Storytelling, play and codeThe full stack(s) of entertainment.
Zeroth, context.
First, storytelling.
The hard way.
© WB/Microsoft
© WB/Microsoft
© WB/Microsoft
The hard way.
The easier way.
Alexis Madrigal, The Atlantic, http://bit.ly/thetwomayors
Second, play.
Third, code.
“In the 1980’s the BBC not only broadcastprogramming for kids about coding, but (in  partnership with Acorn) shipped over ...
The Valiant Turtle, http://bit.ly/bbcturtle
To make art with technology, one does notuse it as a tool; one must understand it as amaterial. Technology is not always a...
The stacks.
First, a reprise.
EVERYTHINGTHE NETWORKTOUCHESBY TOM COATES
The story so far.
Old Spice, Wieden+Kennedy
Suwappu, BERG/DENTSU
Twit4Dead, Tom Armitage, http://bit.ly/twit4dead
The Mongoliad, Neal Stephenson, Greg Bear et al
Year Zero, Nine Inch Nails
Glitch, Tiny Speck
This is not the future I    was promised.
http://bopressminiaturebooks.com/
Some stacks.
Easy first.
Now hard.
Facebook   andGoogle+
But none of these feel     like stacks.
And we don’t haveauthoring tools, either.
We only have ourselves      to blame.
It’s all just ones and zeroes down here.
http://www.guidebookgallery.org/screenshots/win31
http://arstechnica.com/apple/news/2011/07/mac-os-x-lion-a-visual-                                               introducti...
What we lost.
Where are our cues?
This is not a metadata problem.This is a design/content/code problem.
Russell Davies, http://bit.ly/inourcan
And finally.
“These are like ships passing in the night.One of the greatest achievements at Pixar was that we brought these two culture...
The end.           dan.hon@wk.com
Storytelling, play and code
Storytelling, play and code
Storytelling, play and code
Storytelling, play and code
Storytelling, play and code
Storytelling, play and code
Storytelling, play and code
Storytelling, play and code
Storytelling, play and code
Storytelling, play and code
Storytelling, play and code
Storytelling, play and code
Storytelling, play and code
Storytelling, play and code
Storytelling, play and code
Storytelling, play and code
Storytelling, play and code
Storytelling, play and code
Storytelling, play and code
Storytelling, play and code
Storytelling, play and code
Storytelling, play and code
Storytelling, play and code
Storytelling, play and code
Storytelling, play and code
Storytelling, play and code
Storytelling, play and code
Storytelling, play and code
Storytelling, play and code
Storytelling, play and code
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Storytelling, play and code

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Forget transmedia. Forget alternate and augmented realities. Forget multimedia magazines, tablets, phones and puzzling QR codes. Our challenge lies in figuring out the full-stack of entertainment, designed from the bottom right to the very top: for phones, physical objects—part of the Internet of things or otherwise—tablets and conventional computing devices, where art, code and design mesh together perfectly with directorial vision.

These teams producing our next generation of entertainment are right at the heart of Steve Jobs’ placing of Apple at the intersection of liberal arts and technology. Where did they come from, how are they evolving entertainment and how are they making storytelling, play, code and technology sing?

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  • Forget transmedia. Forget alternate and augmented realities. Forget multimedia magazines, tablets, phones and puzzling QR codes. Our challenge lies in figuring out the full-stack of entertainment, designed from the bottom right to the very top: for phones, physical objects—part of the Internet of things or otherwise—tablets and conventional computing devices, where art, code and design mesh together perfectly with directorial vision.\n\nThese teams producing our next generation of entertainment are right at the heart of Steve Jobs’ placing of Apple at the intersection of liberal arts and technology. Where did they come from, how are they evolving entertainment and how are they making storytelling, play, code and technology sing?\n\nGoing to talk about Storytelling and Code and how play figures into that. This isn’t going to be a talk about playable media per se, more what play means in terms of figuring out the warp and the weft of a particular medium and its suitability for the story that you want to tell.\n\nSo when I say top-to-bottom, full stack, I mean: Steve Jobsian kind of way.\nThis is the hardware.\nThis is the software.\nThis is the experience.\nDirectorial.\n\nA bit rambley.\n
  • I’m Dan Hon. \n\nFirst, some context. I grew up a wannabe geek. I like to think I can talk to development people, that I have some inkling of what’s hard and what’s not. \n\nI’m an interactive creative director at Wieden + Kennedy, an advertising agency, based in the Portland office.\n
  • I played this game in 2001. One of the biggest things about it was that it was net-native storytelling. \n
  • So let’s look at how storytelling has been happening on the net, and I’ll pull out some personal examples. \n
  • ARGs are the hard way. Distributed. Fragmented. Frequently telling the wrong kind of story and stuck in a genre. But: exploded! But not linked. Evolved in realtime. Transitory. Not documented.\n
  • A.I. Artificial Intelligence. 2001. One of the best ones. Met my wife through this.\nBrian Aldiss by way of Kubrick, then Spielberg, then a chap called Jordan Weissman, then a chap called Elan Lee, and Neal Stephenson - then Sean Stewart.\n
  • Right there, in the credits was the name Jeanine Salla. Now, when you go through the credits in the trailer to a movie, you can pretty much figure out what means what. I know what Michael Kahn, the Film Editor, does. I know what John Williams, the composer, does. I know what Bob Ringwood, the Costume Designer, does. \n\nWhat I don’t know - and what’s like waving a red flag to a certain type of procrastinating proto internet geek like me back in 2001 - is what it is that a sentient machine therapist does. But whatever it is, I did what every procrastinating proto internet geek did back in 2001 - and Googled Jeanine Salla. \n
  • Now, back in 2010, you might be thinking this isn’t much of a big deal, but the problem was, was that Jeanine Salla existed. \n\nNot really existed as in occupying a certain volume in the meatspace world, but existed as in her digital, online footprint looked pretty much just like - well - every other person on the internet. She had a homepage. \n
  • She had a job, at Bangalore World University, New York. \n
  • And, naturally, she had her faculty page that listed her research and bio, as well. \n
  • And, well, the footprint of any good digital person includes an email address and a phone number. I tried calling the phone number. I did, indeed, get Dr. Salla’s voicemail. I tried emailing Dr. Salla and got - predictably - an out of office autoreply from her familiar. \n
  • It turned out that Dr. Salla was worried that there might have been something untoward to do with the death of her good friend, Evan Chan. Evan - as well - also had the digital footprint of someone who was, well, for all intents and purposes a real person. Or as real as you could be 2142, having fallen down a hole and suddenly accessible to proto internet geeks in 2001.\n\nThat was the rabbit hole. That was the start of what ended up being the rest of my life. You see, this whole thing - Jeanine, Evan, the currents and eddies of drama surrounding their tragic lives - was an elaborate narrative being told in the universe of the movie A.I., splintered across multiple media, in real places, all around the world. A fractured, mind-blowing narrative, beautifully written, expertly executed.\n
  • That was the hard way. Many pieces, loosely joined by a distributed narrative thread.\n\nNo delineating line. Amorphous. Spread everywhere. For a particular kind of audience.\n
  • Now let’s look at an easier way.\n\n\n
  • On February 22nd this year, Chicagoans went to the polls to choose their new mayor. But for some, the real story was the twitter account of @mayoremanuel - what the Atlantic would later call the best fake twitter account, ever.\n
  • Documentable only because of services like Storify. Annotated.\n2k tweets over 5 months. \n
  • Now, I want to call out play as a method for discovering what a medium can do.\n\n
  • The importance of play and pretending in figuring out a new medium. Where can you push, where does it push back?\n\nWhich also means experimenting to figure out what works and what doesn’t work.\n
  • Being Mark Zuckerberg. It’s interesting that when we look at platforms - especially web-based ones - there’s quite a lot of emphasis on the utility side. \n
  • Play in some places.\n
  • But not others.\nUtility.\nSharing platforms for telling stories.\n\n
  • The problem I have is that when we have creators who don’t play with the medium, when we have a divorce between the storytellers and the implementors, we get things like this:\n
  • and we don’t end up taking advantage of anywhere near the potential of the device.\n\nUltimately when it comes down to it, when everyone along your stack apart from a small group only doesn’t understand the medium, you end up with a manuscript on a magical device.\n\nThe question isn’t necessarily “let’s tell a story that uses location, orientation, accelerometers”. The question is “what’s the best story we can tell”?\n\nShareable.\n
  • \n
  • This is a quote from Eric Schmidt from last week’s Edinburgh TV Festival, bemoaning the lack of technical knowledge in the British education system. \n\nThe thing about Eric Schmidt though is that Google’s what you get when you stuff a company full of engineers. \n
  • So we all remember things like The Valiant Turtle.\n
  • And more up-to-date versions that help people discover what it means to code, like if this then that.\n
  • (even though this is really good)\n\nIf I’m not careful, there will be a hypercard reference in here.\n
  • I think tools like this are important. Because what I’m trying to get at is accessible technologies that people are able to play with, to understand what those technologies do as a medium. \n\nSpeaking as someone who has moved from startup land into advertising land, probably one of the hardest things is finding accomplished storytellers who also understand the media they’re working with. And this, I think, is one of the things that makes sense about what organisations like BERG do. \n\nHow much of a medium do you need to understand to be able to create effectively for it?\n\n
  • So I started off this talk by:\n\nForget transmedia. Forget alternate and augmented realities. Forget multimedia magazines, tablets, phones and puzzling QR codes. Our challenge lies in figuring out the full-stack of entertainment, designed from the bottom right to the very top: for phones, physical objects—part of the Internet of things or otherwise—tablets and conventional computing devices, where art, code and design mesh together perfectly with directorial vision.\n\nThese teams producing our next generation of entertainment are right at the heart of Steve Jobs’ placing of Apple at the intersection of liberal arts and technology. Where did they come from, how are they evolving entertainment and how are they making storytelling, play, code and technology sing?\n\n\nOne true stack, or many stacks? Trick question.\nWhich is interesting. Because we would shout at print designers for wanting to control things.\n\nDistinction between format shifting and new texts.\n
  • \n
  • Last year, Tom Coates gave a talk called Everything the Network Touches, about the transformative power of infrastructure. He talked about the web as transformative infrastructure, and what happens when the network starts to reach out to the real world, through spimes and then networked cities. \n\nI think the big deal here is what happened when the network touched storytelling. \n
  • Well, here’s the story so far. \n
  • Conventional film-based storytelling\nBut put in a new environment\nAnd aware of the environment that it’s in\nAnd because it’s in a networked environment, able to talk back\n
  • Swappu as AR/toys\nBut what makes Swappu better than Eyepets\n“TV” by BERG\n
  • The two mayors. Told in real-time. Over a course of months. Bitesize, with you wherever you are - because of the medium. No discovery issues. Things like YouTube “web series” would fall into this area. \n\nSingle platform. Annotatable. \n
  • \n
  • The Mongoliad\nNeal Stephenson and Greg Bear\n
  • ARG/and/album\nBiophilia, by Bjork\n
  • Worldbuilding\n
  • Well, here’s the story so far. \n
  • In some universes, I was promised this, but hopefully without quite so much spandex and preoccupation with Sherlock Holmes. \n
  • In other universes, I would be clutching my wirelessly-connected, nanotech engineered Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer. Again, from Neal Stephenson’s universe.\n\nInching toward Young Lady’s Illustrated primer.\nTop to bottom as an integrated stack. Networked.\n\nSo let’s take it back to these stacks.\n\n
  • Some of the examples I mentioned before have platforms that feel more right than others. And there are some platforms that are out there that are noticeable in their absence.\n\nStacks as places to tell stories where you can gather attention.\n
  • Some of these platforms feel better than others\n
  • Heello - as before\nYouTube - LG15, no identity management\nTwitter - Mad Men etc / Lesbian Iranian Blogger\ntumblr?\nBlogger/Wordpress/Livejournal - Lesbian Iranian Blogger\nThere’s a couple more examples as well.\n
  • Xtranormal\n
  • Heello - as before\nYouTube - LG15, no identity management\nTwitter - Mad Men etc / Lesbian Iranian Blogger\ntumblr?\nBlogger/Wordpress/Livejournal - Lesbian Iranian Blogger\nEach of these things is a medium in and of itself. \n
  • Fanfiction.net\nSharp point\n
  • Some of these platforms feel better than others\n
  • Reason for hardness is to do with business model and how far along the spectrum the platform is on selling user data. \n\nCould not tell stories easily on Google+/Facebook, because hard to pretend\nSometimes don’t have to pretend.\n\nWant to tell stories on these platforms because they have the attention, but only in streams.\n\nWhen am I playing and when am I talking?\n
  • Why? That sounds like you’re cheating. They’re what we might call platforms, but they’re not built for storytelling. They’re built for different purposes. \n\nBecause Microsoft Word is for manuscripts, Final Draft is for screenplays, FanFiction.net is for manuscripts...\n\nWhat’s going on? Where’s the stack that feels like it works together from bottom to top, that has emotional relevance and signifies a type of content?\n
  • Why? That sounds like you’re cheating. They’re what we might call platforms, but they’re not built for storytelling. They’re built for different purposes. \n\nBecause Microsoft Word is for manuscripts, Final Draft is for screenplays, FanFiction.net is for manuscripts...\n\nWhat’s going on? Where’s the stack that feels like it works together from bottom to top, that has emotional relevance and signifies a type of content?\n
  • Well, here’s the story so far. \n
  • When we built platforms, we built things that didn’t really care about the kind of content. None of them are supposed to be.\n\nWhich means everything looks the same. Sure, we have metadata, but every file looks like every other file. \n\nWe just lost the biggest signifier to what a thing is. And it’s going to be incredibly hard to reverse that, if reversing it is something we want to do.\n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • What does this do?\nMusic/Audio/data\n\n
  • What does this do?\nPresume it’s video\nBut could be audio\nAlso could be data\n
  • What does this do?\n
  • What do these do?\nAll browser windows\nVisual language used and experience\nApple taking away chrome, full screen experience\n\n
  • This is the possibility of an uncertain world. \nSimplicity through design. \nYour iPad could be anything.\nIt could be a book.\nIt could be a TV show. \nIt could be...\n\nNow we might get incredibly excited about this. But you can see how some people might be terrified.\n
  • This is a book. It’s about 255 pixels wide, between 150 and 195 pixels tall. \n
  • This is a TV show. It’s a rectangular window about 640 pixels wide.\n
  • \n
  • What is a “McSweeney’s”?\n\nStarted out as a: newsletter?\nThen website / internet tendency\nThen publishing house\nThen events\nThen “app”\nContent and context\n
  • How do we get across the thing-ness?\n
  • It’s telling that Apple keeps going back to skeuomorphic design. \n
  • Object-as-thing\n
  • \n
  • Okay to have confidence to put your own edges on it.\n
  • The big thing that I’m trying to get at here are respectful collaborations between those in technology industries and the content industries. \n\n\nWhat it means to create with emotion. \nGet them working side by side and respectfully. \n
  • \n
  • Storytelling, play and code

    1. 1. Storytelling, play and codeThe full stack(s) of entertainment.
    2. 2. Zeroth, context.
    3. 3. First, storytelling.
    4. 4. The hard way.
    5. 5. © WB/Microsoft
    6. 6. © WB/Microsoft
    7. 7. © WB/Microsoft
    8. 8. The hard way.
    9. 9. The easier way.
    10. 10. Alexis Madrigal, The Atlantic, http://bit.ly/thetwomayors
    11. 11. Second, play.
    12. 12. Third, code.
    13. 13. “In the 1980’s the BBC not only broadcastprogramming for kids about coding, but (in partnership with Acorn) shipped over amillion BBC Micro computers into schools and homes.” Eric Schmidt, http://bit.ly/schmidtaggart
    14. 14. The Valiant Turtle, http://bit.ly/bbcturtle
    15. 15. To make art with technology, one does notuse it as a tool; one must understand it as amaterial. Technology is not always a tool, an engineering substrate; it can be something to mould, to shape, to sculpt with. Tom Armitage, http://bit.ly/techmaterial
    16. 16. The stacks.
    17. 17. First, a reprise.
    18. 18. EVERYTHINGTHE NETWORKTOUCHESBY TOM COATES
    19. 19. The story so far.
    20. 20. Old Spice, Wieden+Kennedy
    21. 21. Suwappu, BERG/DENTSU
    22. 22. Twit4Dead, Tom Armitage, http://bit.ly/twit4dead
    23. 23. The Mongoliad, Neal Stephenson, Greg Bear et al
    24. 24. Year Zero, Nine Inch Nails
    25. 25. Glitch, Tiny Speck
    26. 26. This is not the future I was promised.
    27. 27. http://bopressminiaturebooks.com/
    28. 28. Some stacks.
    29. 29. Easy first.
    30. 30. Now hard.
    31. 31. Facebook andGoogle+
    32. 32. But none of these feel like stacks.
    33. 33. And we don’t haveauthoring tools, either.
    34. 34. We only have ourselves to blame.
    35. 35. It’s all just ones and zeroes down here.
    36. 36. http://www.guidebookgallery.org/screenshots/win31
    37. 37. http://arstechnica.com/apple/news/2011/07/mac-os-x-lion-a-visual- introduction.ars
    38. 38. What we lost.
    39. 39. Where are our cues?
    40. 40. This is not a metadata problem.This is a design/content/code problem.
    41. 41. Russell Davies, http://bit.ly/inourcan
    42. 42. And finally.
    43. 43. “These are like ships passing in the night.One of the greatest achievements at Pixar was that we brought these two cultures together and got them working side by side.” Steve Jobs, http://dthin.gs/SJatD1
    44. 44. The end. dan.hon@wk.com
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