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Transmedia Blog

Cities that Tell Stories – the Birth of the Stel

robert | September 18, 2014  ‐  No Comments

stelWhen documentary makers and others talk about “data telling a story” they’re usually referring to data visualizations or data exploration tools like this from Watch Dogs. But with the rise of ubiquitous computing creating a range of initiatives – smart cities (also connected cities), connected homes, wearables, the Internet of Things (IoT) – the world is turning into a mesh of inputs and outputs that creates a programmable transmedia storytelling layer.

One way to imagine this is to think of a single computer image that we know is made up of millions of pixels. Now imagine that the world is the image and each pixel is represented by a computing device. Just as each pixel is individually addressable and must be changed in coordination with the other pixels to present a new image, so each connected computing device can be changed to create a new reality.

Pixel stands for “picture element”. I’m going to use stel to stand for “storytelling element” which is physically represented by any addressable digital technology that might send or receive data for the purpose of communicating a coherent story.

Usually in transmedia storytelling we talk about channels (video, audio, image), platforms (YouTube, Spotify, Flickr) and formats (pervasive game, treasure hunt, immersive theatre). To try to be specific about the “stel”, we could say that it’s a single multi-channel device but on its own not a platform – stels must be meshed together to create an addressable platform which, for the sake of this blog post we could unimaginatively call StelNet.

In this example, StelNet represents 1000 fixed location multi-channel devices across London and 500,000 mobile stels worn by participating, opt-in audience members. The mobile stels range from Fitbits and Android watches to purpose-made StelWear for those who’ve signed up for maximum immersion.

StelNet is capable of outwardly communicating mood to citizens through color, sound and image and inwardly communicating the mood of citizens through noise level & frequency, traffic flow, air pollution, weather conditions, size of congregations outside pubs and public spaces, personal biometrics and of course location-filtered sentiment on social media. Using an invisible, coordinating, storytelling intelligence (such as Conducttr) the experience designer can tell broadcast and personalized stories across the mesh of devices.

John, for example, plays Gratitude World 5 (GWV) a long-running sci-fi strategy game in which he must build a self-sustaining community on a space station orbiting the earth while repelling aliens who try to build bases across London. The aliens feed on negative energy and are hence hyper active during bad weather, traffic snarl-ups and reports of local council corruption. The GWV dashboard presents easy to digest game-related information that’s been gathered from StelNet allowing John to make intelligence decisions about when to plan cargo shipments, personnel transfers etc.

On his way to work, StelNel signals to John the status of his earlier decisions and the progress of the game. Wrist vibrations indicate the successful arrival of new supplies and the blue StelNet lights at bus stops show that for now the combat situation is under control. A nearby digital display, paid for by advertising, can be swiped to gain 90 second access to the community channel that shows John how his mood compares to the city as a whole. He’s found that smiling more and nodding to strangers helps his mood but also has a knock-on effect in raising the mood of the city. He needs more people to feel good about themselves today to prevent aliens re-establishing a command post near his fictional recruitment site.

Utilizing imagination and well-timed cues across a city of connected devices, many people will soon be living in multiple alternative realities.

Come discuss these ideas and more at the Conducttr Conference, Oct 17th in London, UK

Transmedia podcast – The Black Watchmen

robert | September 17, 2014  ‐  No Comments

blackwatchmenPuppet Master Andrea Doyon talks to Robert Pratten (@robpratten) about the creation of The Black Watchmen persistent ARG.

At the time of recording the project is funded to $34,000 of it’s $40,000 goal on Kickstarter https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/division66/the-black-watchmen-game-and-comic-book

 

Download and Subscribe HERE or via iTunes

Physical Digital Storytelling

robert | September 12, 2014  ‐  No Comments

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Congestion causes problems from damage to the environment to deaths from accidents and from ambulances not being able to make it through. For Learn Do Share in London we created simple demo to show how someone might generate conversation around the topic.

Imagine a Scalextric track in high street windows across the city where the drivers of the toy cars came alive on Twitter. The drivers tweet their fictional, dramatized journeys from home to work and reveal the perils of congestion. Using Conducttr, the toy drivers can respond to audience tweets and can change their replies and daily broadcasts based on real traffic flow, weather, air quality and any other real-world inputs.

In the demo we created, every tweet received by the driver caused the car to loop once around the track.

HOW TO

Prep the controller

We cut apart the Scalextric controller and superglued a servo motor to the trigger lever. Then sugru was used to hold the servo in place. And that’s pretty much all the physical prep that was needed.
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Electronics

We used an Arduino controller with a GSM Shield to get Internet access. Optionally an LED was added that stays red while trying to establish a data connection and turns off once connected. We found that it could sometimes take ages to establish a connection. We used the bluevia SIM that came with the shield and also tested with a Tesco mobile SIM which worked fine too.

Testing

The Arduino sketch rotates the servo to a “go” position to move the car and then back to a “stop” position to stop it. The length of time in the “go” position determines how far the car travels around the track. With a little trial-and-error we got the delay right for a full lap but found it had to be tweaked with each assembly because of friction between the car and track which varied the distance covered.

Please find below the circuit diagrams for the Arduino and you can find the code and further discussion at the Conducttr SkunkWrx.

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Participatory storytelling

robert | September 9, 2014  ‐  No Comments

Playing Card Template Single Card Poker:Layout 1 We’re delighted to release our Transmedia Card Deck for everyone to print, cut out and use at home! The cards are offspring of the Transmedia Playbook and intended to serve several purposes:

  • show how stories can be told with audience participation
  • develop creative muscles so that it becomes easier to include participation from the beginning.

We tested the cards in the office and then play tested twice – once at the Interactive Narratives meetup group and then again at Learn Do Share.

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Playing Card Template Single Card Poker:Layout 120140905_151358

 

In an interesting development to the card game we added sensor cards to represent real-world inputs that could be used as game mechanics for the participatory experience.

 

 

 

 

THE RULES

  1. Divide cards into two or three decks:
  2. characteristics, tropes and optionally sensors
  3. Draw two cards from each deck and leave face down
  4. Grab a story from http://ineedaprompt.com
  5. Start the clock and turn over the cards! Now create a participatory experience that tells the story from (2) using the cards from (1)
  6. After time has expired, player(s) reveals the experience

Notes

i. Use the card mat on slide 12 as a prompt for structured answers

ii.  Suggested time limits

  • Solo – 3 mins
  • Team that knows each other and knows transmedia storytelling – 8 mins
  • All other teams – 25 mins

iii. Check out the Transmedia Playbook if you’re unsure what any of this about! http://www.slideshare.net/tstoryteller/playbook-online-v10

 

 

 

Transmedia Podcast – Building a Bigger ARG

robert | September 3, 2014  ‐  No Comments

2014-09-03_17-32-48Presentation given by Robert Pratten (@robpratten) to the Alternate Reality Games conference (ARGFest) in Portland, OR.

 

Download and Subscribe HERE or via iTunes

Transmedia podcast – Freshers

robert | August 27, 2014  ‐  No Comments

feuten3Joris Hoebe and Tim Murck from Spektor (Netherlands) discuss the creative processing behind their successful transmedia experience Feuten (Freshers) which spun out from a Dutch TV show.

Interviewed by @robpratten

Download and Subscribe HERE or via iTunes

9 Transmedia panels at SXSW you ought to pick

robert | August 22, 2014  ‐  No Comments

The SXSW Panel Picker 2015 is now open!  Here’s our pick of the transmedia panels. We’re bunched them into

Publishing and Content Strategy

Rethinking Publishing: Our Success Story

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Ok, this is one of our panels. Nataly Rios and Alison Norrington reveal the secrets behind The Chatfield hotel. We’ll discuss the opportunities that transmedia offers for the publishing industry:

 

 

  • Creating worlds filled with characters and storylines that coexisting on different platforms
  • Integrating books, webseries, blogging, social media and interactive games
  • How brands and sponsors can be incorporated into transmedia projects to boost audience engagement.

 

Distribution First – developing branded content

Brand Cinema panel will discuss the challenges that brands face in the digital and interactive worlds:

  • The possibilities that digital platforms provide for creating entertainment narratives and immersive experiences.
  • Innovation is the way to stand out, but how can brands use digital networks to create new and exciting content and products?

 

TV & CINEMA

19Reinos – A Game of Thrones immersive experience 


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This is another one of our panels. Belen Santa Olalla, Robert Pratten and Purificación González from Canal+ discuss the production and creation of 19reinos, the transmedia project that promoted the launch of season 4 of Game of Thrones in Spain:

  • Spain was converted into a battlefield through a massive referral twitter game, complemented by a webseries, live events, location based quests and social media activities.
  • Break down the creative process of an ambitious transmedia project.
    Discuss about how to design big immersive experiences that captivate and engage audiences.

 

Frankenstein vs Austen: Modern Interactive Stories 

Pemberley Digital will discuss their reinvention of classic stories:

  • Discuss the use of interactivity to engage with young audiences.
  • Use social platforms like Youtube, blogs, Facebook and Twitter to bring the characters to life.
  • Discuss the creation of multiplatform content and how pre-scripted and real-time narratives can coexist in an effective way.

 

The Paradox of Interactive Cinema: Screening + Q&A 

Nolan Funk and Máté Bede-Fazekas will discuss their experience and screen their interactive film ‘Two Strangers on a bar’:

  • Interactive film in which the audience will be able to use their phones to affect the plot and impulse the encounter of the two characters
  • Reflection about the intersection of interactivity and filmmaking
  • Discuss the different opportunities that interactive filmmakers have nowadays.

Watch here the interactive trailer of  ‘Two Strangers on a bar’: http://in.fm/v/ab?vid=V1kwGz 

 

Banshee & Transmedia: The Future of Television

http://www.welcometobanshee.com/

This panel discusses Banshee, the first transmedia project for Cinemax:

  • TV series in which each episode has its own comic book that can be used to discover characters’ back-stories and unlock online content
  • The use of Vine platform to provide a glance to the characters’s lives, reflections and conflicts
  • Discuss new ways of engaging viewers by using technology and digital social platforms.

 

SOCIAL CHANGE

Swartzshield: a transmedia storytelling case

The awesome guys at http://www.spektor.nl/ discuss the immersive experience of Swartzshield:

  • Interactive project that takes the audience into the world of hacking and Internet freedom
  • Create awareness and consciousness about privacy and corruption
  • Discuss how gaming can be used to create a greater impact in audiences and to better explain social issues.

 

Interactive Media and Values Education 

Carnegie Mellon University discusses their experimental media class:

  • How can interactivity and transmedia projects ‘spark inquiry’ and provoke interest in social problems?
  • Discuss how to explore sensitive issues by making use of interactive media.

 

Creating Interactive Comic Books for Social Change 

Rattapallax will discuss their interactive comic book:

  • The project combines a graphic novel and augmented reality to address issues of gender-based violence
  • Discuss the use technology and art to initiate social change.

Transmedia podcast – Frequency – Parts 1 & 2

robert | August 13, 2014  ‐  No Comments

frequencyThis is the first time we’ve done a 2-part podcast but the information was too good not to share and too long for one episode :)

Writer/creator Leonie Reynolds talks about the creative, production and operational processes behind her 2hr pervasive game Frequency.

Interviewed by @robpratten

Download and Subscribe HERE or via iTunes

Grab PART 2 HERE

Issuu content controlled by Conducttr and NFC tags

robert | August 12, 2014  ‐  No Comments

This demo shows Conducttr controls the journey through an Issuu ebook. The ebook is a regular PDF uploaded to Issuu and made Unlisted.
A link to the book is then embedded in Conducttr widget which works with the Issuu API to control what happens on each page turn.

Come check us out the SkunkWrx at the Conducttr Conference
http://conducttrconference.com

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Behind the magic: The NFC sticker behind the card is written to with the word of the Conducttr trigger matchphrase.

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How to Build a Bigger ARG

robert | August 11, 2014  ‐  No Comments

This is the presentation we gave at ARGFest in Portland, 2014.

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