Creative Possibilities for Cross-Platform Documentaries

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This presentation for Reboot: The Documentary Organization of Canada web conference: http://docorg.ca/en/presenters-and-mentors.

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  • Thank you Kathy! I'm really glad my presentation was both informative and inspiring. :))
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  • Christy Dena you are very very cool! Your slide show presentation; that I was introduced to through the DOC Reboot series, is so wonderfully intelligent, well illustrated,succinct and generous in its information. I was getting annoyed with all this cross platform/transmedia 'stuff'. Your presentation inspired me! I sincerely thank-you, Kathy


    <b>[Comment posted from</b> http://docspace.ca/reboot/Reboot_6_Christy_Dena_slideshow]
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  • Online documentary on the impact of the Canadian economic crisis – how can you resuse short pieces from your long-form documentary to create a website &amp; extend it? How can you adapt your online documentary into a long-form piece that includes people’s responses? Could the experience of the online documentary be the long-form documentary spine?
  • Creative Possibilities for Cross-Platform Documentaries

    1. 1. presents With the support of
    2. 2. Creative Possibilities for Cross-Platform Documentaries A special presentation by Christy Dena (Universe Creation 101) for Reboot: The Documentary Organization of Canada web conference 16-19th Feb 2010
    3. 3. <ul><li>So you HAVE to use more than one media platform now for documentaries? </li></ul>
    4. 4. <ul><li>… Don’t worry…it can actually a good thing…in many ways… </li></ul>
    5. 5. <ul><li>… but first, what does a ‘media platform’ mean anyway?... </li></ul>
    6. 6. <ul><li>… It means pretty much anything… </li></ul>
    7. 8. <ul><li>… but in most cases it means including the Web in some way… </li></ul>
    8. 9. <ul><li>… the Web is crucial…every film, every book, every TV series, radio series, DVD, CD, game, anything needs to have a website these days… </li></ul>
    9. 10. <ul><li>Why? The Web is pretty much a global glue that links everything together…if someone wants to find out about your project, they search the Web…if someone is going to find out your project, it is most likely going to happen through word of mouth… </li></ul><ul><li>actually, word of mouse … </li></ul>
    10. 11. <ul><li>But what do you put on that website? Screening info, credits, sales…those are the usual details…but they are not enough anymore… </li></ul>
    11. 12. Timothy deWaal Malefyt, Vice President/Director of Cultural Discoveries, BBDO Advertising Worldwide “ Reason is Out, Emotion is In”
    12. 13. <ul><li>… people want to be engaged, details don’t do that… </li></ul>
    13. 14. <ul><li>… the point is, the web is a creative platform as well as a delivery platform… </li></ul>
    14. 15. <ul><li>… I mean, you’ve most likely seen online documentaries…like ‘Long Journeys, Young Lives’ about young refugees… </li></ul>
    15. 16. http://www.abc.net.au/longjourney/ Long Journey, Young Lives
    16. 17. <ul><li>… and your own ‘GDP’…an online documentary on the impact of the Canadian economic crisis… </li></ul>
    17. 18. http://gdp.nfb.ca/
    18. 19. <ul><li>… But how can these online websites work with other media?... </li></ul>
    19. 20. <ul><li>… This is something cross-platform producers are asking…people like Laura Michalchysyn, the President and General Manager of Planet Green, Discovery Communications… </li></ul>
    20. 21. <ul><li>“ How does this story tell across channels? </li></ul><ul><li>How does talent play a part channel by channel? </li></ul><ul><li>What specifically is the digital extension, and how does it work? </li></ul><ul><li>What kind of relationships do you bring that we can harness? </li></ul><ul><li>What is the community play? How do we enroll the people?” </li></ul><ul><li>Laura Michalchysyn, </li></ul><ul><li>President and General Manager, </li></ul><ul><li>Planet Green, Discovery Communications </li></ul><ul><li>(prev Sundance Channel) </li></ul><ul><li>MediaPost, April, 2009 </li></ul>
    21. 22. <ul><li>… So let’s go back to GDP… </li></ul>
    22. 23. http://gdp.nfb.ca/
    23. 24. <ul><li>… Think about how you can reuse short pieces from your long-form documentary to create an online interactive version?... </li></ul>
    24. 25. <ul><li>… Or think about how you can adapt your online documentary into a long-form film? Perhaps it is a film that includes people’s website contributions?... </li></ul>
    25. 26. <ul><li>… Perhaps the experience of the online documentary can be the subject (the narrative spine) of long-form documentary?... </li></ul>
    26. 27. <ul><li>… Perhaps you could create a documentary and leverage the audience interest for social activism?... </li></ul>
    27. 28. <ul><li>… For instance, Irena Salina's documentary ‘Flow’ investigates the World Water Crisis. But she has now created another website as “an online network designed to strengthen the global water activist community, to challenge the privatization of water, and to promote solidarity and water justice for all”… </li></ul>
    28. 29. http://www.freeflo.org/ http://flowthefilm.com/
    29. 30. <ul><li>… or maybe it isn’t necessarily direct activism you’re after, but education…like this online game that was created by the ABC to be played alongside a radio series on water catchments… </li></ul>
    30. 31. http://www.abc.net.au/science/catchmentdetox/ “ Play Catchment Detox to see if you successfully manage a river catchment and create a sustainable and thriving economy.” Catchment Detox
    31. 32. <ul><li>… or perhaps the engagement or participation you’re after is both on- and behind-the-screen?… </li></ul>
    32. 33. <ul><li>… like ‘Us Mob’ – an Indigenous children's interactive web and film series. The short episodes were screened on ABC Television and the online episodes have multiple endings… </li></ul>
    33. 34. <ul><li>… But importantly, the Indigenous community were involved at all stages of production, and workshops were held so that Australian youth could create their own short documentaries. The short episodes were mainly improvised on location and were vetted by the community… </li></ul>
    34. 35. http://www.usmob.com.au/
    35. 36. <ul><li>… and what about all the community elements that Rolf De Heer created for his feature ’10 Canoes’?... </li></ul>
    36. 37. 10 Canoes / feature film “ Many, many canoes”: 11 Canoes / Mini-Documentaries Training 12 Canoes / Broadband Website 13 Canoes / Gallery Exhibition 14 Canoes / Photo Publishing Project 15 Canoes / Music Preservation Project 16 Canoes / Closed-Circuit Television Station 17 Canoes / Cultural Exchange Program 18 Canoes / Making Of Documentary Rolf De Heer: http://www.vertigoproductions.com.au/10canoes.htm http://www.tencanoes.com.au/
    37. 38. <ul><li>… not only are all the elements thematically linked to the goal of the film, but the naming of all the elements as # Canoes is clever…it overtly combines the elements as aspects of the whole… </li></ul>
    38. 39. <ul><li>… but sometimes creating all this unique content can seem a bit too much… </li></ul>
    39. 40. <ul><li>… so you can, with digital technology, reuse your assets in interesting ways… </li></ul>
    40. 41. “ In a nearby future we can assume that media will move freely across different technological platforms, across different media formats and across different networks. Media will in this sense appear more as a liquid than solids.” Mikael Wiberg, 2007, 63 “ Fluids travel easily. They ‘flow’, ‘spill’, ‘run out’, ‘splash’, ‘pour over’, ‘leak’, ‘flood’, ‘spray’, ‘drip’, ‘seep’, ‘ooze’; unlike solids they are not easily stopped—they pass around some obstacles, dissolve some others and bore or soak their ways through others still.” Zygmunt Bauman, 2000, 1-2
    41. 42. <ul><li>… now on the one hand that means repurposing your entire content (or parts of it) in different media platforms… </li></ul>
    42. 43. Ruddy Morgan’s Flatland
    43. 44. <ul><li>… this repurposing is important because each media platform has its own affordances and revenue streams…which means that people want to access content on the media platform they choose…which also means also a range of possible revenue streams (you can’t rely on one)… </li></ul>
    44. 45. <ul><li>… but what about creative reuses of assets and nifty collaborations?.. . </li></ul>
    45. 46. <ul><li>… such as Jeremiah Zagar’s feature documentary ‘In A Dream’… </li></ul>
    46. 47. www.InADreamMovie.com
    47. 48. <ul><li>… a short film, ‘Paints on Ceiling’ was made out of the film, and a deal was struck with the musicians in the soundtrack, where the filmmaker created the video for a track… </li></ul>
    48. 50. <ul><li>… or, another example of lateral thinking is the story of ‘Brothers in Arms’…it is a digital game that had stacks of short sequences created – all historically accurate…These assets were used to create a documentary series on the History Channel… </li></ul>
    49. 51. “ Taking something like Brothers in Arms and making it into a historically accurate documentary, is awesome. We made two hour and a half shows in three and a half months, with gameplay and cinematics together. We took these games and made them into a property in line with the main message.” Gregg Backer, President Foglight Entertainment, Hollywood and Games Summit [ G ]
    50. 52. <ul><li>… but then there can be other types of extensions that don’t necessary reuse assets, but instead use ideas that weren’t able to fit in the main documentary… </li></ul>
    51. 53. <ul><li>… an example is the ‘Beethoven’s Hair’ online experience, a site that augments the feature documentary (which is actually an adaptation of a book)… </li></ul>
    52. 54. http://www.beethovenshair.ca/haunting/
    53. 55. <ul><li>… The web experience, ‘The Haunting’, is an emotional journey in which the player, the user of the website, delves into an abstract representation of Beethoven’s childhood trauma… </li></ul>
    54. 56. <ul><li>… The documentary was written by Thomas Wallner, who worked on the website experience through his company Xenophile Media. This is important... </li></ul>
    55. 57. <ul><li>… Have the same people working closely on the different components in some way. Don’t just commission someone else to do an interactive version of your documentary. Work with them closely. Collaborate … </li></ul>
    56. 58. <ul><li>… But there are also other ways you can engage your audience to experience more directly the messages of your documentary… </li></ul>
    57. 59. <ul><li>… consider the documentary written & directed by Nonny de la Peña: ‘Unconstitutional’… </li></ul>
    58. 60. <ul><li>… in that documentary, Nonny featured readings of letters by people in Guantanamo Bay…and now some of those excerpts are in a virtual installation of Guantanomo Bay in the online virtual world Second Life… </li></ul>
    59. 61. Gone Gitmo “ With USC Interactive Media adjunct professor Peggy Weil, Nonny De al Peña created a virtual Guantánamo Bay Prison, called Gone Gitmo . Here, users can experience first-hand - through their personal avatar-what it might feel like to don the orange jumpsuit and have your rights indefinitely suspended. Using writings and testimonials of actual detainees to shape the virtual world, the project aims at new means of connecting viewers to the issues.” International Documentary Association’s Documentary Magazine
    60. 62. <ul><li>… people can also engage with issues directly, being the documentary…if you like…themselves… </li></ul>
    61. 63. <ul><li>… for instance, the alternate reality game World Without Oil had people acting out how they would live if oil had run out… </li></ul>
    62. 64. http://www.worldwithoutoil.org/
    63. 65. <ul><li>… ah yes, what if you used the actual world as a platform?... </li></ul>
    64. 66. <ul><li>… consider the ‘pervasive experiences’ that have been developed for education and social issues… </li></ul>
    65. 67. <ul><li>… such as the augmented reality experience that had students walk around the Battle of Lexington site with portable devices that, when they were at a certain spot, triggered challenges for them to figure out the historical mystery… </li></ul>
    66. 68. Reliving the Revolution <ul><li>(Karen Schrier, MIT, 2006) </li></ul>“ To play the game, participants try to figure out who fired the first shot at the Battle of Lexington—a mystery that still remains today.”
    67. 69. <ul><li>… think about it…is your documentary set in an actual location that people can go to and experience through mobile technologies while they are there?... </li></ul>
    68. 70. <ul><li>… there are many ‘virtual tours’ that are created to augment actual places… </li></ul>
    69. 71. REXplorer <ul><li>“ REXplorer is a mobile, &quot;pervasive&quot;, and persuasive game service that helps tourists and visitors to explore the history of the UNESCO world heritage city of Regensburg, Germany, and magically interact with the city's monuments instead of just seeing them ” </li></ul>Rafael “Tico” Ballagas and Steffen P. Walz http://www.rexplorer.de/
    70. 72. <ul><li>… perhaps you want people to really think about the location they are in and how it relates to other times and spaces… </li></ul>
    71. 73. <ul><li>… such as the ‘dislocative tourism agency’ project that has people engage with a tour of New York that is juxtaposed with Baghdad…with audio messages from Baghdad at the New York location… </li></ul>
    72. 74. You Are Not Here <ul><li>‘ dislocative tourism agency’ </li></ul>http://www.youarenothere.org/ (Mushon Zer-Aviv, Dan Phiffer, Kati London, Thomas Duc, Ran Tao, Charles Joseph, 2006 ) Photo by Aaron Straup Cope
    73. 75. <ul><li>… there are technologies now that enable you to create information overlays of the actual world through mobile devices… </li></ul>
    74. 76. augmented reality history tour
    75. 77. <ul><li>… so much can be done online and offline to expand the reach and depth of your documentary… </li></ul>
    76. 78. <ul><li>… Crikey! I’ve only touched on some possibilities here… </li></ul>
    77. 79. <ul><li>… but to finish I’ll add some recommendations… </li></ul>
    78. 80. <ul><li>… design your cross-platform approach according to the messages of your documentary… </li></ul>
    79. 81. <ul><li>… what do you want people to think or feel or know or do ?...The answer to this question informs your decision about what you will do on another media platform… </li></ul>
    80. 82. <ul><li>… and think about who you want to reach: what is their age, media literacy (what media are they familiar with), understanding of the documentary themes, their location (global, local?)…this informs what you do too… </li></ul>
    81. 83. <ul><li>… and if you are working with collaborators, choose people who share your passion and thematic interests... </li></ul>
    82. 84. <ul><li>… and design the project elements to work together…connect the dots, put in URLs and calls-to-action between the elements…don’t let them exist in isolation…plan to have your audience engage with the whole experience… </li></ul>
    83. 85. <ul><li>...finally, create what you personally find interesting and engaging… </li></ul>
    84. 86. <ul><li>… these points may sound simple, but they make a big difference in the quality of your cross-platform output… </li></ul>
    85. 87. <ul><li>… in the end, I look forward to seeing what you do…so let me know…  </li></ul>
    86. 88. <ul><li>… Thank you for your time… </li></ul><ul><li>Universe Creation 101 </li></ul><ul><li>UniverseCreation101.com </li></ul><ul><li>Documentary Organisation of Canada http://docorg.ca/ </li></ul>

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