By robert pratten, January 8th, 2011

Welcome to Transmedia Talk a new podcast covering all things story. Transmedia Talk is co-hosted by Nick Braccia and Robert Pratten 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.

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NB: If you’d like to give  us feedback, recommend yourself as a guest or suggest topics to cover – please email us at talk@workbookproject.com or Tweet away with the hashtag #tmediatalk

Hosts.. and Guests for this week
Nick Braccia from Culture Hacker
Robert Pratten from TransmediaStoryteller.com
Dee Cook from Dog Tale Media
Haley Moore

The panelists discuss their early & current experiences with developing and executing transmedia projects. Good discussion about the thrill of interactivity and designing ARGs.

Running Time

00:00 Introductions

00:40 Getting started in transmedia (Rob’s story)

04:40 The Lowlifes transmedia project : Objectives & narrative design

16:40 Developing the interactive game for Lowlifes

29:00 Haley Moore discusses The Sketchbook Project

41:00 Dee Cook discusses her work with Dog Tale Media

44:45 The market for ARGs in 2011

46:00 Changing nature of ARG and developing for different audience segments

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Posted in Transmedia Talk arg audience-building blogs community cross-media design marketing social media storytelling transmedia video

robert pratten Robert Pratten is CEO and Founder of Transmedia Storyteller Ltd, an audience engagement company and provider of Conducttr, an pervasive entertainment platform. He has more than 20 years experience as an international marketing consultant and has established himself as a thought-leader in the field of transmedia storytelling. He is author of the first practical book transmedia storytelling: Getting Started in Transmedia Storytelling: A Practical Guide for Beginners. http://twitter.com/robpratten

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By robert pratten, January 4th, 2011

Why do some web producers release their webisodes weekly when they have evergreen content? That is, if their series of web videos are not tied to current events, why not release them all at once?

One answer might be that the release schedule is tied to the production schedule – episodes are being produced one week and released the next. But why not release them two weeks apart or wait until enough episodes have been produced to release all at once or daily? Why not four hours apart or on demand?

My point is only that there should be some reasoning behind the scheduling and not just because TV has scheduled weekly content.

You see, if TV has taught us one thing about audiences, it’s that they don’t like to be kept waiting. They don’t like to wait while the commercial plays, they don’t like to wait while the episode downloads and they don’t like to wait week-to-week. Many people record several episodes of a series before the viewing or they’ll buy the complete series on DVD. But of course audiences come to TV and the web with different expectations so why copy the TV model online if you don’t have to?

Re-thinking your web series

This blog post looks at how you might optimize the release schedule for your webisodes. Core to my approach is understanding how you want the audience to engage with your story and then designing an integrated experience that consequently determines how the video will be released. There is no initial assumption that the schedule should be weekly or any other time period.

There is, I suppose, an assumption that most web series will have more than just the videos: there’s usually a website, a blog, a forum, a mailing list, a Facebook page or some other mechanism that represents an opportunity to inform the audience of a new release and provide them with a backchannel. These additional non-video platforms are what makes your web series “an experience” rather than a series of videos. Even a single YouTube channel with the comments and likes enabled creates a participatory experience. Whatever the implementation, it is the experience that builds, empowers and engages your audience – it multiplies the draw of the video.

Here’s a short list of considerations for determining the time interval between episodes with the key objective being to maintain engagement between episodes (i.e. you want audiences to watch the next episode):

  • production limitations & opportunities
  • distribution limitations & opportunities
  • business model limitations & opportunities
  • strength of story episode to episode (the narrative hook)
  • length of each episode (longer webisodes might benefit from  longer periods between episodes to avoid overload)
  • audience expectations and headroom (giving too much to consume between releases may lead to abandoned subscriptions).

Mind The Gap: Is the Narrative Strong Enough to Bridge the Delay?

Figure 1 illustrates how we’d like audience to move from episode to episode. In this example there’s enough interest or engagement to have them come back for more.

Figure 1: Audience follows episode to episode

Unfortunately there are a number of failure scenarios if the period between each release is wrong. In Figure 2, the audience abandons the web series because the content isn’t strong enough to have them come back – there’s not enough pull to bridge the gap.

In Figure 3, the audience is asked to work too hard to keep up and soon they find they’re overwhelmed with content for the given schedule.

Figure 2: Abandons

Figure 3: Overload

In both these failure scenarios one solution is to adjusted or fine-tune the schedule – if that’s possible. As I mentioned earlier, there may be reasons why you’re stuck with the schedule.

Figure 4: Release schedule adjusted

Using Transmedia Storytelling to Maintain Engagement

Web series can be expensive to produce and the number of episodes is as likely to be determined by budget as anything else. This could mean you don’t have enough webisodes to span the schedule you’d like or you need to maintain engagement between webisodes because the schedule is fixed.

Figure 5 shows how narrative spread to secondary, less expensive, media can be used to stitch together the web series – providing a mid-episode fix of story for those eager for more. The trick here is in the storytelling: to have the webisode and secondary media satisfying in their own right  and hence consuming all media is optional which hence alleviates the chance of overload. Implied in the notion of “secondary media” is that it may indeed not stand alone and should be consumed as additional exploratory content (e.g. another optional layer).

Figure 5: Transmedia Storytelling applied to web video series

Figure 6 in contrast shows two equal media platforms both scheduled for episodic release but appealing to different audience sub-segments or consumption habits: e.g. media 1 is consumed while at work and media 2 consumed on the commute.

Here, each media has its own (intervening?) release schedule with additional narrative hooks and branches to take the audience to the next episode in the same media or to alternative media.

Figure 6: Native Episodic Transmedia Storytelling

Finally of course, additional secondary media might be added to two primary media platforms – as shown in Figure 7

Figure 7: Multi-layered Transmedia Story.

Allow Audience to Go with the  Flow

So far I’ve assumed that all audience members are to be treated equally. But why not reward engaged followers with either additional content or early “pre-release” content? And if you do, does it matter that they might share with others ahead of the “proper” release?

I believe that when you have someone that’s engaged you should allow them to ride the engagement out and see where it takes them. This means allowing them to request additional content on demand ahead of the release schedule which I further believe has the potential to turn engaged audiences to advocates – hence recruiting more audience.

YouTube’s “Unlisted” video option is perfect for this: casual viewers won’t see or find the video before it’s made public but engaged audiences can be sent the link.

Transmedia Example

My Lowlifes project has three primary media: novella, webisodes and blog. I determined that it should be scheduled to be released two days apart over a period of 15 days or so.  I felt that daily would lead to content overload and at three days the whole release would drag on too long.

One approach would have been to alternate the media – novella chapter on day 1, video on day 2, blog on day 3 and so on. But this would have incorrectly implied a sequence or priority to the media platforms that I was keen to avoid.

Consequently, at the same time content is made public, subscribers receive an email with links to the three media episodes plus the ability to request additional content from anywhere within the series. This would allow someone who was really into the videos, for example, to watch them all in one sitting by simply requesting them.

It’s not a problem for me if someone grabs all the videos and posts them all on their own blog because my objective is to get them seen. It’s evergreen content and within 3 weeks it would all be available in any case.

For Lowlifes, the scheduling and on-demand requests for content is made possible by a service called Conducttr -a pervasive entertainment platform from my company TransmediaStoryteller.com and will soon be available for all members of our Community.

Take-away

In summary then, if you assume that the audience always has something better to do with their time and money, it will absolutely focus your mind on maintaining engagement between webisodes and this will:

  • determine the optimum release schedule where you have the flexibility to choose it
  • highlight the need for a transmedia experience around an inflexible release schedule
  • provoke a discussion about whether you should allow content on demand for the most engaged audience members.
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Posted in audience-building cross-media design experience movies social media storytelling transmedia video

robert pratten Robert Pratten is CEO and Founder of Transmedia Storyteller Ltd, an audience engagement company and provider of Conducttr, an pervasive entertainment platform. He has more than 20 years experience as an international marketing consultant and has established himself as a thought-leader in the field of transmedia storytelling. He is author of the first practical book transmedia storytelling: Getting Started in Transmedia Storytelling: A Practical Guide for Beginners. http://twitter.com/robpratten

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By Jason Hood, December 17th, 2010

(via www.fuckedinparkslope.com)

LOOK

Marc Horowitz Advice of Strangers

Now, we suggested a few weeks ago that you follow Marc Horowitz (RADAR ep18 – Google Maps Road Trip) in his latest project, The Advice of Strangers. For the month of November, he put up his daily decisions to a poll for his followers to vote on, everything from who to vote for in the election to how he should indulge in an egg roll. If you didn’t check it out, here’s your chance to see what you missed. The response was quite overwhelming, some of the polls getting more than a thousand votes. And even though the polls are all closed now, he’s still posting a few updates. And if you have been following along, it’s definitely been cool to see it all unfold.

The Advice of Strangers website

LISTEN

Reading Rainbow – Prism Eyes LP

Reading Rainbow (RADAR ep38 – Weathervane) is a blast of reverb-happy, jangly guitars and catchy male-female vocal harmonies. And now they have an album out! Prism Eyes, their new LP, is a fast-paced, yet dreamy, adventure through a series of different genres and eras of music, including lo-fi garage rock, shoegaze, surf rock, and even a bit of 60s pop. What ties it all together is the high production values that really do create a wall of sound. This Philadelphia duo is definitely a band to follow in 2011.

Check the album out HERE

READ

Tanya Fischer (Bambi Killers) interview

By night Tanya Fischer is part of the blood-drenched punk rock/performance art group Bambi Killers (RADAR ep12 – Bambi Killers), but in prime time she plays the character Zoey on the show The Defenders. It’s forgivable if you couldn’t recognize her without the blood. Here’s an interview where she talks about finding time to balance both gigs, as well as her film debut in “The Assassination of a High School President.” She also describes Bruce Willis as “a cool cat.” I like anyone who can work that phrase into an interview. Check it out!

Read Interview HERE
http://www.bambikillersnyc.com/blog/

GO

Bear Hands at Bowery Ballroom

Bear Hands (RADAR ep37 – Dickchicken) recently released their energetic debut album, Burning Bush Supper Club, and now they’re coming home to New York. On Dec 17, they’re playing at the famous Bowery Ballroom, with opening bands Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. and The Tony Castles. Get your tickets before the show sells out!

Friday, Dec 17 – 8:00 p.m.
Bowery Ballroom
6 Delancey St.
New York, NY 10002
$13-$15
EVENT INFO

FOLLOW

Fucked In Park Slope

I’ll start with a personal anecdote: I was walking down 5th Ave in Park Slope, behind a family about to cross the street, only to have a car run a red light in front of them. The father flips out, screaming obscenities and starts kicking the car, and then kicks another car, in front of his kids, with his wife egging him on.

It was then when I realized that maybe Park Slope isn’t quite as quaint as I originally thought. And that’s what this blog is for. Fucked in Park Slope is written by residents of this pretty, gentrified and allegedly family-friendly neighborhood, where they rant, rave, and snarkily report the daily happenings. Honestly, if you’ve ever gotten frustrated by the G train, this blog is for you.

fuckedinparkslope.com

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Posted in RADAR NYC event 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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By robert pratten, December 16th, 2010

Welcome to Transmedia Talk a new podcast covering all things story. Transmedia Talk is co-hosted by Nick Braccia and Robert Pratten 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.

download

Or Subscribe iTunes

NB: If you’d like to give  us feedback, recommend yourself as a guest or suggest topics to cover – please email us at talk@workbookproject.com or Tweet away with the hashtag #tmediatalk

Hosts
Nick Braccia from Culture Hacker
Robert Pratten from TransmediaStoryteller.com

Guests
Jeff Gomez of Starlight Runner

Running Time

01:14 Origins and early experiences

12:00 The Storybible

12:45 Working with Clients

16:40 Understanding the value-proposition at the contract stage

20:20 Types of client

21:45 Removing barriers from transmedia narratives

25:50 Conflicts between writer and producer

28:00 Market development for the role of Transmedia Producers

33:40 Organisation and staffing at Starlight Runner

41:50 Does narrative get diluted as it is spread across platforms?

49:50 Growing an audience across platforms

55:00 Implementing transmedia internationally

58:12 Transmedia misperceptions

1:00:00 Growth of transmedia

1:06:00 New transmedia example (LowLifes) and Industry Discussion.

1:18:00 End

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Posted in Transmedia Talk arg audience-building cross-media marketing podcast storytelling transmedia

robert pratten Robert Pratten is CEO and Founder of Transmedia Storyteller Ltd, an audience engagement company and provider of Conducttr, an pervasive entertainment platform. He has more than 20 years experience as an international marketing consultant and has established himself as a thought-leader in the field of transmedia storytelling. He is author of the first practical book transmedia storytelling: Getting Started in Transmedia Storytelling: A Practical Guide for Beginners. http://twitter.com/robpratten

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By Jason Hood, December 3rd, 2010

(above comic strip by Evan Dorkin)

Happy Hanukkah! And what better week to celebrate Jewish New Yorkers by showcasing Heeb Magazine? Started in Brooklyn (where else?) in 2001, it continues a long line of cheeky, self-deprecating Jewish comedy for a young, urban Generation Y audience.

And seriously, I mean it when I say self-deprecating. For example, for people who want to get involved in the publication, there’s a section titled “Join the Conspiracy.” The magazine covers arts, music, politics and culture, though the subjects don’t necessarily have to be Jewish themselves. You can find an article about Kanye West’s new album right next to one about an expensive, “swanky” menorah.

It’s not all silliness though. One informative article, titled “Jews Aren’t Actually Racists: Who Knew?” discusses the little-known interactions between Jewish Americans and Native Americans in the Old West. They also include sections called “Chosen Books,” “Chosen Music” and “Chosen Video,” where they feature a profile on various musicians, books or videos.

There’s also the “Heeb 100,” which features short articles on “Jews (and half-Jews) who are making a difference” in fields such as art, music, comedy, activism and entrepreneurship. Another semi-regular installment is “Gratuitous Jewess.” It’s exactly what it sounds like: photos and a profile of a rather beautiful young Jewish woman, though more than just a pretty face. The current honoree, Leyla Leidecker, is a boxer, filmmaker and model.

And it’s really not just a magazine. Heeb also organizes plenty of events: On December 21, RADAR contributors Molly Crabapple, Dean Haspiel, and Jeff Newelt will be among the performers at Heeb Storytelling: The Live Comics Edition at Joe’s Pub, where the creators will project live, graphic novel style comics on a big screen. EVENT INFO And on Christmas Eve, Heebonism, at Fontana’s, promises to bring “Jews and gentiles together in celebration of that nice Jewish boy’s 2010th birthday.” EVENT INFO

That last event probably sums up Heeb Magazine the best: you don’t have to be Jewish to get a kick out of it, but it helps to be in on “the conspiracy.”

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Posted in News Pulse comic event music storytelling

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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