By lance weiler, August 13th, 2008

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This edition of TCIBR is brought to you by IndieFlix – Brian Clark joins us for a discussion about filmmaking, audiences, breaking the rules and the value of going DIY. Founder of GMD studios and co-founder of indieWire, Brian has been at the forefront of the independent film scene for well over a decade. GMD studios has created digital experiments, campaigns and games that flow seamlessly between the virtual world and the real world such as Art of the Heist and Eldritch Errors.

For more on Brian visit GMD studios and indieWire

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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

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By lance weiler, July 2nd, 2008

This edition of TCIBR is brought to you by IndieFlix and Breakthrough Distribution – Jeff Gomez turned his childhood passion for role playing into a successful transmedia venture. His company Starlight Runner Entertainment has expanded the intellectual property of brands (Hot Wheels, Magic: The Gathering , Pirates of the Caribbean) by developing cross-platform storyworlds that engage audiences in new and interesting ways. The design and builds of these worlds have included comics, video games, animated films, toys, and web sites.

For more on Jeff Gomez and Starlight Runner click here

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Henry Jenkins interview with Jeff Gomez

Futures of Entertainment 2 – Cult Media

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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

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By lance weiler, June 18th, 2008

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 Pirkinning which has been downloaded over 8 million times, Timo and his team created a platform to help others crowdsource their movies.

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WB: Can you explain Space Wreck and how the audience played a role in the film?

TV: Star Wreck: In the Pirkinning was a huge collaborative effort made by a core group of 5 people, and a community of about 3000 volunteers from around the world, during the years 1998-2005, in a small country of Finland, with the help of Internet.

We started working on a film with only a little knowledge in how to actually make a feature-length film. Luckily we had a small base of a community, thanks to our earlier Star Wreck -episodes (mainly short animations), who were very eager to help us out. Without thinking too much, we started to ask for help from the community, which proved pretty soon to be a very good resource base, whatever was our need – when we wanted people to help us out with the script, when we needed actors, when we needed 3d-models, and later when we needed publicity, subtitles & all that type of things.

WB: What is the concept behind Wreck a Movie and what lead to its creation?

TV: The idea was when we started working on our next film, Iron Sky, that we wanted to do the film in many ways the same way as Star Wreck – by having the community joining the production. We realized, that what we did with Star Wreck, communicating via email, forums, ICQ, MSN, IRC and other stuff like that was OK, but pretty inefficient. So we wanted to build a platform that would support what we called ‘collaborative film production’ for Iron Sky, and started to design one.

Obviously none of us knew anything about coding or anything, but we had a good understanding on how the community works, and what makes it tick – we’ve always had this kind of intuition. So we gathered some money, hired some coders and started to build the platform.

Few years later we now have a good Alpha of the system up and running, and it’s already working the way I’ve always wanted it to work: it activates people, gets a lot of good input, and strengthens the community around the film.

WB: Looking forward what type of role do audiences play in the process of creating and distributing films?

TV: I would say there’s a lot of roles that the community can either fill or be helping with. Personally, I wouldn’t think about writing the script collaboratively, or trying to find some solutions on collaborative directing, but I think on pre-production and post production the community can be a very effective help, and later on on getting the message across the Internet, it’s most valuable.

WB: Do you think audiences are looking for a richer experience with their entertainement and if so what have you personally seen that shows this?

TV: I’d say that the media consuming habits are changing and adjusting to the fact that Internet is around, and the people want to have a more personal experience with the media. Thus, the most personal experience with media is actually to create or join the creation of the media itself.

WB: What is next for you?

TV: Right now we are working on a film production called Iron Sky, which tells a story about Nazis that went to the Moon in 1945, and now, it’s 2018, and they are returning to earth. It’s the first film on WreckAMovie, with another finnish film, a horror flick called Sauna. We are opening Wreck A Movie for outside productions slowly during this year. I’m also working on few very early ideas for some films, and going around the world to talk about WAM and our stuff etc.

Iron Sky trailer:

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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

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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.

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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

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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:

http://www.cross-mediaentertainment.com
http://convergenceculture.org
http://www.storycenter.org

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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 www.lanceweiler.com

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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

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