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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Transmedia storytelling at the Open Video Conference

This presentation featured 2 filmmakers whose latest projects have extended traditional storytelling beyond a single screen.

First up, Lance Waller, a self-described filmmaker who has become a story architect‚
talked about last film he made 'Head Trama' the first ever project to go through the Sundance Institute as a transmedia project. Head Trauma as a project started with interactive comic, then feature film, then live events. People were instructed to share their cell phone number and could interact with other audience members to solve puzzles presented by the film. After the screening, a game designed to build on the film experience loops them into conversation with others who had shared a theater screening experience. Then video on demand was released as a free download, again bringing people in 2.5 million people -- a core of whom continue to interact with games and add-on experiences about the film. The idea: no one piece of the storytelling tells the whole story. By engaging in these different places where parts of the story are being told the public becomes a collaborator.

He then described his latest project, Hope is Missing that will feature mobile episodes micronarratives and a mobile geo-location based app to put people in place of the film protagonist a child in a post-apocalyptic future who has to scavenge by day and make nests by night. His insight: When people buy in to this they give data points GPS info, make model of handset/ email address/phone no/ and storytellers can track their impact from amount of usage.

He also spoke about another of his projects:

A community that he started originally to help share his knowledge about creating this kind of storytelling but has now become an active online community helping people to better fund/create etc. Looks great.

Waller ended by arguing that we are at a point where the value of content is dropping but the social/collaborative experience of storytelling is thing that will have most value going forward.

Tommy Pallotta, producer of A Scanner Darkly spoke about how he unwittingly became involved with transmedia storytelling through a trailer remix contest for A Scanner Darkly. This yielded such rich results that he decided to make a graphic novel using these files. He then decided could make a mobile app. After the movie had been released for several months he couldn't understand why his audiences were growing in size not diminishing. At a screening in Korea he asked who had seen the movie before:it turns out many had on bit torrent. This made him then release a bit torrent of film American Prince. His latest piece is an energy conservation story told as part feature part doc part rotoscope part geo-data and website

OK Go at Open Video Conference

Damien Kulash of OK GO spoke at the Open Video Conference on the band's experiences of leveraging, sharing and the social web and their split with EMI following the label's decision to remove embedding feature from their videos.

One of most interesting nuggets: pitching idea for 'Here it goes again' treadmill video to EMI digital media head: "If this gets out you're sunk". The video took 10 days, cost $5K for treadmills and has had 200 million views.

Kulash also discussed the making of 'This too shall pass' (see video above, if you don't already know and love this piece!) -- and the fact that the video took 89 takes, that they got to the end of the Rube Goldberg machine 3 times, and that no: it is not one continuous shot: start and end are separate shots and the elevator shaft sequence was an additional separate edit.

Kulash talked about the group's belief in fan-remixing --OK Go's videos have been remade by almost 400 groups and the band are strong believers in open video. OK Go have spoken at the House Judiciary Committee and has met with Obama's team on net neutrality issues.

Build an HTML5 player at the Open Video Conference, 2010

At the Open Video Conference 2010, Chris Blizzard of Mozilla set the scene for what is at stake with HTML5 'we are just at the beginning of understanding what video on the web could be: imagine a video-rich wikipedia, or the ability to translate any video on the web into any language' HTML5 and WebM offer this potential. In order to demo what video could be they ran a called Flight of the Navigator in HTML5, Javascript and the Mozilla Audio API -- no plug-ins required.

Processing.js ( ) is used for animated textures, WebM video for videos and BeatDetektor.js ( ) for audio analysis and visualization.

The demo that Blizzard ran picked up real time flickr and twitter streams of images/video tagged #ovc10 (the twitter #tag for the OVC conference) and featured them in screens within an animated city scene and timed to be syncopated with the soundtrack. Very impressive!

Phillipe de Hegaret of W3C then demoed how to build your own HTML5 player using opensource screen vector graphics authoring 'inkscape' tools in just 10 mins!

Tim Wu "The Master Switch" at the Open Video Conference

In the 2010 Open Video Conference's Keynote, Tim Wu, professor at Columbia Law and author of The Master Switch: The Invisible Wars for the Information Empire argued that we are now at a time when screens dominate our lives but we have to understand that each of the 3 screens originates from a different founding principle and economic model. The first of the 3 screens: TV, was founded on idea of quality and unity = one nation under 1 schedule, but morphed into other founding idea: entertainment that sells.

Computer : in the early 70s founded on idea of openness and users, a different model to TV's idea of viewers‚ also founded on the idea that the computer would make you free but then very quickly based on commerce : first software then internet advertising becoming the means by which it earns its money.

Finally, the personal mobile device, built on usage, like a utility.

What Wu argues is that as technology converges we are beginning to see the faultlines of a battle between founding principles of these 3 screens and how technology will be compensated.

Autotune The News on "how will creativity be conpensated?" at the Open Video Conference

Perhaps the most amusing panel at the 2010 Open Video Conference dealt with the thorny question: can you build a business model around free content? Gregory Bros Autotune the News described their unexpected itunes payout model for the Bed Intruder song ˆ and revealed that they are sharing proceeds with Antoine Dodson (if you haven't seen the video check it out here) and Carla Jovine described how her film
has not only been crowd-funded and bypassing traditional distribution but also how the website makes everything available including scripts , aethetics dossier, budget, transmedia plan: everything is out there. Looks really interesting