Category: Transmedia

Transmedia will revolutionize storytelling as much as the printing press, says expert

If you’re a moviemaker whose primary focus is creating the best movie you can imagine, the current movie industry has some bad news for you: That’s not enough anymore. Speaking at this year’s Cross-Media Forum in the United Kingdom, Sean Stewart – whose Fourth Wall Studios has worked on creating interactive marketing for movies such as The Dark Knight Rises and AI: Artificial Intelligence – said that what is needed now are more filmmakers who want to create the best worlds they can imagine.

The reason for the increased focus on creating immersive experiences that go beyond just the cinema screen, Stewart says, comes as a result of the increased spending studios are forced to make in order to create the next big blockbuster of the year. “Back in 2001 when I went to the studios to pitch, it was very different,” he told the Hollywood Reporter following his keynote address. “But when you are spending $30 million, $50 million or $200 million on movie budgets, you have to be really concerned about how to make that money back.”

Read more at digitaltrends.

Transmedia Theater Projects Tell The Stories Of Shakespeare’s Tempest And Kafka’s The Trial


Immersive theatre is one of those buzz-phrases that conjures up labored audience participation when done wrong. But when done right, like the immersive exploits of theatre company Punchdrunk, it can be an invigorating and refreshingly intense experience. Felix Mortimer is a former member of Punchdrunk who has gone on to found RETZ with Simon Ryninks, and earlier this year the company performed an experimental version of Shakespeare’s The Tempest called O Brave New World, which took place over six months and across the physical and online worlds.

Read the complete article at The Creators Project.

Watching The Olympics on TV Is Still About Collective Participation

Image source: Washington Post

By Eduardo Navas

Note: This text appeared previously on Huffington post.  Since its original publication on August 8, 2012, NBC decided to at least make available live streaming of the closing ceremonies. Other than this, much of what is observed in the following commentary remains relevant.

Viewers well versed in media expect delivery-on-demand for major events. This has created a peculiar tension when viewing prime-time Olympic coverage consisting of competitions that previously took place throughout the day, but which were not broadcasted live on TV. After the first week of events, it appears that audiences are tuning-in to NBC’s evening broadcast in larger numbers than previous Olympics, and this has become the network’s main justification for holding out on selected events until prime-time.

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The Problem with Olympic Spoilers is Selection

Image source: E News

By Eduardo Navas

Posted on August 1, 2012 on The Huffington Post

Social media spoilers are inevitable when the broadcasting network decides to block-out selected events and save them for primetime. This became evident to me as I experienced the Olympics during the first three days.

It began on Friday when I settled to watch the opening ceremony. At this time I briefly considered the fact that the broadcast was not live on the East Coast of the United States, where I live. I also realized that people on the West Coast would see the opening extravaganza three hours after me.

I said to myself that it did not matter because viewing a delayed broadcast of an opening event, sure to be considered historic, would not change my viewing experience. Such a situation is equivalent to one’s willingness to watch a television series knowing that it is a recorded production.

Things were different when I selectively viewed the first events on Saturday live on Bravo, CNBC, MSNBC, and NBC Sports. The multiple broadcasts were also complemented with apps for mobile media, well supported with the website.

Throughout the day I checked twitter and Facebook for updates and comments. I soon learned that Michael Phelps took fourth place in the Men’s 400m Individual Medley, while Ryan Lochte took first, winning the gold. However, I was not able to experience the historic moment until primetime on NBC. At this point I was more interested in knowing how it happened, and was no longer invested in the event as I would have, had it been live.

The same thing happened again on Sunday when Lochte and Phelps participated in the men’s 4×100-meter freestyle relay only to come second to France. Again, I learned about this in the late afternoon, but I waited to view it during primetime on NBC.

The decision by NBC to select certain events, from earlier in the day, and broadcast them during primetime began to be discussed as soon as Saturday, and by Sunday, stories were written on different online publications. Entertainment Weekly, in particular, ran two extensive stories. NBC apparently made its decision in order to attain higher ratings during its primetime broadcast. Understandably some people are quite unhappy about NBC’s decision, which is why, as I write this, the hash tag #nbcfail is still going strong with rants.

After viewing the events on Sunday night, however, I don’t think that the problem for NBC is that selected events are shown well after they take place. The problem, in my view, is that NBC appears to be selecting the wrong events for delayed broadcast at night.

To be specific, both on Saturday and Sunday during primetime, NBC went back and forth between gymnastics and swimming. When swimming came on, I could not help but think that I was about to see something which had already taken place. But with gymnastics, I did not mind the delayed broadcast at all. Why, I thought? I came to the conclusion that it has to do with the type of sport.

Swimming is an action sport, which deals with extreme physical performance dependent on time. It is defined by exciting moments such as when your favorite athlete does not even take third place. Add to this the possibility of breaking a world record, and you are sure to have a nail-biting experience as a viewer. Such thrill is unlikely to happen with a delayed broadcast of a major swimming competition such as Lochte’s and Phelps’ once it has been spoiled earlier in the day due to social media and online news sources.

Gymnastics, on the other hand, is a sport about physical strength, precision and gracefulness. Add to this the fact that it depends on points given by judges who, in large part, rely on aesthetics, and we have a dynamic that is closer to viewing a theatrical performance, and not so different from viewing the opening ceremony. Gymnastics is one of my favorite categories in the Olympics, and I don’t think I have ever experienced them live.

NBC’s situation actually makes apparent the fact that major networks need to better understand how to create a worthwhile experience for viewers who are likely to know already much about sporting events that took place early in the day (in this case the Olympics) which they decide to deliver during primetime.

If a network decides to hold out on a sport defined by its physical excitement, such as swimming, then an effort should be made in creating a viewing experience about how and why something happened and not “what will happen.” This approach would then make the juxtaposition of swimming and gymnastics a better fit given their differences as I explained. With this more realistic approach Bob Costas will not have to say “no spoilers” as he introduces the taped segment of Lochte winning gold while Phelps takes none, hoping that the viewers will have a thrilling experience. I did not.

Into the Matrix: the future of augmented reality (and you)

The growth of augmented reality (AR) will almost certainly change the way we visually experience the everyday world. And, as discussed previously on The Conversation, it’s likely to be Google’s Project Glass leading the way on this new frontier.

But other technologies on the horizon will profoundly alter our interactions with computational technologies. More important than the eye-candy value of AR will be the applications for those who are physically or economically disadvantaged.

Read the complete commentary at The Conversation

4 Inspiring Examples of Digital Storytelling

Layla Revis is vice president of digital influence at Ogilvy PR Worldwide. Her specialties include international affairs, tourism and multicultural marketing.

In 2011, Sundance Film Festival created The New Frontier Story Lab, an initiative created to foster the development of a new style of media production. As media began to depart from traditional, linear films intended for a passive audience, the launch represented an innovative new era in entertainment.

At the intersection of films, games and the Internet, today’s creators are using multiple platforms, where the audience can actively reshape the stories themselves.

1. Bear 71

Blurring the line between the wired world and the wild world, the National Film Board of Canada’s Bear 71 is a multi-user interactive social narrative that observes and records the intersection of humans, nature and technology.

Launched with a live, interactive art installation at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival New Frontier Program, the storyworld of Bear 71 is a fully immersive, multi-platform experience. Participants explore and engage with the world of a female grizzly bear via animal role play, augmented reality, webcams, geolocation tracking, motion sensors, a microsite, social media channels and a real bear trap in Park City. This project is the most recent example of how the NFB is changing the face of cinema.

Read the complete article at Mashable.

Pee-powered fun hits bar toilets

A BAR has installed a state-of-the-art video game in the toilets — controlled by URINE.

Drinkers can enjoy a spot of simulated skiing or extinguish some virtual flames while relieving themselves at The Exhibit bar in Balham, south London.

High-tech sensors detect the direction of urine and translate it into action on a 12-inch screen above every urinal.

Read more at The Sun

Forget books, GoBZRK

When Brandon Trudel first saw mentions of “Nexus Humanus,” an organization that promises to “create sustainable happiness, one life at a time” on Twitter, he had no idea he was about to be pulled deep down inside an alternate reality and the world of BZRK.

Trudel knew it was an Alternate Reality Game (ARG), but he had never seen one styled quite like this. It was only his second ARG experience, but what kept him coming back to this one was “the weirdness.”

A steady stream of YouTube videos, curious clues and puzzles began to feed in from the four different websites: Death or Madness , the Society TwinsNexus Humanus and GoBZRK .

Trudel spent at least ten hours a day, alongside an online community of friends, helping out the characters that had been brought to life through these sites. They were tasked with solving the riddles presented by BZRK, a nano-guerilla group opposing a power-mad duo intent on using nanotechnology to control humanity.

If this were a novel, Trudel says he wouldn’t be interested.

Read the complete article at Geek Out!

How Transmedia Storytelling Is Changing TV

Until now, media companies have focused on getting audiences to watch shows “live” via a TV set, where the bulk of advertising dollars are.

But transmedia storytelling — which is defined as telling a story that extends across multiple media platforms (for television, it’s going beyond the on-air show) — has the ability to upend that. “Transmedia” is one of those hot buzz words du jour, with conferences, articles and trend reportsdevoted to it. Yet it’s not a new concept. Star WarsThe MatrixDr. Who and Pokeman all expanded beyond their core franchise decades ago — to games, books and alternative realities.

SEE ALSO: The Future of Social TV [VIDEO]

In today’s digital era, there are new factors at play that make transmedia a potentially potent game-changer for how TV content is created. Think about it:

Social TV has made television a richer two-way experience with fan participation. Nielsen’s own researchshows how social TV amplifies the conversation and impacts ratings. Technology has created tools that allow the user to interact and gamify content as never before (location-based, virtual goods, augmented reality, QR codes, etc). Fans’ familiarity with and desire to experience TV content across devices other than TV has exploded.

Read the complete article at Mashable.

What the Transmedia Movement Has to Teach (And to Learn)

If nothing else, last week’s Story World Conference in San Francisco affirmed the reality of a new creative movement devoted to transmedia storytelling.

After years of building connections via online sharing and various ad-hoc collaborations, this gathering of the tribes of transmedia will certainly accelerate the movement, invigorate a cadre of practitioners and theorists, and generate buzz among many content creators.

It’s a big tent that has been pitched, sheltering artists, theorists, academics, vendors, allies — with conflicting values and beliefs. (Don’t expect a manifesto any time soon.)

And yet, after listening to three days worth of panels, speeches, workshops,  (with 2,000-plustweets ) it’s possible to extract some core beliefs of this movement that distinguish “transmedia” from “monomedia” — the world of stories told in a single medium.

This emphasis on worlds transcends the story and its traditional elements (character, setting, theme, plot, etc.) even while incorporating them. Because transmedia requires the audience to move from one medium to another, the emphasis in on “experience design.” (Think: game studio.)

Audience engagement drives everything.

To transmedia activists, the audience is an engaged, participatory and demanding collaborator.

Storytellers must invite audiences to “co-create,” not just as fodder for marketing or promotion. The release of narrative control opens the floodgates for new definitions of story, script and narrative. This frightens old-school story folks.

Read the complete article at The Wrap.