By lance weiler, June 12th, 2008

This edition of TCIBR is brought to you by IndieFlix and Breakthrough Distribution – Skot Leach and his brother Ryan are on a mission to warn the world about a secret zombie outbreak. Their Lost Zombies project is a crowdsourced zombie flick that has user-gen sightings coming in from all over the world. Community members submit video, audio, photos, and articles as they document zombie outbreaks. In our discussion Skot details the project and explains how the community is helping to shape not only the storyline but also a social experience that lives online and off.


For more info on Skot and the Lost Zombie project click here.

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Posted in audience community content cross-media crowdsourced experiment interview online podcast remix sharing user-gen vidsocial web 2.0

lance weiler is the founder of the WorkBook Project and also a story architect of film, tv and games. He's written and directed two feature films THE LAST BROADCAST and HEAD TRAUMA. He's currently developing a number of transmedia projects

  • tools: Mogulus
    SITE: SERVICE: TV studio in a browser — Broadband penetration + drop in bandwidth costs + low cost gear + Mogulus = your… read more
  • POV: Why films need websites
    I’d like to take a moment to introduce a new contributor to the Workbook Project. Zachary Mortensen is an accomplished producer and co-founder of production… read more
  • Call for video collaboration!
    First off, if you haven’t checked out Brett Gaylor’s open source cinema project you should. It is an exciting doc project that pulls from collaborators… read more
By lance weiler, April 29th, 2008

I’ve just return from Hot Docs where I participated in a panel of judges for the newly formed Convergence Lab. Created by DocAgora, the lab focuses on a number of projects. The lab brings together producers, filmmakers and interactive designers in an effort to develop cross-media strategies for their projects.

Cross-media (the telling of stories across multiple mediums, devices and platforms) is a topic that we discuss often – an exciting and mind-boggling concept that opens a digital Pandora’s box. It challenges the concepts of linear structure. Sure there are numerous cross-media plays that just re-package traditional media or the new media plays that just emulate traditional media practices in a digital space. But cross-media storytelling offers new ways to build audiences and with some work could lead to new forms of project financing.

What I’ve come to learn is that it starts by listening to the audience. Everyone is their own media company these days as they publish, life stream, upload and throw their media into an every growing collective of bits and bytes.

The writing is on the wall. We were in a similar situation a decade ago when we made THE LAST BROADCAST one of the first desktop digital features and beamed it into theaters across the country. At that time it was the digital vs. film argument. Now it feels as if we’re reaching a tipping point. The days of the creation of just a feature film are gone. It’s not enough to just make a film anymore.

So how do you shake the shackles of the traditional and move into the next phase of what could prove to be a digital storytelling renaissance? There will be those who say I can’t be bothered and by all means I’m not saying that the story shouldn’t be the focus. It is all about story. I’m merely suggesting that you consider the new tools and outlets that are emerging. These developments allow you to tell your stories in new ways, larger ways, and in many cases more challenging ways.

One thing that I was asked numerous times at the Lab was where do I start? The following is a list of things to consider before you start a cross-media push.

1. Start by looking at the way your audience consume their media
2. Script it out – you wrote a script, storyboarded or created a shot list now its time to look at where people will enter your “world” and how they move through it
3. It’s a conversation. Nobody enjoys a one sided conversation so build in elements that allow your audience to interact with your content. Give them a sense of ownership through remixes, forums, fan art etc.
4. Be prepared for the audience to take control of certain aspects and know how and when to let go.
5. Listen to what the audience tells you even when they are not talking directly to you. Their actions and discussions with other audience members are a good indication of what’s working and what’s not.
6. Be prepared to move in radical directions. The best laid plans are meant to change and some times a new direction can result in larger audiences
7. Remember that there are no rules every cross-media project is different
8. Most importantly have fun since cross-media is a new way of telling stories it is a great way to experiment.

So if you’re looking to promote a project, build social awareness around a cause, or just want to have a larger audience for your work then cross-media storytelling might be for you. I’d love to hear about your projects so please send links and descriptions our way.

More reading:


Lance Weiler is a filmmaker and a self distribution pioneer. His films THE LAST BROADCAST and HEAD TRAUMA are distributed in the United States and in over 20 countries around the world. Lance often lectures on filmmaking, technology, media consumption and distribution. He’s spoken at the Sundance, Berlin and Cannes Film Festivals in addition to numerous Universities and film societies. Lance is currently working on a number of new film, tv and cross-media projects. He is also working on a book entitled “Putting the Mass Back in Media” which will be released in 2008. He currently sits on the board of the IFP, is the founder of the Workbook an “open source social project” for content creators and a co-founder of the discovery and distribution festival FROM HERE TO AWESOME. For more on Lance visit

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Posted in arg audience community content cross-media crowdsourced diy doc experiment funds narrative online production promotion remix tech user-gen vidsocial web 2.0

lance weiler is the founder of the WorkBook Project and also a story architect of film, tv and games. He's written and directed two feature films THE LAST BROADCAST and HEAD TRAUMA. He's currently developing a number of transmedia projects

  • BTS – Cinematic Games when the audience become collaborators
    This past week, we concluded our latest cinema ARG experiment entitled HOPE IS MISSING. The design of HIM is covered in an article that I wrote for the current issue of filmmaker magazine. This post will focus on the results of the experiment. A more detailed case study surrounding the cinema ARG will be released later in Nov. Layers… read more
  • Transmedia Storytelling-Fishing where the fish are
    Multiplatform Storytelling: A Master Class with Tim Kring at SXSW brought a rock star–sized following of fans and some press excited to see the architect behind Heroes. Brian Seth Hurst moderated it. Their discussion started with them revealing how George Lucas invented transmedia storytelling. Prepare to be shocked-it all started November 17, 1978 with The Star Wars Holiday Special. A… read more
  • this conference is being recorded – JT Petty
    Our guest today is JT Petty. JT is an accomplished author, screenwriter and director. Over the last few years he has moved fluidly between films, games and novels. When it comes to film he has directed two features; Soft for Digging (sundance 2001) and Mimic 3: Sentinel (Dimension Films). In addition he has a new disturbing doc entitled Sandman… read more
By lance weiler, March 16th, 2008

In this special video podcast Christy Dena interviews workbook project founder Lance Weiler. Dena, a cross-media entertainment strategist, mentor, designer, writer and PhD researcher conducted the interview for her universe creation podcast. Here’s what Dena had to say about the interview.

Filmmaker Lance Weiler is the special guest on this first video podcast at UC101. Weiler talks about the unique ways he has experimented with extending the storyworld of his feature films out to other media platforms and artforms, and he shares his insights into innovative digital distribution techniques he has been spearheading for years.

To jump to particular topics, here is a short guide:
03:02 The Last Broadcast
14:32 Head Trauma
44:14 From Here to Awesome
54:53 Workbook Project
59:01 Random Future

::ARG Netcast, Episode 39 Lance Weiler discusses Hope is Missing
::Hope is Missing CASE STUDY

For more on cross-media storytelling visit Universe Creation 101


Christy Dena is a Universe Creator and Transmodiologist. She is an industry strategist, mentor, transmedia writer and designer and PhD researcher. She has provided advice and presentations on multi-platform storytelling to the Australia Council for the Arts, Film Australia, Center for Screen Business, AFTRS, ABC, dLux Media Arts and the ACT Filmmakers Network. Christy presents regularly on Alternate Reality Game creation to a variety of organizations, practitioners and corporations such as Nokia in Finland. She co-wrote the International Game Developers Association Alternate Reality Game Whitepaper and manages an ARG Researcher & Educator listserv. She currently advises to clients including the Australian Literature Board and film production houses such as Killer Bald Men and Instinct Entertainment. She is part of the Sense Worldwide Network, a company that provides contextual research and concept development services to Blue Chip and Fortune 500 clients. Her PhD, at the University of Sydney, investigates narrative in the age of cross-media production. She recently gave a keynote at the First International Conference on Cross-Media Interaction Design in Sweden.

Christy runs two popular blogs: and co-edits She will be launching a podcast in July at and has her bio information at

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Posted in BTS arg audience biz community content cross-media crowdsourced diy experiment gaming narrative online podcast producing production promotion remix resource screening tech theatrical user-gen vidsocial web 2.0

lance weiler is the founder of the WorkBook Project and also a story architect of film, tv and games. He's written and directed two feature films THE LAST BROADCAST and HEAD TRAUMA. He's currently developing a number of transmedia projects

  • this conference is being recorded – Heather Chaplin
    Our guest today is author and journalist Heather Chaplin. Heather’s most recent book is “Smart Bomb” which covers the history of the gaming revolution.… read more
  • VIDEO: Power to the Pixel
    Power to the Pixel is a conference that focuses on funding, producing and distributing films in the digital age. The next edition of PTTP will… read more
  • tools – mybloglog
    Site: Service: Social networking solution for bloggers and site owners who are interested in building their own communities. Status: Service has a strong… read more
By lance weiler, February 26th, 2008

M dot Strange reports – This was part of a presentation called “Adventures in self distribution” I describe the journey I took with my animated feature film “We are the Strange” From my bedroom to Sundance and beyond and back to my little studio again after turning down Hollywood deals and deciding to self distribute and make my films my way.

M dot Strange: Berlin Talent Campus 08 from M dot Strange on Vimeo.mdot.jpg

M dot Strange is a mixed media animator from San Jose, Ca. He recently singlehandedly completed an 88 minute animated film entitled “We are the Strange” which made its world premiere in January of this year at the Sundance Film Festival. A reviewer that saw the film M dot made in his bedroom with 9 PC’s over the course of 3 years said “it looked like something Hollywood would make for 70 million” He has recently been featured in the NY Times, ABC World News , and his youtube videos have been viewed over a million times.

Find out more about M dot Strange and his work

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Posted in animation audience biz case study community content crowdsourced deals discovery distro diy dvd education embed funds gaming how to online promotion remix resource sharing user-gen vid vidsocial web 2.0

lance weiler is the founder of the WorkBook Project and also a story architect of film, tv and games. He's written and directed two feature films THE LAST BROADCAST and HEAD TRAUMA. He's currently developing a number of transmedia projects

  • POV: The Role of the Label in the New Digital World Order
    by Alex Afterman – Since 2003 I have run a video label called Heretic Films. I used to refer to our company as a DVD label, and sure enough DVD is what we specialized in (with occasional forays in to theatrical and television, but I always was clear with potential acquisitions that first and foremost we were a DVD company).… read more
  • INTERVIEW – Scott Kirsner & Peter Broderick
    Scott Kirsner from CinemaTech was kind of enough to share the following interview. The interview is broken into 3 sections. Make sure to stop by Scott’s blog and to check out his newest book “The Future of Web Video.” From Scott “I sat down with Peter Broderick in Santa Monica this month, to talk about what’s changing in independent filmmaking,… read more
  • When TV and Movies Get Games Right…
    Credit to Culture Hacker friend .tiff for showcasing this flash adaptation of “Cavern of the Evil Wizard”. CotEW, if you don’t know, is the King’s Quest-style adventure game that confounds 12-year old Josh Baskin and his friend, Billy in the 1988 Penny Marshall directed Tom Hanks vehicle, Big. It’s a small detail, but, from a dramatic POV,  it  probably… read more
By lance weiler, February 25th, 2008

For those of you who don’t know FROM HERE TO AWESOME is an extension of the workbook project. In the spirit of bringing an open source philosophy to various parts of the filmmaking process, FHTA is focused on education, discovery and distribution. Over the next few months leading up to the festival’s kick off in Paris on June 3rd, FHTA is constructing a series of vids that detail the current state of filmmaking.

We’re looking for people who would like to contribute not only submissions, but also thoughts and suggestions on how to improve the festival. And if you’d like to lend a hand with the fest we’re looking for volunteers to come along for the ride.

Wonderful animation by Jordan Gray and Jeff Hockett that explains the festivals submission process.

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Posted in News animation audience call for entry community crowdsourced digital downloads discovery distro diy doc dvd education embed event experiment festivals narrative online remix resource sharing short form sites theatrical user-gen vid vidsocial web 2.0

lance weiler is the founder of the WorkBook Project and also a story architect of film, tv and games. He's written and directed two feature films THE LAST BROADCAST and HEAD TRAUMA. He's currently developing a number of transmedia projects

  • 5 questions for Timo Vuorensola
    Timo Vuorensola is a filmmaker who has fully embraced the concept of crowdsourcing. After the success of his last feature film Star Wreck: In the… read more
  • BTS – 10mph DIY part 5
    We hear this all the time. It’s about who you know. Most professions in life seem to benefit from networking, but in filmmaking it is… read more
  • Indie Film Capitalism #8
    It’s been awhile! As politicians are heavily campaigning, attempting to add constituents money to their political coffers in return for “favors” or “supporting” their political… read more
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