Sessions at SXSW Interactive 2011 about Transmedia

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Sunday 13th March 2011

  • Hoax or Transmedia? The Ethics of Pervasive Fiction

    by Andrea Phillips

    The classic ARG storytelling technique involves putting content into the real world and web as if the story were really happening. But the line between truth and fiction online is blurry -- and getting blurrier all the time -- so not everyone who finds your content will know it's not for real.

    One person's hoax is another's deeply immersive experience. And what one considers a killer practical joke can be a terrifying ordeal to somebody else. So how does a transmedia designer learn to strike the right balance between immersive and responsible?

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 11:00am to 12:00pm, Sunday 13th March

    In Room 12AB, Austin Convention Center

  • Transmedia Storytelling: Constructing Compelling Characters and Narrative Threads

    by Barbara Vance

    Transmedia storytelling is increasingly being seen as the future of entertainment. A film is no longer just a film; its narrative extends to games, books, online documents, Internet videos, mobile applications, and beyond.

    But at the foundation of these new storytelling methods are certain narrative traditions that have held up over the centuries. Without a clear understanding of these structures and methods of character development, a narrative will struggle to survive. We must, therefore, look beyond the Matrix, going back instead to the Greeks, whose myths provide some of the first examples of genuine transmedia. These ancient tales crisscrossed through a complex web of drama, poetry, ritual, role playing, and oral recitation, utilizing archetypes that are still the foundation of stories today.

    In this panel, I will address key archetypes and plot formations found repeatedly in both historical narratives as well as recent successful transmedia franchises. I will discuss how to asses an audience, then strategically choose specific plot lines and characters for specific mediums based on those audience segments.

    We will look at:

    1. Making sure your narrative has a solid premise on which to build – without a foundation you cannot lay bricks.
    2. Key characteristics of appeal characters – how to have bad heroes and good villains
    3. How to structure the story in an appropriate narrative thread
    4. Choosing mediums and messages

    Spoken of here, transmedia narratives are not adaptations; they are extensions, networks composed not as afterthoughts to an “original” creative work, but conceived instead in conjunction with them, with thought given to the story, the medium, the audience, and how these elements relate to a cohesive fictional world.

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 11:00am to 12:00pm, Sunday 13th March

    In Room 18ABCD, Austin Convention Center

  • Transmedia: Transmonetisation -- Getting Rights and Making Money

    by James Kay and Alex Chapman

    Transmedia is here, and it's here to stay. More and more owners are looking to transmedia as a way of extending the reach of their content. We will explore the current landscape and economics within transmedia but also propose new business models for the monetisation of transmedia content. The speakers are the first true transmedia lawyers in the UK. They have impeccable credentials to speak about all aspects of deal-making in this space. The first part of the presentation will focus on rights and money and include a discussion of which rights are required to launch a transmedia campaign; who should have an interest in those rights; how should those interests be regulated and how to control the transmedia process in a split rights world. The second part will consider the the ways in which these rights can be monetised; the current and new economic models for monetising these rights and what transmedia deal-making will look like in the future. We will then close by looking at transmedia for all - how accessible are these strategies to producers and content owners. Creating a compelling content proposition is critical to the success of a transmedia project but if content owners can walk a little faster and stand a little taller they have an opportunity to lead the way, and become stakeholders in the future of transmedia exploitation.

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 3:30pm to 4:30pm, Sunday 13th March

    In Salon C, Hilton Austin Downtown

  • Transmedia Artists Guild: New Media Needs New Advocacy

    by Jay Bushman and Steve Peters

    Transmedia is a big buzzword in entertainment. Most of the conversation around transmedia has been focused on large media corporations with major franchises to advertise. But companies don't make transmedia - people do. At last year's SXSW a group of these people -- transmedia, ARG and net-native story designers -- convened to discuss the challenges of making a living and thriving in this landscape. The bitch session spurred a call to action, and the plans were laid for a new advocacy organization to serve individual producers and artists working in this still-hazily defined world -- the Transmedia Artists Guild.

    TAG seeks to fulfill needs that are currently being overlooked by the established creative guilds and advocacy organizations, including: 1) Providing a community for professional practitioners; 2) Advancing clear definitions of what transmedia creators do; 3) Fostering a culture of credit in the transmedia space and 4) Aiding companies in need of transmedia talent in finding professional practitioners.

    LEVEL: Advanced

    At 5:00pm to 6:00pm, Sunday 13th March

    In Salon C, Hilton Austin Downtown

Monday 14th March 2011

  • Transmedia: What's the Magical Formula for Successful Design?

    by Anthea Foyer

    Deep within our secret laboratory, The Labs team of new media scientists work incessantly to discover the secret ingredients of successful transmedia projects. With the recent acceleration of transmedia projects, there have been a lot of successes and failures. But what are the common elements that determine these outcomes? Is it possible to harness them for your own projects? At this session we will reveal our findings to you, our audience. As with any good experiment, however, this will be a participatory event with the audience having the opportunity to become contributors as well. We know you are a smart audience with much to add to the experiment. After the event, our joint findings will be shared online with the world.

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 11:15am to 11:30am, Monday 14th March

    In Ballroom E, Austin Convention Center

Tuesday 15th March 2011

  • Project 314: Putting The 'Game' Back Into ARGs

    by Adrian Hon

    Most ARGs are like icing on a cake - they make an existing TV show, movie, game or book taste even better by giving fans another way to explore and interact with the fictional universe. But you can't live on icing, so the question is: can an ARG ever work on its own, without relying on a massive audience from another medium?

    Very few have tried, and there are no enduring successes (including my own Perplex City). As a result, many have implicitly concluded that a 'native ARG' can't be done, and are now moving on to transmedia. But at Six to Start, we think it can be done, and we've been developing Project 314 to prove it.

    Project 314 is an online social game blended with an ARG, aimed at a mass audience (just like Zynga and Playfish games) but with a depth of gameplay, story, and world that they can't approach. During development, we found that there are enormous advantages in creating an ARG that's attached to an online game; for one, you can avoid the irritating friction that always occurs when switching between media; for another, it feels incredibly natural (and there are a few more to discuss)

    It took us three years to come up with the idea for Project 314, and to assemble the right team. In this talk, I'll also share why Project 314 is so important for the future of games and storytelling, why it took so long, and how other game developers can create similar games (while avoiding the pitfalls we encountered).

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 11:00am to 12:00pm, Tuesday 15th March

    In Room 12AB, Austin Convention Center

    Coverage video

  • Production for Emerging Platforms

    At 3:30pm to 4:30pm, Tuesday 15th March

    In Room 13AB, Austin Convention Center