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BEST IN CLASS TRANSMEDIA SHOWCASE: Down the Rabbit Hole with Lance Weiler.


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WIRED magazine named him “One of 25 people helping to re-invent entertainment and change the face of Hollywood.” Recognized as a pioneer because of the way he makes and distributes his work – critically acclaimed Transmedia director/writer Lance Weiler showcases “PANDEMIC” a storyworld experience consisting of film, mobile, online, social gaming and data visualization combined to tell the story of a strange pandemic outbreak. The project debuted in January at the Sundance Film Festival as an official selection within the New Frontier section. Lance shares the design, an overview of how the project was produced, and shows how he’s using Pandemic as a Story R&D effort towards the creation of a rich storyworld and related film property, entitled HiM.

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BEST IN CLASS TRANSMEDIA SHOWCASE: Down the Rabbit Hole with Lance Weiler.

  1. 1. WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING “The most experimental story told at this year’s Sundance Film Festival in Park City wasn’t just on a movie screen… What it all amounts to is something distinctly new.” - GIZMODO “The experience was exhilarating, creating the feeling that we were in the middle of an action thriller where we were the protagonists.” - TURNSTYLE NEWS“Leveraging emerging platforms, the project takes the ideasof interactivity to the next level.” - HUFFINGTON POST @lanceweiler
  2. 2. An official selection of the Sundance Film Festival, PANDEMIC 1.0 was an immersivestorytelling experience designed for 40,000 festival attendees as well as a global audience. @lanceweiler
  3. 3. Crafted as a Story R&D experience, PANDEMIC 1.0 mixed social entertainment with research anddevelopment. The goal - to enhance the story world, test new business models and study socialinteractions. Medic Mobile and FreedomLab worked with us to model various game play interactions inhopes of gaining insights into how items spread in social environments. @lanceweiler
  4. 4. Participants online and those at the Sundance Film Festival worked together to stop the spread ofa fictional pandemic outbreak over the course of 120 hours. @lanceweiler
  5. 5. PANDEMIC 1.0 had numerous access points across film, mobile, online and the real world. At itscore was the story of a strange sleep virus that infects adults and leaves the youth struggling tomake sense of the world around them. @lanceweiler
  6. 6. At the center of the PANDEMIC experience was a short film. The short tells the story of a young boy andhis sister as they struggle to come to terms with the fact that their mother has fallen ill. The shortpremiered at the festival, on TV, via mobile and online outlets. It screened in the US Shorts section, oneof 44 films out of over 6,000 entries. Later this year and into 2012 a series shorts will be shot in London,Berlin, Paris, Barcelona and Rome which expand the story world of PANDEMIC. @lanceweiler
  7. 7. Online players remixed digital assets in order to unlock the locations of objects hidden throughout Sundance.Fifty GOLDEN OBJECTS and fifty BOTTLES OF WATER were unlocked by online play. Once an object wasunlocked online players worked with festival-goers on the ground at Sundance to find and return the items toMISSION CONTROL. @lanceweiler
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MISSION CONTROL was a physical space designed to give the sense of a Center for Disease Control(CDC). It provided an overview of all the game play. All of its data visualizations were powered byparticipants game play. Real world and online actions impacted the pacing of the story world and alsounlocked hidden elements within the game. @lanceweiler
  9. 9. Fifty NFC (near field communication) enabled Nexus S phones were circulated throughout the festival.Distributed in biohazard bags along with hand cranks to keep them charged - the phones were randomlypassed from one festival-goer to the next. When activated the phones presented a series of moralityquestions. Based on the userʼs response a simple task was presented – “shoot a photo with your eyesclosed.” Thousands of photos were taken over the 120 hours. @lanceweiler
  10. 10. When the phones made their way back to MISSION CONTROL, users could set them on the MicrosoftSurface table located in the center of the room. As the phone rested on the Surface all the media thathad been shot with the phone would become accessible. @lanceweiler
  11. 11. Hidden objects brought to MISSION CONTROL that touched the Mircosoft Surface table were ablemanipulate the walls of the room and impact the spread of the pandemic. For instance all the hiddenobjects had health properties that when found and touched to the Surface table would combat thepandemic and reduce the number of people infected. @lanceweiler
  12. 12. A special room was created as a memorial to those who contracted the virus. Players discovered that eachperson is related to a GOLDEN OBJECT. The objects hold stories and memories that show how the peoplein the room know each other and provided insight into how the virus has spread socially. @lanceweiler
  13. 13. Over 600 NFC tags are utilized making it the largest deployment at a public event to date. When scannedwith an NFC compatible device story elements are unlocked. For instance, holding a phone up to a“closed eye” portrait results in the “person” opening their eyes on the phone. This action symbolizes aconnection and unlocks a story about the person. @lanceweiler
  14. 14. All fifty GOLDEN OBJECTS hold a story that provides insight into the victims of the pandemic. The level ofengagement between those online and those at the festival was amazing. During the course of the 120hour experience each phone passes on average at least twenty times per day. At points throughout the dayphone numbers of the fifty phones are released. This resulted in calls which connected those online withrandom strangers at the festival. Together they would work to get items to MISSION CONTROL. @lanceweiler
  15. 15. Based on a theme within the story world related to memories and material possessions four specialBEARS were created. The BEARS moved throughout the festival. Each one is a connected toy with acamera in the stomach, an mp3 player in the arm and a slide viewer for an eye. The BEARS are alsodockable and can easily connect to a laptop or desktop. @lanceweiler
  16. 16. As the 120 hour experience moves into the last day, the narrative of the story leads online and offlineplayers to a secret location at Sundance. In a seamless flow the narrative thread of the previous playmelds with a special secret show with world renowned DJ - Kid Koala. @lanceweiler
  17. 17. The show with Kid Koala is streamed live for all the players of the game and the 120 hour experiencecomes to a close. Within the narrative of the story online players and those playing at the festival lead 33of the phones that had been in the wild for 5 days back to us. @lanceweiler
  18. 18. PANDEMIC 2.0 will be heading to Europe later this year as the story world continues to expand alongwith its player base. @lanceweiler
  19. 19. THE TEAM Story Architect / Experience Designer
 Integrated Marketing & PR HOPE IS MISSING bookLance Weiler Fleishman-Hillard Creative Director
Data Visualizations
 Digital Strategy and Research
 Lance WeilerKinetic Fin
 Freedomlab Future StudiesJeff Clark Designed by
 Mobile app / surface design and UX
 Laura Mazzeo & Janine SaundersCreative Technologist 
 VectorformMark Harris Produced and Casted by
 NFC chips provided by
 Janine SaundersProducer
 NXPZeke Zelker Production Manager
 Water bottles by
 Tim FarrellCommunity Engagement ARTWATERJanine Saunders Grime (art)
 Portrait Photographer
 Bradley Farrell (design) Lorenzo de GuiaCreative ProducerNick Childs Nexus S phones provided by
 Artifact Photographer
 Google Eniko SzucsSocial Transmedia Platform
Monteur & NetVentures Surface Unit provided by
 Microsoft Nick Childs, Tim Farrell, Microsite
 Jason Hood, Brent Cole, Bastiaan Grutters (development)
 Unit Photography
 Daniela Croci, Jenny NasalDim Rooker (design) Elaine Zelker & Mike Hedge Special Thanks
Transmedia Unit
 Additional Production Support
 Faith Weiler
The Sabi Company
 Jennifer Nasal Josh Cramer
Zak Forsman
 House of TrimKevin Shah
 Twitter Story Editor
Gary King Chuck WendigComic Panels by Twitter / Short Fiction Dean Haspiel, Tim Hamilton Chuck Wendig, Andrea Phillips Project developed atGeorge OʼConner, Rick Parker Jesse Scoble, Will Hinmarch, The Sundance Institute Stephan Blackmore @lanceweiler