By Zak Forsman, July 18th, 2011

The following is a guest post by Kim Lessing.

Just about five years ago, Glen Trotiner, a filmmaker who’s had every job from p.a. to producer, and his buddy, Jeff Hephner, a television actor, were in bar in the East Village drunk talking about two of their favorite subjects: conspiracy theories, and fixing the world’s problems.

Somehow, that night, the two discussions became linked and a story that needed to be told began to unfold:

It began with one of their favorite conspiracy theories. Just before he died, in 1943, the 87 year-old reclusive inventor, Nikola Tesla, who had given the world alternating current, radio, radar, and x-rays, claimed to have invented a device that could produce energy from a free and unlimited source, and distribute it without wires or cables.

The device was never publicly demonstrated.

The conspiracy theory claims the device was removed from the inventor’s lab by Government Agents on the night the inventor died, and has been suppressed by the authorities for all these years.

Their story would begin almost seventy years later as two roommates, Jeff, a conspiracy theorist, and Sam, a debunker, go out in search of the one remaining surviving witness to the events of the night of Tesla’s death.

Just as the premise for The 9th Dot was hatching, Jake Wasserman, an ambitious and talented high school student, came to work for Glen as a production assistant. Jake is one of those kids born with a camera in his hands. Glen recognized his potential and immediately took Jake under his wing.

With Jake’s input on the script, The 9th Dot began to take shape (the title comes from the nine dot puzzle, developed by Disney, that tests for thinking outside the box).

The search for an actor to play Sam ended during a difficult film shoot in Maine. Ariel Shafir, who was coincidently, (or not so coincidently) playing conspiracy theorist in that very movie, read an early draft of the 9th Dot and came aboard to play Sam.

It seemed then that the project was ready for take off. Unfortunately shooting was put on hold when Glen went off to Romania to work on the movie Blood Creek.

Luckily, right after Glen returned, he learned Titan-TV, was looking for web content that could be launched into episodic material. Titian, read and loved the script and suggested it be conceived as a web-blog. Each episode would be a short segment of the investigation. The audience would be participating in real time, blogging along with Sam.

Just as the scripts were finished, however, Titan-TV stopped making original content. A disappointing blow, but like any good story, it didn’t end there.

The gang went ahead with shooting. They shot at locations all over New York City, including the New Yorker Hotel, where Tesla had died, Bryant Park, where Samuel Morse had once first shown the world the dots and dashes of Morse code at the very first New York Worlds Fair, and The Engineers Club, where Tesla had once belonged.

Soon, Jake took on the daunting task on editing, and furthered his role as a valuable collaborator. He singlehandedly created a unique look for the episodes, alternating between the handheld investigative footage with carefully crafted animations.

The finished product looks and feels like nothing ever done before; a true demonstration to the powerful content that can be created when passion meets craft.

CBS interactive saw the first three episodes and offered to pick up the series.

But then CBS Interactive was folded into CNET, so the series lacked an outlet once again.

At that point it became clear that if the project would never meet it’s full potential waiting around for the networks.

Five years after the bar stool meeting, the show is finally ready to launch, on August 1st, on it’s very own homegrown website (www.the9thdot.com).

A preview of the investigation is already up on the site, ready to watch. Self-made and self-promoted, it’s been a labor of love for all concerned and its birth is testament to power of interactive story telling in every sense of the world.

In the same way the character Jeff distrusts corporations, the 9th Dot’s creative team Glen, Jake, Jeff and Ariel want The 9th Dot and its followers to speak for themselves,

The cost of energy is still a global problem. The price of gas is still too high. And Tesla’s invention is still missing. There is much to be considered, and discussed and there is problem solving to be done. The 9th Dot is the place to listen and be heard. Above all else, we want to hear from you.

www.the9thdot.com

http://twitter.com/#!/the9thdot

http://www.arch-entertainment.com

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Posted in audience storytelling transmedia

Zak Forsman is an artist-entrepreneur whose emotionally-charged motion pictures are known for highly authentic performances and beautiful compositions. They have been praised by Ain’t It Cool News as “Brilliant” and “Absolutely Gorgeous” and by Filmmaker Magazine as “Very Accomplished, Amazing.”

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By Haley Moore, June 29th, 2011

Welcome to Transmedia Talk, a podcast covering all things Story. Transmedia Talk is co-hosted by Nick Braccia, Dee Cook, and Haley Moore and looks to shed light on the topic of transmedia storytelling with commentary, interviews and tips on how storytelling is moving into the 21st century.

Download Adobe Flash Player.

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Skot Leach, creator of Lost Zombies, talks about crowdsourced film, monetization, and building an online community.

Hosts:
Nick Braccia from Culture Hacker
Dee Cook from Dog Tale Media
Haley Moore

(and Host Emeritus Robert Pratten from Transmedia Storyteller)

Special Guest:
Skot Leach from Lost Zombies

From This Episode:

Skot solicits some of the final submissions for Lost Zombies.

Max Brooks’ zombie short story collection World War Z.

Lost Zombies’ community is hosted by the social network building service Ning

Lost Zombies stickers are posted to mark the sites of zombie outbreaks.

The ad that Lost Zombies ran on Adult Swim through Google TV Ads. Leach said the site’s traffic jumped from roughly 1,200 visits a day to around 3,500 after airing the ad.

Austin’s KXAN reports on the Lost Zombies booth at SXSW Interactive 2009.

Dead Inside: Do Not Enter is the Lost Zombies scrapbook. It will be released September 21.

Academy Award winning site Star Wars Uncut introduced many audiences to the idea of a crowdsourced film project.

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Posted in Person of Interest Transmedia Talk audience-building crowdsourcing experimental movies podcast storytelling video

Haley Moore is a newspaper reporter, artist, and playwright based in north Texas. She has worked on several indie, fan and commercial Alternate Reality Games.

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By peter katz, June 19th, 2011

At SXSW I watched Christopher Poole (founder of the infamous 4chan) introduce his new project Canvas. This isn’t as edgy as his previous meme factory. Canvas provides basic tools for users to post and alter pictures. Think of it like a message board where users have conversations through constantly evolving images. A long thread starting with a picture of Dos Equis’s “The Most Interesting Man in the World” can end randomly with him as Rebecca Black and the caption: “It’s not always Friday. But when it is…Saturday comes next.”

The success of Canvas hinges on growing a community of people excited to create remixes. With just viewers, there won’t be user generated content to entertain visitors. So, Nick makes sure the collaborative process is fun/easy and doesn’t focus on attracting professional quality design work. Without high standards more lurkers will become contributors.

Now more than ever, everyone from artists to storytellers should learn how to hone the power of UGC to build their internet presence. Facebook is the second most popular site in the world-Twitter, Youtube, Yelp, Fanfiction.net, and many other successful destinations wouldn’t exist without non-professionals.

Here are some different ways to get people to create user generated content:


View more presentations from Peter Katz.

What is your experience with user generated content?

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Posted in Uncategorized audience-building community crowdsourcing social media storytelling

peter katz is an award winning filmmaker based in Los Angeles. Peter has produced genre films that have screened all over the world from the AFI Fest to the Rome Film Festival. His first picture Home Sick starred Bill Moseley from The Devil's Rejects and Tom Towles from Henry Portrait Of A Serial Killer. Next Peter worked with Tobe Hooper (director of Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Poltergeist) on Mortuary, which premiered on the Sci Fi Channel. Most recently he was a producer on Pop Skull, a psychological ghost film, that has received great reviews in Variety and numerous film web sites. Currently, Peter is developing projects across various mediums including film, comics, and the web.

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By Dee Cook, June 16th, 2011

Welcome to Transmedia Talk, a podcast covering all things Story. Transmedia Talk is co-hosted by Nick Braccia, Dee Cook, and Haley Moore and looks to shed light on the topic of transmedia storytelling with commentary, interviews and tips on how storytelling is moving into the 21st century.

Download Adobe Flash Player.

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Steve Coulson of Campfire talks with us about The Maester’s Path, a sensory storytelling campaign for the HBO series Game of Thrones.

Hosts:
Nick Braccia from Culture Hacker
Dee Cook from Dog Tale Media
Haley Moore

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Special Guest:
Steve Coulson from Campfire

From This Episode:

The Maester’s Path, Campfire’s sensory and puzzle experience for the show.

The comprehensive making-of campaign Making Game of Thrones.

Game of Thrones armor designer Simon Brindle showcases his workin a short video for Game of Thrones: The Artisans.

Fans attempt to fix Adrianne Palicki’s costume for her role in the new Wonder Woman series.

Michael Andersen walks readers through the Maester’s Path experience at ARGNet

Writer JC Hutchins opens his Maesters Path scent box with care and irrepressible enthusiasm.

Campfire partner GetGlue

The binaural experience of the Inn at the Crossroads

Campfire partner Luxurious Animals

The virtual environment The Wall

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Posted in Transmedia Talk design event experience marketing podcast social media storytelling television transmedia video

Dee Cook was elated to discover the world of interactive storytelling because, at that moment, she finally discovered what she wanted to do when she grew up. She has written, designed, and consulted on a score of alternate reality games and campaigns, most recently Focus Rally America, True Blood, and World Without Oil. Find out more about her at http://deecook.com

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By Jason Hood, June 9th, 2011
LOOK

My Potholes

What do you do when there’s a pothole in your street? Try avoiding it? Call the city to fill it in? Effective ideas, though they aren’t especially imaginative. With the help of Claudia Ficca and Davide Luciano, a couple of Montreal-based artists, these folks in several US and Canadian cities turned their potholes into works of art—at least temporarily. But the photos on My Potholes capture a number of whimsical moments created from minor nuisances. Watch as they turn common road hazards into swimming pools, donut fryers, gardens, rabbit holes, and more.

Check it out HERE

LISTEN

Noveller – Alone Star

NOVELLER “ALONE STAR” from Matt Kleiner on Vimeo.

Noveller, a.k.a. Sarah Lipstate (RADAR ep 28 – Before I Die) has just released this gorgeous black and white video on her website for her song “Alone Star” off her new album Glacial Glow. Directed by Matt Kleiner, this video chronicles several days in the Australian cities of Sydney and Melbourne. It’s some powerful stuff when paired with the musical storytelling of this Brooklyn-based guitar goddess. Contrasting the busy city with vast desert, it creates a truly surreal scene.

Check out Sarah’s website HERE

READ

Ben McCool Interview

Writer Ben McCool (RADAR ep 41 – Memoir) has a new comic series coming out this September, but in the meantime you can check out a preview of it as well as an interview with USA Today. Titled “Pigs,” the comic takes a gritty look at the Cold War, which if you can believe it, ended two decades ago this year. So now it’s far back enough in our collective subconscious that we can take another look at the whole terrifying era of mutually assured destruction, secret agents and the Cuban Missile Crisis and see that things weren’t quite as black-and-white as we all thought at the time.

Read the article HERE.

GO

Magic and Bubbles

Poetry Brothel, House of Illusions NYC

Our friends at the Poetry Brothel (RADAR ep 20) are bringing it back this weekend, with a magical twist. The “whores” will be teaming up with a master magician for some old school, Houdini-esque illusions.

Sunday, June 12th, 8pm-1am
The Back Room
102 Norfolk Street
New York, NY
$5-$15
EVENT INFO

Newmindspace Bubble Battle NYC 2011

The folks at Newmindspace (RADAR ep 10) want to make New York a more bubbly, effervescent place for its residents. Join hundreds of other bubble battlers with your own bubble-making supplies, and let the air fill with soapy, prismatic orbs (and yes I was trying to avoid saying “bubble” again).

Location TBA
Saturday, June 18th 2010 @ 6:00pm
Rain or shine. Free and all ages!
New York, NY
EVENT INFO

FOLLOW

Second Avenue Sagas

New Yorkers, be honest, how often do you find yourself silently (or not so silently) cursing the MTA for all the service changes and fare increases? Second Avenue Sagas hopes to answer some of the questions as to why all these annoyances happen. What started as a blog chronicling the progress of the long-delayed Second Avenue Subway, is now a blog covering all forms of New York City transit, offering opinions, insight, progress reports, and ideas to make transit better, as well as listing all the weekend service changes every Friday. It’s a great place for New Yorkers to get informed and involved with the city’s decisions on transportation.

Second Avenue Sagas

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Posted in RADAR NYC comic music photography storytelling street art

Jason Hood a recent graduate of the University of Texas, he once co-produced Local Live and The Austin Sessions, a radio-slash-TV show and webseries, respectively, that focused on Austin’s famous independent music scene. He’s also directed a number of 16mm short films, and had a diverse and bizarre series of paid jobs ranging from librarian to travel blogger.

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