Jul 062012
 

001_Darwin Walkabouts Pt 4 Litchfield National Park

I was invited to present to a small public group last month on Media Futures up in the Northern Territory here in Australia – this followed an ABC only presentation. I generally don’t do the Futurist thing, I feel uneasy, stepping into tarot, astrology or doom sayer territory, where many factors such as user behaviour, new devices or new format/marketing development are on unpredictable shifting sands. So I prefer to call my approach to future ‘no brainer’ism’. There are some things that are so obvious, in terms of where we are heading, that simple trends analyses will give us some clarity in around a 2-5 year timeframe.

I will let my long 2 hour (130 slide!) presentation speak for itself below but the premise felt pretty unremarkable from my perspective. I am worryingly developing a rather ‘elder-like’ “nothing-new-under-the-sun” attitude. Also some predictions are just too obvious. Making the jumps from smartphones to wearable computing to bionic connectivity to singularity is not what I am talking about here, but a much more near term ‘what will most of us be doing in a few years time’ – but several at the presentation apparently still had their minds blown!? I think that ailment is treatable.

The spine of the rather winding narrative arc was some simple trend extrapolation across four of the key themes and asking questions about their trajectories:

  • Social Share & Online Connection – What is the end result of ‘society’ existing mostly online?
  • On-Demand TV & Everything Else – What does it mean if appointment to view goes away, do we need to learn if everything is on tap, will a million digital campfires light up the landscape?
  • Mobile & Locationalism – We carry the world with us. But what happens when the digital world is layered over the real world?
  •  Transmedia & Content Everywhere – There are no device boundaries. When content is truly free to move across every device, will all our, stories our life memories follow us across our personal media channels?

So on with the show. Predicting Present Futures – a title really based on Marshall McLuhan’s observation

“I don’t know who discovered water, but it wasn’t a fish”

Gary Hayes, Futurist and New Media Evangelist – The media and storytelling landscape is constantly changing but in the last six years we have never seen such monumental change. Gary takes us on a journey from the old days of new media through to the very near future using current examples of the work in ABCs Multi Platform TV team through to other cutting edge examples of Augmented Reality, Transmedia, Social Media Storytelling and Games.
Gary Hayes, an award winning multi platform producer, is currently executive producer at ABC Multi Platform TV and also directs transmedia training unit StoryLabs.us. Throughout his extensive career he has worked across the UK music and multimedia industry including the development of the internet, interactive TV and cross platforms for the BBC. He is a regular keynote speaker, consultant producer in social & transmedia to the TV, Film and Arts industries. He has also been an International Interactive Emmy juror for the past three years. His media innovation blog personalizemedia. com has been in top 10 Media & Marketing for over 2 years and he runs 11 other sites linked from garyphayes.com.

Date: Sat 16 June
Time: 10am – 12pm
Venue: Browns Mart Theatre 12 Smith St, Darwin

Nov 162011
 

Not the most concise title but I wanted to cover a bit of ground with it. I am leading a week long Multi Platform development residential lab next week in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales with some of the worlds leading mentors and Australia’s top projects – all linked to Screen Australia. This is followed by a one day seminar in Melbourne called ‘Idea to Market’ and top and tailing all of this, I have taken up the Executive Producer ABC Multi Platform TV role. More on each coming up.

054_Southern Highlands NSW Australia II 10 000 pixels wide!

Intensive Clinic

As you know last year I founded StoryLabs, a global transmedia IP development network, with 3 other individuals in Canada, US and UK. Then, new format funding body, Screen Australia who were looking for a very practical, production orientated rapid development structure for their Digital Ignition initiative, looked to StoryLabs.

Screen Australia has engaged transmedia collective StoryLabs to direct the first workshop, under the guidance of its key founder Gary Hayes. He is recognised as one of the foremost digital thinkers. An award-winning multi-platform producer, author, educator and director. The founding director of global multi-platform training initiative StoryLabs he has recently become Exec Producer of ABC Multi Platform TV. He was the director of AFTRS’s LAMP program for 5 years, was Senior Interactive Development Producer at the BBC for 8 years, and was a Social TV Producer in the US. Gary has designed and lead multi-platform/transmedia courses internationally and in Australia with AFTRS and Metro Screen. He also runs MUVEDesign (creating story based augmented reality, virtual worlds and transmedia) and the influential media and marketing site PersonalizeMedia.. Gary will be supported by up to eight high-calibre international and domestic experts.

“The Digital Ignition Multi-platform Clinic falls within the suite of support offered through our All Media Program, which seeks to ignite and strengthen digital understanding, expertise and activity within the Australian screen content sector,” said Screen Australia Investment Manager Mike Cowap. “We’re thrilled to be working with Gary and his StoryLabs network to make this as rich and practical a workshop as possible.”

Founder of StoryLabs Gary Hayes said, “We’ll deliver a highly structured program focused on all the important practical topics, including storytelling, user experience, design, technical, business and marketing. We’ll be using case studies and tried and tested exercises to hone participants’ processes, and ensure they leave with a tangible ‘bible’ and clear list of next steps for their project to get it off the ground.”

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Oct 052005
 

Pacific Stump ©Gary Hayes 2005Films of games in my mind don’t cut the mustard. So why are they still making them? It comes as no surprise that Halo (a game which was part-epithany for me) is being made into a large scale feature film. Also not surprising that Mr. Lord of the Rings Peter Jackson is going to take charge as reported by Reuters yesterday.

Jackson and his wife, Fran Walsh, will serve as the executive producers for “Halo,” which is targeted for worldwide release in mid-2007 by Universal Pictures and Twentieth Century Fox film studios.
“Halo” will be shot in Wellington, New Zealand, and will use Jackson’s production and post-production facilities there.
“I’m a huge fan of the game and look forward to helping it come alive on the cinema screen,” Jackson said in a statement.

Big name producers aside I get the sense that this game remake of films or film remake of games shows a part lack of maturity and risk in the industry – understandable given the poor box office performance at the moment. A more mature industry would of course be confident to develop games and films in parallel, knowing that the two can be marketed well and have a life in the market (the matrix and a couple of others had a go at this – but not the norm). Even more important for the future are hybrids of the two – a film that is part game and a game that is part film. A real problem here for me is that ‘canned’ games (ones fixed on disks without online component) and ‘canned’ films (all of them!) are not that well…compelling anymore for the new audiences. The uptake in online gaming is massive, because it is dynamic and has surprise and human characteristic. I think it is really flogging a dead horse, cynical marketing and lacks innovation – the films that have been made from games are not exactly up there in my top 100, sorry 1000!

“By the time of its release, “Halo” will join other video-game inspired films such as “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider,” “Resident Evil,” and “Doom.” But the industry’s Hollywood inroads have not been without bumps.”

This is more about brand exploitation than story of course and everyone knows it. I can’t imagine a screenplay getting past first post if it was pitched as “super-robot guy helps human soldiers kill aliens on strange planets” ;-) Suppose the real issue for me is that we all throw our personal constructs and emotions onto games when we play them – it becomes a unique experience, almost an event in our minds. I still remember a few long nights trying to get Lara through the canal level, yes I am not that good! But I now strongly associate Tomb Raider with Venice! Bizarre, that neural, cross-association thing again – my experience. Making a film of that event is more particularly a single (script writers route, or alternate story) journey through a non-linear game (well mostly non-linear – see previous post/article about serendipity “The Certainty of Chance“). It is like, well making a film that we can ‘relate’ to, familiarity but which is overtly articificial. I avoid talking about the differences between free-form game and narrative in this post as that is covered by a million voices outside but will refer you to this article by Gonzalo Frasca – which is a very accessible read. Part of the ludology vs narratology debate.

Back to this post. I wonder if this current trend by Hollywood is almost the last wag of the tail of ‘studio empire’ lion – the road from being the number one entertainment, to recycling b-movies to making a film about anything that has pulled the audience away from the box office, (video games). Will film itself move into its own genre – perhaps in 10-20 years when we refer to a film it will have it’s own connotation, something about people…perhaps and we can hope it will bring audiences back because cinema will be one of the few remaining mediums actually reflecting humanity. Still like games, in life we should still play with new forms in this cross-over period – some will rise, many will fail, I suggest most films of games or in fact any shared ‘personalized’ event might be one them.

Posted by Gary Hayes ©2005