OK not really a Dummies guide as there are some complex elements in here, but one has to use whatever memes are in vogue A few weeks ago I was commissioned by Screen Australia to write a very basic structure & guide for producers relatively new to multi platform content to structure & document their propositions, after they have developed the ‘audience centric’ concepts. This has just been published on the Screen Australia site as a digital resource for those needing to document projects for transmedia productions.
Background? I had already been using a range of structures in my 17 years as cross media producer (BBC, MUVEDesign, GaryHayes.TV etc:) and lecturer (recently Multi Platform course lead at LAMP, Australian Film TV and Radio School, Metro Screen & many international workshops). These structures are used by students and professionals in ‘growing’ their documentation but also crystallising their ideas into a formal shareable team document – often to go along with a presentation or pitch.
There are many ways to construct this kind of resource for a production team but I broke it into five clear sections – Story/Treatment, Function, Design, Technical and Business, all, like transmedia itself, with connecting tissue and blended narrative arcs I am always keen on making the documentation as user centric as possible and that is the focus here, keeping an eye on story, user need and a structure to encourage you to think all the time about whether this is something, someone will truly use! This is also one of 30+ chapters in my Networked Media Storytelling Book much closer to publication – but keeping up with Augmented Reality and Social Media areas, tricky
The writing guide is free to download from the Screen Australia site, link below the introduction. Enjoy
This document is intended to provide a useful, best-practice guide to the thinking, planning, documentation and supporting materials required when developing a property across multiple media platforms. It is predominantly aimed at the producers of such projects, who have responsibility for the overall direction of all key areas, and should inform the input they need from their various multi-disciplinary team members.
The bible that this document will guide you towards is not a production bible in the traditional sense – a format document for franchising a TV property into other markets – but rather a catch-all that covers key components of a complex multi-platform service. Your bible may be extended to a full production reference document as the sections it contains become more detailed. Some sections across each ‘chapter’ may appear to be repetitive but should reflect a different perspective and specialisation on common areas of the project.
The Transmedia Production Bible is primarily a document that captures key story and design IP elements, rules of engagement, functionality and technical issues across multiple platforms, and an overview of the business/marketing plan. Each of the five main sections requires specialist members of the project team to be responsible for its development as the service goes from conception to production and the document becomes a fully detailed production bible.
You don’t necessarily need to follow this structure precisely as the final format will depend on the range of content, scope and scale of your proposition – the amount of story, technical complexity, business elements or design thinking, etc. The suggested length of each section is for guidance only, and the included diagrams are intentionally simplistic to encourage your own interpretations.
20 PAGE PDF DIRECT DOWNLOAD HERE – and a contents list for those unable to see the PDF for some reason
INTRODUCTION. 2 TREATMENT.... 4 Tagline.... 4 Back story and context...4 Synopsis 4 Plot points.. 5 Characterisation and attitude.5 Scripts....5 User-centric scenarios.... 5 FUNCTIONAL SPECIFICATION 6 Multi-platform form....6 Rules of engagement . 7 Platforms and channels . 7 Service build overview .... 7 User journey...8 Key events . 9 Timelines.... 9 Interface and branding...9 DESIGN SPECIFICATION... 10 Design aesthetic ...10 Branding and design guidelines introduction.10 Storyboard....10 Wireframes ... 11 Style guide, colour and font specs 12 Media design styles ..12 Full assets list..12 TECHNOLOGY SPECIFICATION... 13 Technology platform vision ...13 System architecture.13 Underlying magic in the technology ..14 Service build infrastructure ..14 Device methodology .14 User management ....15 Content management, back-end and server .15 Coding and builds.15 Quality assurance testing .15 BUSINESS & MARKETING.. 16 Goals ....16 Success indicators .... 17 User need.17 Target audience and marketing 17 Business models...18 Projections, budgeting and timelines 18 Production team ...19 Status and next steps ...20 Copyright, IP & licensing..20 Summary and calls to action 20
And Just for fun: Get your Transmedia brains working. First a Social Multi Platform TV Brief O’Matic. Instructions on the first screen.
for even more fun: The Windmills of your Transmedia Mind – a user journey randomiser
Instructions for above:
- Choose ‘auto’ (default) and just watch it in veg out mode
- Choose ‘manual’ then click the top right red button for each of the ‘next’ steps
- Choose ‘about’ for a little description…
A Cross Media User Journey…should describe the route a user takes through a complex multi platform service. It can refer to their thought processes, the actions they take at various points, the story fragments that are revealed at each junction as they travel across a plethora of channels, devices and forms. It often captures the essence of their UX, user experience and is often displayed as a flow chart.