 2011. Ihave to confess that until I dug deeply into the issue, I did not understand the varioustribal strands within the transmedia community, even though I knew a lot of thepractitioners and had been championing multi-platform media for nearly 20 years asthe chief digital guy at the American Film Institute.So, from that I would have to conclude that the emergence of the concept of"transmedia" and the struggle over its definition has given much greater visibility tothe field than ever before, certainly within mainstream media companies. We seeevidence all around: the emergence of new divisions and partnerships withinmainstream companies, the de rigeur commissioning by many movie, game andtelevision properties of "transmedia" extensions, the increase (though not enormous)of investment capital behind various transmedia studios, the experimentation inmulti-platform release of properties by "name" talent, and increased credibility ofindependents who aspire to create breakthroughs in transmedia storytelling.I have also experienced first hand in the last six month a palpable surge of activitywithin the "movement" of transmedia activists, by which I mean practitioners who aretrue believers in aspects of the storytelling form which are fundamental and notsimply extensions of existing media. Among the most interesting areas, to me atleast, are new platforms for story creation and audience co-creation, new
  • 19. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 19organizations (like and the t-m meet-ups overall), the Story WorldConference, and increased attention from academia.You’ve seen hypes come and go, methods and technical innovations likewise;is transmedia different? What earlier phase would you most liken it too?This feels to me like the early 90s independent film community, in terms oforganization-building, in terms of the search for business models, in terms of theuneasy alliance with mainstream distribution, in terms of the fluidity of the story formsthemselves, and in terms of the openness for access to the means of production.What is different, of course, is the collapse of many of the existing indie film models(business, distribution), and the rise of a much more media-savvy audience that iswilling to experiment on a small scale without permission from the mainstreamculture.Does anyone actually care about "transmedia", except for part of thepracticioners? Is the audience just reaching for great experiences no matterwhat label they have?I have no answer yet for this question. There is a sense, as there was in the early90s indie film world, that everything is changing and its an amazing time to becreative. At the end of the day, of course, this will only be true if the work reachesand touches audiences. I have written more than once that Ive yet to cry from atransmedia production. Film makers and other artists working with forms that aredecades or hundreds of years old have conventions to rely upon (and react agains)which generate emotional connection with audiences. If transmedia storytellers areinventing both the form and the story, they have a harder time making the connectiontruly emotional, which is all that really matters in story. I personally dont think that"faux" stories, genre stories, scavenger hunts, and other examples of transmediaelements we have seen to date are very significant in the history of storytelling. Imnot yet sure what is.What, for you, have been amongst the most exciting transmedia-related thingsto happen over the past year? Why?From the perspective of community-building, I really do think Story World wasimportant, as are other conclaves that bring the practitioners together. In my world, Idid not encounter a work of art that touched me especially, certainly not like dozens
  • 20. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 20of movies and television programs and books have. Im still waiting.Do you feel confident that there actually WILL be a transmedia project that willtouch you like the television programs, books etc you mentioned? Or are welooking at a long and winding road to build the same conventions as other artforms?Im not sure that "transmedia" per se is a new art form in itself. Right now, as I see it,we have an emerging style of story telling that utilizes a series of techniques andattitudes which are largely enabled by new media capabilities. That sounds like thedefinition of a format more than a full blown media form, if the distinction matters.One might look at "reality television" as an analogous form, as I have written. I beganmaking videotaped documentaries back in the early 80s that were able to capturereality in a new way, largely because small-format portable video technologyproduction and low-cost videotape allowed it to happen. We called it documentary,not reality TV. Arguably the first mainstream "reality TV" show was Alan and SusanRaymonds AN AMERICAN FAMILY on PBS, immortalized this year by HBO in"Cinema Verite". That show was shot on 16mm film, but was influenced by a "let thecamera roll" sensibility of the video movement, certainly as much as the "verite"pioneers from 16mm filmmaking (Leacock, Pennebaker, Wiseman). It was alsoinfluenced by the emergence of PBS, an outlet that was willing to run many hoursover weeks to the story, unlike earlier films, which hewed to the 90-120minute limit oftheatrical exhibition. I would say that the first "reality television" series was Bunim-Murrays "Real World" on MTV, which debuted in 1992, just shy of 20 years after "AnAmerican Family." The show was made possible by continuing advances in low-costvideo tools (not just cameras, but desktop video editing) and again, the willingness ofa network to support the concept. In addition, there was a noticeable shift in ethics,with regards to how much content was "real" and how much was coached. As theHBO movie brought out, there was a LOT of tension around how much "reality" waswarped by the presence of cameras, as if somehow anyone imagined it wouldnt be.By the time of REAL WORLD, the whole thing was created artificially FOR thecameras, and shaped for entertainment value, not as a journalistic or sociologicaldeep dive into an existing world. In the intervening period there were certainly many many programs that used veritedocumentary techniques in multi-part series. (Scared Straight, etc.). But they didntget pegged as "reality television." 
  • 21. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 21Id say that the 00s have been a decade in which masters of the form haveemerged, people who have stories to tell and have experimented with tools andtechniques as well as assembling resources to do so well. The best examples ofwhat is possible seem to have come from organizations with resources, LOST,HEROES, TRUTH ABOUT MARIKA, CONSPIRACY FOR GOOD are examples. Inevery case there has been a key visionary (or team) who manage to assembleresources from a patron (broadcaster, sponsor, public authority). I think some of thebest of the lot have track records in transmedia that can become the basis for whollyoriginal work. I look forward to seeing that happen. Chances are, the stories that willbe told will take aim at the genre market that seems most willing to be adventurous.Im probably not a good arbiter of success in this realm, as Im so tied to old mediaforms and Im not that keen on some of the genres in question. But Im certainlyteachable. But the audience will follow the visionaries, of this Im quite certain. Justas with indie film, or mainstream film or television, show-runners or auteurs orvisionaries earn a reputation and a larger and larger fan base with each effort. I thinkwell see this happen with the folks whose keep trying and working. Im not sure howmany at the indie level will make it, as the resource issue remains considerable. Thisis not a solo enterprise, or at least not on a sustainable basis. And that meanspeople, and money. Where do you think transmedia as a whole will be in 2015?Historically, movements are effective when they move the people who matter.Political movements change major parties and candidates and create public supportfor policy changes. In the media, weve seen (and Ive been part of) manymovements that sprang up in opposition to a mainstream which has limitedparticipation, has marginalized voices and forms of content, or which havecentralized control. We are in an era in which technology and consumer tastes favordecentralization and open access. The problem is not the ability to make stuff. Itsthe ability for the stuff to be any good, and to matter.To the extent that the story forms and engagement modes have value, they will havecertainly been assimilated into mainstream media by 2015. Television and digitaldistribution of cinema will almost certainly include as a matter of course variousalternate story scenarios, engagement opportunities, and even co-creationopportunities for audiences. If audiences tire of this stuff, it will go away, to me thereal question remains: will there be breakthroughs in content and form from the
  • 22. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 22outliers that capture attention and allegiance, not just from audiences, but as a flashin the zeitgeist. Todays zeitgeist seems almost entirely dominated by rapid turnoverof functions and fads. Even huge digital incumbents like Facebook and Twitter areconstantly innovating. This takes resources, which clearly the indies dont have.
  • 23. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 23DEVELOPING TRANSMEDIA————————————————————————————————Key elements: development, design, “hey, I didn’t think of that!”-momentsDeveloping transmedia takes on so many shapes and forms that it’s near impossibleto cover them all. You can be appointed by a big studio with millions to burn onmarketing or you could be chipping away at a transmedia art project all on your ownin a university somewhere, or just about anything in between. Still, there are anumber of things these all have in common; the use of multiple platforms and thechallenges that come with such an approach, the need to tell a story (or severalstories) that are branched out but still connect logically and effectively and engaging,the urge to reach an audience (and perhaps foster co-creation), the need to pay for itall… Developing transmedia - it’s the best headache you’ll ever have :).In this chapter I’ve compiled some texts that I’ve written while heavily engaged indeveloping content, formats, stories, characters, audience engagement etc and soon. Sometimes I feel I just think to many thoughts and need to write them down toget the train of though straightened out, or I will never be able to remember how Iended up where you ended up in the first place…The IntervieweeThe interview is with Andrea Phillips, as I believe she, with her diverse track recordof developing transmedia projects of many different varieties, is the right person tovoice an opinion on the subject.
  • 24. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 24Musings on transmedia development26th of October 2010We (i.e. I and my colleagues at MediaCity Finland) started out as developers ofinteractive television-formats some five-six years ago. These were based ontelevision as the core of the content, with interactivity included either via mobilephones or via digital set-top-boxes. We realized very early on that if you want todevelop something that should accompany a traditional piece of content - like a tvshow - you needed to develop the two (or more) together from the start. Thus youavoided the awkward feeling of added content being slapped onto existing content,without any form of seamless and enjoyable experience.As time has gone by, we have thankfully been able to let go of the limited MHPinteractivity for set-top-boxes and have happily embraced the cross media /transmedia approach to telling stories, be they music shows, kids shows, gameshows or just about any kind of content. Now, some things are always good to keepin mind while starting up or being in the development phase of a transmedia project:First off, make sure youre developing and creating compelling content - you need agreat story to function as the framework, with enough holes in it for the audience tobe able to fill in stuff themselves and become engaged in the story (Jeff Gomezs"Swiss Cheese-model"). Dont forget the narrative superstructure - build it solidenough to serve as a vehicle for this particular story, but also as a bed for futurestories (from past, present and future in the story universe) to spring from.Secondly (but developed at the same time so it all fits together nicely without anylast-minute panic solutions, thank you very much) - logical ways for the audience/users to connect to the story, from platforms that are themselves logical ways intothe story. I.e., do not make an iPad app just cause everyone else has one. If its notessential for how you experience the story, leave it out.Thirdly, get out there and get some traction for your content. Lots of stuff getsdeveloped and produced and perhaps gets a blog mention or three, topping out at452 users over a three month period. Dont do that. Get those people interested thatcan tip your little thing over the edge and into the abyss of a global phenomena. Geteveryone to step over that invisible "WTF"-threshold (the threshold where youKNOW you should be doing something else but youre seeing thousands of people(who also should be doing something else) involving themselves in the story and
  • 25. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 25having the time of their lives, so you think "Oh hell, WTF" and you jump right in).How? Read up on Propagation Planning. As they say - plan not for the people youreach, but the people they reach. Find your spokespersons. Be inclusive, notexclusive. Which nicely builds over to...Be interactive. Listen. Communicate. Youre probably not right every time, and othersmay have better ideas for your story and its development. Face it - it is no longeryours only. Embrace that fact and take it onwards - its all a good thing.Lastly, dont leave people hanging. Theres nothing worse than getting peoplesexpectations up and then letting them down. They have invested in your creation.Make sure they get full value for their investment. If you do, theyll be back.
  • 26. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 26Creating a Transmedia Symphony16th of November 2010I re-read the article in Wired on transmedia today, and found it as good a read as thefirst time. Coming to the last paragraph I read Jeff Gomez’s comment abouttransmedia and the birth of a new Mozart, ”We are going to see visionaries whounderstand the value of each media platform as if it’s a separate musical instrument,who’ll create symphonic narratives which leverage each of these multimediaplatforms in a way that will create something we haven’t encountered yet.”This rings true for me as an analogy of what many of us are trying to create. Thequestion that popped up in my head was, however, “but hey, how do you create a“normal” symphony?”. Lo and behold, a Google search later I found this wikihow on,yes, how to create a symphony. After reading it, the analogy rings truer still. So, totranslate the creation of a “normal” symphony to the creation of a transmediasymphony, these would/could be the steps to take:1. Before considering creating a transmedia symphony, you most know a lot ofthe theory behind the storytelling and the structure, as well as the analysis ofaudiences and the different media platforms. If you have done this, follow the nextsteps.2. Be inspired. Take some time, relax, bring som inspirational material with yousomewhere and create. Wherever you are, when the ideas suddenly pop up in yourmind, write them down, no matter how small. Keep letting life inspire you until youhave a bunch of these ideas. Try to make your ideas connect with people on anemotional level.3. You’re going to need some good writing and scheduling software. Set upyour project thoroughly, with all the different elements in place from the beginning. Inthis way you can see how they fit together, and where strengthening is needed. Thebase of the project is the story and a couple of platforms. Unless you’re taking on amassive Hollywood project you shouldn’t need to worry about every possibleplatform and outlet. It’s all up to you, what you want your project to look like and howyou want it to be perceived.4. When you’ve selected the platforms you want to work on, go back to yourideas. Expand on them, build the world around them, put them in the middle of some
  • 27. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 27context and think about how you would like to introduce them, and how you willdigress from them as the narrative rolls on. Which ideas would be best at thebeginning, or in the middle of the narrative? What should be the grand finale? Slowlyadd onto these ideas and interlink them. Make sure to stay within logical boundariesand watch for errors that would throw an audience off. This is of course unless youreally feel you want some of these. Many creators throughout history have soughtout theoretical guidelines, but if you encounter an opportunity to do something whichbreaks the rules but really feels right to you in the context of the piece, you mightwant to leave it in.5. Eventually you will have a number of different, fleshed-out ideas going on.Try to get them all work in the same context, yet have their own unique style. You willuse this to develop the different movements of your work. Keep expanding on theseideas, adding subplots, side characters, and so on. Watch and study other greattransmedia projects to hear, see and feel how they progress, to help give you ideasof your own.6. Eventually each idea will become a decently long plot. Do a walkthrough of allthe different parts of your project. Does it flow right? Change and fix anything thatdoes not feel right. Remember the interlinking of the different parts and how theyshould exist in the same story world and fit logically in the same context. Keeprefining your project until it is complete.7. This creative process may take a while, but by this step you should have afully developed transmedia project down on paper. Take it to a group of peopleyou know closely, or perhaps a group of students, and narrate the project to them, orask them to partake of any material you have produced so far, like written text,graphic novels, online portals etc. Observe them partake of your idea. Did theyexperience it like you expected? Were their reactions the desired ones? Make sureyou have the possibility to write down comments and reactions on the spot.8. Go back to your transmedia mess and make a second draft with the commentsand reactions taken in. Repeat these two steps until you are satisfied.9. Take it to someone in the industry. It depends on your idea, but could beanything from a broadcaster to a production company, from a publisher to a telecomoperator, depending on your idea and the platforms you’re concentrating on.Rehearse your pitch well, and reel them in with your great story and magnificent
  • 28. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 28execution.10. If you get traction and commissioning (or at least adequate funding) - Voila!Time to unleash your transmedia symphony on the world!...and after writing this down, the analogy still rings true. Granted, there might be alot more involvement from different sources from the beginning - brands, partners,tech etc - but if I start developing a new transmedia idea, this could work pretty well!There is also other aspects, like the need for a viable business plan etc, but weretalking symphonies now, so I omitted those :)(Credits go to the Wikihow users who wrote the original post: BoldStepFixer, Gewg,Johnny, Nicole Willson, Maluniu, BR, Sarah Eliza and KP, wikiHow user(s) IsabelleC, Getmoreatp, Geena04, J424, Tryme2 and Anonymous.)
  • 29. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 29The NOT of Transmedia9th of November 2011Late yesterday evening, as I sat writing on a transmedia mystery/horror novel I like tokeep at hand as my own personal pet project – a combination of jet lag and a fullmoon helps no end when you want to work nights, see – I had a small revelation.I had written a couple of pages and felt pretty good about myself, so I started lookingover the mindmap of all extensions from and to the novel and from and to the storyworld the novel is based in (and trust me, as with all transmedia projects, these arelegio) and a pattern suddenly emerged before me. It had a big fat headline as well,that pattern – a headline that said ”NOT!”.You see, as I gazed at the arrows and the dots and the squares and the texts, Irealized that transmedia is as much about what you decide NOT to use, as whatyou eventually end up actually USING. As was stated at the Storyworld conference –all stories can be developed in a transmedia direction; not nearly all need or deserveit. If your project does need and deserve to have transmedia methods applied tothem, it is very important to evaluate your project from the angle of ”what makessense”. I.e., even though you’ve already registered the YouTube channel and youreally want to produce them awesome webisodes and put them out there – if all yourproject needs is a blog, an automated e-mail response system and a novel, thenthat’s what your project should use.The same goes for interaction with the audience. I know many who argue that aninherent trait of transmedia storytelling is the activating and incorporating of theaudience, inviting them to take an active part in the storytelling. I would disagree, as Ibelieve you can deliver fullfledged transmedia content without the audience doingmuch more than choosing what to consume on which platform. I.e., use UGC oruser interaction when it makes sense, NOT when it doesn’t!The list goes on, but I’m sure you get my point. Your transmedia project will bedefined as much by what you did NOT utilize within the scope of it as by what youDID utilize.
  • 30. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 30Transmedia, Time and Context3rd of June, 2011A couple of posts have gotten my mind working overtime these past couple of days.Andrea Phillips wrote an excellent post on Time and Transmedia, highlighting thechallenges facing anyone working in different time periods within a story, in a realworld where viewers can start experiencing that story from just about any pointpossible. In the comments, Scott Walker pointed me to a post of his that I’d missedlast year, on the challenges and possibilities of collaborative transmedia storytelling.Many good points, and with so many people moving into the field of transmedia fromnumerous different angles, these posts are simply required reading.My point of view on these matters come from the field of creating a transmediaexperience from scratch, without any previous brand or franchise to fall back on. It isan experience that is unfolding in real time, which at the same time will live andprosper drawing on the power of the long tail. In this context, context is, as we havefound, crucial. There will be many people entering the story from many differentangles, and the story might have unfolded to just about any point. As I see it, thereare some points that need to be taken into consideration:- The foundation needs to be solid. In order to attain this, you must have a graspof the time line of the project, and a general notion of the story archs and theschedules involved. At the same time, you cannot lock everything into place (at leastnot with a project like ours, that is expected to run and run) or you will be stifled.- The foundation needs to be communicated clearly and without anydiscrepancies. This goes for communicating outside the team producing the contentas well as within the team. In this matter, the task of simplifying is crucial. Test andtry and test again; if the story world and the basis for the stories you are about tocreate and tell people is blurry, press the ”sharpen” button immediately. This is not tosay that everything needs to be told from the start – quite the contrary – buteveryone involved, be it a viewer, a user, a programmer, a writer… everyone needsto see the same thing when they look at your story world and your story.- Once this is achieved, you need to drop the reins, but give some clear options onhow to interact, how to create within your world etc. This goes when it comes toletting an audience interact and create, but also when it comes to not locking downpeople on the project, but instead give them the right tools and the motivation to,
  • 31. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 31themselves, create and interact within your project. It is nigh impossible to put all thison one person’s shoulders – much better (and much more true!) to give key peoplethe mandate to interact with each other and with the audience, within the context ofyour story and story world. You’d be amazed at what springs up.- Finally – don’t panic! With most projects you’ll be involved in that are of a moredocumentary type – like ours – there will be humans involved. Everyone will alsoknow that there are humans involved. Everyone also knows that humans makemistakes. Mistakes can even be beneficial, as long as you handle them in a way thatmakes sense within the context of your story and your story world. In a life-affirming,warm story and world, you laugh it off and the audience laughs with you. In a darkand brooding and violent story arc, you behead someone on the team with a vicioussnarl towards the audience, and the audience winces in terror but nods knowingly(and this is purely fictional then, of course. If you really behead someone on yourteam and refers to this post in your defense, I will not be held responsible).
  • 32. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 32The Value of Truth in Transmedia31st of December, 2010There are many important aspects to consider when starting out creating atransmedia property. There is creating the mythology, the narrative superstructure,as deep and rich as possible. There is timing all different releases, and making surethe right things get released on the right platforms. There is securing a soundfinancial basis to stand on – i.e., where’s the money going to come from?Every aspect is vital, some to the core of the story being told, some to the frameworkaround the story that lets it find its’ audience and gives its’ creators and producersfunds to work with to take the story in the direction it is supposed to go. But sinceeverything about a transmedia project, in my opinion, goes back to the need toengage an audience and give them the best experience possible, I’ve found truth tobe the most important aspect.”Truth” in transmedia, as I see it, is the simple fact that everything needs to fit. Thethings that do not fit must also fit, as non-fitting parts (carefully planned, naturally) orbe re-developed or omitted. We as human beings can tell when things are not asthey should be, when they are not true. We might have been conditioned to set asideour beliefs, or willingly believe in certain things, but if we just let our instincts guideus, we mostly have the gut feeling of what’s wrong and what’s right, what’s ”True”and what’s false.”Truth” in transmedia is keeping in mind that platforms do not matter, OS orprogramming languages do not matter. What matters is the story and that the usersexperience it the way you as the creator/producer planned for it to be experienced.”Truth” in transmedia is a fragile thing. It can be shattered by a wrongly worded tweetfrom a character in a series. It contains a lot of pitfalls – and I know from my ownexperience that you, as a developer, will fall into many of them. The trick is torecognize when you’re in a pit and quickly get your ass out of there before anyonenotices. You might need help to climb out of the pit. You might experience resistance,in the form of partners, sponsors, financiers, directors. But you know what ”truth”means in your creation. Stick to that.
  • 33. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 33Interview - Andrea PhillipsAndrea Phillips is an award-winning transmedia writer, game designer and author.Her work includes a variety of educational and commercial projects, includingFloating City with Thomas Dolby, The Maesters Path for HBOs Game of Thrones,America 2049 with human rights nonprofit Breakthrough, Routes Game for Channel4 Education, the independent commercial ARGPerplex City, and The 2012Experience for Sony Pictures. She is also working on Balance of Powers, anindependent, crowdfunded experiment in serial storytelling using a freemiumbusiness model. Her book, A Creators Guide to Transmedia Storytelling, will bepublished by McGraw-Hill in the spring of 2012. Find her on Twitter - @andrhia.Or, alternatively, her description could read “She was raised by witches and inventedthe paper clip. She lives in a hovel on chicken legs in the woods."You choose.How do you ideally approach a transmedia project?When I start a project, the first thing I try to figure out is what my goal is. Sometimes,as in a marketing project, its something like "get people to subscribe to an emaillist," or "persuade people to seethis film." Sometimes its "Lets see what kind of astory you can tell using this weird tool." And sometimes it starts from a morenarrative point of view; in that case, the goal is "How do I explore this theme?" or"How can I best convey this piece of story?"No one of these goals is superior -- theyre all valid purposes for building atransmedia story. But the first and most important step is acknowledging what youreafter, because it has a ripple effect on every other decision you make.Can you identify rookie mistakes to be avoided when starting out developingtransmedia?So many! One of the biggest mistakes is being ignorant of prior art. There is so muchgreat work out there, going back years and years, and a lot of creators come intotransmedia thinking theyve invented it. Everyone would benefit if we could just stopreinventing the wheel, and if we could just learn from one anothers mistakes.
  • 34. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 34Theres no shame in not being the first person to have an idea.Its also common not to promote your work. Theres a myth that cream rises to thetop, that a really great project will get attention even if you dont actively send outpress releases and Tweets telling everyone its there. But it is a myth, andunfortunately the internet is not an attention meritocracy. You have to promote atransmedia property precisely the same way youd promote a single-medium story.In the context of promoting a transmedia property, is there any way you havefound especially effective? Social media? Approaching bloggers (as withGame of Thrones)? Billboards?The methods that work are going to depend on the project, basically, and whatresources you have available. Theres nothing about a transmedia narrative thatrenders it unfit for traditional marketing and publicity techniques -- trailers, billboards,posters, reaching out to journalists and to your natural fan communities. And as withother entertainment marketing, the more you have to spend, the more people youcan reach. The place where transmedia has a leg-up is in making each of thosecontacts a rabbithole into the fictional experience -- a call to action to participate.But you shouldnt try to get too cute and provide that rabbithole with no contextregarding who you are and what they should expect if they follow through. Its nice totry to evoke an air of mystery, but if you cant establish credibility and a reason foryour audience to care, hardly anyone is going to pay half a seconds attention to yourlovingly crafted and utterly non-informational item or website or email.What single part of your transmedia developer career makes you the mostproud to have achieved?Gosh, Im just proud to still be alive, you know? There are precious few people whoget to make a full-time living doing this stuff. The fact that Im still working andblogging after all these years -- that I havent had to give it up and get a real job at anoffice in the city -- thats a bigger victory for me than any one project or award or talk.If you’d be playing an instrument in the transmedia symphony orchestra,which and why?Oh, a tricky one! I assume youre comparing a transmedia project to a symphony,and not the whole transmedia community -- that would be quite a bit different.For the symphony of my projects, though, Id fancy myself the composer who wrote
  • 35. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 35the music. Failing that, Id say percussion. Im the inexorable drumbeat that keepseach section on time and coordinated as the symphony plays out. With no beat, therest of it kind of falls apart, doesnt it? And even in places where there is nodrumming, the section is still an invisible presence as the rhythm keeping time inyour head. Thats me!Above is a post on “Truth in Transmedia” - what does “Truth” mean to you inthe context of transmedia?From your post, I think youre talking about truth in the way that I talk aboutauthenticity. You want your story to feel genuine to your audience. Anything that isnttrue to your characters and motivations, or true to your theme and vision, will pull anaudience out of your story and injure the experience theyre having.Thats not to say that everything should be completely realistic -- thats anotherrookie mistake, thinking realism is worthwhile for its own sake. And sometimes thereare good reasons for not being realistic, if there is an ethical question, for example,or even if its just more boring that way.Finally, if you’d gaze into a crystal ball - where will transmedia be in 2015?A prediction! I think were going to see tremendous shifts happening in television. Itsthe medium best-suited to anchor an interactive transmedia narrative right now. Itsepisodic, very often entire communities consume the work at the same time, and itsfairly nimble compared to feature films and print publishing. I think well see -- noteven innovation over the next few years, but such a volume of work that thetransmedia element of a TV show will become a no-brainer. It wont be special; itll beexpected, and a show that doesnt do anything will feel like its missing a beat.But I also foresee the rise of more tightly integrated Star Wars-style transmediafranchises -- stories where something seeded in one platform has a payoff inanother. Stories where each medium plays out a different subplot, and sheds newlight on the whole. So far weve seen a lot of sequential franchising, but I think theguys with the big bucks are going to see the value in intertwining the stories so thateach subsequent piece drives traffic to everything thats gone before. Transmediaisnt just good art, its good business, too.
  • 36. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 36THE TRANSMEDIA FORMAT————————————————————————————————Key elements: formats, development, television, multiplatformDeveloping formats is what I’ve been doing for the past six-seven years, along withselling them, negotiating etc. I.e., I know quite a bit about formats. I want to bringtransmedia storytelling methods to the niche of entertainment that is formats… this,however, is easier said than done. In this chapter you’ll find some posts on preciselythat - the challenges of integrating transmedia and formats.The IntervieweeFor this chapter I’ve talked to Nicoletta Iacobacci, as she is a person who knows thetelevision industry intimately. She is also the head of cross media and multiplatformat the EBU and is right now overseeing the development of a very interestingmultinational transmedia project, with more projects in the pipeline.
  • 37. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 37What makes good transmedia?19th of December 2010It is very encouraging to see how quickly transmedia has become a trend that notonly is a buzzword or a hype, but rather a phenomenon that seems to grab peoples’attention and imagination and spur them on to think in new ways, create new thingsand talk to new people.There are still probably as many definitions of transmedia as there are people talkingabout transmedia. These are not necessarily differing all that much from each other,but rather in a nuance here or a nuance there. It’s all good though; we should all fearthe day when we have the definite definition of what transmedia is. That’s the daywhen it’s time to start doing something else.It’s not just talk either. A growing number of people are starting to venture into thefield of transmedia to tell their stories. These range from major multi-million dollarventures to small dramas or documentaries with next to no financial power behindthem. Some will fail, even amongst the colossal ones, but some will succeedmagnificently, even amongst the small ones – such is the way of the storytellingbusiness.As more and more projects are being developed, there seems to be a need to lookbeyond the ”what is transmedia?” or ”why transmedia?” to the much harder ”should Iand this project go into transmedia?”.From my personal point of view, I know that some of the projects I work on lendthemselves nicely to transmedia development. Building the mythology, developing acanon, working on different storylines to be told via different platforms – even if it is adocumentary, a music show or even a game show, it is quite possible. On the otherhand, I know that some other projects – good projects, in and of themselves! – wouldnot benefit from a transmedia treatment. They are stories that either would not beenhanced by expanding the universe they exist in, or stories that would carry a muchtoo hefty price tag, should a transmedia development and implementation takeplace.Some people in the transmedia field were kind enough to give me their opinion onthe matter, and there is a pattern, at least so far. Tyler Weaver – do check out Whiz!Bam!Pow!, a project I’m looking forward to seeing more of – was of the opinion that
  • 38. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 38the story was the most important feature. As he said:- The most important thing - a good story. I just want a good story well told. If I wantto welcome the characters into my home (good or bad), its a good story that I wantto revisit.We all probably agree with this. It has to be a good story, for there to be anything tobuild around. It also needs to be a story that can have a mythology, a universe of itsown (even if it is our own, real universe we’re talking about). If it’s a thin story, orunengaging, or linear withour the possibility of other storylines touching it, there’s justno way it would ever make a good transmedia entity. (I do, btw, love that definition ofa character in a story – ”if I would want to welcome them into my home” – and willhappily start using it to gauge the characters in my stories).Sparrow Hall, of Nightworks and Two Blue Wolves fame, shared his beliefs:- What attracts me to transmedia: the ability to inhabit the environment/vibe of astory, to see deeper into characters. What engages me with transmedia: seeing howconsistent art direction and tonality is achieved over multiple mediums. Subtlety.High production value even with little to no budget. Authenticity of feeling/language.Also the multiplatform aspect needs to feel compelling/enriching, not just a device tocontinue.Many things to agree with. Also, naturally, the possibility to offer many entrypoints, aswell as exit points, to and from your story universe, to let the users/viewers/audienceparticipate, either freely or via the Swiss cheese model and to, through all theseactions, find new stories where you thought there were no more stories to be told.So, to apply this on what one should do when assessing a development project; ifthere is a reason for there to be more than one platform involved, and the content onthese platforms are unique but can be and is being developed together, that is agood sign for a transmedia property. If you can see how the audience canparticipate, and to what degree, and if you can see this ”spread” of the storyhappening even without big bucks behind it, you’re even further on the road to atransmedia winner (or at least a doable project :-)I’ll leave the last word of this post to Stephen Dinehart, who commented on thecurrent hype around transmedia:
  • 39. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 39- I think perhaps the best way to see through the hype is not to listen to it. Justcreate.So, let’s go out there (or, stay in here for that matter) and create. Im really lookingforward to the next few years.
  • 40. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 40The mixing of Real and Not Real inTransmedia29th of October, 2010Transmedia formats always have been and always will be a bit of a different kind ofbeast. One particular challenge that I face while developing transmedia, is the thinline between being just about enough fictional, but not too fictional. I don’t work – or,should I say, I do not at the moment work – with drama-based transmedia projects;instead, the ones we’re working on now are music projects, game shows, kidsformats, etc.As I see it, one key element of any transmedia venture is the classical ”willfulsuspension of disbelief” (love the phrase, btw). You know that you have yournarrative superstructure in place, it’s solid and will be a fine, nurturing growth bed.You have some – three, then, to go by PGA’s rules for a transmedia producer –different media platforms utilized. The different pieces of content support each other,either directly or indirectly, but are not duplicates of each other. What you need nowis for the consumer / participant (the ”consupant”? sounds a bit constipated...) to gointo your story, your narrative superstructure, and embrace the willful suspension ofdisbelief and engage him-/herself.This is a bit easier when building a drama-based transmedia setting, as anyoneconnecting to the mythology of the story knows and has accepted that it is a story.When blending ”real” stuff with a narrative that contains fictional elements, the cracksare a lot easier to spot.What I’ve found out so far is one fairly simple thing, yet hard to stick to whiledeveloping, writing and scripting. Simply – be as true as possible. If you embark onthe mission to include real stuff – be it persons, objects, physical landmarks orwhatever – in your transmedia project, these different kinds of stuff will be a lot morecredible if they, to as large an extent as possible, base themselves and presentthemselves as their real selves. What you dont want is for these characters and stuffto show any light shining through them. They need to be as solid as possible - whichis only possible if they are, for the main part, grounded in who or what they reallyactually are. The only thing you need to add are the small fictional things that letsthese real persons and real places function within your transmedia venture.
  • 41. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 41Transmedia sans fiction2nd of November, 2010One aspect that Im struggling with at the moment is when a development projectstrays from the path of fiction, or never originated as fiction to start with. As with theexamples Jeff talks about in the links above, well executed transmedia projects inthe vein of Avatar or Pirates of the Caribbean have a rich story world to build on, tocreate stories in, just as it should be. At the same time, this is almost a prerequisitefor creating these types of transmedia projects; you need that fictional world, wellbuilt and stable, to be able to tell your fictional stories that complement each otherand build the world onwards.The challenge, as I see it, is to figure out what happens when you base these in thereal world, omitting or at least limiting the fictional elements. Is it still transmedia? Orare we then reverting back to cross media (if that indeed can be consideredreverting?). If it is still transmedia, is it possible to base it in the real world and stillcreate a good transmedia narrative?My opinion is that this is more than possible. What you need to do is to create thenarrative superstructure in as great a detail as when you create your fictional world.Just because what youre creating is based on the real world, doesnt mean you cantake it for granted that everyone perceives this world the same way as you do - noteven your collaborators on the project. When writing this narrative superstructure,the mythology of your project, you need to explain the essence of, say, London, asrepresented in your project (if London is a part of your story of course) in as great adetail as the essence of Pandora is explained in the Avatar mythology.You also need to be able to explain this essence, via the descriptions and themythology, to each and everyone involved in the development and the production. Ibelieve this is the only way to avoid mishaps in the production (such as people notrealizing what you want to get out of the narrative, what feelings you want to convey,how you want people to interact etc). One hour spent on the mythology will save youfive hours in execution; production and editing.This will also assist you a lot when bringing new people into the development and/orproduction team. Finally, I agree with Jeff on one point he has been making; if youfeel the need to make some material to explain your project, a graphic novel is agreat way to go. And if you base it in the real world, so what? Who wouldnt want to
  • 42. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 42be in a graphic novel?
  • 43. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 43The Transmedia Format8th of September 2011I recently stumbled (again) upon this good post by Jason from The Connected Seton why television is an integral part of a transmedia format. Coming from a televisionbackground much as Jason, I guess it is no surprise that I agree with him on most ofhis points.Television is still very much a powerful player with it comes to getting viewers andaudiences engaged in your content. That engagement in turn will generate tractionfor other parts of your transmedia property – or the other way around, as, forinstance, HBO’s Game of Thrones showed this last spring. I wrote a piece forMIPBlog at around the same time, wondering if there was going to exist such a thingas a transmedia format. I wrote at the time:”The one thing that will be sure to stem the rise of the transmedia format at thisyear’s MIPFormats and MIPTV is simply the fact that very few formats aretransmedia at this point. As more and more projects are initiated, more and moretools are made available and more and more success stories unearthed, however,expect this to change, as transmedia simply offers so many logical and compellingways to engage consumers more fully into your content.”Since then I have become more and more acutely aware of the need that transmediacan have of television. TV still boasts impressive revenue. TV has tried and tested(and admittedly sometimes a bit outdated) business models. TV knows (again, a bitoutdatedly) how to calculate success. TV has a broad reach.Now, show me the transmedia project that would say no to impressive revenuestemming from tried and tested business models, with calculateable successfounded on a broad reach.So, as much as television needs to be looking in the direction of transmedia to beable to offer an audience the multiplatform approach many take for granted today (”ifthis show doesn’t invite me to do something on a 2nd screen (that ties logically andseamlessly into the show itself or the world the show depicts) I’ll just use that 2ndscreen to bitch about it on Twitter. Or play Empires & Allies on Facebook”)transmedia needs to be looking at television as an integral part of many transmediaprojects. And not as an add-on either, like a reversal of the state of affairs when tvshows should have interactivity at all cost, leading to slap-on, underdeveloped andseriously underwhelming interactive content being published regularly. Nope; just as
  • 44. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 44much as multiplatform or transmedia content need to be developed at the same timeas a television show, so must a television show be developed at the same time asthe multiplatform and transmedia content.
  • 45. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 45Interview - Nicoletta IacobacciNicoletta is a PhD candidate & researcher and responsible for Crossmedia andMultiplatform activities at the European Broadcasting Union. She coordinates andsupports the most interesting and innovative TV professionals of European PublicService Media. Her background is as a producer and reporter for television,computer graphics and digital television. She initiated the RAI TV interactive/digitalcontent factory in Italy and has been teaching Interactive storytelling. She is@nicoletta_iaco on Twitter.I think we agree that transmedia can play an important role when it comes tothe evolution of television. How about the other way around – do you see thattelevision can impact the way we view, create and produce transmedia?First we should ask, what is “television” today? Is it a genre, is it a medium, or is itonly a size? We have small, medium, large and extra large screens. Transmediashould be a method that is able to spread a story seamlessly on all these screens inorder to reach more, if not all users. We are in a transitional phase where TV isincreasingly considered to be just a bigger screen. Those able to use space and lay-out (and by space I mean the “living room” and the power of family aggregation, andfor layout, the user experience of Smart TV) will win the game in the coming months.I agree that Transmedia is impacting TV, but TV needs to become one of the screensin a multiplatform ecosystem. Today TV is still mainstream and is the aggregator thatallows you, at the production level, to involve the broadcasters, who do not risk toinvolve funding in “just” online/mobile experiences. In my opinion though, TV had itsday and its predominance won’t last for long.How do you see that television can make that impact?I can give you an example: I am currently facilitating and coordinating the firstinternational transmedial co-production, which involves, in its development phase atleast 3 broadcasters. In its original plan the project focused on the web as the maindistribution platform, and TV was considered one of the narrative’s entry point. At thebeginning has not been easy to involve broadcasters, since they are not yet ready torisk on a project that doesn’t come with all the proper monitoring methods (like in atelevision environment.) or on a project that it may fail. The, we changed strategyand gave TV the predominant role and the reaction was very positive for the same,identical project. If we want to seamlessly leverage Transmedia from being a trend to
  • 46. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 46become a normal narrative method, we still have to give TV the leading role.How about non-fiction transmedia, as a lot of television is reality ordocumentary or game shows etc... and fiction and transmedia have a prettytight bond. Is there room for non-fiction transmedia, what does it and will itlook like?I believe in transmedia applied to non-fiction projects. Borders are fading, genres arefading, rules are changing. Transmedia gives you the opportunity to face thechallenge of audience fragmentation, creating content that can please many. It is stilldifficult to apply it to news broadcasts but Transmedia has infected the narrative ofdocumentaries and soon will do the same with current affairs and investigativereporting projects.I am working on enforcing a pure entertainment Saturday-prime time TV programwith some transmedia elements and we will see if we will be able to do it.Transmedia is a switch of mind-set that can be applied to everyday life, not onlyentertainment. Focus on your daily routines: don’t you apply some transmediamethods in telling your stories or proposing your new project? For example, from mypoint of view, if I need to engage a broadcaster in a new production, and the storyinvolves more than a platform, I build the proposal specifically for each stakeholder,with a different entry point for each partner. Therefore Transmedia is not only thenarrative strategy, it’s also the selling one.You’re with the EBU and hence on the public service broadcaster side ofaffairs. Still, with so much talk going on about how to finance transmedia;whats your view on this? Will transmedia in itself become a viable businessmodel, or is it already? Or will the marketing budget be a transmediaproducers best friend?It’s very difficult to predict because in my role of Head of multiplatform at theEuropean Broadcasting Union, which is the organization of a the majority of PSM inEurope and worldwide, I currently struggle to facilitate transmedia co-productions.There is a big discussion going on regarding “financing multiplatform projects” whereof course transmedia is one of them. Pay-by-the-audience, pre rolls, productplacement, sponsorships; but most of these opportunities are not viable for publicservice broadcasters therefore we should be creative, think-out-of-the-box.
  • 47. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 47Media, besides strengthening relationships and transforming working habits, canboost the entertainment experience and specifically, for the public servicebroadcasters, can re-invent the audience experience. Television is still the most-usedmedia device although enjoyed differently than before. The VUP today (viewer/user/player, a term invented by Stephen Dinehart) mainly consume content digitally, in anon-linear environment; content that can be fragmented, shared, or played backstarting at any point.Yet the PSMs face a demographic threat. I read that around half of their viewers areover 65 years old, while only 5 percent are under 30. If the PSBs are to safeguardtheir future, they must attract younger audiences and it’s a big challenge becausethe youth market is demanding and quite elusive.Having at their disposal a multitude of media choices, young people, if the TVcontent is not integrated in a well conceived multiplatform strategy, prefer theInternet, mobile and game console over TV.But again, in my opinion we can’t predict. We have to try, make mistakes and keepgoing in experimenting. As I said think creatively, out-of-the-box and the businessmodel will define along the way.Where do you see transmedia in, say, the year 2015?I think in 2015 we won’t talk much about transmedia; it will be a current method ofcommunication, and we already use it. If you know how to manage all the availablecommunication tools, it’s common to tell a story that is enhanced, and deployed in amultiplatform environment. Different angles of your tale designed for your personalaudience, from your grandmother to your children, in circumstances where you can’tuse the same medium for everyone any longer. In 2015 transmedia will be a norm,a necessity. In order to make it happen, we should probably make more and maybetalk less.
  • 48. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 48TRANSMEDIA AND THE AUDIENCE————————————————————————————————Key elements: audiences, engagement, research, implementationThere are several reasons for people to dive into the world of transmedia storytelling.Some are passionate storytellers with an affection for tech and new ways ofcommunicating, some want to better the world through their message, while someothers simply want to make money. All are good reasons in my book, but they’re alldependent on one thing - having and audience. In this chapters I’ve collected someof my posts and some interesting links regarding how to relate to and communicatewith the audience in the context of transmedia storytelling.The IntervieweeInterviewed for this chapter is Yomi Ayeni. He has a very diverse background, alwaysconnected to the audience. With his latest project - Clockwork Watch - hesuccessfully crowdfunded the first installment via IndieGoGo and has a bunch ofexciting stuff in the pipeline for 2012.
  • 49. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 49Transmedia - Story, Experience and Needs18th of November 2010When Paul Burke commented on a post of mine a week ago he mentioned that thereis a subtle difference between the story and the experience. That thought has beennagging away at the back of my head for a bit, so I decided to elaborate slightly onthe matter.At MediaCity, we have a number of very competent people working at our UXlaboratory, doing research into user experience. Looking at stuff they put out isalways enlightening, even when it doesn’t touch on your project directly. They’vebeen talking a lot about the Needs of people and these Needs connection to UserExperience. In my mind it feels very true, that taking these Needs into account whiledeveloping transmedia will result in a better User Experience in the end.The Needs in question are six different ones (out of ten, developed by Sheldon et al);Autonomy, Relatedness, Competence, Stimulation, Influence and Security. Mycolleagues did a study last year,available here, that looks into these different Needswith regards to using interactive products and media. It’s a good read!So, to look at these Needs and how to apply them to a transmedia developmentprocess,:- Autonomy. This is a Need closely related to ”being real”, being oneself. Also to theflexibility of the product – can I use it anywhere, as it suits me? One good exampleright now is the as-of-yet only available in Finland iPhone social game ShadowCities; I can play it anywhere at anytime over my iPhone, connected to the real worldvia OpenMaps, and it really enhances my Autonomy IMHO.- Relatedness. The Need to feel connected to a bigger whole, a group of friends, theplace where you grew up… basically, your place in the world and in the story (and inthe story world, of course!)- Competence. The Need to master stuff, to feel that you can handle what’s thrownat you. No matter if it’s cracking a code on a website or just finding the website in thefirst place; it’s the feeling of being competent and up to the task. (I.e. don’t make ittoo hard for people to master your challenges!)
  • 50. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 50- Stimulation. The Need that is most closely connected to creativity – the interactionwith others or with media (or with the challenges you pose them in your transmedianarrative) spurs people on and stimulates them. Given the opportunity to expressoneself brings out the creativity in people. (Leave sandboxes for people to expressthemselves in!)- Influence. The Need that is about reaching out to others, to communicate, to feelconnected. Your users will want to be part of a whole, but also be able to influencethat whole in some way.- Security. This last Need is closely connected with experiencing that things workthe way they should. A coffeemaker fills this Need, as it always works. It also fills theneed in a different way, as it is a familiar machine, thereby strengthening the feelingof Security. The feeling that everything is as it should be. Conclusion: you might verywell include things that don’t work, or hoax people, or make things be NOT as theyshould be – but plan for that and be aware of this need, Perhaps your users need asanctuary somewhere?
  • 51. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 51What Motivates a Transmedia Audience28th of February 2011This must be one of the things that creators of just about anything wonder about themost – will people, my intended audience, feel motivated enough to partake of what Ihave to offer? Will they participate like I would want them to participate? Will theystick around? Will they advocate my content to their friends? Or will they just turntheir back and go do something else that they think is better?This goes for blockbuster movies, for television series, for indie graphic novels andyes, for transmedia projects as well. To try to get to grips with this challenge, big-enough companies do target group research, polls etc, while smaller producers andcreators poll their friends and family but mostly trust their gut feeling.I struggle with this as well, naturally. I am in the quite luxurious position of havingaccess to a laboratory and researchers focused on media and user experience, withwhom we at the format development department work closely to get to know asmuch as possible about the experiences people derive from what we have to offer.Granted, many times the bulk of work goes to getting the testing itself focused tosuch a degree that it actually helps us in the development work. But as we work onit, we refine it and become better, naturally.Something I’ll be bringing to the development work, and to the testing, is something Ijust saw. This very interesting video from, featuring a talk by Dan Pink, isabout what motivates people in the workplace. Do have a look, it’s (as all RSA-videos are) very good indeed. Basically what is said is that research shows thatmotivating people to work better with more money as the sole reward works fine aslong as we’re talking only about manual labor. As soon as we go into any kind of taskthat would call for creative work, the people who received more money workedworse and failed more often. On the other hand, ventures like Wikipedia, Linux andApache show that people – highly educated, motivated people at that – will work andgive of their knowledge and skill, for free. So, what is the reward? Autonomy,mastery and purpose, according to Dan Pink.We’re big on doing stuff that we want to do ourselves, not things that someone tellsus to do. We’re also big on the feeling of mastering something, knowing that weknow this thing and we are competent in precisely this regard. Finally, we’re big onhaving a purpose; of knowing that today is a step along the way towards a goal,
  • 52. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 52whatever that might be – from ”making the world a better place” to ”teaching people”,for instance.This was the workplace, mind you. I am quite convinced that this goes for atransmedia project as well, where you would want people to interact, to participate,to become a part of your story world. To put it into the categories of Autonomy,Mastery and Purpose, if you want the audience to immerse, engage and participate:- You must not guide them too much, or the feeling of autonomy will be lost. Its atricky task, to leave enough openness for everyone to find something "new", and tobe able to make their own way through your story and your world, and make theirown stuff there; too much and you have no control (which might be what you desire),too little and you will have obedient people following your instructions (if there areany people left for you to instruct, that is)- You must not make mysterious content that no one will ever master, or they willnever get the feeling of being competent in your story world. Instead, perhaps, leaveareas where audience members can become masters; masters of what theythemselves have created within the ramifications of your story, or masters at guidingother audience members in understanding the intricate fabric of the story and theworld.- Finally, you must not build a story where the participation of the audience has nomeaning for anything, where their actions or lack of actions has no impact and itsimply does not matter what they do or not. Neither can you build a story world thathas no purpose in itself, or there will be no reason for anyone to engage in it.
  • 53. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 53Users, meet Story. Story, meet Users.2nd of December 2010(Disclaimer: some of my posts are down-to-earth stuff from a developers point ofview. Others, like this one, are more of the rambling-philosophically-late-at-night kindof stuff.)There are two levels to it. On one level the stories are made up. But theyre made upfor a reason, and the reason has to do with a different kind of truth. It has to do withemotional and spiritual truths. It is a way of trying to use a lie, which is the story, toapproach some deeper, more spiritual sense of truth. I dont mean truth with a capitalT; I just mean small kinds of truth. -Tim OBrienWhen creating a transmedia property, no matter what kind – be it drama, be it adocumentary, be it a music property or just about anything else – producers (meincluded) tend to think of their target group. What will they like? What will excitethem? What will turn them on, engage them and make them jump into the story? Weperhaps even conduct research into the target groups to glean more information onwhat they really really think, what they’d like and which solution they’d prefer over allother solutions.Then we tweak our stories, our worlds, our properties, so that they fit, thus creating atransmedia property in the same way as people in the industry have been doingtraditional media for decades.What strikes me as a transmedia truth of sorts, is that we are not only talking of theUsers meeting the Story. In a transmedia setting, it’s as much, or more, about theStory meeting the Users.Now, this can be very stressful for a newly–launched, young and insecure Story. As Ithink we all know from school, Stories don’t reach their full size until well into thethird season. Until then, they easily fall prey to larger Stories or succumb to over-hyping, low ratings or the No-Hit Syndrome that has been plaguing many of thelatest herds of Story-younglings.Attenboroughisms aside, and again as in so many of my posts relating back to whatI’m working on myself, I feel many transmedia projects forget this. The Story needs
  • 54. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 54to be influenced by the Users, and the Users must feel that they have influenced theStory on a fundamental level, for there to be genuine trust and commitment.Re: the quote at the beginning – I believe that we can use the lies (or the creativestuff) that all good stories are made up of to approach our audience, our users. Ibelieve that in a transmedia setting, the small truths Tim O’Brien talks about are allthe more apparent, allowing an audience to see or sense the truths embedded in thecontent and engaging them more. That’s also how I view the need for a Story to beable to change after meeting the Users. The truths at the core should stay the same,but the story, the lies, around – they can change.Some good posts that made me think of these things - Andrea Phillips post on ARGsand dancing with audiences, and Robert Prattens slides on Transmedia audienceengagement and content strategy. Good reads!
  • 55. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 55Interview - Yomi AyeniYomi Ayeni is an award-winning transmedia producer and digital strategist of avariety of promotional and self-funded interactive arts projects, such as thecollaborative short film series Breathe, the ARG Violette’s Dream, the first fullyinteractive reality TV programme “e-trippers” and Global E-Missions for ITV, winnerof the Best Use of New Media Broadcast Award in 2002. He has a background as ajournalist for the BBC and a record label founder. Yomi also works as AssociateLecturer in Expanded Cinema at the University of Arts London, and spends his sparetime managing international media requests for the Burning Man Festival. His latestproject is called Clockwork Watch and was recently successfully crowdfunded viaIndieGoGo.Transmedia with its often participatory nature is changing the way weapproach and think about the audience. Do you agree? Why or why not?I believe that the audience has had a major impact on the adoption and developmentof transmedia. Many of the tools and platforms have been in place for a while, butproducers just didnt know how to join the dots. The logical early adopters shouldhave been broadcasters, they had content and delivery mechanics in place, butmany couldnt see the difference between creating a participatory narrative andsomething they all called "360º" programme making. In order to find more engagingand exciting entertainment, the audience started to explore ways of having an untethered experience, some ported their adventures online, and into the real world.I started playing with interactive storytelling as far back as 2000, while producing aTV format. The audience tasked contestants to live-out dreams and adventures aspart of a reality show. The  content was fed back as SMS updates, web clips, a blogand a 13-week TV show. It became four international adventures played out 24-hours a day, engaging and entertaining across multiple delivery platforms - eachcontrolled by the audience.We are now at a place where producers adapt stories to make them relevant to thetarget audience. This means different platforms, alternate levels of engagement,audience participation and much more. In some cases the roles are reversed and theproducer becomes a member of the audience, while the audience takes centrestage. Its something brand owners, broadcasters have to embrace, its the only wayto really assess the success of transmedia.
  • 56. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 56I agree that brands and broadcasters have to accept the fact that at times theywill have to become the audience as the audience gets into the driving seat.This is, however, quite a big step and a huge change of mindset for many -have you seen anyone really manage it as of yet?Indeed - no one has managed that as yet. Its one of those things broadcasters /brands will always sit on the sidelines and watch - then copy or find a way ofbotching up something similar.Clockwork Watch is set to try this delicate balancing act. Were courting brands toget them to sign up, in the knowledge that there are parts of the narrative that will bein the hands of the public.Can the audience in some cases transform into creators and in turn transformus creators into an audience? Do you believe this is a viable way to go?I seem to have touched on this in my previous answer, but its something I believe inand have hardwired this into almost all my projects. At a point in Breathe (my lasttransmedia project), a member of the audience drove the story, fortunately he led thenarrative exactly where we expected. He was the only person to experience a pivotalpart of the narrative - though it was filmed, we chose not to include it in the final edit.To find out what happened people had to interact with him via his Facebook profileand within our universe - he even got a credit in the film.We are now taking audience participation to a new level in my current project,Clockwork Watch. The first phase was crowdfunding and anyone that donated above$40 is being sketched into one of the two graphic novels, but thats just the start ofthe process - their early adoption will be rewarded by a fully immersive adventurewithin the story universe. This will break new ground, the story has been set-up toincorporate contributions from our audience. Lets call it participatory storytelling 101.The key to paying or funding Transmedia is to show potential partners that youvefound new ways of assessing KPI, ROI, eyeballs or bums on seats - if the audienceis engaged in helping tell the story, they become ambassadors of the narrative,storytellers creating and contributing. All you need do is sit back and watch theminteract with your well planned story structure.  I believe it is the only way to go, theaudience are done with passive entertainment, they want to interact with yourcontent - let them.
  • 57. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 57Above is a post on the Needs of an audience and how they can be filled bytransmedia storytelling methods; which need would you think is the mostcrucial one in a transmedia context and why?Stimulation is paramount. Developers and producers must offer a platform orexperience that encourages involvement, interaction, and contribution. While theother elements are important, if you cant provide a convincing narrative thatstimulates the interest of the audience, they will not engage. transmedia is more thandelivering a story across multiple platforms in bite-sized chunks. Stimulate properlyand all the the Needs are catered for. People will seek out other likeminded peoplewithin an experience, within each group you will have varying levels of competence,some people will take charge and influence others, and well laid out strategies willgive a sense of security even when things dont go to plan. We all start from a point of autonomy, and decide whether were going to engagewith a narrative or not, which almost always leads to joining a bigger whole.Stimulate, and your job is almost done.If you look ahead, where do you think transmedia will be in 2015?Hopefully by 2015, we will see more adventurous engagement, and narrativesconstructed by the audience forming part of an on-going story. Imagine, asking theaudience to fill a 10-year gap in a story - give them a start point and a series ofsignposts to guide them along the way. I also see the development of co-productionarrangements between the creator and the audience, which should lead to a two-tierstructure with some content commodified or branded, while the rest created by theaudience under a structure like Creative Commons. There are parts of ClockworkWatch that will remain the property of the contributors - our audience. These will beprotected from any commercial arrangement we have with potential partners. Wehope this guarantees we have an audience beyond the commercial life of our story. 
  • 58. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 58TRANSMEDIA AND THE MARKET————————————————————————————————Key elements: selling, money, marketing, pitchingTransmedia is in a pretty interesting phase. Everywhere I look I talk to people whoare waiting for that first example of a successful transmedia project in it’s own right,that would carry with it a sustainable business model that can be ported to otherprojects as well. I will readily admit I belong to this faction too. I’ve admired a numberof transmedia projects and properties this last year, but I’ve yet to encounter one thatI could point to while pitching my own projects and say “that’s what it’ll be like!”.It’s all well and good to develop and design and create transmedia content. It’sanother thing to create financially viable transmedia content. It is yet a third thing tocreate financially viable transmedia content and sell it or get it commissionedsomewhere. In this chapter I’ve collected some of my posts on precisely this aspectof being a developer of transmedia and multiplatform content, and especiallyformats. Included are some interesting comments from the blog.The IntervieweesThe two people I’ve talked to for this chapter are Brian Clark and Rob Pratten. Brianthinks very sound thought when it comes to financing transmedia. Rob is a trueentrepreneur in the field with their tool Conducttr. Together, they have quite a lot toshare :).
  • 59. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 59Pitching transmedia15th of November, 2010(disclaimer: there are as many pitches as there are ideas, and as many ways to pitchthem as there are people to pitch them to. With that in mind, I hope you getsomething out of this post.)I’ve met a number of people who subscribe to the notion that what people do for abig part in their life is pitch ideas. It doesn’t matter what you’re thinking of – marriageproposals, what to cook for dinner, where to go on your next trip, when your kidsshould be doing their homework, what club to go to on a Saturday night – it’s allabout how you pitch it.Part of my job description (well, actually not part of my job description, but anyway)is to pitch; i.e. the ideas and the projects we work on have to be pitched successfullyto get the necessary funding in for development work, the developed ideas must bepitched to participants, partners etc to go into successful pilot production, and thefinished format must be successfully pitched to get a commission in the end. Lots ofpitches, lots of different targets and goals.What I have found challenging is pitching transmedia concepts. There is the issuethat transmedia is a relatively new concept and hard to grasp. The people I mostlypitch to are executives and commissioners from more traditional media, televisionpredominantly. Many of our projects have a strong TV connection still, as there is astill a lot of funding to be had from that area, and also, of course, because its still apowerful media to tell stories in. These people know their line of work very well; theycan ”see” the idea executed in their mind, they have an innate feeling for revenuestreams, they know what would make a good show and what would require work,sometimes too much work. But ”seeing” transmedia is different, and I believe itneeds a different approach to pitching the ideas as well.The challenge is to tell just enough of the brilliant transmedia project for everyone tofeel that theyre hearing something unique and thrilling, that they simply have to be apart of and take part in. As transmedia projects often are complex workings,dependent on careful planning and execution, the full explanation is a lot to pitch anda lot to grasp. Personally I am a big fan of the elevator pitch - getting the idea downto a 30 second pitch thatll explain it to anyone. If I cant manage that, my idea needsworking on.
  • 60. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 60This post is an attempt to gather some thoughts on the subject. Better pitching leadsto more great ideas being commissioned, which we all want, methinks.(There are a great number of other aspects as well, like for instance how to get intouch with the right people to pitch to, how to follow up on pitches etc. For some run-downs on pitching in general, have a look here, or here. Ill stick to the transmediapart for this post though.)I’ve polled some people on their thoughts with regards to pitching transmedia, peoplefrom slightly different corners of the transmedia field. I asked about what they regardas the most important aspect when pitching a cross media/transmedia property. Thething they, and I, all agree on is the importance of getting the story through in acompelling and exciting way. Mike Monello, of Blairwitch Project and Campfire fame,told me that for him, it’s ”always the story through user experience. Technology onlyin the context of a specific tactic, and only if necessary. The storytelling that interestsme the most isn’t complete without the audience/user, therefore it’s their experiencethat brings it to life.” (Q:s and A:s were done over Twitter, which explains someomitted words ☺ )I will most definitely agree on the story being the thing that should hook the audienceto your pitch. When I started out, I pitched badly. Really really badly. We were soproud of the tech we had included in our formats that we skipped a large part of thestory, in order to explain how nicely all Java-interactivity and set-top-box-interactivity,along with the mechanics of the show fit together. After a dozen pitches during onehectic MIPTV day, I grew tired of the blank look on people’s faces and decided Ineeded to change my approach. So, yes, the story!One drawback when pitching transmedia is that there are not that many comparisonsyou can make. When pitching a script for a movie, you could go for "Its like Godzillameets Titanic, in space!" which sort of gives everyone an idea of what its about(hmm, Id like to see that movie btw :). In transmedia, possible comparisons arefewer, which leads to you having to stress the points that are easy to get and thathooks the audience immediately - so if you do not have those points and hooks, youreally need to think about developing them!The guys over at and their interesting and potentiallybrilliant project Resonance are on the same track. ”[It’s the] story x 3. Must be good
  • 61. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 61enough to engage & sustain across the platforms. [The] story hooks the reader. Tech… reels them in. ;)”I like the notion of using tech to reel in audiences; using tech as a means to an endis what the content creation business is / should be all about. There quite a fewinstances where tech takes the more important role; this in turn leads to greatexamples of how to implement tech, but more seldom to content that engages anaudience.Thirdly, Dr Christy Dena, one of the pioneers in the field and the author of”Transmedia Practice: Theorising the Practice of Expressing a Fictional World acrossDistinct Media and Environments.”listed the following points (which may changedepending on the client, and are based on the project being unreleased as of yet, asChristy pointed out):1) Start with story - theme, logline, synopsis, characters2) A walkthrough of the experience (or part of it - the beginning & perhaps end) fromthe perspective of the audience3) Aspects of innovation - the design principles, audience strategies etcthat sets this project apart as being well conceived (which includes a bitof context)4) The team - who are the awesome people involved5) Timeline - what stage are we at, how much longer to go, what themilestones are, when marketing will happen, when revenue intends to happen6) Business strategy - including measurement7) What we want/their roleAgain, I’m definitely inclined to agree. These points make sense, especially if you arepitching the idea to a possible partner or financier that you belive has the potential ofhaving a large impact on your project. In my opinion, the points also apply all themore if the person you are pitching to has at least a basic knowledge of the workingsof transmedia and the benefits of a transmedia approach to a project. These pointsshould naturally be a part of anyones development work as well. Its a good way totest your idea, to try to do a walkthrough from a users perspective. Also, its veryeasy to forget the last point - to have a firm grasp of what you see your role togetherwith the ones you are pitching to. If you dont know, who will?If you however have a 10 minute slot with an acquisition executive of a global
  • 62. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 62production house, I would suggest you stick to the story, the hooks and the grandfinale. Hook them and reel them in, make sure you get the go-ahead to approachthem for a longer meeting with more executive staff involved in the near future. It’salways easier to say no than to say yes, if you are being sold something (like atransmedia project). But with a good enough story to hook them, you know they willnot want to let it go easily. Make sure you’re interesting and exciting, avoid spaced-out and technological.Finally, a couple of things: as Jeff Gomez suggested, always bring somethingtangible. A flyer is OK, a graphic novel or a comic is even better. Something to giveyour idea, your format, more of a physical presence. Just make sure it is up-to-dateand repesents your idea properly. I dont think you need to have a drama-based ideato make a graphic novel either; make an episode of Who Wants To Be A Millionaireinto a graphic novel, from the view of a participant, spice it up a bit and you have agreat piece of fiction, which explains your game show.And, when the questions about ”but how do we make any money on this transmediastuff then?” start piling in, make sure you’ve read up on Robert Prattens slides onMeasuring RoI for Transmedia.I feel there is a lot more to say on this subject, but Ill stop here (for now :). Idwelcome comments, as there are a lot of people better at pitching than I am, andwith a better track record of interesting projects. Hopefully we can make the task ofpitching transmedia a slightly easier one :).CommentsZen Films said...Great post Simon. Ill agree strongly with the importance of pitching the storybecause if thats not interesting then nobody is interested in what follows... unless ofcourse youre pitching to a tech-head and then pitch the gizmos first :)If youre allowed a few slides, Id recommend using my transmedia radar diagrambecause I think it very quick (at a glance?) conveys the type of experience thatsbeing created. This is important because most worry about "control" and type ofinteractivity/participation youre proposing.(
  • 63. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 63Gunther Sonnenfeld said...This is timely as weve been looking to approach pitches at the agency (brand side)in two main ways:1. Developing and pitching any form or communications initiative under the lens of avalidated story or "meta narrative"; this allows us (hopefully) to avoid media bias or areliance on channels or even disciplines. A validated story would be one in whichthere is a definitive signal trail across conversational environments, all tracking backto a legit source.2. Doing what I call "audience delivery", which is essentially the ability to offer up anengaged group of participants, fans and/or enthusiasts around a particular, theme,story or idea (Mike and I discussed this the last time I was in NYC). This way, we canremove most of the assumptions around adoption or engagement and again focuson the narrative(s) instead of"what media delivers the most eyeballs" kind of thing.More on this here:
  • 64. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 64Funding transmedia - a comment2nd of December 2010I thoroughly enjoyed reading the debate in the comments on Simon Pulman’s postcommenting on the presentation of the ARG Perplex City at the NYC Transmediameetup a couple of days ago.Andrea Phillips presented the work they had beendoing on the ARG, which in itself is an impressive and inspiring talk. The live streamis still up here.Now, if you read the discussion, you can see two slightly conflicting points – the needto create great content and thus gain a loyal following that will interact, and the needto have someone stump up the money to pay for all that great content and the workyou put into it. I think this is more and more the case now; back in the days a tv showcould be bought straight up by a television channel, who paid what it cost to produceit. Nowadays you can’t make much of anything without a sound business plan as thefoundation.This is how it should be, I think. Yes, there should be creative freedom. Yes, thereshould NOT be intrusive ads that interfere with the story being told. But creating aviable business plan is as challenging creatively as creating the content itself, inmany cases. It just juggles other parts of your brain, which can only be a good thing.I also find that there is a shift going on in how people experience brands connectingto content they are attracted to. It is not about making people realize that they haveto pay for great content, it’s simply about making people realize that great contentcan’t be made for free. The currency that your audience is paying you with foraccess to the great content (be it tv, ARGs, comics, webisodes, whatever) is not €€or $$, it’s their time. This time of theirs, willingly given to you as the creator aspayment for your work (strangely enough, even though their time is the only currencythey can’t get more of in any way. Your content must be great!) is something that youcan then sell onwards, to get the necessary funding in to make your project afinancially viable one.The trick is, of course, to do it with taste. I find for instance the writings onPropagation Planningquite interesting in this aspect, resonating well on a number ofpoints with the workings of a transmedia producer. I also think a near-brutal honestywill work in many cases. Openly state that ”hey, we’re doing this, but we’ve only gotfunds up until three weeks from now. We’re working to bring in a brand, so don’t be
  • 65. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 65startled if you see everyone changing to Toyotas all of a sudden, ok?”. If they likewhat you make – and they will, right? – then they’ll like you making more of it as well.CommentsSimon Pulman said...To shift the discussion slightly: my understanding is that in much of Europe there isvirtually no stigma attached to illegally downloading content. People dont see it asmorally or legally wrong, and theres nothing you can do to convince them.Thats fine. What I think were on the same page on is that the audience has torealize that they are going to pay for that content somehow - either by higherbroadband fees or by extremely intense product placement and targeted marketing.Both of those "solutions" raise certain equality and privacy concerns, however, thatcould conceivably cause certain content providers to pull out of European marketsaltogether.It baffles me when I see this "content is less valuable; experience is everything"argument that many in Transmedia make. Thats great, as long as you can find away to monetize - and preferably replicate and resell - that experience.The other thing I dont think that Transmedia artists necessarily grasp is the conceptof opportunity cost. Something like Perplex City might break even or make a mildprofit. To the creative, thats a great deal - we got paid, we made a little money forthe investor, and we created something amazing. And for some benevolentinvestors, it might be. But if that profit doesnt match even putting your money into anindex fund, many investors will go elsewhere. Entertainment is traditionally high-risk,high-reward. If youre going global with a Transmedia project, you need to show thepotential for that huge upside - otherwise, Ill give my money to that kid in the Baydeveloping some app for the iPhone instead.Simon said...Agree 100%. I stand by my opinion in the post above - creating viable businessplans for transmedia projects is as much of a creative challenge as creating thecontent for the projects themselves.Still, transmedia is in its early days, and the more projects do get financed, one way
  • 66. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 66or another, the better understanding everyone - including the people with the money- will get about how to be able to give a great experience through good content whilestill making a buck at the end of the line.One of the projects were working on right now, The Mill Sessions, is just about that -making the financial patchwork for a transmedia project, where there is a win-win-situation for everyone involved. It needs to be well designed, it needs to be able toconvince all partners and it needs to deliver in the end. Interesting days ahead :)Simon said...Also, re: illegal downloading of content, I guess there might be a difference in howdifferent territories view the issue.Still, say that Nokia sponsor my feature film and insist on heavy product placement.If it has 10.000 people coming to the opening weekend, while 150.000 download thetorrent from The Pirate Bay, shouldnt Nokia be well happy about that?Simon Pulman said...Precisely. They should be delighted, and that is the model towards which we aremoving.However, I want to play amateur economist/sociologist for a second and speculateon the knock-on effects of branded entertainment and product placement.Under the traditional model, a US production company sells a show to foreignmarkets including, for arguments sake, Spain. The Spanish broadcaster pays alicense fee for the content and supports its costs with advertising breaks. Theadverts featured are a mix of international, regional and strong national brands.Spanish companies can reach Spanish audiences.Now the piracy/product placement route. My understanding is that piracy isubiquitous in Spain. Since half the target audience (13-30) steals the show wellbefore it airs in Spain, the Spanish channel sees declining profits and cant pay asmuch for the show. In reaction, the US production company shifts slightly towards aproduct placement model.So the show has become "branded entertainment." But which brands can afford thiskind of placement, and are suitable for a show with global reach (assuming
  • 67. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 67localization is impossible)? The massive pan-European and worldwide ones - Coca-Cola, McDonalds and, yes, Toyota and Nokia. Certainly not Spanish businesses. SoSpanish businesses receive less exposure, cannot compete, jobs leave Spain, andthe Spanish people march through the street in protest at the unemployment thatthey contributed towards.Amateur analysis, yes, but I suspect theres some weight to it. Ultimately as acontent provider, my goal is to create something that resonates extremely stronglywith Chinas youth. I dont care if every single person in China pirates my content. Idont care in the slightest. Because if 500 million young Chinese people steal andwatch my show religiously, Im providing an incredible marketing platform for Cokeand McDonalds to target Chinas rising youth.Simon Pulman said...And, I should add, the strength of Transmedia is that it allows young people -wherever they are - to carry that experience (and brand) with them across platforms,experiences and physical locations.Simon said...I like your vision. Well, not the unemployment-in-Spain part, but rather the Chinese-youth-vision.What I would like to see is a show - if were continuing on your model with traditionaltv vs new branded entertainment - where the integrated product placement was donein such a way that it could be replaced according to territory. Im not talking about a 2second shot of a wine bottle, which is a Turning Leaf Chardonnay in the US and aTorres Merlot in Spain, but rather something much more ingenious than that.Shoot a scene with Kiefer Sutherland picking up a Samsung phone. Now re-shoot it,and have him pick up a Telefonica-branded Blackberry. Or just work with graphics.Might be naive, but that could be one way of doing it...Simon Pulman said...Yes, precisely. That is the goal - not merely with products but with entire scenes ifpossible. This is what we are working towards - specialized, localized content that istailored to markets. Look at the success of Lost - a multi-cultural, multi-national,multi-lingual cast placed in a neutral location. People want to see their identity and
  • 68. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 68values reflected on screen.To expand that in a Transmedia context, my goal is to create content that enablesthis kind of cultural spinoff in a natural, logical way in the narrative. But we shouldprobably continue this discussion in private because Im getting into the realm ofproprietary thinking here.Kimberly said...Forgive my coming late to the party, but Im just now discovering the Transmediablogs that are out here in the ether :)The integrated content you guys are thinking of can be done in a variety of ways. Itscertainly not beyond the pale, it just requires forethought, and possibly additionalbudgeting (for some media it works better than others). If youre working with gamecontent, it can be as relatively simple a matter as designing shaders that can use avariety of different brand images (so you key it to use image A if the game detectsthe user is using Spanish subtitles or image B if the game detects the Mandarinlocalization). Its trickier for video, simpler for web or text.What I am not sure of is *why* its not being done as of yet (or perhaps it is and wejust havent seen it). Are there already clear business reasons in place (i.e. it justdoesnt pay out) or is it resistance to change?Simon said...Hi Kimberly, welcome to the party - it is actually just getting started :)A brief comment - I think it has a lot to do with having to fork out a bit more moneyfor something that does not necessary give any proven return. Right now everything(or most things at least) need to be made as cheap as possible, so anything thatdadd an extra cost would need to find extra funding somewhere else. This in turnwould mean that the producers of the content would need to have all this thought outand figured out well in advance. Truth is, were not really there yet.
  • 69. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 69On transmedia and funding28th of January 2011Andrea Phillips wrote a passionate and very good post some days ago on whytransmedia is not marketing. I can’t but agree with the points she makes in her post,as I am not a marketing person by trade, nor a born seller (although I’m gettingbetter at it). On the other hand, I do believe that I will look at a couple of the pointsAndrea makes from a slightly different angle. She wrote:For one thing, [marketing transmedia projects] are a lot more likely to be able to paythe team a living wage, which means the creators can afford to spend more time andcare instead of working on it in off hours and weekends. And more money means ahigher production value; dollars spent translates pretty well into better-looking video,better-sounding audio, and sleeker, glossier websites. Audiences like that.And even more important than improved production values, money lets you promotethe story. This is crucial -- you need to pull people into your project.Now, in my book this is not a bad thing (and no, I don’t believe Andrea thinks it’s badeither, in itself). In fact, I feel it is a necessary thing, for any project, transmedia ornot. Yes, I am a storyteller. Yes, I create transmedia projects. Yes, I want to get aliving wage and pay the ones I work with a living wage as well. And yes, I want it tolook as good as possible, give the best experience possible and attract as large anaudience as possible.To do this (unless you happen to film your kid getting his finger bitten by his brotherand generate a gazillion views off of that), the project needs funding. To get funding,you need someone willing to pay for the project. To find those willing to pay for theproject, you need to make it worthwhile for them. Therefore, as I’ve mentionedbefore, the crafting of a viable business plan that fits your transmedia narrativesuperstructure, but at the same time give sponsors and advertisers value for theirmoney, is in many ways as great a challenge as creating the transmedia contentitself. And these things are interconnected – your content, with your stories, yourmythology, your theme, will point you in the right direction when it comes to findingpossible sponsors and partners that will fit into your story and your storyworld withoutdisturbing them and taking away from the experience of them. This in turn will giveboth you and your sponsors better value for the money.The reason I started writing this post was an article from A Think Lab, written by
  • 70. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 70Bonnie Buckner and Dr Pamela Rutledge about “The Power of TransmediaStorytelling – using the technique for effective marketing campaigns”. It has anumber of good points that any transmedia producer, no matter how small-key orartsy, can take to heart and use to good advantage. No matter how small a produceryou are, you still want a great number of people to take part of your content. Says AThink Lab re: the great possibilities a transmedia approach gives anyone who is inthe marketing business:A story invites rather than sells. […] Today’s consumer lives in a world where agenuine brand dialogue, not “marketing message,” is expected.I feel we have an obligation, as early-wave transmedia producers and creators, tocreate not only great projects but financially viable projects that can be used whenexplaining the term transmedia to a business and media world that hasn’t reallyopened their eyes to the possibilities a transmedia approach provides yet. I woulddearly like to point to a dozen great transmedia projects with a stable financial planas a part of the project structure the next time I go pitch a new project to potentialfinanciers :)Comments:ZenFilms said...I dont think that being able to make money from a transmedia project gives it anymore or less merit. Ive played guitar and recorded by own compositions for yearswithout any expectation of earning a living from it and yet it has greatly enriched mylife.I also dont feel that being paid to create something for a purpose other than self-satisfaction in anyway denigrates the art.So, my view is just to be clear what the objectives are from the beginning - self-expression or work-for-hire? commercial work or R&D?I dont think that well just stumble on a business model without some applied thoughtto the problem but I also feel that with a wider range of creative expression in thisarea possible ways forward will become clearer.Simon said...Robert,thanks for your comment. I am not suggesting that a project that does not have a
  • 71. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 71clear cut financial viability should not be produced, far from it. A lot of stunninglygreat content will always be made for the love of making and for love of the subjector the method at hand, which is as it should be.I do stand by my point though - I believe we need to look at the financial part of theproject with care, the same care we give the content itself. As I have found, I learn awhole lot of new things I hadnt thought of before, things that impact -in a good way! -how I approach a project.Also, regarding the "obligation" I spoke of; most people I try to pitch transmedia toare not at all familiar with the term or the concept. To be able to show goodtransmedia projects with a clear model of - if not revenue, then at least financialviability - helps no end.Agree fully on being clear with the objectives. This is true whatever you decide to doin life, right? Even if its not always the case...
  • 72. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 72On funding transmedia, part two5th of February 2011Yesterday I read a post by David Wilson over at Transmediator, which raised anumber of legitimate concerns with regards to how everything is becoming contentcreation, commodifying storytelling and wrapping everything in a thick layer of ”how-can-we-make-money-out-of-this-then”. To quote:Finance is terribly fragmented. Independent producers get money any which waythey can: sales agents, brand owners, vanity angels, arms dealers… and they oftenhave to give any equity away to get the thing made.[…] Independent producers must now present business plans, franchiseopportunities, enterprise investment schemes, marketing plans… no wondereverything has turned into ‘content creation’. We are forced to juggle lots of piecesand do this predominantly on our own and without any money in our pockets. Andthis is damaging to the end product, because too much time is spent fundraising andnot enough on development.As anyone who has had a great idea but no means to get adequate funding to getthat idea developed and into production can testify, it’s not a good position to be in.On the other hand, there is the question of marking your idea to market; if you can’tget anyone to cough up the dough to make it, perhaps it wasn’t such a good idea tostart with? Then we could go into the debate about how to pitch your project, how tomeet the right people and so on… But that is sort of a different ballpark.I a couple of previous posts I’ve been banging on about the need for transmediaprojects to have a sound financial footing. I have a hard time believing that all thecreative people into transmedia storytelling at the moment will have the energy tokeep creating content if there is no financial windfalls at any point. That’s why I think– contrary to David’s post – this dilemma should be viewed as an opportunity, not anobstacle.See, if you work together with people who can get you sponsors, who can get youfunding, who can sell your project, AND you can integrate that which they bring toyou into your story world, making it a natural part of the mythology you are building,you will at the same time create a stronger story world that will be more attractive forfuture sponsors to hook into – especially as they can compare your world with the
  • 73. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 73values they themselves stand for, and see that they match. (And if they don’t match,you might want to look for another sponsor ☺ ).No, there are no clear-cut models yet, and I do not believe there will be a one-approach-fixes-all-solution to the problem. For instance, getting modern-daycompanies to sponsor your medieval history drama and make them fit naturally intothe story world might be a bit difficult. But get a brewery in and you might come upwith a solution. Ultimately, it is down to the content you create, the story world andmythology you build. As I said, if it is truly impossible to fund, perhaps it needs a bitof re-working?David starts his post with the legendary quote: “Build it and they will come”. Thing is,they’re already there. We just need to build it. For that, we need funding, and for that,we need to look at how we develop and produce transmedia.
  • 74. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 74Interview - Brian ClarkBrian is, amongst other things, the founder of experimental media lab GMD Studios,which mixes brand building with commercial clients looking for media innovationrelated to community, narrative, entertainment and publishing. He’s an “experimentalmedia producer with an independent bent, with an emphasis on community buildingacross media platforms. Experience includes publishing, motion picture production,alternate reality game development, buzz & viral marketing techniques, andsustainable media business models.”. Find him on Twitter - @gmdclarkWhat’s your approach when pitching transmedia? Do you go by any generalguidelines or is everything down to the project and the client?Im rarely ever pitching something as transmedia (even when it is), but lets separatepitching commercial clients versus pitching entertainment projects. When yourepitching a client, what you actually have to convince people of is that the designprocess you use to solve problems could solve one of their problems. My approachis experience design: human experience can be designed to be more meaningfuland, since human experiences aren’t limited to any one platform or channel, neitherare the design choices that can be made to enhance the meaning of thoseexperiences. So with brands, Im usually first pitching them on an approach toproblem solving and then, sometime later, pitching them a solution to their particularproblem using that design approach. Conversely, when youre pitching anentertainment project youre in a very different position -- people are less concernedabout how you got to the work than they are in what the potential is of the project.That means if youre going to try to sell your fruit salad to apple addicts, if should feellike a really great apple salad with some exciting extras.When it comes to funding transmedia projects, which would be your top threeways to achieve financial sustainability?1. Go to the source: fans. Every other entity you might talk to will have to bank on thefact that your fans will spend some of their money (whether thats a book publisher ora television network or a film financier). So why arent you already evaluating how tobuild your work by going directly to the source, your fans? Dont have (enough) fans?Aha! Now youre asking the right question -- how do I build more fans? Fans are theultimate renewable resource of any artists career.
  • 75. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 752. Create opportunities to general revenue from day one: a trickle can lead to a flow.Theres no reason to utilize the old models of financing for some kinds of work,especially those can count on some additional revenue for each new fan that getsrecruited. You realize youll never escape seeking out new fans, right?3. Dont be afraid to learn to think like a business: most of the people youll want topitch your project to wont be other storytellers or creators. Youre unlikely to everconvince them to stop thinking their way, so you might as well learn to think like them-- not only will you pick up new tricks, youll write better pitches and business plans(that take into account things like how you will recruit fans and how youll generaterevenue from that).Do you feel that the market on a whole – both the media and the advertisementmarket – are prepared for transmedia content and have a firm grasp of theconcept? If not, how can that be rectified?These are two entirely different animals, the advertising and media industries, eventhough they pass money back and forth between them. In defense of my cohorts inadvertising, theyve been transmedia long before anyone thought transmedia wascool -- because the brands they do work for want to be in multiple media channels inall kinds of different ways. As an industry, though, it has historically taken them 20-30years after a new platform appears before they invent something like the soap operajust for it. Media companies, on the other hand, are essentially monomedia in natureas businesses, even in a gigantic company (where the television and film arms areessentially different companies). What the two industries share in common is thatthey are both modern examples of patronage models where transmedia content isrequired to serve some kind of tactical usefulness, like marketing a product orenhancing a Neilson rating. Of course there will be transmedia tactics useful to thoseindustries, and the market has a demand for those ... but that shouldnt be all thattransmedia creators aspire to, anymore than it is all filmmakers or authors shouldaspire to. New kinds of markets will also emerge beyond just tactical usefulness.If you look into the future just a bit, where do you see transmedia in the year2015?As a term, I think "transmedia" is likely to become a central adjective that describeswork, but it is just an umbrella term -- in the same way "interactive" doesnt really tell
  • 76. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 76you what the work is (both a pop-up book and World of Warcraft are interactive),neither does "transmedia". Which means by 2015, were going to see real genresemerge under that umbrella that are far more meaningful to the movement than thegeneral term of transmedia.
  • 77. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 77Interview - Robert PrattenRobert is an experienced marketing & transmedia storytelling consultant. He’s theCEO and Founder of Transmedia Storyteller, an audience engagement company, aswell as the Creator of Conducttr, an interactive marketing and entertainmentplatform. He’s the author of the book "Getting Started in Transmedia Storytelling: APractical Guide for Beginners”, and has produced the transmedia project’s also an award-winning feature film director of “London Voodoo” and “Mindflesh”.On Twitter - @robpratten.What’s your approach when pitching transmedia? Do you go by any generalguidelines or is everything down to the project and the client?I dont use the word "transmedia" unless I know the prospect understands the wordand is positive towards it. I try to stay with the headlines and stay out of the details...yet without sounding generic. I research the prospect to gain an understanding as towhether they understand the term or not and if Im still in the dark then play it safe.The word is so emotive to those who dont like it, best to stay clear of it :)The most important thing is communicating that we understand the prospectsbusiness problem and that we have the solution. Thats quite different from justselling a cool idea.I know its popular with agencies to create a little pitch video but with Conducttr wecan go further and create a bespoke demo to illustrate the consumer interaction andstorytelling.When it comes to funding transmedia projects, which would be your top threeways to achieve financial sustainability?Assuming were talking about indies here...a. Sell what you know people already buy. Dont try to sell a concept before you cansell a product.b. Start small, learn, iterate and build bigger or scrap. Dont waste time with ideasthat dont spread - find out what your audience/consumer tells you has legs and runwith it.c. Create experiences that solve business problems and get the "problem owner" tofund your work.
  • 78. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 78Do you feel that the market on a whole – both the media and the advertisementmarket – are prepared for transmedia content and have a firm grasp of theconcept? If not, how can that be rectified?I think the industry has a firm grasp on the buzzword "transmedia" but its meaning israther muddy from person to person. Its now clearly a bandwagon to jump on but Ithink that will just work itself out. I dont think anyone can change a market except bycreating examples of what they call transmedia and then calling it a transmediaexample! I dont actually worry about the meaning of the term to be honest exceptwhen Im using it and then I explain what I mean by it.If you take a peek into the future, where do you see transmedia in the year2015?Itll be the way things are done and theyll be doing it with our platform Conducttr.Transmedia will be like the word multimedia or new media - no longer the buzzwordit once was - but the typical way that experiences are built.
  • 79. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 79REPORTS FROM TRANSMEDIAGATHERINGS————————————————————————————————Key elements: diary, people, thoughts, comments, internationalThe transmedia tribe is a diverse and at times fairly loud one. It’s a beautiful tribethough, filled with energetic, active, intelligent, creative, verbal, kind and interestingpeople. It’s a tribe still small enough to reach around the globe in a true way; it’s atribe already large enough to make an impact. I can think of no tribe I’d rather belongto.In this chapter I’ve compiled some of the reports I’ve written over the year fromdifferent media conferences and fairs I’ve had the opportunity to attend. I usuallytweet a lot from these, but I always strive to sum up what I’ve encountered in a waythat someone else could make use of as well. Below, then, reports from places likeAustin, Cannes, Ronda and San Francisco.The IntervieweesThe two people interviewed in this chapter are Alison Norrington and Karine Halpern.Alison was the instrumental part of getting the Storyworld Conference realized in SanFrancisco over Halloween. Karine is an amazing networker, right now focused oninitiating the network-of-networks, Transmedia Europe.
  • 80. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 80Transmedia – it’s kind of everything; SXSW20th of March 2011This weekend has been about recouperating from SXSWi, physically as well asmentally. Time zones are still playing havoc with my sleeping patterns, but slowly butsurely things are settling into place again. Which is good, as there is much to bedone.In hindsight, SXSWi took the field of transmedia at least a couple of steps forward. Iread this well written article in The Guardian, by Oliver Burkeman, on takings fromthis year’s SXSW festival, and one thing in particular resonates strongly withtransmedia today, as I see it. Burkeman writes:” It was the end of day two of South by Southwest Interactive, the worlds highest-profile gathering of geeks and the venture capitalists who love them, and Id beenpursuing a policy of asking those I met, perhaps a little too aggressively, what it wasexactly that they did. What is "user experience", really? What the hell is "thegamification of healthcare"? Or "geofencing"? Or "design thinking"? Or "open sourcegovernment"? What is "content strategy"? No, I mean, like, specifically?The content strategist across the table took a sip of his orange-coloured cocktail. Helooked slightly exasperated. "Well, from one perspective, I guess," he said, "its kindof everything."The many requirementsThat’s what transmedia is evolving into as well, in my opinion. No longer is it goodenough to know one field well, like television, or film, or online portals, or how towrite a good story, although all these are still important. It’s just that it’s not enoughanymore. When writing a story, you need to have a notion of the possibilities thatstory can give to an online entry into your world, or as an ARG, or as a graphic novel.Its like a CEO of a trucking company; today he needs to know the basics about SEOas well, to keep himself in business. Or the florist who needs to get savvy in theways of Facebook, just to pick up on all weddings being planned.When in pre-production for your tv series, you need to have an understanding forhow the interaction with viewers can take place on Twitter, Facebook and so on.Most people – great people at what they do – really do not have that inkling yet. This
  • 81. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 81again leads to examples of bulky, unwieldy transmedia that does not connectlogically and seamlessly, as it has been assembled from the same set of pieces butwith everyone involved looking at their own blueprint that they themselves havedrawn up, without talking to each other overly much.TAGHere is where I think the Transmedia Artists Guild has made a timely entrance ontothe transmedia arena. Because we have to learn, each and everyone of us. And thebest way to learn is by doing, and talking to people who have been there, done thatand got a number of t-shirts. Whether it’s about best practises or how to engage anaudience, about how to connect an ARG in the best way or how to use charactersTwitter accounts for best effect, I see the TAG forums as a great place to interactwith other creators and developers and get their invaluable insights. If you haven’tyet, do sign up – it’s a place to talk and a place to find other people to discuss withthat you do not first have to spend 30 minutes explaining the concept ”transmedia”to.
  • 82. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 82MIPTV 2011 Wrap Up8th of April 2011So, Friday and writing this while flying back from six days of MIPFormats, MIPTVand Connected Creativity. I see no real point in going throught the proceedings in toogreat a detail in this post, as you can find all live blogs, links to videos and prettygreat insighty stuff at the MIP Blog pages here. Kudos to James, Angela, Stuart andanyone else involved, they did an absolutely marvellous job of keeping people –including me – up to date with what was happening. I’m going to try – as wassuggested to me – to Storify my tweets from the past week. I’ll let you know when I’mup to scratch on that.Gavin McGarry asked me during his wrap up session what had been the key thingsI’d seen or experienced during these past days… and in a way, there wasn’t anythingreally new to get me excited and up-in-arms, not directly. In a way, the Palais wasstill filled with people selling or buying animated series, drama or documentaries,much as it has been for the past six years I’ve been attending.A new deal on the horizonBut still, something is clearly afoot. You hear about Netflix commissioning series frommajor producers, Facebook teaming up with Warner Brothers to offer tier one moviesfor Facebook Credits, Google earmarking 100 million dollars for low-cost content forre-branded YouTube channels… TV is under pressure. Yet, in my book, it’s a goodpressure, as the aforementioned ventures are great examples of cost-effective waysto get content to people via services they use daily anyway. When thinking ofcombining content with FB and YouTube there are also a lot of possibilities from astorytelling and transmedia angle – challenges, yes, but first and foremostpossibilities.One possibility I for one will be looking into is the possibility to combine contentdistribution with the very well working platform that BitTorrent can offer. Now, as CEOErik Klinker pointed out, they offer a distribution platform and over 100 million activeusers, but they are not going into commissioning or producing. Again, I don’t believethis is the only or ultimate solution, but is is A solution, and one that could work verywell in combination with others.Such a lot of people are touching on the convergence between mobile and televison
  • 83. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 83and online and what have you. Still, these days gave me the feeling that – as Itweeted during the week, with regards to SXSW vs MIPTV – you have social mediaand location based services people on one side, trying to figure out how to reach themassive audience and the massive revenue streams that television still has to offer,while on the other side are the television people, scratching their heads while tryingto figure our how to integrate social media and other new servicese with their showsand online content. What is needed is some sort of translation service and/orfacilitating service that would just put the right people together with each other andexplain one’s viewpoint to the other . (Need something like that, give me call ☺ ).Mind over matterThis was what Connected Creativity along with their Experience Hub was about, atleast as far as I understood it. To a point it worked well; the talks at MIPCC differedquite a bit from the ones in the Palais. Many of them gave great insights into areas Ihad been lacking in. Especially Tomi Ahonen’s talk (where the way he delivered itwas half of the experience), the talk from Fjord on the future of augmentation andAR, Facebook’s visions… I heard so much good things said about Tiffay Shlain’spresentation, which I unfortunately missed, but will try to catch up on later.On the other hand with regards to Connected Creativity, so many of the people whowould’ve needed to hear those talks were in meetings at the Palais or elsewhereduring the sessions – not to mention that there being an extra and pretty substantialfee for registering to MIPCC had deterred a number of people from even registering.The Experience Hub was a nice feature – a big tent quite close to Lionsgate by thebeach, essentially straight ahead if one decended the stairs from Riviera Seaview –showcasing a lot of new technology to, with luck, be part of the entertainment andmedia toolbox in the future. For example,Emotiv’s helmet with it’s almost magicaluse-this-to-control-anything-on-the-screen-in-front-of-you-with-only–your-brainpowers was pretty amazing. We’re getting one for research purposes – as we have astate-of-the-art User Experience and Media laboratory – so I’ll let you know myverdict when I’ve had the chance to play around with it for a while.IMHO one of the best speakers at the MIPTV panels was Kevin Slavin of more about his talk here). Many others touched on the same subject, but hewas the clearest and most to-the-point; what the industry has been thinking of as the”audience” or the ”consumer” or the ”target group” or the ”ratings” are actually human
  • 84. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 84beings, and they set the agenda. They can be as much a part of your story as anyscripted character (or show host, or contestant) that you as a producer choose toshow as part of the content. If there is a vacuum – as in there not being any MadMen characters on Twitter – the audience will fill that vacuum for you (there are over20 Mad Men characters on Twitter to date, registered and managed by fans). If theylike (or even better, love) your content, they will also take extremely good care ofthese characters.So, a much frowned-upon term....This then is where the magic of transmedia would enter. Only that transmedia, in thesetting of MIPTV, still is more of a hindrance than a help when trying to getsomething commissioned. As we all know, it is a lot easier to say NO than YES, ifyou are in acquisitions, and making people unsure about what they actually arebuying is a sure-fire way of making the likelihood of a NO reach 99,5%. And,unfortunately, ”transmedia” is still a term that often makes people at least a little bitunsure of what they exactly are being pitched. As Nuno Bernardo said, many a goodsales pitch has been ruined by not stopping in time and instead continuing with thefatal words ”…this is also multi-platform, integrating the web and mobile solutions…”.What we need are a lot more great transmedia tv examples to point to – ”hey, likethat one, but a little bit different, yeah!”.Will try my best to do my part on that account.So, a mix between the old and the new, this week’s MIP – now more so than ever, inmy book. Thanks again to all the great people I met – both old friends and new – andhope to see you all again in the not too distant future!
  • 85. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 85Transmedia and multiplatform business13th of August 2011I am currently attending the Multiplatform Business School in Ronda, Spain, a fiveday workshop on, well, how to do business in an age of multiplatform content. It’sbeen some highly instructive five days, with something like 9-10 projects participantsbrought to the workshop being constructively criticized and developed further in atimely fashion. An NDA prevents me from going into these projects in any greaterdetail, but there could quite possibly be some really interesting projects appearingfrom this group in the coming year.I usually keep my transmedia goggles as necessary, which it was, for the most part,this week. Looking at transmedia from the business angle is, for me, one of the mostinteresting ones. As I see it, unless you either have got the backing of a) agovernmental fund for an educational transmedia project or one that helps thesociety in some way or b) a chunk of money from the marketing budget of a film or atv series or a brand, you will want to be able to create something that can generaterevenue in the future, revenue enough for you to be able to keep your transmediaproject going, develop it further and/or have money to make the next project youwant to do.It’s basically just like any other business; you wouldn’t be manufacturing shoesunless you were pretty sure you can sell them for a profit. Likewise, I don’t think itmakes sense to develop and produce an elaborate transmedia project unless youcan see it generating enough revenue for it to be worth it for you (artistic effortsaside, as I can see that happening to an extent).The five days here in Ronda have given me some thoughts on precisely this matter,some of which I though it prudent to share here (and perhaps initiate a discussionthat will let everyone learn more regarding this area):- Partnerships are important. I could probably rephrase that – partnerships arecrucial (unless you’re a mega-huge company, which precious few of us are). Whenyou’ve developed your transmedia idea or project to a level where you can clearlysee how it would play out, and once you have material to show and a selling pitchand feel comfortable enough to talk about your project with possible partners, makea real effort to identify the right ones. You might want to partner with a marketing ormedia agency to find the right brands to work with, you might want to partner with a
  • 86. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 86production company to gain more muscle behind your project, you might want tohook up with an app developer to create the app that is crucial for your project… thepossibilities are many. You can find these through Google, through industry contactsand so on; the crucial thing would be to pinpoint WHAT you need and WHOM you’dwant to partner with to do it (yeah, and IN WHAT ORDER). Basically: all the areasthat you feel you do not master, consider a partner (and take these in the right order;you’re in a more advantageous position when you deal with a brand, for instance, ifyou have a strong distribution partner lined up already).- The fragmented media world is a familiar concept for everyone. The challengesare many; how to stand out from the crowd and get noticed, how to keep theaudience engaged and immersed, how to communicate in a way that does not clashwith the tone and feel of the other parts of the project and so on. But to this comesthe challenge on how to make money off of all of this. Getting sponsors in is a way(but make sure your value proposition is an attractive one when dealing with them oryou won’t hook them), while other possible ways include app purchases, extra typesof content accessible in exchange for FB credits… Something as simple as a Paypalbutton or perhaps even a Kickstarter campaign for some certain aspect of the projectcould also be effective. But still, all of these need to serve the needs of your storyand your mythology, not just your wallet; consider carefully what will be the rightsolution for you.- ”Transmedia” as a term is still – unsurprisingly – something that people, also theones in the industry, have widely different views on. On every aspect for that matter– what it is, why it is, how it should be done, what the advantages are… So, myadvice would be – do, by all means, name your project a transmedia one, but makesure your pitch and presentation is clear and without glitches. It’s just so much easierfor buyers to say ”No” than ”Yes”, and ”transmedia” is a term that possibly can makepeople feel unsure about what they’re actually being pitched.
  • 87. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 87MIPCOM 2011 roundup7th of October 2011Packing my bags, ready to leave MIPCOM behind for yet another year. Cannessurprised us all with a weather more like mid-July than early October, although as Ilook out to sea now, some sort of autumn storm is churning up waves and whippingthe palms around quite mercilessly.I don’t know if it was the weather or something else, but this market lacked a lot ofthe doom and gloom that had been prevalent at most of the MIPs since 2008. Backthen we were heading into the unknown of a recession and everyone had theirwallets in a tight grip; this year people were a lot more upbeat, seeing possibilitiesand doling out money in a steady flow. Which is a bit strange, as we’re heading intoyet another recession… but on the other hand, TV viewing figures are up, brands areobviously spending, it wasn’t as bad as feared last time around, so psychologicallyspeaking it makes sense, I guess.To highlight some of the stuff over the week I managed to catch over the week – andwe had so many meetings over the week that I missed most of the sessions, (un?)fortunately – the most obvious one is that the term ’2nd screen’ is exciting to mostpeople. It is quite possible that the fact that people are on a mobile device of somesort – be it smartphone, tablet or laptop – while watching tv, is a fact that has finallypenetrated the mind of most people in the business. Perhaps they’ve watched theirown kids while they watch tv? The only thing I know is, ’2nd screen’ was thebuzzword of MIPCOM 2011.To this I might add that our lab did studies on interactivity during a tv show – wedid the first interactive quiz show in Finland, with set top box interactivity andJavabased interactivity for smartphones, back in 2004 – studies that clearly showedthat people felt more engaged with a tv show if they were interactive via a settop box. They felt more personal, but also more detached, if they did the exactsame interaction on a smartphone. That says something for connected TVs, Iguess, but at the same time you need to factor in the value of having a personalexperience in a group, like a family.I saw some funky stuff being presented by Ex Machina, the people behind PlayToTV,for interaction via iPhone / iPad etc. They use HTML5 which helps it run on anything(and I think HTML5 is going to change the game plan for many companies over the
  • 88. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 88next year or so. Imagine creating something that doesn’t need to be ported to 1000different devices, something that just works, the way you intended it? Nice.). I spoketo a company from Wales, Little Lamb, who are doing tv shows paired withwatermarked iPad apps for 3-5 year olds, for them to interact with a tv show oniPads together with their parents. It’s all going more and more 2nd screen, more andmore interactive…. And let’s not forget ’social’!The talks at MIP showed that more and more people ’get it’; where ’it’ is the fact thatmost of our audiences have already moved into a very social space. We – andmost importantly our content, what we’re offering – need to find out logical andnatural place in the same social space. Not intruding, as you wouldn’t likesomeone bursting into your house while your there with your friends, promotingsome tv series that’ll premiere in a week. Just being there might be enough, so thatthe step to engage or interact is as short as possible for any possible member of theaudience. There is absolutely nothing wrong with trying to create word-of-mouth foryour stuff; it’s only a matter of doing in the right way. Here, again, honesty is key.Tell what you can tell. Be open with what you can not tell. And have a plan for how toharness the audience you do engage.
  • 89. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 89Storyworld - Five Thoughts7th of November 2011So, an almost overwhelming week at Storyworld in San Francisco is over, jet lag isslowly fading, the heaps of work await and it’s time to take stock of what was learnedduring the conference. From my POV, as a creator and developer of tv formats –multiplatform, cross media, transmedia ones – here are a couple of points:The transmedia crowd is a fine oneI’ve been involved in enough startups of different kinds to know what it’s like; thefeeling of unity, the stage that Michel Reilhac called the ”Rebel Stage” of ”Us vsThem” (that in all fairness is now giving way to the Pioneering Stage where we’llsee more acceptance of the movement, best practices being carved out, and a routeset to finally enter the Business Stage). It’s a good stage to be in, no matter thateveryone’s definition of ”transmedia” differs somewhat from everyone else’s. What Ilike the most, however, is that most people involved in transmedia readilyacknowledge that we’re better off thinking about ”Us AND Them” from the outset, arealization that can take other types of movement ages to achieve. Not to mentionthe fact that all the people I met at Storyworld were quite brilliant in their own wayand a genuine pleasure to meet and talk to.Non-fiction transmedia is on few radarsMost of the examples and most of the talks at the conference centered aroundtransmedia based in fiction. Of the examples that were presented during the speedpitches at lunch on Monday and Tuesday, only Storm Surfers could be described asnon-fiction – OTOH, the background story on that show was more fleshed out thatmost of the fictional ones. Now, don’t get me wrong, I enjoy good fiction as much asanyone, both when it comes to creating and to consuming or experiencing. Still, Iwould have liked some more talks on and examples of non-fictiontransmedia;documentaries, television formats, non-fiction art etc. Creatingtransmedia formats for television, for instance, is a process that brings with it abunch of demands not encountered when dealing with transmedia fiction; the needto be able to repeat for season upon season, the need for financial sustainability, theneed to find a background story to hook the transmediated content on…. Perhaps at
  • 90. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 90SWC12?Howzabout the audience?I was extremely thankful to many of the people on different panels – Liz Rosenthalfor instance – for insisting that we do not forget the audience at any time. I totallyagree; having worked in traditional media for 10-odd years, in radio for many of themand developing 50-odd shows during those years; keeping close tabs on youraudience and involving them as often as possible is very much key.Acknowledging this, I would have thought it’d be interesting to invite someonerepresenting the audience, or someone doing audience / UX research to theconference? Again, perhaps next year we’ll see a panel of two-three avid ARG-players/ transmedia audience members paired with one or two researchers in thefield, that could talk on transmedia from ”the other side”? As I stated above, thetransmedia crowd is a fabulous one, but we might be a bit environmentallydamaged…The art of getting lawyered upThe collective gloom that set in during the panel on the importance of getting lawyersin would have been funny if it hadn’t been such a serious subject. Now, the panelmembers might have been banging their own drum – I’ll not get into that debate –but the truth is, you can’t cover all your bases while producing and distributingtransmedia content without legal advice. Still, there is absolutely no need to paythousands of dollars to an established Hollywood lawyer, unless that is exactlywhat you need. I would argue that anyone doing transmedia projects – or any kindof creative work – would be better off starting out with a project that is not ofuttermost importance to them, i.e. not the work of their lives, the one project thatthey burn utterly for. With a less important project, it is possible to make all themistakes, take note of them and make a better effort the second time around. SimonPulman wrote a good post on this matter, from a US point-of-view, but most of thepoints are viable for transmedia people in other territories as well.Network of networksThe meetup of meetups was interesting, as there are quite a few meetups happeningin the name of transmedia around the world. I know there are a lot of efforts beingmade at the moment to get all these in touch – which many of them already are –
  • 91. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 91and create new ones where there is a void to be filled. For my own part I’d be lookingto help create a Transmedia Nordic meetup, as we have quite a few practicioners,researchers and students active in the field. On another level, I’d be looking to see ifa Transmedia Europe meetup could be organized, perhaps as a annual event. And,naturally, people from other territories would be more than welcome. Perhaps in thecontext of some other happening, such as the Pixel Market or TedxTransmedia?Let’s talk, Liz, Nicoletta, Karine and everyone else whos interested!
  • 92. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 92Interview - Alison NorringtonAlison is a transmedia & cross-platform consultant, strategist, producer, storyarchitect, novelist, journalist and playwrite. She is Conference Chair for StoryWorldConference & Expo. She teaches Transmedia Development Workshops andTransmedia Storytelling Masterclasses at European Broadcast Union, DigitalBookWorld and CAMON Madrid Transmedia Living Lab and is the Writer/Creator ofinternationally acclaimed blog novel - Staying Single - a multi-platform, fragmented story, delivered throughemail, blog entries, YouTube mini documentaries, machinima quiz games, SecondLife. Follow her on Twitter - @storycentral.How have you seen the transmedia industry evolve during the past few years?Where do you think it will end up? An accepted part swallowed by the rest ofthe media industry or something else?Ive seen a passionate, engaged and sharing community build around transmedia inthe past few years - a community that is diverse and represents a wide spectrum ofentertainment industries and creative thinkers. The community, however, is only onecomponent of the evolution of the transmedia industry. Ive seen audience behaviorsshift as they seek out additional content and participation through red-button voting,2-screen TV consumption, Choose Your Own Adventure mindsets, storytelling asgameplay coupled with a disregard for any kind of loyalty towards specific platforms. I believe that audiences seek out their stories in the most convenient and accessibleforms and that the transmedia industry is waiting to deliver fragmented, key content.I suspect that the current focus and emphasis on transmedia as a title that defines aproperty might dissolve and transmedia as enhancements, extensions, expansionsto a fabulous story world will seamlessly integrate into future entertainmentproperties. However, continuing research and analysis on audience behaviors iscritical to inform and support a transmedia approach to storytelling. I think thattransmedia storytelling will possibly evolve to a point where this bubble bursts andimmersion, participation, accessibility, immediacy, gameplay and mashups are anintegral part of, not only the media industry and entertainment, but hopefullyeducation too.Do you see differences when it comes to approaching transmedia if you lookat regions? Do the Americans do it differently than the Scandinavians etc?
  • 93. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 93I dont see so much that it is done differently from the perspective of approachingtransmedia - the underlying themes, touch points and triggers that determine aproperty suitable for a transmedia approach are the same, but there are certainlyregional differences after that. I think that these are, rightly so, underpinned andinformed by cultural attitudes and audience behaviors/reactions. Ive worked withmany broadcasters, publishers and filmmakers both in US and EU and find that if thecore story is one that considers their own regional audiences from initial conceptthen the approach is the same (or at least similar) but the rollout, when done right, isa pacy, rhythmic beat that sets the pace for audience participation and immersion.What has been the most thrilling transmedia event(s) you’ve experienced todate?StoryWorld Conference & Expo 2011 was the first time that the global transmediacommunity was brought together on such a large scale. As Conference Chair andorganizer its clear that Im going to say that this was the most thrilling transmediaevent to date, however from an unbiased perspective would like to say that I think itscrucial that we continue to showcase, share and learn with and from each other inthe way that I witnessed at StoryWorld Conference.What event(s) should people attend in 2012 to be able to get the mostcomprehensive outlook on the transmedia industry?StoryWorld Conference & Expo in Los Angeles in October 2012 is a 3-day event andwill be one of the most comprehensive outlooks on the transmedia industry, bringingtogether story architects and practitioners, case studies from the spectrum ofentertainment industries and the opportunity to connect and network with transmediaprofessionals and new, upcoming talent.Power to the Pixel in London brings together innovative transmedia thinkers,fabulous case studies and experts from across the globe.TEDx Transmedia is a one-day event in September based in Rome that highlightsand showcases top-level transmedia speakers and practitioners.
  • 94. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 94Interview - Karine HalpernKarine Halpern is a digital and cultural communications consultant who has recentlybeen creating cross-media content in international cooperation for governmentalagencies. She has been conducting independent experimental work since the 1990s,has made creative content through public grants, and has produced the 7Transmedia Families, a card game to use for creative thinking and transmediadevelopment. She began her career in the international film and TV markets, workingin production, sales and marketing. She has founded and managed nonprofitassociations dedicated to cultural content, film and multimedia. She is currentlyadvocating the network Transmedia Europe, the “Network of Networks”. Follow heron Twitter - @KHEnthuZiasmHow have you seen the transmedia industry evolve during the past few years?Where do you think it will end up? An accepted part swallowed by the rest ofthe media industry or something else?I have observed the transmedia community, not the industry per say. Since I dofollow dedicated groups and I know the industry since more than 20 years I can forgemy own opinion. This should not, however, be confused with real research. My focuslies on "The Rise of the Transmedia Community" (a title I would like to use for a film)and the meanings behind these words. I look at the accent on the arts and culture,rather than looking at the more obvious, the big and unavoidable move into a newindustry era. This in turn is related to a general change in the markets and industries.It is related to the changes in the global politics and the behavioral systems of theglobal creative industries, changes that have come about through the increasedaccess to Internet and 3G networks. A crude example is Africa and cell phones.People in Africa are able to better organize themselves, as they now can shareinformation on their crops in a quick and efficient way through text messages.This is a conversation I believe will be going on forever. In 2010 and 2011 we havebeen able to observe a real movement of people around the world, struggling todefine and accept some fundamental principles on transmedia storytelling. It was amovement that was very interesting to watch and follow, but even more interesting toparticipate in! It was a transmedia “battle” in its own might. The battle was about the“Human Convergence”, the need to get together, the need to stop communicating via140 characters and instead get things done, the need to avoid the mistakes withregards to the marketing aspects of transmedia, and the need to claim the status of
  • 95. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 95transmedia as an art form and not merely a tool for big companies with full timemarketing staff (there was a great discussion earlier this year on Facebook,instigated by Brian Clark and aimed at “Reclaiming the Transmedia Storyteller”).The need of transmedia storytelling is to give a voice to the need for culture in aglobal world. That is what is at stake. It is a matter of self-organization for a newartistic and cultural ecosystem with human values in relation to the issues of todaysworld. That is a reason why there have been so many groups and conversationsemerging related to social innovation, transmedia for good and human sciences.Other media or tools related to multi-platform or simply the Internet, must now takeinto consideration storytelling, as the human mind is in tuned into storytelling.And as usually happens, the companies and the organizations with size and moneywill move faster and swallow the small participants. The difference this time is thatthese smaller participants are very well organized and equipped when it comesto self publishing, and they even make their own tools. It is related to the change ofthe societies in general. Therefore the smart transmedia storytellers will continue tomove forward and reinvent their own business models. Even if the real transmediacrowd is not able to survive in the economy, it will survive for its cultural power. Andthen, as with all artistic movements, the results and the knowledge will be sharedwith future generations. Transmedia is an emerging art form, a Mediaform. Media isthe channel of communication and not the technological tool. Here, I’m referring toMarshall McLuhan. I was looking for a word and found Mediaform and will start touse it more often!Do you see differences when it comes to approaching transmedia if you lookat regions? Do the Americans do it differently than the Scandinavians etc?Yes! Lots of differences. I was lucky enough to work in the field of internationalcooperation after a career in the film industry. I found out that the globalization isdriving citizens to reconsider their local and regional cultures. This is all very positiveand progressive, and can also happen in the field of transmedia creation. First of allwe have different ways of funding and this fact does have an impact on the content,the terminology and the processes. Secondly, we produce or curate contentaccording to cultural habits, not only because of languages but because of social lifeand personal taste. Therefore we understand things differently, even if we make theeffort to read and speak in English. And, finally, the Americans are very much into acultural environment that is still heavily influenced by the American one of thetwentieth century. It will take another 10 years at least for them to take into
  • 96. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 96consideration all other cultures and integrate them on their own screens! But I thinkthat Americans are still at the top of the implementation of innovation. They are fasterand more social when it comes to everyday creation and business because it is intheir cultural habits. I have advocated for avoiding the typical separation between the“Arc” made of USA – UK – Australia (the English speaking arc), and the “Rest of theWorld”. I advocate for avoiding the traditional battle between the USA and Europe interms of reaching out for audiences and screens. Transmedia is global. It needs toreach users and therefore we need as least 2 languages for any creation and a largesocial media campaign to reach out the people who can enjoy and participate.Because transmedia is very demanding in terms of creation, you want to reach outfor more people, you want to speak several languages, you want to optimize whatyou already have or make.What has been the most thrilling transmedia event(s) you’ve experienced todate?The StoryWorld experience with some improvisation and its own ARG? Theworkshop with the museums in the South of France? Or the workshop with thedocumentary filmmakers in Germany… No, the best is still Transmedia Nextbecause it is dedicated to Media Professionals and takes you deep into a transmediaexperience through the work of Lance Weiler. I must add, however, that I really likedattending Power to the Pixel for the first time. Then, of course I have a lot of respectfor TedX Transmedia and Nicoletta Iacobacci, because it is very hard to do a realTedx event with a theme such as transmedia! Well, finally, I must say that the bestmoment I had was a breakfast with one transmedia Fairy (Rosie Allimonos) and atransmedia Alchemist (Andrew Craig Slack), where we were joined by the awesomewriter Frank Rose. Then, naturally, you have all those crazy moments when youmeet your friends from Skype and Twitter in real life, friends who are sharing thesame ideas and goals. This historical time is the “Human Convergence” and it isrelated to the work from Pierre Levy about “Collective Intelligence”. Henry Jenkinsmentions Professor Pierre Levy in his book “Convergence Culture”. One of my bestmoments was to be in touch via Twitter with Professor Pierre Levy. Another was tosee the prediction from Steve Goldner (@SocialSteve) realized - about the fact thatrelationships are becoming the most important part of Social Media.What event(s) should people attend in 2012 to be able to get the mostcomprehensive outlook on the transmedia industry?Power to the Pixel for Europe, and StoryWorld for the USA. And watch the TedX
  • 97. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 97talks and read the blogs!Finally, where do you think transmedia will be in, say, 2015?In 2015 we will have our own Transmedia Living Labs, aimed at “Free Culture” andcollaboration. One part will be on the ground (physical), one part off the ground(online). We will invite artists, creators and coders to develop complex projects in anincubator that will gather complementary expertise and skills. And we will use,hopefully, more Open Source tools. The business models will be ad-hoc for eachproject and we will work more in co-creation. Brands will kill to work with us(hopefully). We have no other choices, in my humble point of view. If I am wrong, Iwill remain faithful to my ideas and values because what counts in the creativeindustries is what path you take to reach the art form that people then can share.
  • 98. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 98OTHER TRANSMEDIA MUSINGS————————————————————————————————Key elements: advice, other, “I can’t file this under that category, can I? No, no Ican’t…”There’s always those “other” things, the things that cannot be filed under anythingelse, the ones that dont really fit any set description. Often, however, these thingsmight touch on many other, more categorizable subjects. Thats the case with theposts below; they really dont fit anywhere in particular, but at the same time Imreluctant to omit them. Hence, the use of "Other".
  • 99. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 99Ten Advice for Transmedia Storytellers10th of November 2011Disclosure – the following post is based on a brilliant list about creative photographythat Chase Jarvis put up in October, which in turn was inspired by a post by GuyKawasaki entitled ”What I learned from Steve Jobs”. What I’ve done is port the tenpoints Chase made to the field of transmedia, as I think they are all pretty crucialpoints for any creative industry – not least transmedia.Experts aren’t the answerWell, at least not all of the time. No one will hold you by the hand and guide you tostardom, infusing you with sublime knowledge and making you a shed-hottransmedia creator. By all means, do hear the experts out; many of them have beenthere and done that. But there’s no need to blindly heed their advice; it’s you who’recreating your stuff, not they. One good example is the row this week over the so-called ”Transmedia Manifest”, a manifesto which IMHO would make for limitedtransmedia development, if it was a guide that had to be followed.Clients cannot tell you what they needThis is true in many creative fields; none more so than transmedia. Nevermind thatmany clients don’t even have viable social media strategies in place yet; dumpingtransmedia storytelling methods in their lap and expecting them to make the correctcalls all through the development and production process is to be inviting a majorheadache. Your clients hire you to provide them with something. Do listen to them –it’s their money and their property – but in the end, it’s you who have been hired tocreate kick-ass transmedia content. And if you’re good enough to have been hired,you’re probably good enough to do the job.Don’t aim for ”better”, aim for ”different”(here I’ll just quote Chase straight off, as his point is brilliantly made)"It’s funny how related “better” and “different” are. If you aim for ‘better’ that usuallymeans you’re walking in the footsteps of someone else. There will often be someonebetter than you, someone making those footsteps you’re following… But if you targetbeing different–thinking in new ways, creating new things–then you are blazing yourown trail. And in blazing your own trail, making your own footprints, you are far more
  • 100. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 100likely to find yourself being ‘better’ without even trying. Better becomes easybecause it’s really just different. You can’t stand out from the crowd by just beingbetter. You have to be different."Big challenges create the best workStrive to get challenges that push you to your limits. That’s the only way to becomebetter at what you are doing. If, for some reason, you don’t get such challenges, theonly solution is to give yourself such challenges. Implement new platforms, try outnew ways of telling your stories, work on character creation if that’s something youfeel you are lacking in, and so on. You want to be on the edge. Its the best place todiscover something new.The aestethics matterChase makes his point with regards to photography, but the same goes fortransmedia storytelling. You need to work on your understanding of storytelling, ofplatform implementation, of graphics, of producing video content, of interacting withan audience in a logical and engaging manner, of handling social media challenges,of composing music, basically everything that is needed in the development andproduction of transmedia content. It is crucial to know why one method or onesolution is superior to another; not only to explain to clients, but to yourself and yourdevelopment and production partners as well.Strive for simplicityI touched upon this in a previous post – the NOT of transmedia – and Scott Walkertalks about the same thing in a post fromlast year regarding the ”gutter”. It’s as muchabout what you choose NOT to do as about what you actually DO. Just because youcan do something, does not mean you actually should. Simple is beautiful.Fail fast and learnThere is no point in trying to avoid failure at all cost. If you want to be different, if youwant to be great, if you want to push your limits, you will fail from time to time. Whatmatters is that you learn from your mistakes and are able to implement the lessonslearned in the future. This goes for design and development of content as well as forbusiness and distribution plans, and so on. If you do something and it works, do
  • 101. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 101more of it. If you do something and it doesn’t work, stop doing it. Re-design. Dosomething else. To quote Einstein on the definition of ”insanity”: ”to do the samething over and over again and expect different results.”Know the difference between price and valueYou might be tempted to go cheap to get assignments and deals in place. This mightget you those assignments, but it’ll be devastating in the long run. You createvaluable content, valuable strategies, and you should price yourself accordingly.Also, value comes in many forms – not least in the transmedia field. The value youcreate will get you the price that you deserve.If you want to be the best, work with the bestThis is simple but true. If you feel you are at the top of your game, you want topartner with people and companies who are top-notch as well. This is of extremeimportance when it comes to transmedia, as partnerships are a crucial part of almostany endeavour, to get all parts developed in sync and produced and distributedaccordingly. Ideally, to become better at what you are doing, you’d work with peoplewho are better than yourself. Only people who aren’t THAT good seek to work withpeople less gifted than themselves; in that way they get to shine in comparison.Don’t belong to that group of people.Create, and create moreIt’s all good to sit around and contemplate different projects, ideas, terms andphilosophies. But this will get you nowhere if you do not implement this in realprojects that have a real, tangible output. Whenever you can create, create. Maybe itwon’t be the perfect thing, but it’s the best way to learn and move to new levels ofcompetence. Strive to get your stuff out there.
  • 102. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 102Doing it the Transmedia Way24th of January 2011Working with transmedia is one thing. Working transmedially, that’s something else,at least in my book. The two thing do go hand in hand, in a way – if you ARE workingwith transmedia, starting to think in a transmedia fashion about the way you workopens up possibilites.In his book ”The rules of work” Richard Templar talks about roles in a workingenvironment. He statest that:“Basically your Role is how you fit into the team – and yes, we are all team players.We have to be, in this day and age.”Looking at how many transmedia producers approach their work, this is very true.You need a transmedia producer to work with the other producers and the creator(s)of a certain property, especially if you are looking at developing and producingsomething a bit bigger. It goes without saying that defining the roles of these differentteam members is a crucial part of any project; who is responsible for what, who hasclout when it comes to the development of a certain content and who needs to knowwhat and when.Working ”transmedially”Transmedia, however much a buzzword it has become in the past few months, is avery powerful instrument when you get it right. So why not use it to make yourteamwork better? If you build the storyworld, the mythology, of your project with thesame careful and precise devotion as you build the storyworld that will be the contentof your project, you will – according to my/our experience – receive a number ofbenefits:- Everyone involved in the project will know their role intimately, and can naturallyinteract to change their role to fit themselves as persons even better – as long as itdoes not break the transmedia principles of theme and tone- Integrating new co-workers or external partners in the project is easier when youhave a story to connect to. This is not saying that you should start explainingtransmedia principles or dive deep into storyworlds when talking to potentialpartners, but it will give you the means to explain the gist of the project in a coherent,
  • 103. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 103logical and always similar way.- Pitching your project suddenly becomes much easier. Not only do you know yourcontent, you know your project and everyone’s role in it, and you know your own roleas well.- Defining a transmedia setting for your project also gives ideas on how to implementthe project on different platforms, and how to use different platforms to the greatestadvantage- By defining the transmedia setting, the storyworld, for your project, you will bydefault also (at least partly) define the role of your company (and affiliatedcompanies) in that setting. This can lead to new aspects on your company andpossible future projects and cooperations.- If you want to make additional material available, which in a transmedia project isalmost a given, approaching the way you work transmedially will help you no endwhen it comes to amassing "behind-the-scenes"-material, making-of-documentariesetcThe rolesAs for how to define different roles, it might not be the most productive way to godown the drama route, as there is less call on archetypes like ”Hero”, ”Sage” or”Villain” when you sit around a table brainstorming stuff. I think the best way is todefine roles according to the people connected to a certain project, but there areplaces to start looking if inspiration is needed.For instance, Dr Meredith Belbin, who has been researching into team work roles forover 40 years, is one place to start with the definitions of nine distinct team roles atthe core; the Plant, the Resource Investigator, the Co-ordinator, the Shaper, theMonitor Evaluator, the Team Worker, the Implementer, the Completer and theSpecialist. Have a read at the Team Role Theory site for more information.ConclusionTaking the opportunity to apply transmedia principles not only to the content you areworking on but also to the work processes themselves, has the potential to add asurprising amount of value to not only your work, but to the way you work as well. Tryit – you might just like it.
  • 104. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 104TRANSMEDIA - A FUTURE————————————————————————————————Key elements: crystal balls, palm reading… the future.Predicting the future is always a hazardous thing to do. You always stand the risk ofeither looking like a fool or like a prophet, both of which are probably as bad. What isclear, at least to me and the contributors in this publication, is that transmedia has abright future. Perhaps not necessarily under the banner of the term transmedia, butthe use of transmedia storytelling methods simply makes too much sense not to usethem when they fit a given context.The IntervieweeI asked Lina Srivastava to contribute under this headline as she is very muchinvolved in transmedia activism, and I strongly believe we will see transmediastorytelling methods come to the fore in many areas beside the media andentertainment ones. If transmedia can be used for activism and for good, it’s amarvellous thing indeed.But before that, to recap, here are the predictions from the contributors, on thequestion “Where do you see transmedia in 2015?”Jeff GomezBy 2015, transmedia narrative will have taken root as a form of artistic expressionunto itself.Nick DeMartinoHistorically, movements are effective when they move the people who matter.Political movements change major parties and candidates and create public supportfor policy changes. In the media, weve seen (and Ive been part of) manymovements that sprang up in opposition to a mainstream which has limitedparticipation, has marginalized voices and forms of content, or which havecentralized control. We are in an era in which technology and consumer tastes favordecentralization and open access. The problem is not the ability to make stuff. Itsthe ability for the stuff to be any good, and to matter.
  • 105. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 105To the extent that the story forms and engagement modes have value, they will havecertainly been assimilated into mainstream media by 2015. Television and digitaldistribution of cinema will almost certainly include as a matter of course variousalternate story scenarios, engagement opportunities, and even co-creationopportunities for audiences. If audiences tire of this stuff, it will go away, to me thereal question remains: will there be breakthroughs in content and form from theoutliers that capture attention and allegiance, not just from audiences, but as a flashin the zeitgeist. Todays zeitgeist seems almost entirely dominated by rapid turnoverof functions and fads. Even huge digital incumbents like Facebook and Twitter areconstantly innovating. This takes resources, which clearly the indies dont have.Andrea PhillipsI think were going to see tremendous shifts happening in television. Its the mediumbest-suited to anchor an interactive transmedia narrative right now. Its episodic, veryoften entire communities consume the work at the same time, and its fairly nimblecompared to feature films and print publishing. I think well see -- not even innovationover the next few years, but such a volume of work that the transmedia element of aTV show will become a no-brainer. It wont be special; itll be expected, and a showthat doesnt do anything will feel like its missing a beat.But I also foresee the rise of more tightly integrated Star Wars-style transmediafranchises -- stories where something seeded in one platform has a payoff inanother. Stories where each medium plays out a different subplot, and sheds newlight on the whole. So far weve seen a lot of sequential franchising, but I think theguys with the big bucks are going to see the value in intertwining the stories so thateach subsequent piece drives traffic to everything thats gone before. Transmediaisnt just good art, its good business, too.Nicoletta IacobacciI think in 2015 we won’t talk much about transmedia; it will be a current method ofcommunication, and we already use it. If you know how to manage all the availablecommunication tools, it’s common to tell a story that is enhanced, and deployed in amultiplatform environment. Different angles of your tale designed for your personalaudience, from your grandmother to your children, in circumstances where you can’tuse the same medium for everyone any longer. In 2015 transmedia will be a norm,
  • 106. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 106a necessity. In order to make it happen, we should probably make more and maybetalk less.Yomi AyeniHopefully by 2015, we will see more adventurous engagement, and narrativesconstructed by the audience forming part of an on-going story. Imagine, asking theaudience to fill a 10-year gap in a story - give them a start point and a series ofsignposts to guide them along the way. I also see the development of co-productionarrangements between the creator and the audience, which should lead to a two-tierstructure with some content commodified or branded, while the rest created by theaudience under a structure like Creative Commons. There are parts of ClockworkWatch that will remain the property of the contributors - our audience. These will beprotected from any commercial arrangement we have with potential partners. Wehope this guarantees we have an audience beyond the commercial life of our story. Brian ClarkAs a term, I think "transmedia" is likely to become a central adjective that describeswork, but it is just an umbrella term -- in the same way "interactive" doesnt really tellyou what the work is (both a pop-up book and World of Warcraft are interactive),neither does "transmedia". Which means by 2015, were going to see real genresemerge under that umbrella that are far more meaningful to the movement than thegeneral term of transmedia.Rob Pratten[Transmedia] will be the way things are done and theyll be doing it with our platformConducttr. Transmedia will be like the word multimedia or new media - no longer thebuzzword it once was - but the typical way that experiences are built.Karine HalpernIn 2015 we will have our own Transmedia Living Labs, aimed at “Free Culture” andcollaboration. One part will be on the ground (physical), one part off the ground(online). We will invite artists, creators and coders to develop complex projects in anincubator that will gather complementary expertise and skills. And we will use,hopefully, more Open Source tools. The business models will be ad-hoc for each
  • 107. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 107project and we will work more in co-creation. Brands will kill to work with us(hopefully). We have no other choices, in my humble point of view. If I am wrong, Iwill remain faithful to my ideas and values because what counts in the creativeindustries is what path you take to reach the art form that people then can share.
  • 108. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 108Transmedia in 2020 AD 26th of December, 2010(The background: our third child, a baby girl, was born on the 15th of December2010. Now, I’ve watched my other kids, born in 2000 and 2004 respectively, take tothe new media landscape as if they’ve never done anything else before (which theyhaven’t, come to think of it ☺ ), mastering iPhones and iPads within minutes,watching VOD as naturally as any tv series and so on. As I watch that little infant liveher first days on this Earth, I start to wonder what her world will look like, when she’sof the age of our older daughter. That’s where this post comes from, playing the partof Nostradamus for a brief while. And, yeah, take it all with a pinch of salt (although IWILL take credit for anything that turns out to be accurate :) )AP / Reuters - News BulletinAs the year 2020 comes to an end, the eyes and ears of the world once again turn tothe Annual Transmedia Academy Awards (ATAA). This year the host city of choicewas Auckland, New Zealand. In their motivation for the, in many industry people’seyes, strange choice of venue, The Transmedia Academy had previosly stated that”… we wish to embrace the principles of transmedia also in our arrangements,showing that the powers of transmedia storytelling can bring the farthest corners ofthe world together at once, even in connection with a live awards event like this.Auckland, New Zealand, is therefore a natural choice and we are thrilled to meet youall there, live or virtually in late December!”The award categories include ”Best ARG”, where the innovative LARP / mobilegaming / online adventure ”Natives”, where people around the world take on theroles of their native ancestors in a Sid Meyers ”Civilization” type of world dominationgame, is the overwhelming favorite.A new category this year is the ”Collective Creation” Award. The description for thecategory states that ”for a long time, ever since transmedia became a widelyacknowledged term in the late ’00s, the collective effort has been taken almost forgranted. Creators have counted on the audience involvement, producers have reliedon input and UGC from devoted fans and so on. At the Transmedia Academy we feelit is time to acknowledge the importance of creating transmedia storytellingcollectively, with other professionals as well as with the public, and have therefore
  • 109. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 109included this category in the proceedings for this years awards.”The Awards ceremony will be held on the 27th of December 2020, at 20.00 PacificTime.Background: Transmedia became a household term in the early 2010s. Since then,the transmedia storytelling principles have intergrated themselves into all aspects ofsociety, from education to business, from pre-school to university, from entertainmentto industry. Although there had been a number of relatively successful transmediaventures prior to 2011, it was the multi-billion dollar generating transmedia campaign”Spy Game” that let loose the full powers of transmedia on the general audience inlate 2011. ”Spy Game” began as a graphic novel, a book trilogy and a high-profile tvseries from HBO, letting the audience take part of the storyline by adding themselvesas characters and participating online or via mobile phones. With a 10 million dollarglobal cash prize up for grabs and a program to support and promote collectiveefforts over national boundaries, it was the first transmedia project to generate over200 million dollar in revenue and has up until today grossed more than 400 million.The Transmedia Academy was founded in 2012, and funded partly by donatedmoney from the ”Spy Game” project. The Annual Transmedia Academy Awards havebeen held since 2012. (Source: Wikipedia)
  • 110. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 110Interview - Lina SrivastavaLina is the Principal of Lina Srivastava Consulting LLC, a social innovation strategyconsultancy.  She works to leverage cultural expression and cultural identity forsocial transformation, employing strategy, planning, engagement, and transmediadesign.  An attorney by training from New York University School of Law, Lina isheavily involved in transmedia for social change, having created the "TransmediaActivism" framework and been involved in successful cross-media campaigns forseveral documentaries, including Oscar-winning Born into Brothels and the Emmy-nominated The Devil Came on Horseback. The former Executive Director of Kidswith Cameras, and the past Interim Executive Director of the Association of Videoand Filmmakers, she is currently the organizational strategist for VODO,3Generations, and the Resist Network and its forthcoming film Who Is DayaniCristal?.  Lina has provided strategic consulting and project design to a group oforganizations dedicated to social impact, including UNESCO, MobileActive, ShineGlobal and BYkids. Sheʼs @lksriv on Twitter.A lot of transmedia evolves around fiction, around mythologies and fantasyand suchlike. Youʼre an advocate for transmedia activism; how do you feeltransmedia can help when it comes to social issues?Transmedia as a construct and a strategy provides quite a few distinct advantages ineffecting social change. Ill describe here four that are on the top of mind.  First, aswe know, transmedia frameworks create multiple entry points into a story universe--paths through which audiences, authors and participants can enter the universe andengage with it. There is a distinct opportunity here in using narrative and a designedexperience to guide activists, influencers and members of the general public intoyour story universe and create engagement and action toward a solution. (When Ianalyze a story universe for social change, I think first in terms of an ecosystem ofissues, social and cultural conditions, communities and solutions-- and not onlyabout the narrative arc of the story.)  As a community of storytellers and activists, wecan move beyond awareness and outreach to engagement and action. A greatexample this year was Medecins Sans Frontieres "Starved for Attention" campaign,which used a variety of media, film, video, objects and photos created by a numberof authors and distributed via web, tablet, and real world installations to create anumber of advocacy points that targeted a range of stakeholders and moved them ina nearly seamless fashion from story to their desired action.
  • 111. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 111Second, transmedia strategies, in allowing diverse and multiple authorship, have thepotential to create better streams of participation for "local voice"-- i.e, voices comingfrom an affected community, to tell its own stories and participate in solutions-building.  This year, Id point to 18 Days in Egypt as a great example of this, as itsbuilding a creative engine to collect and curate group local storytelling around the2011 Egyptian revolution.  Also, from projects that I work with, Id point to the work of3 Generations, a nonprofit that is investing in multi-platform distribution of first-person, local storytelling that all point to a core question of survival from massatrocity.  I love the work weve started laying out for 3 Generations, in which wereexperimenting with transmedia principles as a core of the organizations mission andoperations, and a demonstration of the interconnectedness of seemingly disparateaffected communities (as opposed to considering transmedia elements for any of theindividual stories). Im not sure yet how this will play out in terms of the transmediaper se, but its been a great experiment in terms of narrative design and mediastrategy in human rights.  Id also point to another project Ive been working with: TheInvisibles, part of a larger transmedia platform around systemic poverty and humanrights along the US-Mexico border and in Central America, and the film Who IsDayani Cristal?Third, setting out a transmedia strategy may be an innovative way to create a co-creation network and to build community-centered collaboration.  Creation networksare an interesting way to think about two things: (1) combining community-drivensolutions (bottom-up, grassroots) with resources and capacity (top-down,institutional). I worked with UNESCO and Pratt Institute of Design last year increating a system and a toolkit to build capacity for co-creation teams of localstakeholders and UNESCO program officers to jointly build culturally relevant andresonant creative programs for behavior change.  While the project didnt fall strictlyunder the banner of transmedia, I asked the same questions and used many of thesame strategies for this project as I do when working in transmedia.Fourth, transmedia answers the question, "How do you tell the story of a system?"Theres a danger in social change when you tell a story from one perspective or fromone node in the system. True social change comes when solutions are systemic, andtransmedia itself is a social innovation that allows us to view our ecosystem andcreate stakeholder engagement around systemic change.  The advantage totransmedia is that it helps us tell the story of a system by presenting multiple voiceson a number of stories extending from the core over a number of distributionchannels.  (I recommend your readers take a look at a great TED talk by
  • 112. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 112Chimananda Adichie about "The Dangers of a Single Story" to go a little deeper intohow multiple narratives help us conceive our perspectives, dialogues and solutionswith more richness and more relevance.)How has the transmedia activism industry or movement evolved during thepast few years?When I first started writing about transmedia activism and examining social actionprojects through its lens in 2008, there was no identifiable community of colleaguesinvesting time, resources or thought into it. Today, its still a relatively youngconstruct-- its more of a strategic framework than an industry or a movement yet--but over the past 18-24 months, a number of creators and institutions have come torecognize the potential that transmedia has when applied to social change, and sothere is interest in investing in tools and technologies that advance the field.Philanthropic institutions like the Ford Foundation and the Sundance Institute havestarted funding transmedia projects, which is cause for celebration. On the otherhand, we havent yet built a field in which there are a set of norms or businessmodels. We have limited capacity globally, in terms of the numbers of strategists orpractitioners who have experience in the design principles of a transmedia strategy,or the subject matter expertise in social innovation or social change. We need tobuild a community of practice if were going to really create effective partnershipsand implement sustainable solutions.What has been the most exciting or fulfilling or encouraging transmediaexperiences youʼve encountered over the past year?Aside from work Ive been doing this year, MSFs Starved for Attention campaign and18 Days in Egypt excite me for the reasons I stated above. Lance Weilers"Pandemic"-- which debuted earlier this year and has inspired some interestingcollaborations in social change for him--and his recently launched "Robot Stories"are really interesting. I love the work Breakthrough has been developing for their BellBajao campaign, which is rather less involved than Lances work, but highlyengaging and sometimes cheeky, always striking the right tone for the very serioussubject of ending domestic violence.  GMD Studios work with the Smithsonian givesme hope that there are going to be more interesting transmedia collaborationsbetween cultural institutions and experience designers. And the launch of the MobileMedia Toolkit (from, for which which I sit on the Board of Directors)was particularly exciting in providing guidance on local, independent content creation
  • 113. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 113through mobile phones. Finally, I was head over heels for PunchDrunks "Sleep NoMore" -- while this is not a "social change" project by any means, it is one of the bestimmersive, interactive experiences Ive ever had in New York City. Im hopingsomeone will create a Hitchcock, Fellini or Jean Cocteau transmedia experience, orbring alive more Shakespeare plays, or other classic movie, theater or literaryexperiences soon.Do you see anything within the field of transmedia that you are especiallylooking forward to in 2012?I was happy Brian Clark addressed the question of business models at HenryJenkins site. The founding of StoryCode from Transmedia Meetup NYC is a positivedevelopment in this direction, and Im hoping we as a community delve more deeplyinto discussions and answers on the evolution of business models andsystematically supporting a community of practice.Im interested to see how we move forward on personal storytelling as an element ofsocial change campaigns, whose potential is expanding with platforms like Cowbird;and the potential for effective content curation, as Vadim Lavrusik describes in hispiece "Curation and amplification will become much more sophisticated in 2012".In my own work in field-building, I want to continue to align concepts of transmedia tosocial innovation and design. I would like to continue to work with nonprofits andinstitutions to themselves experiment with and adopt transmedia storytelling in bothcommunications as well as program design.  And I want to build on discussions that Istarted in collaboration with StoryCode this past fall on the potential of transmedia inemerging markets, for economic development and creative sector capacity, andcommunity-centered solutions-building. We launched a series with Africa, andhopefully will also explore the Indian film industries and Latin America in 2012. On the content side, related to that last point, Im looking forward to working closelywith a forthcoming project called "Lakou Mizik," a transmedia platform for musiciansin Haiti, and in continuing to build the platform around Who Is Dayani Cristal? If you would hazard a guess, where will transmedia be in 2015, and transmediaactivism?I think its the way well all be communicating and creating rather regularly, so will we
  • 114. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 114even need the term "transmedia" anymore? At any rate, in three years, I think"narrative design" will become an essential function across a variety of sectors (for-profit and non-profit), and that transmedia storytelling will be leveraged by more ofthe creative arts fields, like music, dance and theater, and by more culturalinstitutions. There will be more global efforts and projects, and more investment inglobal co-productions in terms of creative content and financial investment.And Im hoping we who work in the interstices between the creative and nonprofitsectors will have learned a lesson from the 2011 political revolutions and socialmovements in Tunisia, Egypt, Spain, Greece, India, Mexico, the US and beyond. Ihope we invest in the strong convergence between both (perhaps seeminglyconverse) individual storytelling and collaborative production, and look totechnologies and institutional structures globally that support free and secureexpression, a vibrant civil society, and thriving cultural economies.  I hope.
  • 115. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 115RESOURCES ———————————————————————————————— There are a number of places I regularly visit to keep up-to-date with what ishappening in the transmedia sphere, to get inspiration or advice, or simply toread some great writing in this field. Below is a first draft at a compilation; youshould obviously find the right people to follow on Twitter (the #transmediahashtag has become a bit cluttered, but is still a good hashtag to follow), joinsome Facebook groups (Transmediology, Transmedia for Good, TransmediaNordic to name a few) and look up some of the groups available on LinkedIn todiscuss and connect. For the US, you should also give TAG (Transmedia ArtistsGuild at a look, for the Europeanprofessionals Transmedia Europe is starting up, and so on. You should be able tofind your tribe in no time - and should you not, do start your own (and tell me :).Below then, a first list of great sites with short explanations: Simon Pulman’s blog on all things transmedia. Simon has a background inlaw and works at Starlightrunner Entertainment. He is simply great at analyzingdifferent aspects of the multiplatformed media world and put them into relevantcontext. A must read for anyone interested in transmedia. Scott Walker writes from his position as a transmedia veteran, the founder ofShared Story Worlds, president at Brain Candy and steward at Runes ofGallidon. Basically he’s a very nice person and very knowledgeable when itcomes to engaging audiences and fostering value co-creation. The Pixel Report comes from Power to the Pixel’s Liz Rosenthal and TishnaMolla. They host a lot of post from people in the field of transmedia as well astheir own lecture videos from the Pixel events. A good site to follow. A Wiki on transmedia hosted by the Transmedia LA Meetup group. Read upon all things transmedia and contribute yourself. Gary P Hayes’ blog on ”the digital, personalized you in immersive,networked media worlds”. Gary is a founder of StoryLabs, has an extensivebackground in transmedia and multiplatform and was the author of the
  • 116. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 116”Transmedia Production Bible Template” April Arrglington is one of the directors of the aforementioned Transmedia LAMeetup group and is an avid blogger, especially from different transmediaevents. Andrea Phillips is a transmedia veteran, having been involved in everythingfrom the Cloudmakers to Game of Thrones / The Maesters Path. She writes goodposts; not necessarily always on transmedia but always interesting. ”Thoughts on the T” is a blog by Christine Weitbrecht, covering a lot oftransmedia events, focused on the US west coast. Transmedia Talk is a podcast hosted by Nick Braccia, Robert Pratten, DeeCook and Haley Moore. Its focus is on Story, in a transmedia setting. A blog by Lina Srivastava and Vicki Callahan, looking at transmedia from asociological perspective – ”… a framework that creates social impact by usingstorytelling by a number of decentralized authors…” Well, Henry Jenkins is kind of the ”godfather of transmedia”, and over atConfessions of an Aca-Fan he posts great stuff about transmedia, including guestposts and interviews. The Tribeca Future of Film blog hosts guest posts on amongst other subjectstransmedia, from a lot of the best writers and industry people out there. Laurent Guerin is a French transmedia producer who publishes a series ofinterviews under the headline ”Around the Transmedia World”. Also available inFrench.
  • 117. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 117 The ”Creative Voice” line of interviews are written by energetic and talentedCanadian transmedia producer and writer Lucas J.W. Johnson. YSA is a blog and a website by Dr Christy Dena, one of the few people tohave a degree that states that she knows what she’s talking about when it comesto transmedia . It’s also a good read, featuring debates and interviews and justbasically trying to help everyone suck a little bit less at transmedia Robert Pratten of Transmedia Storyteller shares a lot of his talks and slides ontransmedia, building on their own platform Conducttr. Bonus resource: You could do worse than doing a YouTube search for ”TedxTransmedia” tolisten to some great speakers from the events of 2010 and 2011.
  • 118. Staffans / ONE YEAR IN TRANSMEDIA / 118ABOUT THE AUTHOR————————————————————————————————Simon Staffans lives in Vasa on the west coast of Finland. He’s been working inmedia for over 20 years already, in newspapers, radio and television. Since 2005he’s developing formats - cross media, interactive, multiplatform and transmediaformats - at MediaCity Finland. He’s a published writer, was iEmmy-nominated in2010, holds lectures and talks and is a firm believer in the powers of transmediastorytelling and transmedia methods.He’s a very happy father of three and husband of one, an avid fisher, an eagercyclist, an occasional DJ (ranging from 80s heavy metal via 60s soul to 2010stechno) and an almost compulsive collector of single malt whiskies (which he nevercan find the time to drink). He only knows four languages well, but can curse in atleast a dozen more.Follow him on Twitter at @simon_staffansBlog posts are extracts from the blog SUPERCALIFRAGILISTICEXPIALIDOCIOUSon http://muchtoolong.blogspot.com Year in Transmedia by Simon Staffans is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.Based on a work at and interviews.