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Transmedia Startup Weekend – getting started

robert | November 24, 2012  ‐  4 Comments

For those considering the transmedia weekend on Feb 1st, here’s my thoughts on how I would approach this creative challenge.

First let’s look at the rules (or “anchors” in my jargon):

a. theme must be about “The City”

b. tell a story across 3 platforms

c. one platform has to be physical found in the city

d. has to be built in 54 hours

e. should have a viable business model

You have two potential starting points:

START POINT ONE – experience first

Something about these anchors – particularly using the physical space –  implies I should be thinking “experience” before “story”. So that means I’m going to think of the audience goal and giving them something fun to do and then create a story to justify it. But it can’t be just anything to do so now I circle back to story and try to find the premise. What does “the city” mean to me? What do I want to communicate with this experience? Is it a place of disconnected lonely people? Is it an intriguing place with lots of hidden gems?

START POINT TWO – story first

A story comes to mind about characters who live in the city or control the city; or life in the city. What does “the city” mean to me? What do I want to communicate with this story? Is it a place of disconnected lonely people? Is it an intriguing place with lots of hidden gems?

For readers that get into this story, how can I take them deeper? How can I make the story contextual so that the city takes on a new meaning when viewed through the lens of my story? What might the reader do to experience the world of the story as though they were a companion to the protagonist?

7 STEPS

I’ve listed a series of steps but these are iterative so once you’re at the end circle back to the start.

step 1: what do you want to communicate about the city? what’s the premise? (e.g. “city life corrupts” or “cities dehumanize people” or “cities collapse time” or “cities energize people” or “cities connect people” etc….)

step 2: sanity check: are there enough people who agree with this point of view to make this a financially viable project?

step 3: how will you express this in an experience?

step 4: where’s the money coming from? Will people pay to play this experience? Will the experience generate insights that someone else is prepared to pay for? Will someone pay to have their place of business included in the experience? Can I sell media/book/app/website? Is there a multiple of these that works?

step 5: sanity check! Read blog post on location-based games: few people actually bother to raise their finger to click a mouse or cross the street to buy a coffee so what’s the frictionless way they’ll connect to this experience?

step 6: read blog post on intrinsic motivations: how will the storyworld be designed to satisfy these human needs?

step 7: refine the narrative. Write the story that communicates the premise and supports the experience.

Once you have these down then we can look at the detailed design decisions.