True Stories about Transmedia

Posted on: Friday 02 July 2010 4:46am

An expert guide to the complex task of designing immersive story world

Moderator:Anna Rafferty, Editor, Penguin Digital Speakers: Matt Costello, Writer/producer Phil Davies, Producer, Astley, Baker, Davies and the Elf Factory Adrian Hon, Co-founder and Chief Creative Officer, Six to Start Alice Taylor, Commissioning Editor Education, Channel 4  Just when you manage to get your head around media, multimedia, new media, interactive media, cross media and so on…along comes a whole new concept. In this case TRANSMEDIA – namely content that’s invasive and fully permeates the audience’s lifestyle. Adrian Hon’s company Six to Start knows what it’s all about. Adrian has been interested in transmedia ever since he saw a trailer for the Steven Spielberg film AI and spotted the name Jeanine Salla in the credits as a “sentient machine therapist”. Curious, Adrian looked the name up online and quickly found himself immersed in the world of the fictitious Bangalore World University and on through a bewildering series of sites that added layer upon layer to the AI universe . Adrian mentioned his own projectPerplexCity’, a Transmedia game (also called an ARG – alternative reality game) where a real-life cube artefact was buried somewhere on the Earth and people had to solve the mystery of where it was by collecting puzzle cards that gave clues. The winner received £100,000. The producers of the game made money by selling the puzzle cards. This project was hugely successful despite having no TV show or book behind it! Most recently, Adrian is working on the E4 TV show ‘Misfits’, which features the use of Transmedia storytelling, most notably through Twitter. The programme’s characters tweet during the original broadcast episodes, where they reveal their thoughts, significantly adding to the narrative of the TV show. Facebook profiles for these characters have tens of thousands of fans. Alice Taylor of C4, spoke of 3 types of Transmedia: 1. Franchise Transmedia: extending a story world across media (e.g. Spiderman and Peppa Pig) 2. Marketing Transmedia: stories that support a brand or event 3. Native Transmedia: stories intended to weave across media from their inception. Native Transmedia appeals to the non-lazy as they are asked to do things on a PC, followed by something on their mobile, then something on a game etc. Transmedia can become big business. Phil Davies is one of the makers of Peppa Pig – a huge phenomenon that has £100m turnover. Over 2m books and 3m DVD’s have been sold, and now there are plans to create ‘Peppa Pig World’, a dedicated theme park in Hampshire. In the questions that followed the presentations, it was agreed that it is always the story that comes first. Adrian described Transmedia without a story being similar to a cherry without a cake! For people who want to create Transmedia, Matt stressed the importance of a ‘Storybible’ that acts a blueprint of the entire project. He added as a final statement that once the transmedia elements are in place, make sure you find the time to play!

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