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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 www.personalizemedia.com
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 www.lanceweiler.com
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 www.brincaincreativedirector.com
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 www.headable.com
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 www.laurelpapworth.com
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 www.matcostello.com
The Game in Movies
Creators must think of story challenges as story puzzles. Puzzles are the foundation of story.

7) Brian Seth Hurst www.oppmanagement.com/wordpress1
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 www.hoodlum.com.au
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.

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 (www.jenimawter.com), or Mat the character on his blog http://www.whyidontgetgirls.com/. 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’.

References
Carman, Patrick “Read Beyond the Lines: Transmedia has changed the very notion of books and reading” in http://www.thedigitalshift.com/2011/11/transliteracy/transmedia-and-its-multiplatform-brethren-has-changed-the-very-notion-of-books-and-reading/ November 4, 2011

Jenkins, Henry “Transmedia Storytelling: Moving characters from books to films to video games can make them stronger and more compelling” in http://www.technologyreview.com/biomedicine/13052/page3/ 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 http://muchtoolong.blogspot.com

Twain, Mark (n.d.) BrainyQuote.com. Retrieved March 27, 2012, from BrainyQuote.com Web site: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/m/mark_twain.html

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.

Thoughts about the future of books

For fiction there’ll be:

1) Hardcopy books we can’t put down
2) Books that create their own universe (fantasy and sci fi) with huge fan bases
3) Hypertextual and interactive books like Kiss Kill (www.reallybluebooks.com)

Authors will not work in isolation, they will connect with ‘others’ by affinity.

These ‘others’ will want to be involved in the creative process.

The digital book will be an ongoing creation so that the task of the author will be ongoing (through an ongoing series of dialogue)

The boundary between author and reader will dissolve and we will see collective creativity.

Social networking will create networks of influence.

Exciting times!

Happy New Year and Welcome to 2012

Happy New Year!

To all the story tellers in the world we’re living in exciting times.

Here’s to a wonderful year of creation, innovation and appreciation.

It’s all about the story!

Frank Rose on ‘Transmedia’ at the 2011 CaT Conference in New York

The points of difference between Transmedia storytelling and traditional storytelling are that the story is:
– Non-linear
– Participatory (engage + share)
– Has immersive possibilities.

Writers today must give forethought to the development stage of Transmedia by seeding their stories with possible multiple platform extensions.

Similarities between Transmedia storytelling and traditional storytelling are:
– Story still has a beginning, middle and end
– They both build aspirational story worlds (“I want to be there”), rich with backstory and futures.

Frank Rose is the author of the amazing book ‘The Art of Immersion’.

Why Kiss Kill Breaks New Ground in the Telling of ‘Story’

Kiss Kill is ground-breaking as a way of telling a story for the following reasons:

1) It’s a story told using multiple text types, not just prose narrative.
2) It is transmedia, incorporating a character blog, YouTube performance (How Do You define a Man?) and iTunes (Thought I Knew You), Facebook and Twitter @kisskilldigital
3) It is a story of relationship abuse where the abuser is the female and the victim is a 16 year old male.
4) Kiss Kill has permission to link with Headspace and Mensline Australia.
5) It is framed in philosophy which is only beginning to be taught in Australian Schools.
6) Humour is used as the voice of young males.

Digital Book World 2012 Conference

Am so enamoured with this conference line-up I’m going to blog it!

Children’s Publishing Goes Digital

Presented by Publisher’s Launch Conference

The takeoff of tablets and the proliferation of smart phones are igniting opportunities for digital children’s books — interactive ebooks, apps, learning products and online communities — that are vastly different from both the maturing adult ebook market and traditional children’s board books and chapter books. A flood of new entrants is reinventing — and supplementing — children’s publishing, from classic illustrated story books through to middle grade and YA. Children’s Publishing Goes Digital looks closely at this disruption and how the marketplace for children’s content will change in the coming year, and what publishers need to know about this new continuum of content, games, animation and interactivity. This will be the first of a series of events created by Publishers Launch Conferences, in conjunction with Lorraine Shanley of Market Partners, to address digital publishing strategies for children’s book professionals.

To learn more from Publisher’s Launch Conference – Click Here!

To Register for the Children’s Publishing Goes Digital – Click Here!

Children’s Publishing Goes Digital Program

8:45-9:30 am: Traditionalists Gone Digital
Though there are many new players entering the digital children’s market, traditional publishers are also innovating in the digital realm. What routes are publishers taking to develop digital content, and to market this and traditional print, online? What have been the challenges and successes through the transition into digital, and what do publishers see as being the future of children’s content—games, animation, or ebooks? Representatives from Macmillan, HarperCollins, and Alloy take on these questions and more in this discussion of what it means to be a traditional children’s publisher moving into the digital world.
Speakers: Josh Bank, Alloy Entertainment
Jonathan Yaged, Macmillan

Corinne Helman, HarperCollins

9:30-10:00am: Sizing up the Children’s Market
Kelly Gallagher, VP of Publishing Services at RR Bowker, will present findings from a study PubTrack and its UK partner, BML, on the current children’s print and ebook market.

Speaker: Kelly Gallagher, RR Bowker

10:00-10:45am: New Players, New Partners
Digital media companies developing apps and ebooks for children are using their skills in animation and gaming – and often new sources of content –to move into the “space” in the children’s market that publishers used to have for themselves. Who are these new players, and what impact will their products have on the established children’s book market? What role do they see their products playing in the future of book-like content, and how do they see themselves interacting with traditional publishers? Insight into new players will come fast and furiously as five companies will have five minutes each to pitch their new initiatives.
Speakers: Rick Richter, Ruckus Media
TouchyBooks

Lisa Holton, Fourth Story Media

10:45-11:15 am: Break

11:15 -11:45 am: Nook and Children’s Interactive eBooks and apps
Kevin O’Connor and Wendy Bronfin talk about Nook Color and its work with children’s interactive ebooks and apps. They will be joined by a children’s author in conversation about developing children’s books and apps for the color tablet and what the technical implications are of developing an interactive product to make the most of the development costs.
Speakers: Kevin O’Connor

Wendy Bronfin

11:45 -12:15 pm: What Trends Are Emerging for Children – and their Parents?
Two futurists talk about their analyses of where the market is going, and what the biggest influences are on children, and their parents.
Speakers: Amy Henry, Youth Beat

Ira Mayer, EPM Communications

12:15 -1:30 pm: Lunch

1:30-2 pm: Russell Hampton

Russell Hampton, president of Disney Worldwide, presents on Disney’s approach to turning its popular franchises into Disney Digital Books.

2:00-2:45 pm: Education Meets Digital
With the interactive capabilities of ebooks and apps, how are publishers and developers creating new
opportunities for education? What new innovations are emerging in the edutainment market, and how
are they accommodating new technologies as they develop their products? What type of interaction is
most effective to capture and maintain the interest of their target audience, and how do new apps and
ebooks grow with their readers? Developers explore these questions as they talk about new systems
and products that are combining the classroom with technology.
Speakers: Emi Abramzon, Panarea

Neal Goff, Egremont Associates (Moderator)

2:45-3:15 pm: Break

3:15 – 3:50pm: Jennifer Perry: How to Reach and Teach Preschoolers with Digital Books
Jennifer Perry, VP Global Publishing at Sesame Workshop, will talk about her organization’s qualitative research efforts with parents and children exploring how children use apps. Perry will also share Sesame Workshop’s experience creating 150 ebooks and 25 apps, and discuss its global expansion in digital media and how they will make it work with its 140 publishing licensees.

Speaker: Jennifer Perry, Sesame Workshop

3:50-4:40 pm: Marketing to a Community
Online communities and media that have already captured the attention of young readers constitute an important resource that publishers must employ. What sites and communities are most beneficial to children’s content developers, and to what extent do publishers need to customize their campaigns based on the communities they target? What are the ways in which publishers are reaching out to these communities/websites to make their books more visible? Panelists from the media will talk with a marketing executive about their experiences developing an audience among young readers and how they are working with publishers to promote books and apps.

Speaker: Laura Dail, Literary Agent

4:40 -5:00 pm: Closing Remarks

Kiss Kill Momentum Building

Every day is an adventure as Kiss Kill gets closer to publication. So many exciting things are happening:

Link with Headspace Australia’s National Youth Mental Health Foundation. www.headspace.org.au

Link with MensLine Australia for relationship help at http://www.mensline.org.au/home.aspx

Twitter @kisskilldigital getting more and more followers.

Kiss Kill FB page getting more and more followers.

Starting to post book futurist comments on FaceBook to see if we can get the Australian book industry to take their heads out of the sand.

St Jospeh’s College have agreed to read Kiss Kill with the possibility of review.

Adam Marks has revised the monologue ‘How Do You Define a Man?’ to fit in with YouTube recording. Filming to start soon with Director Danny Lim.

Phil Bowley has composed music for ‘Thought I Knew You’ lyrics. Recording in progress.

Sarah Bailey, CEO at Really Blue Books (www.reallybluebooks.com ), and I have been working on edits.

Character blog is up and running at http://whyidontgetgirls.wordpress.com

Requested permission to use Kevin Carter’s 1994 Pulitzer Prize winning photograph from New York Times and waiting reply.