Film 3.0 Making Multi-Platform Movies (Screen Australia and Story Labs)

Film 3.0 Making Multi-Platform Movies Sydney 3-12-2012

Film Australia and Story Labs

Yesterday I attended a fantastic one-day event on creating multi-platform content, transmedia storytelling and cross-media productions. Speakers came from far and near and all had some fascinating information to share, so here is my effort to pass on their wisdom and insights.

1) Gary Hayes
Making Multi-platform Movies
Films must combine with mobile and social media using the internet, gaming, and social media platforms to create integrated storytelling. Although complex, expensive, and consuming many work hours the aim of multiplatform storytellers should be to be to use gaming and social media to draw audiences in to an extended fictitious story world with the aim of sharing with others (and hopefully go viral).

2) Lance Weiler
Igniting the Imaginations of Many
Story is the same, it’s the telling of the story that is changing, so that today’s stories are thrilling, emotionally charged and immersive. Stories today have VALUE. They can be seen as a utility (entertainment + purpose) in a world which can be viewed as an attention economy where audience time demands can influence return visits. Stories challenge the emotional landscape for the audience so that they CARE as well as have FUN (social and participatory). The aim is for a story to go Hyperlocal as well as Global.
Story = Social + Connected + Personalised + Pervasive

3) Brian Cain
Story as Marketing, Promotion as Narrative
You must have a business model/goal as the foundation of your multi-platform storytelling. BUT, the story is more important than the technology and for the audience to engage, speak to their Ego.

4) Gunther Sonnenfeld
Audience Intelligence Storytelling
Data + Storytelling are the ultimate for creation.
Data are the What?
Stories are the Why?
Data + Story = Context
Context drives all business investment decisions. The audience are part of the context in that they build conversations with each other, thus becoming partners in the storytelling process.

5) Laurel Papworth
Managing Movie Communities
You must leave a digital trail. To do this, stories must be embeddable, distributable, sharable, discoverable, forward-able, and findable.
In Australia today 26% of people are reading, creating and uploading content. Building online communities is crucial for a story teller for an audience in terms of finding, filtering and forwarding information. In this way you create and can identify Story Influencers who will create a riplle effect for your story.

6) Matt Costello
The Game in Movies
Creators must think of story challenges as story puzzles. Puzzles are the foundation of story.

7) Brian Seth Hurst
Story-centred Participatory Audiences
“If you can create a great mythology, the story can go on forever.”
The canon of story is to provide opportunities for audience participation so that it is uniquely meaningful to them.
Story entry points for an audience include: multi-platforms, anchor platform, participation gateway, story and brand extension, and fan ownership.
Storytelling today involves: storyteller; business person; technologist; entrepreneur, marketer; game designer; social media manager and; brand manager.

8) Nathan Mayfield
A Tale of Two Campaigns
Art and Technology are symbiotic. Multiplatform story extensions can be found at the interactive, personal, social and mobile levels.
As well as the story, storytellers must look at content, client, platforms and audience.
Creators must realise that everything they make is a Franchise.
Take note of the questions your audience are asking!

9) Ester Harding
Surfing the Multi-Platform Tsunami
Sought NSW DMI Funding (Digital Media Initiative)
Multiplatform storytelling and marketing are one and the same.

10) Mike Cowap and Alex Sangston
Money for Something
Investment Manager for Screen Australia
Screen Australia only funds film initiatives. It does NOT fund games.

May Gibbs Fellowship Adelaide 2012 Part 1

I have been in the beautiful city of Adelaide for the first half of a one month literary fellowship. The members of the board of the May Gibbs Children’s Literature Trust have gone above and beyond to welcome and support me. Thank you!

I arrived in Adelaide somewhat shaken as the day before my departure an unknown man in the street had held a dog’s choker chain up to my face telling me he’d like to strangle me to death. This happened one block from my home and has left one legacy that I won’t walk the streets of Adelaide at night.

After living in a household of 6 -7 people, two dogs, and with ailing parents up the road, living alone has been a novelty. I’m not sure if it’s how I’d chose to live long term, but for this brief short moment I’m reveling in it. I can’t remember the last time I could do what I wanted, when I wanted, however I wanted, for such a sustained period of time.

On the first night here I made a Wish List and am delighted to have ticked all the boxes. In two short weeks this is what I’ve achieved:

1) Five days as Author-in-Residence at Scotch College.

2) Read 4 YA novels as part of my judging duties for the NSW Premier’s Literature Award.

3) Researched how to write children’s Apps.

4) Wrote and re-drafted two Apps. Working titles ‘The Rainbow Surprise’ and ‘Shape Explorers’.

5) Researched Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

6) Wrote the introduction for a longform non-fiction piece on NPD for an upper young adult audience.

7) Attended AVCON – Adelaide Anime and Video Games Conference.

8) Visited the museum to view The Waterhouse Natural History Art Prize.

9) Wandered the Botanical Gardens.

10) Met the delightful author and librarian, Sascha Hutchinson, of Unley Library.

11) Given a brief driving tour of the city by Mary Wilson and her lovely husband.

12) Discussed children’s literature with Elizabeth Hutchins.

13) Had several discussions with the lovely and talented performer and May Gibbs organisor, Sally Chance.

14) Went for a brisk walk every day.

Needless to say, I’m delighted with the fellowship so far and eagerly await, Part 2 when I return in September!

Transmedia Toe-dipping: Kiss Kill by Jeni Mawter in Viewpoint magazine Vol 20 No 2, 2012, Pp. 20-21

How do you man up when you’re down? When 16 year old Mat meets Elle she seems perfect. But over time Elle becomes more controlling and aggressive. Feeling like no one will believe him Mat isolates himself more and more. Their relationship fragments then explodes.

Stories are shaped to fit their form. The oral narratives of the past included epics, sagas, lyric poems, ritual songs, genealogies and panegyrics (praise poems) which were modified to suit a particular audience or occasion, and were often told with an intention to recycle knowledge back to the listener. With the development of writing and printing, story structures changed and moved from an oral-aural-sensory focus to a visual focus. With print, “words became things” that could be arranged on a page (Ong 1988, p. 118). With print, story closure was encouraged, a finality not seen in the oral tradition.

Today we are in the midst of another technology explosion so that once again, stories can change. I seek to take storytelling into the future. As a futurist I am inspired by the views of Brian O’Leary and Hugh McGuire in their book A Futurist’s Manifesto (2012), and by Mark Pesce who I first heard speak at the Sydney Writer’s Festival in 2010. In terms of transmedia storytelling, inspiration comes from Frank Rose’s The Art of Immersion (2011), and by transmedia storytellers such as Jennifer Wilson, Jeff Gomez, Carlo Scolari, Brian Clark, Lina Srivastava, Simon Pulman, Rob Prattan, Andrea Phillips, Scott Walker, April Arrglington, Alison Norrington, Lance Weiler as well as Australia’s own Dr Christy Dena and Gary P. Hayes.

David Varela has stated that “the medium carries a lot of the story’s power” (personal author notes, 2011). The Kiss Kill story is about a disintegrating and explosive relationship. In these fragments lies its power, with multiple texts and transmedia giving the fragments form. Varela’s comments confirmed what I had already been experimenting with. I combined prose with other narratives such as scripts, songs, notes, poems, comics, essays, texting, photos and more. Transmedia was used through blogs, YouTube, iTunes, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.
What is Transmedia storytelling?

Definitions of transmedia storytelling differ but Simon Staffans says that transmedia ‘is telling stories over a number of media platforms, stories that are connected to a higher or lesser degree, but always connected and rooted in a common story world’ (2011, p 6). For Kiss Kill, Mat’s world is the story world.

Not only can readers interact with the story, in transmedia they can also participate in the story. Henry Jenkins (2003) makes this distinction between interactivity and participation:
“interactivity” refers to “preprogramed entertainment experiences” and “participation” to “tak[ing] the resources offered by a text and push[ing] it in a range of directions which are neither preprogrammed nor authorized by the producers.” So, to put it simple, interactivity gives the users a pre-set choice (ending a, b, or c; should the character do this or that next) while participation has users ‘do their own thing’ with the existing content – expanding it, altering it, continuing it, etc

Kiss Kill was written with no order. Mark Twain said that, “Ideally a book would have no order to it, and the reader would have to discover his own.” This appealed to me. Ideas appeared organically, were researched, created, randomly collated, and only after these processes did the novel take form. Mat’s story is a story of a boy who triumphs over a relationship with his abusive narcissistic girlfriend. The potential of Narcissism to destroy relationships (friends, family and communities) is explored, but Kiss Kill takes the traditional abuse story and inverts it so that young males can also be victims of relationship and emotional abuse, or bullying. With a rise in the incidence of Narcissism (Twenge and Campbell 2009, Twenge 2010) Kiss Kill is a modern cautionary tale. Despite the subject matter Kiss Kill is humorous and heart-warming, ending with optimism. However, out of concern for my readers I can direct those in need to organisations such as “Headspace, Australia’s National Youth Mental Health Foundation” and “Mensline Australia”.

Traditional storytelling involved ‘Listen, why I tell you a story.’ Transmedia storytelling changes this to ‘Let’s tell a story together’. Young adults (teens to twentysomethings) are adept at reading multi-platform narratives. They are used to reading non-linearly and they are used to interacting with narrative through sharing (social media) and co-creation. Mash-ups are a popular example of co-creation. Kiss Kill consciously provides multiple openings into the story for co-creation and the multiple platforms allow for engagement and participation. Readers can engage with me as the author on my blog (, or Mat the character on his blog Facebook, Twitter (@mawter @kisskilldigital) and Pinterest are also used for sharing the story experience. Kiss Kill readers share their creations on Mat’s blog. They have created music and recorded their own versions of ‘Thought I Knew’ as well as made a YouTube for the haunting scene ‘How Do You Define a Man?’ Individual as well as community creation is encouraged so that this story can continually evolve.

As a writer I am aware that today’s young adult readers want convenience and connection. They want characters with emotional appeal, relevant to their own social networks, and about whom they care. Issues such as relationships, bullying and depression are relevant to them. In this way I targeted my reader and was actively involved in creating my audience. My ultimate goal is to build Mat’s fan base. The inclusion of the character blog deepens the audience’s emotional engagement as well as connects the character with my author brand. It inspires community comment, sharing and creation. Kiss Kill went on to leverage a community of creators, such as musicians and actors who produced the iTunes and YouTubes, and YA bloggers who wrote reviews.

Transmedia is not a new form of storytelling. However, it usually involves large entertainment corporations with big budgets such as television (BBC Sherlock series, Nike promotion); film (Breathe by Yomi Ayeni); alternate reality gaming (Perplex City) or live action theatre (Clockwork Monkey). In terms of children’s stories David Levithan’s “39 Clues” (Scholastic USA) was one of the first multiplatform stories published for children, but again with a sizable allocated budget. To the best of my knowledge Kiss Kill is one of the first transmedia young adult novels published. It is published for a global market, by a small publisher, on a minimal budget.

As a solitary writer I needed to educate myself on: multiple platform storytelling; writing non-linear narrative; and technology developments that seem to change daily. Instead of a steep learning curve, I am on a trajectory. Traditional publishing is yet to embrace transmedia storytelling so I was delighted when Sarah Bailey launched her ePublishing house “Really Blue Books” and rose to the challenge of transmedia. Every step of the journey has involved forging new pathways. Traditional processes in publication, distribution, sales, reviewing, publicity, and competitions are not applicable. These words of another storytelling futurist could well be my own:
I soon discovered that innovation is a messy business filled with long stretches of doubt, countless false starts, and a constant black cloud of indecision. There was no road map to follow, no guarantee that a story told this way would result in anything more than a pile of broken parts, (Patrick Carman, 2011).

Australia does not yet have a huge transmedia community. Last year I was fortunate to attend a conference on Creativity and Technology in New York and to speak with Bob Stein from if:book New York. Through social media I can communicate with transmedia storytellers globally. Online groups such as Digital Story World, Tools of Change, Transmedia LA, as well as bloggers and transmedia storytellers keep me up-to-date with the latest developments. Last year I attended the if:book non-conference in Melbourne and was fortunate to meet with Dr Christy Dena. Australia’s App developer Karen Robertson (Treasure Kai) has been both an inspiration and support.

Finally, I must make the point that not all stories are suited to transmedia. There will always be a place for traditional narrative. However, it is my belief that through daily digital technology developments Kiss Kill barely scratches the surface of possibility. It is exciting to explore new territories such as alternative income generating systems like crowdsourcing through Kickstarter, Indigogo and Pozible (Australia) instead of Advances and Royalties.

Where to from here? Who knows! I’m writing my future history in the ‘now’.

Carman, Patrick “Read Beyond the Lines: Transmedia has changed the very notion of books and reading” in November 4, 2011

Jenkins, Henry “Transmedia Storytelling: Moving characters from books to films to video games can make them stronger and more compelling” in published by MIT /January 15, 2003

O’Leary, Brian and McGuire, Hugh A Futurist’s Manifesto: A Collection of Essays from the Bleeding Edge of Publishing, O’Reilly Media Publisher (2012)

Staffans, Simon One Year in Transmedia Storytelling 2nd Ed Blog posts are extracts from the blog SUPERCALIFRAGILISTICEXPIALIDOCIOUS at

Twain, Mark (n.d.) Retrieved March 27, 2012, from Web site:

Twenge, Jean M “The Narcissism Epidemic” in Psychology Today, May 12, 2010

Twenge, Jean M. & Campbell, W. Keith The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement Free Press, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc. (2009)

Ong, Walter J Orality and Literacy: The Technologizing of the Word, New Accents. Ed., Terence Hawkes, New York: Methuen, 1988

David Varela, Digital Storytelling: Seminar organised by the Australian Society of Authors, Sydney 2011.

Books that have a Transmedia Component

For the upcoming SCBWI Conference Sydney 2012 I will be speaking on a panel, ‘Going Digital’.

I have put together a preliminary list of published books with Transmedia Elements as follows:

1) MARK Z. DANIELEWSKI: HOUSE OF LEAVES House of Leaves (2000)
One of the pioneering cross-platform books from 2000. Portions of the manuscript were available on various sites around the Web, hyperlinked to one another. The author’s sister, the singer/songwriter Poe, recorded the album Haunted as an extension of the novel, featuring tracks like “House of Leaves”, “Exploration B” and “5&½ Minute Hallway.”

October 2006, Running Press Kids, an imprint of Perseus Books, published the novel Cathy’s Book: If Found Call 650-266-8233, written by co-authors Jordan Weisman and Sean Stewart.

Scholastic’s The 39 Clues. Rick Riordan, the author of the first book in the series, created an outline for the overarching story over the course of the books to guide subsequent work-for-hire authors including Gordan Korman, Peter Lerangis, and Jude Watson.


Patrick Carman’s work on the Skeleton Creek transmedia novel series represents another model for transmedia publishing being part book, part online video series.


7) SPARROW HALL: TWO BLUE WOLVES and NIGHTWORK (2011) Paperback with Digital Download
Expanding the book experience by having the story unfold across multiple mediums, through various perspectives. The two short stories include music, video, art, live performance, and web-specific content developed by a cadre of artists from around the world.

An interactive e-book that allows readers to dive deeper into the history and mythology of the story world. The book includes a soundtrack of thematic songs curated around the story.

9) JENI MAWTER: KISS KILL (Really Blue Books, 2012)
Young Adult novel told with multiple text-types and encourages audience interaction with author and character via blogs, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Audience co-creation seen on iTunes, YouTube and digital artwork.

Max Giovagnoli has recently published his novel “The Secret Message of Falling Stars” which is soft fantasy about parallel worlds, which uses complimentary iPad and iPhone apps to track characters through two alternate realities.

J.K. Rowling’s ‘Book of Spells’ aims to bring a magical book to life on the PlayStation 3 via augmented reality.

XMediaLab Global Media Ideas 2012 in Sydney, Australia

Attended the mind-expanding XMediaLab Think Tank in Sydney last week and am sharing my favourite quote(s) from each presenter.

1) Don’t tell me what I want. Tell me what I NEED to want.
Kenneth Hertz on Music, Marketing and Money

2) Use creativity and innovation to do some ‘good things’ for others along the way.
Ian Charles Stewart on More Interesting Dreams

3) Don’t hate. Participate and Digital media = Participatory media
Corvida Raven on Learning to Listen

4) Interaction Design designs for people’s behaviour in order to provide a service for the way people wish to act, examples include iPod, WiiFit, Instagram
Steve Baty on Beyond the Interface

5) Our future will include UStream ie live video streaming globally.
Michael Naimark on Global Time, Global Space and Global Data

6) Our aim is to create an un-holdable China.
Helen Chen on Creative Futures in China

7) Indians today have personal aspirations for a different future for themselves and their children.
Domestic consumption and entrepreneurship is creating a huge industry of local Start-Ups going global so that they’re seeing Reverse Innovation.
Rajiv Prakash on India Start-Ups

8) Collective individualism gives communities a collective vision
Devices are the enablers of new collaborative and collective experiences eg smartphones
Bonnie Shaw on The Collective Individualism of People, Place and Technology.

9) There is a strong relationship between ‘Play’ and ‘Story’
Warren Coleman on Play Stations

10) The Art Form of storytelling is changing with the Internet unlocking of new voices.
Arvind Ethan David on ‘Small and Global’

11) The digital landscape in Indonesia is vibrant today.
Shinta W. Dhanuwardoyo on Vibrant Story in Indonesia

12) The challenge for Australian homes when they get the Next Generation Broadband Network is what to do with its enormous potential eg ambient intelligence.
Colin Griffith on Broadband Innovation

13) The new competition for television comes from new multiple digital platforms in terms of: Search; Digital Retail; Social; Consumer Devices + Apps; and Connected TV (XBOX 360).
Tablets are the consumers’ Second Screen, linking viewing on TV with smart phones.
Gerry Gouy on The War for Your TV

14) Networking, personalisation and mobility will radically change user patterns to create new paradigms in a multimedia market.
Computers are being turned into an appliance.
Anuraj Gambhir on New Paradigms: Visions of Future Mobility & Immersive Experiences

15) Because network activities are measured we are able to use this data to make it into a game.
Dr Steffen Walz on Network Detox: Connected Futures in Play

Came away from this incredibly successful day with mind explosion and brain strain 🙂

My SCBWI Australia and NZ Conference Blog 2012

Session on “Going Digital”

Stories are shaped to fit their form. Traditionally storytelling involved, ‘Listen, while I tell you a story’. With the development of writing and printing, story structures changed and moved from their oral-aural-sensory focus to a visual focus. With print, “words became things” that could be arranged on a page. Unlike the oral tradition, these printed stories were now given closure. Today, we’re in the midst of a technology explosion so that once again, stories can change to fit their form. I seek to take storytelling into the future by using transmedia. ‘Listen, while I tell you a story,’ is now, ‘Let’s tell a story together’.

Transmedia involves telling stories over a number of media platforms, stories that are connected in a common story world. For my transmedia novel, Kiss Kill, my character Mat’s world is the story world. Mat’s story is a story of a boy who triumphs over a relationship with his abusive narcissistic girlfriend. It is about a disintegrating and fragmenting relationship. The story frame reflects this by combining prose with other narrative fragments such as scripts, songs, notes, poems, comics, essays, texting, photos and more. Transmedia is used through blogs, YouTube, iTunes, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.

Young adults are adept at reading multi-platform narratives. They are used to reading non-linearly and they are used to interacting with narrative through sharing (social media) and co-creation (for example, mashups). Kiss Kill consciously provides multiple openings into the story for co-creation and the multiple platforms allow for engagement and participation. Readers can engage with me as the author on my blog (, or Mat on his blog Facebook, Twitter (@mawter @kisskilldigital) and Pinterest are also used for sharing the story experience. Kiss Kill readers upload their creations on Mat’s blog. They have created artwork and music and recorded their own versions for my song lyrics ‘Thought I Knew’ as well as made a YouTube for the haunting scene ‘How Do You Define a Man?’ Individual as well as community creation is encouraged so that this story can continually evolve.

As a transmedia writer I need to educate myself on multiple platform storytelling, writing non-linear narrative and, technology developments that change daily. I am not just on a steep learning curve, I am on a trajectory. To the best of my knowledge Kiss Kill is one of the first transmedia young adult novels published for a global market by a small publisher, Really Blue Books, on a minimal budget.

Why Kiss Kill is Pioneering in the Art of Storytelling

As a traditional author my focus was to write the best story I could possibly write. It would be a prose narrative, following the three-act structure. I would put it into the hands of my publisher who would put it into the hands of the readers. End of story – except for a short burst of publicity commitments after publication.

As a transmedia storyteller for Kiss Kill my brief has broadened considerably so that now I must also be involved in:

– Audience creation with the goal of building a fan base
– Online engagement (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Blog)
– Brand building as ‘Jeni Mawter: Digital Storyteller”
– Connecting fictional characters with my brand (Mat’s blog
http://www.whyidon’ )
– Deepening my audience’s emotional engagement
– Providing many entry points into the story
– Inspiring community creation
– Leveraging a community of creators around the brand such as musicians, actors and friends (YouTube, iTunes, reviews)
– ongoing commitment to a story in evolution
– educating traditional story-tellers into new ways of telling
– educating the educators about the changing face of story
– upgrading technological skills and knowledge on a daily basis
– staying at the forefront of transmedia developments
– trying to belong to some sort of story-telling community but not knowing where I belong
– marketing, marketing, marketing
– moving into a world traditionally involving big entertainment creators such as television (BBC Sherlock series, Nike promotion); gaming (Perplex City) or theatre (Clockwork Monkey)
– exploring new income generating systems such as Kickstarter, Indigogo and Pozible (Australia) instead of author Advances and Royalties
– Writing as auteur, rather than author
– Writing non-linear narrative
– Finding or forging new pathways for digital reviewing, selling, publicity, competitions etc

Kiss Kill is published! A foray into narcissism and Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Kiss Kill cover

Kiss Kill! Available today from Amazon!

Kiss Kill is a story about 16 year old Mat, and his relationship with Elle, his narcissistic girlfriend. Read the book by Les Carter (2005) ‘Enough About You, Let’s Talk About me: How to Recognise and Manage the Narcissists in Your Life’

The first step when dealing with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is to recognise it, which is a lot easier said than done. It’s not one incidence that signals NPD, there are ‘recurrent patterns’ to narcissistic behaviour that get repeated over time. Patterns involve hidden anger or rage, secret fears, and a lack of responsibility for their own behaviour.

NPD Patterns include:

1) There is no agenda but theirs
2) They will win by sheer force of will
3) They like to produce a Guilt/Duty trump card
4) They know everything
5) They use the wear-you-down method.

Carter lists other responses to manage the person with NPD

– Try to achieve a delicate detachment from an intolerable situation
– Respond with your mind and not with emotions
– Reflect on the fact that you also have imperfections
– Choose to make free choices
– Don’t cater to the NPD behaviour
– Don’t try and evade the NPD in your life
– Stop trying to force the NPD to stop their manipulative behaviour because they can’t
– Choose your own path to walk
– Maintain your self-respect
– Establish boundaries and consequences
– Stand firm
– Keep your expectations low
– Guard against your own angry reactions
– Stop yearning for acceptance (nothing you do, say, think, believe will ever be right).

5 Days till Kiss Kill published!

Five days till Kiss Kill and I’m terrified.


What's really happening on the inside.


Experimental story – uses multiple types of storytelling.

Not traditional prose narrative.

Digital only.

Not hiding behind J.A. Mawter.

Controversial subject (male victim of relationship abuse).

Too much Sex for the educators?

Audience/reader participation encouraged.

Realistic Fiction when Fantasy and Historical Fiction are all.

It doesn’t belong in a recognisable ‘book’ area because of transmedia.


Relationship abuse

Teen Dating Violence

From: A Parent’s Guide to Teen Dating Violence from

Everyone deserves a healthy relationship safe from violence and fear. Protect your teens from an abusive situation by learning these warning signs.


Your Teen:
•Apologizes and/or makes excuses for his/her partner’s behaviour.
•Loses interest in activities that he/she used to enjoy.
•Stops seeing friends and family members and becomes more and more isolated.
•Casually mentions the partner’s violent behaviour, but laughs it off as a joke.
•Often has unexplained injuries or the explanations often don’t make sense.

The Partner:
•Calls your teen names and puts him/her down in front of others.
•Acts extremely jealous of others who pay attention to your teen.
•Thinks or tells your teen that you, the parent(s), don’t like them.
•Controls your teen’s behaviour, checking up constantly, calling or texting,
and demanding to know who he/she has been with.

•See the partner violently lose their temper, striking or breaking objects.