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Your Life Is A Transmedia Experience

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Your Life Is A Transmedia Experience

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“Transmedia” has become the new buzzword for multi-platform narratives, but in the digital age, transmedia isn’t just how we consume entertainment narratives, it’s how we experience the narrative of our lives.

“Transmedia” has become the new buzzword for multi-platform narratives, but in the digital age, transmedia isn’t just how we consume entertainment narratives, it’s how we experience the narrative of our lives.

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Your Life Is A Transmedia Experience

  1. A prior version of this presentation was created for a panel event at the FutureM conference in Boston on October 7th, YOUR 2010, featuring Jenka Gurfinkel, Marta Kagan, & Jan Libby. LIFE IS A TRANSMEDIA EXPERIENCE
  2. “Transmedia”?
  3. “ Transmedia is a fancy word for a simple concept: telling stories across multiple platforms.” —Tim Kring, creator, “Heroes”
  4. FOR EXAMPLE:
  5. Castle The ABC show, Castle, follows fictional mystery writer Richard Caste, and his unlikely partner and literary muse, NYPD detective, Kate Beckett, as they solve Manhattan murders. Castle’s novel, Heat Wave – named for its protagonist, NYPD detective Nikki Heat – was penned during the show’s first season, and released both as a plot point in the course of the show’s story arc…
  6. …And, simultaneously, as a real-life book published by Hyperion. The hardcover even made it onto the New York Times Bestseller list! The author? Richard Castle, of course. Naked Heat, the second installment in the Nikki Heat series, written during Castle’s summer in the Hamptons (aka the show’s second season hiatus), was released in September 2010. Photo: Fannish on Flickr
  7. When characters from the hit AMC show Mad Men, first appeared on Mad Twitter and began interacting with fans and one another, these unauthorized, fan-created profiles sparked major controversy with the network. But AMC quickly recognized the value in allowing its most iconic Men characters to live, breathe, and tweet, alongside the show’s fans. Now, character Twitter accounts are quickly becoming a natural standard for character-driven entertainment. Or here…
  8. True Blood The premise behind HBO’s True Blood is that the invention of a synthetic-blood drink has allowed vampires to “come out of the coffin,” and live openly among humans. To promote the series premiere, ads for the new Tru:Blood beverage brand began popping up in billboards and magazines all over the country, bringing a key part of show’s fantastical story into reality. Photo: iMalkah on Flickr
  9. During True Blood’s third season, the show’s Millennial vampire even started her own blog, babyvamp-jessica.com, where she posts text and video updates on the latest goings-on in her “life”, undead lifestyle advice, and the general meandering thoughts of your typical, newly immortal 17-year old girl.
  10. BUT IT’S NOT JUST HAPPENING IN ENTERTAINMENT….
  11. Burger King When Burger King revamped The King character as a sarcastic mischief-maker he became more than just a brand mascot. The King Halloween masks sold out the first year they were available. Some even ended up auctioned off on eBay for hundreds of dollars. The King has since appeared as a hand puppet, a Simpsons character – complete with four fingers, yellow skin, and an overbite – and even become an avatar in his own Xbox videogame. YouTube Videos created by and starring fans dressed as The King (masks, and all), engaged in the eternal battle with Ronald McDonald, have been viewed millions of times.
  12. Knorr To help tell the story of Knorr’s Sidekicks brand meal accompaniments, they created an adorable little character named Salty. This sadface saltshaker is constantly getting left out because Sidekicks are 25% reduced sodium. But while Salty can never catch a break, Knorr sure has. Salty’s fans on Facebook and Twitter have helped sell out 18,000 real-life Salty toys and used them to create their own videos and photo-shoots with Salty as the star. The melancholy saltshaker has helped Sidekicks sales go up 10%, and led Knorr to become the category leader.
  13. Old Spice What began as a Super Bowl ad featuring a hilariously suave caricature of, literally, The Man Your Man Could Smell Like, became a bona fide pop culture sensation. The campaign’s narrative evolved into 186 personalized, real-time video responses from the Old Spice Guy to his Twitter fans. He even made an impromptu appearance in the flesh at the San Diego Comic Con. By the end of the summer, Old Spice had become the all-time most-viewed sponsored channel on YouTube, and doubled their sales.
  14. SO, THAT’S COOL, AND ALL…
  15. BUT IS IT REALLY ALL THAT NEW?
  16. “ The marvels of communication technology in the present have produced a false consciousness about the past—even a sense that communication has no history, or had nothing of importance to consider before the days of television and the Internet.” - Robert Darnton, historian
  17. 17,000 YEARS AGO… Lascaux Cave in France's Dordogne River Valley contains arguably the world's most incredible array of Upper Paleolithic art. Prehistoric artists created some 600 depictions of bulls and other animals on the cave’s calcite walls, around 15,000 BC. The earliest known Egyptian Hieroglyphics would not appear until more than 12,000 years later. Some theories about Lascaux argue that the painting is a narrative, describing an event that took place in life or in a dream. Photo: National Geographic
  18. THE ORIGINAL MASS MEDIA… Most ancient cultures saw pictures in the stars of the night sky. The earliest known efforts to catalogue the stars date back roughly 6,000 years. By the 5th century B.C., most of the constellations had come to be associated with myths. To the Ancient Greeks, the constellations were characters from their mythology, placed among the stars as a reward from the gods.
  19. THE And involved every medium we’ve had available. WEATHER CHANNEL Likewise, the Ancient Greeks heard thunder and believed it to be Zeus’s thunderbolt. They might not have had TV, or the Internet, but they had weather, an incredibly effective and dynamic medium for spinning stories. (Weather forecasters are still doing it today).
  20. ANYTHING CAN BE A MEDIUM In 1996, the Bongo Java coffee-house in Nashville, Tennessee became world famous for the “Nun Bun,” a cinnamon pastry discovered there, bearing an uncanny resemblance to Mother Teresa.
  21. Indeed, starch-based media are a recurring favorite. A recent episode of the Fox show, Glee, centered around a character cooking up a prayer-fulfilling “Grilled Cheesus” sandwich on his George Foreman Grill.
  22. THE GREATEST TRANSMEDIA SHOW ON EARTH Religion is arguably the most successful transmedia narrative there is, with books, weekly interactive events, annual theatrical spectacles, superhero characters, jewelry, movies, and much more. There’s even an afterlife!
  23. OUR BRAINS ARE WIRED FOR NARRATIVE CONSTRUCTION When it comes to the way we appreciate narratives, our brains don’t segregate media..
  24. AND OUR LIVES ARE FILLED WITH STORIES THAT TRAVEL ACROSS MEDIA *
  25. AND OUR LIVES ARE FILLED WITH STORIES THAT TRAVEL ACROSS MEDIA * (WHETHER * THEY ARE DELIBERATELY DESIGNED TO, OR NOT).
  26. This was the myspace.com homepage on October 1st, 2010, the day The Social Network came out.
  27. That week, Vanity Fair posted an annotated guide to every real-life Harvard Crimson student newspaper article mentioned in the movie….
  28. These articles can still be found on the Harvard Crimson website. They not only document key events in Mark Zuckerberg’s brief but eventful college career, they also serve as instrumental devices in the film’s plotline, as well as that of The Accidental Billionaires, the book on which the movie is based.
  29. And then there is the actual creation at the heart of The Social Network, a website which more than 500 million of us personally interact with; which now accounts for one out of every four pageviews in the U.S. — that’s 10% of all Internet visits. Photo: Tully Wully Chully Mully on Flickr
  30. The creation myth of Facebook may have become a transmedia story, but so, too, is what we create with it every day.
  31. Photo: etchasketchist on Flickr “ We want to present ourselves to other people the way we would like to have [them] perceive us.” - Robert Scoble, tech blogger
  32. “ It’s kind of a hyper- real version of yourself.” —Trent Reznor, rocker
  33. WITH EVERY PHOTO UPLOAD….
  34. STATUS UPDATE… Photo: JayB.Stevens2010 on Flickr
  35. CHECK-IN… Photo: DinanM3atl on Flickr
  36. AND “LIKE” Photo: emerille on Flickr
  37. TRANSMEDIA ISN’T JUST HOW WE EXPERIENCE ENTERTAINMENT…
  38. OR BRAND NARRATIVES…
  39. IT’S HOW WE EXPERIENCE THE STORY OF OUR LIVES. Photo: emerille on Flickr
  40. Social-Creature is the brainchild of Jenka Gurfinkel, a writer, former music festival producer, and retired circus manager – now a digital and transmedia strategist. jenka@social-creature.com

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