Feb 282009

Unearthly Adelaide and McClaren Vale 21

“so please don’t forget to support artists like myself who have never had a fair chance in the record industry” guess who…

I have talked endlessly of the best ways for corporations or brands to engage with communities inside social media and it is always fascinating to watch the first baby steps of ‘old school’ celebs or real talent (mixing metaphors) dip their first toes in. But there is also an uneasy feeling watching those ‘media enhanced’ celebs of yesteryear showing their human (everyday?) side and here are a few I stumbled across in the last week or so. Good ones, regular and keeping the punters interested with little morsels cast over the side, ugly ones (just why bother!) and bad ones (they don’t quite get it do they?).

One of the best ways for talent to engage with an audience is to carry them along through their normal daily ‘glitzy’ activities. We see this happening more obviously on twitter. Following Stephen Fry as he travels the world getting fit, making films or eating at nice restaurants. Or Richard Branson’s appearances at Virgin terminals around the globe and many more (lots on Laurel Papworth’s post Famous Twits 50 Celebrities-on-Twitter. It is even more profound for fans when they talk back and give the sense that they read ‘some’ of the many thousands of responses expectantly flying into the usual vacuum. I do wonder though whether this entry into social web by celebs is more to do with a sense that their ‘celeb’ status is decreasing – as the attention for eyeballs is democratised and top YouTubers, Flickerers, Tweeters and MySpace/FB stars mean there is much less time spent on ‘them’. So it becomes a little of, lets go down to their level? Perhaps.

One artist I have mentioned before who is trying to engage across many ‘richer’ social media channels is Imogen Heap. She has kept at it as well with a regular vlog about her new studio fit-out and 4th album. She has at least done 500+ updates on twitter, plus music/travel writing blog, social networks and so on. Here is her latest vlog (which incidentally talks about the ridiculous YouTube/Warners fiasco – them taking down fan videos with her songs on) and more positively about her ‘tweeting’ and charity twestival project.

“On a less fun note…what I actually wanted to say re: youtube videos with my music in, is that it’s been a right nightmare trying to sort out why it’s been happening coz it’s NOTHING to do with me! Total cock up, like I said. My camp is (enjoying) slapping wrists as we speak and trying to sort this mess out. I am not guilty on all counts.. so those of you blaming and bad mouthing me (you know who you are) QUIT IT! I’m one of the good guys, OK?”

It is hard for artists and celebs to bring thousands of adoring fans into their world, so like the L Word Fanisode (I wrote about many moons ago) (where the fans helped write episodes of a high quality soapy) Imogen is bringing her muso fans into the mix, literally by allowing them to add ‘music tracks’ to her raw vocals – a sort of remix but affording much more creativity on the part of the co-creative audience. (BTW re: the quotes above and below – nice to see unfettered personality here vs the measured tones of the older school celebs, who still think they are on Letterman or Parky?). Remember this is for the water charity run via Twestival FM.

“Due to legal crap and crossed wires the song never ended up being in the movie. So… rather than it go to waste.. and just sit around, I thought, for a bit of fun some of you might like to throw some music at it so it lives. A bit like that game where you draw the head on the paper, fold it over and give it to the next person to draw the body. So I’ve drawn the head. You’re turn!”

To explain the mix thing simply. Imogen has provided…

  • isolated vocal tracks that together sound like CLICK HERE TO LISTEN. Pretty dry, incomplete and using basic tracking software any style of music can be integrated
  • So a little fun while writing this blog and few minutes later – some apple loop quickies, here is a ‘world music’y’ one CLICK HERE TO LISTEN
  • and one more ‘orchestral’ sounding CLICK HERE TO LISTEN
  • and where would we be without something a little techno CLICK HERE TO LISTEN
  • I will actually do a proper version which involves playing tracks in! and even add some machinima (like the one I did to Speeding Cars at the bottom – but that’s another hat and another blog 🙂

Looking at other celebs joining in the social media fray it is worth comparing those with a real passion to communicate and share vs those just pushing product or perpetuating an existing image. Below we see the much more famous (perhaps) Annie Lennox doing what Imogen does but without the trappings of Imogen’s ‘work in progress’ narrative arc and Annie strangely comes across as a  ‘fish-out-of-water’? – nervous, not quite sure how to talk to a broader audience? I must say just sitting and talking straight at camera, regardless of who you are, exposes your human frailties – and perhaps that is what is going on here. Celebrities who were cast up by old school scarcity of distribution now trying to show to the world they are indeed real? Annie brings the music biz ‘implosion”, jokingly (but many a true word said in jest) front and center, quoting from this YouTube…

“My album the Annie Lennox collection is coming out on the 9th March, so please don’t forget to support artists like myself who have never had a fair chance in the record industry, and as its all imploding now I am really begging you to buy my album and keep me in luxury and comfort. Thankyou”

Even Francis Ford Coppola has joined in recently. Here he is, camera attached to one arm, showing us around his house and talking about his new film Tetro. Not sure of the reasoning behind it beyond the likely scenario of a younger relative saying “it would be cool if you did a vlog dad/uncle/grandad etc – it’s what all the trendy celebs are doing”

David Lynch is creating an episodic series on YouTube which is far more engaging than some of his feature films 🙂 The David Lynch Daily Weather Report sees him giving 30 second enthralling insights into the state of the sky and temperature (celcius and farenheit!) in LA. In this excerpt he takes it even further and tells us that it really is him on Twitter…remarkable stuff.

There are lots more examples no doubt (you will tell me in comments of course!) and I really wonder if we are indeed deep inside the transition now from distribution scarcity = celebrity to distribution plenty = 15 days of fame? As more and more ‘normal’ folk (those with talent who wouldn’t have been given the time of day by traditional A&R, TV or film studios) rise up to the surface – we can expect enlightened talent to meet them coming from the other direction. As media form and channels equalise a twitter star may one day be the equivalent of Shakespeare, known for writing 140 character tweets that make millions laugh and cry – in fact I do that, but for very different reasons 🙂

ADDITION: Hattip to Tanja (missglamourpuss) for the link to this video looking at the case of Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails) who beyond just dipping his toes in social media decided to seriously burn all bridges with the Music Biz hand that used to feed him (with the morsels they had left!). The speaker here exploring what he did (not rocket science: Connect with Fans, give them a Reason to Buy – sales 101) is Michael Masnick (Editor/President & CEO, Techdirt Blog/Floor64 and more from Wikipedia below.

“In May 2007, Reznor made a post on the official Nine Inch Nails website condemning Universal Music Group—the parent company of the band’s record label, Interscope Records—for their pricing and distribution plans for Nine Inch Nails’ 2007 album Year Zero. He labeled the company’s retail pricing of Year Zero in Australia as “ABSURD”,concluding that “as a reward for being a ‘true fan’ you get ripped off”. Reznor went on to say that as “the climate grows more and more desperate for record labels, their answer to their mostly self-inflicted wounds seems to be to screw the consumer over even more.” Reznor’s post, specifically his criticism of the recording industry at large, elicited considerable media attention. In September 2007, Reznor continued his attack on Universal Music Group at a concert in Australia, urging fans there to “steal” his music online instead of purchasing it legally. Reznor went on to encourage the crowd to “steal and steal and steal some more and give it to all your friends and keep on stealin’.” Wikipedia

Oh and as promised a quick machinima I did to Imogen‘s ‘quaint’ track, Speeding Cars

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


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



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!