Transmedia4 dallas


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Here are the slides I used for my "Transmedia" presentation I made to the Dallas Video Festival on Sept 25, 2011. The notes field include lots of URLs for additional content.

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  • This presentation was produced for the Dallas Video Festival, September 25, 2011.Here is a link to founder Bart Weiss’ introduction of my panel.
  • How many people know what transmedia is?I will make this available if you leave me your email address or business card.
  • What qualifies me to give this talk?I am a movie geek.I am an ex-journalist, filmmaker and marketer.And I spent 20 years running digital programs and initiatives at the American Film Institute, some of which are listed here.To learn more about my career, check out my website at
  • I discuss a few highlights of my years at AFI and the relationships I developed with innovators at the intersection of Hollywood and Silicon Valley. I discuss a few highlights of the training-based programs and the showcase programs, leading into our signature approach: collaborative prototype development around content. To learn more about my career, check out my website at
  • I started a consulting business last year after leaving the AFI in which I help companies make the transition occasioned by the disruption that the Internet is bringing to every market. Most of my work is in the content production and distribution markets. To learn more about my career, check out my website at
  • Having heard the word ‘transmedia’ for some time, even as we were incubating many cross-media applications at AFI, I became intrigued by the rise in the use of the term last spring, especially because there seemed to be a lot of fighting going on. This lead to a lot of research and a series of interviews with many of the leading practitioners in the transmedia field, and a three-art series “Why Transmedia is Catching On” which was posted on the Tribeca Film Institute’s “Future of Film” site, and syndicated to sites around the world, including Huffington Post, The Wrap, MIPblogs, x-media Lab (Australia) and others. The series lives on my own blog: (Here is a post that includes the links to all the different versions: )
  • So… what is transmedia, anyway….
  • …and why should you care?
  • In terms of definition of the term transmedia…..
  • Transmedia is an Adjective.There are transmedia storytellers.Transmedia methods.Transmedia marketing.Etc.It’s a term that has come into the fore in the past few years, and has caused quite a lot of controversy.
  • The first citation I could find that uses the “transmedia” adjective was this one, from USC’s Marcia Kinder, who is famous for launching the “Labyrinthe” project – my Tribeca post, I added my own attempt at a definition:“Transmedia” is shorthand for a grab bag of production and distribution practices and audience engagement techniques that have emerged over the past decade, and when taken together, promise a new kind of media experience.
  • The term transmedia storytelling is, by all accounts, a coinage from Henry Jenkins, a much-published academic from MIT, now on the faculty at the University of Southern California. Henry is a good source for info, particularly his courseware, which is published on his blog: The specific article is from MIT Technology Review, "Transmedia Storytelling.”Jenkins, Henry (2006). Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide. New York: New York University Press. ISBN 9780814742815. Jenkins, Henry (2006). Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide. New York: New York University Press. ISBN 9780814742815. Jenkins, Henry (2006). Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide. New York: New York University Press. ISBN 9780814742815.
  • Henry Jenkins also says that most of the “transmedia” projects he has studied tend to focus upon one of three goals:Building out the “back story” of the “primary” storyProviding a different view of the world from the subjective point of view of one or more characters (swapping subjectivity).Mapping the world in which the story takes place.
  • Jeff Gomez is a game designer who cofounded a firm in NYC called Starlight Runner which consults with media properties and brands to create transmedia properties. He has been very active in evangelizing the term “transmedia,” including within the Producers Guild of America. This is his definition.
  • The PGA defines criteria for various credits on films and television. In 2010 a new credit was approved for “transmedia” producer. Certainly in the years prior to this development, a new class of creative professional had emerged to collaborate with the primary creative team on extending the story-world of media properties, especially television. The PGA credit is an answer to that, but it seems to have triggered a lot of controversy, including a movement against using the term.
  • This is the last part of the definition, which makes a key point, which is that transmedia is not what we used to call “shovelware” – e.g., dumping content from one medium into another platform.
  • Brian Clark is a very active transmedia producer and a leader in the field. GMD Studios is based in Florida. Clark’s Facebook post in mid-2011 tried to define the differences between the “East Coast” school of transmedia (where he counts himself) and the “West Coast” wing, which is what the PGA definition came from, e.g., mother-ship type entertainment properties with extensions on additional platforms.
  • This quote from high-profile PR guru Steve Rubel sent shivers down my spine, only because I thought the transmedia storytelling term was focused upon the artform, not commerce, per se. This is a good example of how the methods of the multi-platform storyteller, having been proven to be attractive to fans, are irresistable to marketers.
  • So, is the Royal Wedding a transmedia story?
  • Or the Bible & Jesus Christ?
  • Certainly Star Wars is transmedia, with many different media and formats. Though, there are those in the field who prefer to think of Star Wars as the first major storytelling FRANCHISE, not really transmedia. What is the distinction? Whether new elements to the story are added in every platform, and therefore make the experience of all platforms necessary for a full experience of the work.
  • These are related words describing various story forms. Some would say that none is as complete as “transmedia.” Others say, to hell with the language wars. Let’s get to storytelling!(Note: ARG=alternate reality game)
  • In keeping with some of those words, I’ve collected a few examples of “precursors” from past decades. Tamara was a theatrical event launched in Toronto in which the audience moved into different rooms and interacted with the actors. The story would unfold differently, depending upon your journey and what happened in each room. The show ran for many years in Los Angeles and New York, and was revived in Toronto. This is interactive, but not really multi-platform, though a CDROM was attempted.
  • Douglas Adams, the creator of A HITCHHICKERS GUIDE TO THE UNIVERSE built this work with the BBC at the dawn of the interactive media age in order to explain and explore hyper-media. It could be said to be multi-platform because the links took the user into different environments and domains. You can tell that the ideas were ahead of the technology by looking at the clunky fonts.
  • MYST was a ground-breaking game series on CD-ROM back in the 90’s, which remained the highest grossing title until the SIMS overtook it. Unlike the classic “videogame” format, which were usually shooter or role-playing games, MYST was a journey of discovery in which users proceeded into environments and worlds by finding clues and activating elements of the system. Again, not really multi-platform, but a new way to tell a story. MYST and its sequels are now available in the iTunes store in both a free and $4.99 version.
  • Francis Ford Coppola created a successful film adaptation of the Bram Stoker novel about the original vampire starring Gary Oldman, and Sony released a game version that utilized footage shot on the set of the film, which nudges into the terrain of multi-platform. We were excited to show it at the time because of the high profile of the director, who created iconic films like THE GODFATHER trilogy.
  • Another CD-ROM title from Broderbund was created by my friend Haney Armstrong, a fllmmaker who came up with this extension of the traditional police procedural story by allowing the user to interrogate people.
  • This William Gibson classic was made into a film with Keanu Reeves, not well reviewed, but significant because Sony released a CD-ROM game simultaneously which allowed gameplay in a movie-like setting based upon the same story. The casts were different.
  • TV interactivity is a whole topic in and of itself. I included PUSH NEVADA in this presentation because it did represent a breakthrough. Clues were peppered throughout the show and the website that allowed users to amass points leading to a winner. I think I remember that some clues involved mobile calling as well, Even though the show was not popular enough to be renewed, it was an early example of multi-platform enrichment of a primary story.
  • When the Sci-Fi Channel wanted to bring back the classic Battlestar Gallactica, representatives of the company, as well as Universal’s game division, came into the AFI’s Digital Content Lab to create a multi-dimensional viewing experience. The user interface, created by Schematic’s Dale Herigstad, allowed seamless movement by the user in and out of the primary story (TV), a first-person spaceship flying experience (game), and deep data about the ship, the characters, and the backstory, which also included clues. This was not the version launched at the time of the show, but inspired lots of others.
  • Lance Weiler has what is the most inclusive and inspiring definition of transmedia.BTW, he gave a wonderful talk at Ireland’s Darklight Festival. work is displayed at his home page.
  • So what might we consider breakthroughs in the development of this artform?The Emmy went to the LOST EXPERIENCE, an alternative realtiy game from ABC and Hi-ReS, a design and experience company. The TV Show’s millions of fans could deepen their experience of the story world via this comprehensive site.
  • Ditto with HEROES, which launched its 360 experience, later renamed EVOLUTIONS. Producer Jesse Alexander worked closely with the TV series creative team.
  • My mind was blown by this Swedish alternative reality game from Company P, headed by Christopher Sandberg. They used TV, newspapers, the web, live events and kind of took over the whole country for a few weeks. The premise was a fake event, but it was treated as real, and people engaged with the story in a sort of ambiguous way, not knowing for sure what was real, what was fake, what was conspiracy, etc. Such a fictional trope is often part of ARG work, and many would date it back to Orson Welles and the Mercury Theatre’s radio adaptation of H.G.Welles’ WAR OF THE WORLDS in the 30’s.
  • 42 Entertainment created this multi-platform alternative reality game that invited players during the period bridging the release of the two Batman films, especially the much-anticipated DARK KNIGHT from director Christopher Nolan. Because the Gotham setting and the tone and elements of the franchise are so well known, the creators could play off of that with newspapers and other media released in sequence that contained clues and links to fill in the complex world of the films.
  • This is just one of the properties created by Lance Weiler, whose breakthrough film THE BIG BROADCAST was itself a precursor to more complex storytelling components being added beyond the film “platform.”
  • Tim Kring created Heroes and in 2010 launched a global ARG called Conspiracy for Good which was sponsored by Nokia. There were extensive live events that contained clues that could be retrieved via mobile augmented reality technologies, as well as many other events. The fictional elements, especially those about the evil corporation, were quite elaborate. There was a real-world charity in Africa that benefited from the activities as well.
  • COLLAPSUS was a documentary film on Dutch television that was expanded into a broader transmedia experience that integrated game-play, global mapping, animation and other elements. Directed by Tommy Palotta, who produced Waking Life and A Scanner Darkly. Won the best interactive film award at the SXSW festival in 2011.
  • Unspeak extends this idea even more by making short films that are outward manifestations of the world wide web. We are a web browser with 20 tabs open at once all playing video and hyperlinking the universe. The effect is hypnotic, we don't know what will happen next, we don't know why the images are related to the words and our brains search to make the connections. This is powerful propaganda. Think of it as propaganda about propaganda. We are now planning to make the clips available and a simple drag and drop editor. People may also upload their own videos and are encouraged to make their own unspeak transmissions. All of this is nice and egalitarian, but it doesn't really matter if we don't activate and empower the viewers. Our aim is to turn consumers into activists. To get people creatively invested is to truly interact. If they are spending the time creating, we know they are invested and spread the idea of Unspeak like a media virus. We give them the tools, inspiration, and encouragement.
  • Coming later in May 2011 is a slightly different type of platform game from Rockstar Games, creator of the ultraviolent GRAND THEFT AUTO series. The creators used extensive historical research and photo and film collections to create 1940s Los Angeles. Like a great film, the game creates a story-world. Technologies allow a much richer experience than games and CD-ROMs from 15 years before. Plus, they commissioned short stories, available as an e-book, from writers, including Joyce Carol Oates and Andrew Vachss.
  • Beckinfield is a new site that creates a story world, e.g., a mythical California town, and a storyline that comes from the site, but the unfolding of the story is created by users who upload videos to the site that they have made in characters. The originator is an actor who had been helping fellow actors upload “audition” type videos to YouTube, and yearned for a way to let actors use their improv skills to further their careers. The site’s platform company, Theatrix, hopes to license the software to other content companies who want to leverage their experience.
  • Nexus Humanus is a new project, just launched, from Michael Grant, a best-selling children’s book author, and a transmedia team which has created a web-based story world for his next story, which is focused on a mind-control organization.
  • Fourth Wall Studios has a first-look deal with Ron Howard’s and Brian Glazer’s Imagine Entertainment, which got a lot of attention in Hollywood. We should be looking for original work coming from these guys. Rumor has it that they will also release a toolset for other practitioners.The company’s website offers nothing but a home page for your review:
  • Another of the many recent developments on the Hollywood transmedia storytelling front is Mirada, from fantastical filmmaker Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth, HellBoy, etc.) As a recent New Yorker profile details, Del Toro has a fantastical vision of the world, perfect for storytelling without limits.
  • HUMAN PRESERVATION PROJECT Test subjects neededProject ICEFLY
  • HUMAN PRESERVATION PROJECT Test subjects neededProject ICEFLY
  • HUMAN PRESERVATION PROJECT Test subjects neededProject ICEFLY
  • HUMAN PRESERVATION PROJECT Test subjects neededProject ICEFLY
  • HUMAN PRESERVATION PROJECT Test subjects neededProject ICEFLY
  • HUMAN PRESERVATION PROJECT Test subjects neededProject ICEFLY
  • HUMAN PRESERVATION PROJECT Test subjects neededProject ICEFLY
  • HUMAN PRESERVATION PROJECT Test subjects neededProject ICEFLY
  • A review of the Brian Clark talk at Henry Jenkin’s transmedia class can be found at
  • The best single book on “immersive media” is The Art of Immersion by Frank Rose. He also posts on his blog which he calls “Deep Media,” another term that describes the transmedia universe well.
  • There are a large number of blogs and other sources about transmedia and related topics
  • There are a large number of blogs and other sources about transmedia and related topics
  • Upcoming conferences in transmedia-related fields include:
  • Nick DeMartino Consulting provides strategic services to companies in the digital media and content markets, including marketing initiatives, strategic alliance and partnerships, business development and more. Details available at
  • Nick DeMartino Consulting provides strategic services to companies in the digital media and content markets, including marketing initiatives, strategic alliance and partnerships, business development and more. Details available at
  • Nick DeMartino Consulting provides strategic services to companies in the digital media and content markets, including marketing initiatives, strategic alliance and partnerships, business development and more. Details available at
  • Transmedia4 dallas

    1. 1. DALLAS VIDEO FESTIVAL<br />September 25, 2011<br />
    2. 2. (c)Nick DeMartino Consulting<br />2<br />Transmedia<br />
    3. 3. (c)Nick DeMartino Consulting<br />3<br />WHY ME?<br /><ul><li> Movie Geek
    4. 4. Journalist
    5. 5. Filmmaker
    6. 6. Marketer
    7. 7. Strategist</li></li></ul><li>(c)Nick DeMartino Consulting<br />4<br />WHY ME?<br />20 years at AFI:<br /><ul><li> Computer Media Salons
    8. 8. Enhanced TV Workshop
    9. 9. Digital Content Lab
    10. 10. DigiFest</li></li></ul><li>(c)Nick DeMartino Consulting<br />WHY ME?<br />Nick DeMartino Consulting<br /> Digital media strategy:<br />Content, distribution, markets.<br />
    11. 11. WHY ME?<br />(c)Nick DeMartino Consulting<br />6<br /><br />
    12. 12. (c)Nick DeMartino Consulting<br />7<br />Transmedia<br />What is it? …<br />
    13. 13. (c)Nick DeMartino Consulting<br />8<br />Transmedia<br />Why Should You Care?<br />
    14. 14. DEFINITION<br />(c)Nick DeMartino Consulting<br />9<br />Transmedia<br /> is…<br />
    15. 15. DEFINITION<br />(c)Nick DeMartino Consulting<br />10<br />…an <br />adjective<br />
    16. 16. DEFINITION<br />(c)Nick DeMartino Consulting<br />11<br />Commercial transmediasupersystems<br />From “Playing with Power in Movies, Television <br />and Videogames” by Marcia Kinder (1991)<br />
    17. 17. DEFINITION…<br />(c)Nick DeMartino Consulting<br />12<br />Transmedia Storytelling: <br /><ul><li> Across multiple media
    18. 18. Each contributes to fan’s understanding of story
    19. 19. Multiple entry points into story</li></ul>Henry Jenkins: Transmedia Storytelling<br />
    20. 20. DEFINITION…<br />(c)Nick DeMartino Consulting<br />13<br /><ul><li> Immersion in story & its world
    21. 21. Game-like play
    22. 22. More than an adaptation</li></ul>Henry Jenkins: Transmedia Storytelling<br />
    23. 23. DEFINITION…<br />(c)Nick DeMartino Consulting<br />14<br />“The art of conveying messages themes or storylines to mass audiences through the artful and well planned use of multiple media platforms."<br />Jeff Gomez, Starlight Runner<br />
    24. 24. DEFINITION…<br />(c)Nick DeMartino Consulting<br />15<br />“A Transmedia Narrative project or franchise must consist of three (or more) narrative storylines existing within the same fictional universe on any of the following platforms:  Film, Television, Short Film, Broadband, Publishing, Comics, Animation, Mobile, Special Venues, DVD/Blu-ray/CD-ROM, Narrative Commercial and Marketing rollouts, and other technologies that may or may not currently exist...<br />
    25. 25. DEFINITION<br />(c)Nick DeMartino Consulting<br />16<br />…These narrative extensions are NOT the same as repurposing material from one platform to be cut or repurposed to different platforms.” <br />
    26. 26. DEFINITION<br />(c)Nick DeMartino Consulting<br />17<br />“Transmedia storytelling” is the label for when you’re creating a story as the primary storytellers and intending to tell your story across multiple channels.”<br /> <br />Brian Clark, GMD Studios<br />
    27. 27. DEFINITION<br />(c)Nick DeMartino Consulting<br />18<br />“Transmedia storytelling is the future of marketing. And those who can span across formats and share their expertise will stand out in an age of Digital Relativity.” <br />Steve Rubel, Edelman Digital<br />
    28. 28. (c)Nick DeMartino Consulting<br />19<br />EXAMPLE?<br />
    29. 29. (c)Nick DeMartino Consulting<br />20<br />EXAMPLE?<br />
    30. 30. (c)Nick DeMartino Consulting<br />21<br />EXAMPLE?<br />
    31. 31. YOU COULD SAY:<br />(c)Nick DeMartino Consulting<br />22<br />Franchise.<br />Multiplatform.<br />ARG.<br />Interactive.<br />Multimedia.<br />
    32. 32. PRECURSOR<br />(c)Nick DeMartino Consulting<br />23<br />1981: TAMARA. Interactive Theatre <br />
    33. 33. PRECURSOR<br />(c)Nick DeMartino Consulting<br />24<br />1990: Hyperland<br />BBC & Douglas Adams<br />
    34. 34. PRECURSOR<br />(c)Nick DeMartino Consulting<br />25<br />1992: MYST from Cyan & Broderbund<br />
    35. 35. PRECURSOR<br />(c)Nick DeMartino Consulting<br />26<br />1992: Bram Stoker’s DRACULA<br />Game based on Coppola’s Film<br />
    36. 36. PRECURSOR<br />(c)Nick DeMartino Consulting<br />27<br />1995: In the First Degree<br />Interactive CD-ROM from Broderbund<br />
    37. 37. PRECURSOR<br />(c)Nick DeMartino Consulting<br />28<br />1995: Johnny Mnemonic. CD-ROM from Sony Imagesoft<br />
    38. 38. PRECURSOR<br />(c)Nick DeMartino Consulting<br />29<br />2002: Push, Nevada: ABC & LivePlanet<br />Play along with the mystery to win $$<br />
    39. 39. PRECURSOR<br />(c)Nick DeMartino Consulting<br />30<br />2003: Battlestar Gallactica. AFI team: Schematic, Syfy, others <br />
    40. 40. DEFINITION<br />(c)Nick DeMartino Consulting<br />31<br />“STORYTELLING WITHOUT BOUNDS”<br />Filmmaker and Transmedia Producer Lance Weiler<br />
    41. 41. BREAKTHROUGHS<br />(c)Nick DeMartino Consulting<br />32<br />2006: LOST EXPERIENCE<br />ARG-plus from ABC & Hi-ReS<br />
    42. 42. BREAKTHROUGHS<br />(c)Nick DeMartino Consulting<br />33<br />2007: HEROES 360 (later Evolutions)<br />Digital extension from NBC & Jesse Alexander<br />
    43. 43. BREAKTHROUGHS<br />(c)Nick DeMartino Consulting<br />34<br />2007: The Truth About Marika<br />ARG from Company P.<br />
    44. 44. BREAKTHROUGHS<br />(c)Nick DeMartino Consulting<br />35<br />2008: WHY SO SERIOUS? <br />ARG from WB & 42 Entertainment<br />
    45. 45. BREAKTHROUGHS<br />(c)Nick DeMartino Consulting<br />36<br />2010: HEAD TRAUMA/Hope is Missing<br />Lance Weiler/ Seize the Media <br />
    46. 46. BREAKTHROUGHS<br />(c)Nick DeMartino Consulting<br />37<br />2010: CONSPIRACY FOR GOOD.<br />Tim Kring & Nokia<br />
    47. 47. BREAKTHROUGHS<br />(c)Nick DeMartino Consulting<br />38<br />2010: COLLAPSUS. From Submarine & VPRO<br />
    48. 48. BREAKTHROUGHS<br />UNSPEAK is a transmedia project focusing upon how language impacts issues. From Tommy Pallotta<br />(c)Nick DeMartino Consulting<br />39<br />
    49. 49. Now Playing<br />(c)Nick DeMartino Consulting<br />40<br />2011: Rockstar Games<br />Immersive décor, real photos, ebook<br />
    50. 50. Now Playing<br />41<br />2011: Beckinfield – User submitted videos tell the story of a town<br />
    51. 51. Now Playing<br />42<br />2011: Nexus Humanus from Michael Grant<br />
    52. 52. Coming Soon<br />(c)Nick DeMartino Consulting<br />43<br />Fourth Wall Studios - first-look deal with Imagine Entertainment<br />
    53. 53. Coming Soon<br />(c)Nick DeMartino Consulting<br />44<br />New transmedia studio from Guillermo del Toro<br />
    54. 54. Test Subjects Needed<br />(c)Nick DeMartino Consulting<br />45<br />42 ENTERTAINMENT has created HUMAN PRESERVATION PROJECT, <br />an ARG backed by Wrigley Gum <br />
    55. 55. Complex & immersive<br />(c)Nick DeMartino Consulting<br />46<br />Online rumors>Live events>Phone Calls>YouTube videos>Website A >Backstory/Themes Revealed >Register>Objects with QR code mailed>Website B>Back Story Videos>Gameplay & Levels>Codes from Gum>Facebook>Secrets… ???<br />
    56. 56. Rumors<br />(c)Nick DeMartino Consulting<br />47<br />
    57. 57. Events <br />(c)Nick DeMartino Consulting<br />48<br />
    58. 58. Events <br />(c)Nick DeMartino Consulting<br />49<br />
    59. 59. Object<br />(c)Nick DeMartino Consulting<br />50<br />
    60. 60. Website<br />(c)Nick DeMartino Consulting<br />51<br />
    61. 61. Facebook site<br />(c)Nick DeMartino Consulting<br />52<br />
    62. 62. Indie Models for TM<br /><ul><li> No-budget aesthetic
    63. 63. Grass-roots / DIY / “some budget”
    64. 64. R&D
    65. 65. Fan Incubation
    66. 66. Fan Funded (think pre-sale)
    67. 67. Arbitrage plays
    68. 68. Audience Product
    69. 69. Infrastructure Play</li></ul>(c)Nick DeMartino Consulting<br />53<br />
    70. 70. RESOURCES<br />(c)Nick DeMartino Consulting<br />54<br />
    71. 71. RESOURCES<br />(c)Nick DeMartino Consulting<br />55<br />
    72. 72. RESOURCES<br />(c)Nick DeMartino Consulting<br />56<br /><ul><li>
    73. 73.
    74. 74.
    75. 75.</li></li></ul><li>RESOURCES<br />(c)Nick DeMartino Consulting<br />57<br /><ul><li>
    76. 76.
    77. 77.
    78. 78.</li></li></ul><li>RESOURCES<br />(c)Nick DeMartino Consulting<br />58<br />Coming Soon:<br /><ul><li> Story World Conference
    79. 79. DIY Days Los Angeles
    80. 80. Futures of Entertainment (MIT)</li></li></ul><li>Nick DeMartino<br />Twitter: nickdemartino<br /><br />
    81. 81. (213) 804-2136<br /><br /><br />
    82. 82. Thank you for your attention.<br />Let me know how I can help.<br />