From the panel:
Everything You Want To Know About Transmedia Storytelling But Are Afraid To Ask
Sunday, January 29th, 2012
Transmedia is an approach to storytelling that is comprised of content, distribution forms and formats that optimize the organization, interactivity and utility of narrative, all super-charged by the Internet. It takes on a variety of formats and applications.
Brian Newman is the founder of sub-genre media, a film and new media production, distribution and marketing company which helps filmmakers and new media artists to develop and market their projects. Sub-genre specializes in audience development, transmedia business practices and distribution strategies. Brian was most recently CEO of the Tribeca Film Institute (TFI), where he conceived the Reframe project, a ground-breaking initiative to make available films that were “stuck on the shelf,” and disappearing from access.
What is transmedia? To me, it’s how you develop your story across multiple entry points. It’s multi-platform. It’s a way to let your audience become more immersed in the experience, to engage them more deeply. Each element can be a distinctive experience. The idea is that, if there is a game or a comic book or an app, it’s an online experience. You can experience each one of those individually and not miss the overall story.”
“Define your metrics to your funders and other people because they’ll come up with really stupid metrics. If you can define it from the beginning for the funders, you’ll have a lot more success because otherwise they’ll just wanna know “Did you get into Sundance?” or “Did you get a million people to watch it?”
Nick Fortugno is a game designer based in New York City, and a founder of Playmatics.From 2007-2009, Nick was the co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of Rebel Monkey, a NYC online games company. Before Rebel Monkey, Fortugno was the Director of Game Design at gameLab, where he was a designer and writer and served as lead designer on the downloadable blockbuster Diner Dash and the award-winning game Ayiti: The Cost of Life. Nick teaches game design at Parsons The New School of Design.
Games are the field of design and aesthetics that have been studying interaction since their inception. So if I place a Chess board in front of you or a Go set in front of you, I didn’t give you Go as an experience. I just gave you pieces of Go. Go doesn’t become Go until you play it. So games have a way of understanding interactivity that goes deeper than many other forms, just because we’ve been doing them for thousands of years.”
“If I’m making a piece of work that has an interactive component to it, the way I interact with the work is as important as the content of the work in determining the emotional resonance or the argument of the work.”
“When you think about interaction as part of a transmedial strategy, what you want to think about is what interaction does well. Interaction motivates behavior and lets people play. And you shouldn’t be scared of that play; you should embrace that play. And you should think about the way your topic can be played with. So that you can give people a vehicle that’s another axis point to your material and not simply viewing it or getting facts, which I think is valuable, but also experimenting with themselves and coming to their own conclusions.”
Amam Ali and Bassam Tariq are award winning storytellers and filmmakers. Ali is based in New York City and is one of the only young American Muslim voices in the public spotlight today. He’s made appearances on dozens of media outlets such as CNN, HBO, ABC News, and NPR to talk about his upbringing as a 20-something Muslim born and raised in America. Tariq is a writer and filmmaker whose work has appeared on Time Magazine, CNN, NPR and BoingBoing. During Ramadan in 2010 and 2011, Islam’s holy month of fasting and reflection, Ali and Tariq took a roadtrip across America, stopping each evening to break their fasts at a different mosque in a different state. In two years the two have driven over 25,000 miles during the trip and been to all 50 states and have showcased their narratives on their site. They are currently working to present 30 Mosques via a transmedia platform.
Initially when we started the project, we got wrapped up in looking at visitors and page views. But it didn’t really stay true to the core nature of our project being grassroots. We started to focus less on page views and more on the quality of engagement. If you have thousands of likes [on Facebook], it doesn’t really tell you about the quality of the project. We started looking at the comment threads and the conversations people were having on their Facebook pages and posting on other people’s Facebook pages. As we traveled promoting the project, shaking all the hands and seeing how people found out about it and sharing not only the stories they liked but their own personal stories, that to us was our measure of success. We don’t want passive people who just click a button and “Like it” or visit it; we want people to really immerse themselves in this world and talk about it with their friends. That’s how we were able to determine our success models. Really just the quality of engagement, rather than the quantity.”
“We realized that even though we had an engaged Muslim audience, how is it that we can reach out to a larger audience base? We realized that if we start using new media in different ways that people will be compelled by the way that we are actually communicating with them that they might actually be interested in the stories that they are hearing. By using a live scribe pen, Gizmodo put it up on their main page, Bong Bong picked it up, and a couple of other news outlets.”
Takaaki Okada is the Co-founder and Creative Director of ConditionONE, a technology media startup developing immersive experiences. As the Co-director of Office of Unspecified Services, he works with media organizations, photographers, and filmmakers. Previously, he was a senior designer on a National Design Award winning team at Pentagram Design. His work for One Laptop Per Child is in the permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
PANEL Q & A