Aug 052010
 

…than Agencies and Filmmakers. Why do transmedia professionals have a difficult time achieving authentic and fluid transmedia stories and why do ‘existing’ branded entertainment & digital agencies tend towards lowest common denominator, tried and tested formulaic cross media, more about  PR, advertising and marketing than real ‘story’ focused engagement. Against this and rather paradoxically we have the ‘so-called’ audience/users actually telling their ‘life’ stories across platforms in a much more natural and engaging way.

Having produced and studied cross media since 1997 (“What do Audiences Want” BBC pres) one very large and persistent problem has always been creating authentic transmedia stories – natural story arcs and bridges that lead you onward through a long format, multi platform experience. So why is this? What techniques do makers of user created transmedia (you and I wearing our normal, connected people hats) employ that make it more interesting to their target audience and what can the ‘artificial storytellers’ learn?

Montecity July 4th Celebs

note: this is a personal/user POV condensed version of a  longer chapter intro section in my wip book Networked Media Storytelling: Transmedia Design and Production.

Networked Media StorytellingFirstly excuse the use of the term ‘audience’ in the title, it is still a convenient catch-all for the ‘great unwashed’, old BBC term 🙂 or rather, non-professional creators. Of course we are equals and participant users when using well designed professional transmedia services, but what do ‘users’ do when telling their own stories, that pro “experience creators” don’t do and may possibly never achieve?

Before we proceed this is not comparing apples and oranges as on one side we have ‘user created transmedia’ (UCT?) ‘life stories’ aimed at a specific ‘user group’ and on the other professionally created transmedia ‘fiction’ aimed at fans or niche ‘players’. Both have a target audience and both have stories to tell.

ORIENTATION EXAMPLE

To help frame this even more a ‘simple’ example. A typical well networked person wants to share an experience, tell a single (or part of a longer arc) story to ‘their’ audience, lets say (deliberately mundane!) a personally amazing chance encounter with a strange overseas friend who share stories during a mini afternoon catch-up adventure & challenges at various city locations. Challenges being obnoxious shop assistants or overcharging taxi driver etc: 🙂 Remember this is their, Hero’s Journey, we all have one every moment of our lives, some bigger than others. In this example the main user has a pre-existing networked media story environment (amongst other networked elements) consisting of:

  1. 500 facebook friends
  2. run a well read blog
  3. 1200 twitter followers
  4. regular FourSquare user
  5. a heavily subscribed YouTube channel
  6. a busy personal flickr account
  7. use sms and skype a lot
  8. meet up with their physical social circle regularly

User Created Transmedia

Full size link – As the image illustrates I hope, and this is probably old hat to many reading this post, we can see how the rippling of moments (Laurel Papworth covers the social aspects of this in great detail in her post Ripple: Social Network Influencers) across the users ‘story world’ is constantly punctuated as the story develops. Also notice how the story world is setup – the Foursquare updates for example ‘this is where I am – if something happens you will already know…” reinforcing environment and back story. It is important also to take on-board that the user in this case feels the ‘need’ to share, part of their being is now about being constantly active in ‘their story’ network, that need will be reflected by by the network (aka a captive audience) – often it will be quick bursts of activity in real time, pushing messages outwards and occasionally responding to ‘influential’ friends as they know those contacts will proliferate the story even more. Notice also in the diagram that auto updates (twitter pushing into Facebook or flickr) are an acceptable part of more social storytelling as the need to know means a level of ‘spam’ acceptance. I could go on but this is to partly demonstrate how

Today’s socially networked users are evolving into the most talented and natural transmedia storytellers, able to fluently manipulate, create and respond across multiple ‘personally nurtured’ channels transforming in the process something very complex into something beautifully simple

OK the best pro-transmedia relies on the social media connections above to disperse their narratives but as with any form of 3rd party story, we see it is a temporary viral layer (movies, TV shows, games etc) on top of their deeper, personal life story…

The most successful element in user created transmedia are the natural bridges between channels and platforms whereas professional transmedia storytellers often force feed its audience explicit or contrived ‘in your face’ links

As usual my preamble has turned into a tome so without further ado here are ten sections that came from lectures I did on transmedia design at various presentations and higher ed establishments in 2008/9 which I will put up on my slideshare account along with some transmedia bible templates – highlighting some of the fundamental and underlying principles of an authentic networked story environment. I have compared responses to each from an UCT and professional creators perspective, across the specific kinds of interactions within the transmedia, social environment. These are all appropriate to drama, documentary and brand/ad transmedia design, production and storytelling.

NURTURING NETWORKED MEDIA STORYTELLING – WHY AUDIENCES DO IT BETTER

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Oct 152008
 

Been a bit lapse in not posting other talks I have been giving around Oz so these are just in time. A range from Cross-Social-Media, Mixed Reality, Games/Film and the Creative Web…

Weds 12-14 November 2008 – The 23rd Annual SPAA Conference, Sheraton Mirage, Gold Coast, Australia

Presenting on and producing panel on Thursday 13 Nov 3.00-4.15

WHERE VIRTUAL WORLDS MEET TV, WHERE FILMS MEET GAMES

Which side of the wall are you on?  Are You Ready for the The Mixed Reality, Entertainment Perfect Storm

TV and Film OR Games and Virtual Worlds? That wall is about to crumble. This is a wake up call to all entertainment producers and consumers to prepare for an almighty collision. Audiences are already spending up to four times as much of their entertainment time in virtual spaces than they are watching TV. EA Games have partnered with Endemol to produce TV shows inside virtual worlds, MTV Networks have virtual versions of their popular TV programs Laguna Beach, The Hills etc and there is a growing tide of global landmark series spilling into virtual worlds such as CSI, The L Word and Big Brother.

This exciting panel will examine a wide range of cross-over services that work between games, virtual worlds and linear TV. The panel is intended for games creators, social network managers and film and TV producers looking to merge their entertainment worlds. It will also be of interest to designers of games that work across media in the physical world using mobiles, print, viral techniques, TV and the web.

“I think we are really approaching a perfect storm, a mixed reality perfect storm, because we are seeing several things happening. The first one is a long history of games based on TV and films. Another ‘wind’ is virtual worlds, particularly the exponential growth of customisable social spaces and the important ability to integrate external media into them. The third force is audience behaviour, who involved in far more simultaneous activity particularly between broadband web and TV. The fourth element to this perfect storm is actually what is happening to TV and film, such as live reality TV becoming more game like and now over 100 feature films in production based on game worlds. All of these forces together are creating a really potent mix that all producers need to be aware of” Gary Hayes

Speakers:

 

Thursday 23rd October, 2008– DebateIT: All the web’s a stage!

Join us as we debate whether the internet is helping unleash creativity. What opportunities are there for the creative on the internet? We will discuss the enormous potential of user generated content, the new business models and whether the technology is driving or restraining creativity. Speakers include:

  • Gary Hayes, Director LAMP & Head of Virtual Worlds, The Project Factory
  • Martin Hosking, Executive Chairman, RedBubble;
  • Angela Thomas, Lecturer, English Education, University of Sydney;
  • Therese Fingleton, Project Manager, Australia Council;
  • Jeff Cotter, CTO, SIMMERSION Holdings

Venue: Lecture Theatre, Museum of Sydney-Cnr of Phillip & Bridge Streets, Sydney Time: 5.00pm Р7.00pm 5.00-5.20pm РRegistration, drinks, canap̩s and networking 5.20-6.30pm РDebateIT 6.30-7.00pm РDrinks, canap̩s and networking Cost: $50 (inc. GST)

Saturday 24th and 25th October – SPAA Fringe – Keynote “Future of Social Media Entertainment”

Next week, on 24th and 25th October, Sydney’s Chauvel Cinema will come alive with the buzz of talented filmmakers at the 9th annual SPAA Fringe conference.-Continuing the tradition of showcasing innovative and aspirational speakers, delegates will be delighted to know that LAMP Director Gary Hayes; award winning Executive Producer Sue Maslin (Celebrity: Dominick Dunn, Japanese Story); and Phil Lloyd, (Writer), Reuben Field (Post Production Supervisor) and Dean Bates (Producer) from Review with Myles Barlow will also be sharing their insights.

“Gary Hayes is one of Australia’s leading authorities on cross media. He led the new media division at the BBC for several years and is called on to speak at all the major international digital events. Cross platform is such a massive, evolving beast and this important session is to bring us up to speed with what is happening NOW.-Luckily for us Gary lives and works in Sydney (at AFTRS) – frankly he was a no brainer.” Gaylee Butler, SPAA Fringe Curator

Hayes is the Director of LAMP (Laboratory for Advanced Media Production) and Head of Virtual Worlds, The Project Factory. At SPAA Fringe, Hayes will look at the existing and future forms of entertainment by studying successful case studies of ‘connected’ entertainment around the world and some of his own work at BBC, game and virtual worlds and selected projects at LAMP and AFTRS.

“Social Media Entertainment at its simplest level is large connected online communities creating, commenting, sharing and playing with content. As eyeballs move from traditional distribution screens, so do the advertisers and so does your funding. Be prepared for the future and start to understand how to really engage with the participatory audience, learn how to engage by having a conversation with them rather than shouting at them.” Gary Hayes, Director at LAMP

Sue Maslin is an award-winning producer with credits including the feature films Road To Nhill and Japanese Story. She has independently produced many documentaries and is Executive Producer Of Celebrity: Dominick Dunne, which premiered to sell out audiences at the 2008 Melbourne International Film Festival.-Her session will look at alternative ways of managing business and financing projects in the new “˜Offset’ environment as well as retaining and exploiting content rights across all screens ““ cinema, television and digital on-line. Celebrity: Dominique Dunn will open theatrically on the opening night of SPAA Fringe, where delegates will receive a discount by presenting their badge.

“SPAA Fringe attracts emerging and experienced filmmakers who are prepared to think outside the box. It provides the perfect opportunity to engage with the comprehensively changing screen industry landscape and the kind of methodologies and screen content which will be relevant in the future. All bets are off as far as I’m concerned. Expect really exciting and challenging times ahead.”-Sue Maslin, Film Art Media

Review with Myles Barlow was conceived by long-time friends Lloyd and Trent O’Donnell (Co-creators) who originally intended the show to be short interstitials, one review per episode. In 2007, Lloyd and O’Donnell brought the idea to Starchild Productions, the Darlinghurst partnership of producer Bates and director Field. Together, the four developed the project in their down time. Review with Myles Barlow looks at the triviality of critics who “˜waste time’ on matters such as film, food or art. The show follows one man who dares to review all facets of life ““ our experiences, our emotions, our deepest, darkest desires ““ to rate them out of five stars.

“The team behind Review with Myles Barlow are interesting for a number of reasons.-They go to air on ABCTV on 16 October so the show is fresh as a fish. To raise awareness they have a really clever viral campaign going on and their low budget means that the set is entirely created in post– production.” Gaylee Butler, SPAA Fringe Curator

Friday 31 October – Future of Branded Social Entertainment (McCann Erickson)

Details to follow

24-25th November – Online Social Networking and Business Collaboration – Dockside, Sydney

Unravel the mysteries of web 2.0 as leading executives from enterprise marketing and government demonstrate the opportunities and challenges awaiting you in the second generation of web based communities.With the explosion of interest in the business models driving the internet economy, this event will establish the commercial offerings social media can bring to enterprise, marketers and government.

Offering Keynote insight from the industry’s leading experts, social media campaign studies from corporate marketers and collaboration case studies from enterprise and government, this 2 day streamed event will promote your understanding of how all areas of the traditional economy are benefiting from the revolution in social participation and collaboration.

Expert Research

  • Gary Hayes, Director LAMP and Head of Virtual Worlds-The Project Factory
  • Michele Levine, CEO,-Roy Morgan Research
  • Tony Marlow, Associate Director of Research-Nielsen Online
  • Michael Walmsley, General Manager Asia Pacific,-Hitwise
  • Nick Abrahams, Chairman, Technology, Media & Telecommunications Group,-Deacons
  • Scott Buchanan, Founder,-Buchanan Law
  • Donna Bartlett, Partner, Media,-Holding Redlich

12.00pm Tuesday 25th – Digital Worlds: Social, Virtual, Mobile

  • Meet generation V
  • What are the opportunities for enterprise, marketers and government?
  • The psychological implications of virtual interaction
  • What are the mobility limitations of virtual worlds?

Gary Hayes, Director LAMP, Head of Virtual Worlds, The Project Factory Laurel Papworth, Director & Social Networks Strategist, World Communities Paul Salvati, Director, Channel Management, smartservice QUEENSLAND

Well that’s most of them – there are lots of seminars and private tete-a-tetes mixed in-between, as well as endless prep at AFTRS etc etc: making for a rush towards the end of the year!

May 142008
 

Currently doing some talks about online buzz and the ‘network’ and thought I would share some of those cute charts I threw together to illustrate a few angles. Firstly though just wanted to get out there a simple view/evolutionary map of the track we are on, the out-of-control train without brakes hurtling towards an always-on, networked speck of cosmic dust, we call home. To warm you up before the here and now stuff, some simple jumps to illustrate this continuum (note: step 12 onwards gets a little space cadet! but you will see the link 🙂 –

  1. The dawn of man, the darkest age, little or no communication
  2. The age of non-verbal, small geographically challenged, tribal/family communities
  3. A common verbal language – communities expand, explore and spread ideas very slowly around the globe
  4. Stories, beliefs and knowledge shared slowly via printed material
  5. Life and ideas from one perspective captured on film and played back to many, delayed and editorialized by a select few
  6. Audio stories as opinions spread by a few, live, in real time, one to many via voice only broadcast, radio
  7. Live cameras connect to broadcast towers and satellites, the world focuses on few to many TV – they also plays stored media to increase stickiness
  8. Early copper internet starts to carry text, audio and grainy video, pushed at computer users – web 1.0
  9. Fiber and faster copper broadband gradually makes all stored content immediately available replacing TV and Radio while computers become mobile
  10. Communities form and connect globally albeit asynchronously, leaving ideas around the web to share and expand – web 2.0
  11. The web becomes more and more instantaneous as text, audio and video are always on, and crude virtual worlds for synchronous co-creative interaction – web 3.0
  12. A fork in the road – part of the world goes into vivid real time virtual spaces as fully rendered, photo realistic avatars, their physical bodies mapped in real time from their physical selves – web 4.0
  13. On the other fork mobile interfaces move from the hand driven mobiles to direct brain (thought) connection – everyone on the planet in real time can instantly communicate with everyone else via thought, prefacing the thought with recipient/s, name, friends, family, country, world and voila – web 5.0
  14. Humanity, connected as one consciousness, takes a leap forward to level 2

OK bit of a jump from Twitter to WiFi brain ‘thought chatter’ connectors between us all but you get the gist 🙂 Back to now, somewhere between 10 to 12 and a few slides I have been using alongside the web 2.0 myth image of last year and a few others to be blogged to help illustrate the wonderfully wacky sharing world of web 2.0.

Wonderful Web 2.0 © Gary Hayes 2008

The first diagram above shows the components of web 2.0 with axes of synch/asynch on the horizontal and one to many and many to many on the vertical axis – all of the components can be delivered to the four screens indicated on the top left. It is primarily intended to show that the blue (text/conversation) and purple (richer media) web 2.0 components are often combined to create a well rounded social network portal. The yellow blocks are messengers, digg and rss which act as glue and navigation.

This series of diagrams below, spheres of influence, below is a quick stab showing at a very high level (read: 101 for newbs) how web 2.0 services cause flocking, sharing and interconnectivity.

Here we have the people (ok my pic of Central Station in NY!), a friend and family core and ripples of connection/separation spiralling outwards.

A metaphoric web over the top – ideally a 3D diagram would make more sense but this suggests a network.

Connections are limited to one-to-one (eg: person to company or property) in a non-web 2.0 world

The addition of three example web 2.0 components of video and photo sharing plus combination social network shows how a flocking occurs as well as more interconnectivity stimulated through those portals. Obviously the components would be interconnected and overlap etc:

Showing how ‘you’ via your blogs, pod and vod casts, tweets, comments and ratings generate links to and from you. The more active you are the more you grow and strengthen the ‘neural’ connections.

A final diagram meant to illustrate the simple idea that once you are established as a micro web 2.0 component you generate specific links directly to you – likely to be niche interest.

Posted by Gary Hayes ©2008

Dec 202007
 

Woman pointsWell a bit of a pompous title perhaps, fueled by a report just published by Pew Internet (one of my fav research groups) who reminded me of something a few of us have been bleating on about for a while – that the last 200 years of media distribution have been an anomaly. Dominated by scarecity of broadcast, one-to-many channels and power-to-the-few editorial, the way ‘stories’ have been shared have been a blip in human evolution. The limited pipes that have led the way are now being eroded as more and more of the ‘connected’ (Gen C, Y particularly) see spending most time sharing their conversation and inherent creativity as a natural, immersive activity. They see their expression being filtered by commissioners, moderators and editors as unnatural and alien. The best ‘creators’ will be able to charge for their work which is valued highly by their interest groups, they are what we used to call professionals. Also groups of people who ‘manage’ the best creators will grow and die organically in the connected community and they are what we used to call studios, music A&R departments and broadcasters.

Anyway to the report, PDF here, which simply shows how making stuff and sharing it over the global network is second nature to the ‘connected’ generations.

“Content creation by teenagers continues to grow, with 64% of online teenagers ages 12 to 17 engaging in at least one type of content creation, up from 57% of online teens in 2004….The survey found that content creation is not just about sharing creative output; it is also about participating in conversations fueled by that content. Nearly half (47%) of online teens have posted photos where others can see them, and 89% of those teens who post photos say that people comment on the images at least “some of the time.”

We are also seeing in social networks that have simple tools to create, Second Life is a good example, 30-40% of the time in those spaces are spent making stuff. Humans are just natural builders, talkers and peer controlled tribal entities – that won’t be affected by 200 years of limited channels. I often hear traditionalists say ‘the community will never create the film The Titanic”. Consider groups of talented community creators creating content that will want to be seen by more people than those marketed at to go see the film Titanic and then the value of any piece of content becomes driven by the collective. The long tail may start to flatten and invert. As to production value, yes good training will never be questioned, but the best equipment and the cost of experimentation is dropping dramatically and the price of iterative, create, learn from mistakes, create better is within the reach of many. Back to the report which reinforces my mild rant two posts ago where I reacted against some PhD folk at a conference I was presenting at who said Web 2.0 participation doesn’t exist because only 1% of people create stuff. Well this Gen C, Y research suggests otherwise and participation does actually mean a lot more than just uploading a ‘meaningful’ video (the example they gave of what the pinnacle of community input is – heritage media thinking) – in fact, as many strategists and social network gurus state, the conversation is now the content not the form or device it is delivered through.

There is a subset of teens who are super-communicators — teens who have a host of technology options for dealing with family and friends, including traditional landline phones, cell phones, texting, social network sites, instant messaging, and email. They represent about 28% of the entire teen population and they are more likely to be older girls.

The report post here. Again good job Pew

Posted by Gary Hayes ©2007

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