Cross-platform Pitch Up! ahead

TL;DR – Pitch event in London 5.12. Early stage cross platform ideas submitted by 15.11.

Events that actually look for great multiplatform / transmedia content aren’t THAT prevalent at the moment. There is the Pixel Market, Tribeca have been on the lookout for some, there’s Sundance to some extent, the Content 360 competition at MIPTV… all in all, even though I’ve probably neglected to mention half a dozen important ones, there aren’t that many. I was pleasantly surprised when I bumped into Sam Howey Nunn in London the other week and got wind of BAFTAs Cross-platform Pitch Up (here’s the submission page and here’s the page to book tickets if you just want to go watch it all). If you’re looking to submit, here are the answers to a couple of questions you might have, provided by Sam herself:

Is the event it open to UK only or to others as well? 

The event takes place in the UK so we ask that anyone who is offered a chance to pitch to the panel at BAFTA can be there on 5th December – and although we haven’t done it yet, if we get a truly exceptional submission from someone who can’t make it to the UK, we may consider a Skype link up.

What about previous success stories? Perhaps from the “regular” Pitch Up! with regards to TV shows?

Up until now, Pitch Up! has been for TV ideas, and it’s been a very successful event series for Stellar Network.  Our last TV Pitch Up! received over 200 submissions.  The event always has a full audience at BAFTA watching the live pitching to the panel, and the atmosphere, whilst undeniably a little intimidating for the pitchers, turns out to be warm and lively.  The crowd tends to stay to the end of the post-event drinks, so much so that on one occasion the judges had to stand on a table to announce the winner! More often than not we stay in touch with the winner after the event and they update us on what’s come from the event.  Just one example is Sam Burr who won in 2010- he went on to have meetings with Channel 4 commissioners to develop his pitch.

What kinds of projects are you looking for? TV-centric still, or completely cross-platform?

This being our first Cross-Platform Pitch Up!, we’re genuinely interested in seeing what’s out there.  Since our networks include the BAFTA membership, we expect to see a few submissions that use television as a central platform for the story, but that’s not a requirement- we’re interested in seeing the ideas that people are building from the ground up; thinking about the story first, and then which platforms are suited to which elements.

An important message is that we’re looking for early stage ideas, and you don’t need to have a track record of any kind in this area.  As long as you’ve done some top-line thinking about your main plot points, what platforms they should play out on, and about your audience and how they will access your story, then that’s enough for this event. The panel discussions will help the pitchers think through the potential revenue streams in their feedback. Ultimately, each story being pitched is a jumping off point for the room to look at what directions the creator can take it in.

What about them definitions, eh? In this context, what’s cross platform and/or transmedia and/or cross media and/or….? 

Hah! to be honest, I struggle to care.  We’re using cross-platform in this case because we get the sense that its a more widely-recognisable term in some corners than transmedia.   At Stellar Network we’re reaching out to those people who have proved their talents in television, film or theatre, but aren’t yet familiar with transmedia, and they seem to find the term ‘cross-platform’ more accessible.

And does it matter?

I’d like it not to.  But I have a lingering concern that cross-platform is more usually associated with having a story on one platform (usually TV) and then seeding story elements out across other platforms in order to market it, whereas ‘transmedia’ seems to be used more by the creatives and the purists.  But I would hope that my worries are unfounded and that a word is a word and not the substance!

I know you’ve been involved in Clockwork Watch; any other great projects you could drop, for people to be inspired?

Clockwork Watch is a brilliant learning curve- trying to keep a handle on something that needs to explode in order to get noticed- and I’ve learned that when a transmedia project explodes, it really explodes!  It’s satisfying that it’s finally getting the attention it deserves.

Other than that- I’ve been reading Karada, and of course anticipating the release of Balance of Powers.

Sam Howey Nunn, graciously answering questions

In terms of being inspired, I’d love to see a project that utilises the best online gameplay that we’ve seen from the big ARGs, with social media threads, timed releases of content, an online journey to follow- and then meets truly immersive theatre in the real world- the kind that I think Coney are particularly good at, or Punchdrunk with a little more narrative.  And it would be amazing to see a project in that format that explores narratives outside of the usual thriller/treasure hunt genre.

In fact, the thing I tend to bore people about is the lack of immersive theatre creators in the transmedia scene.   The dialogue so far has tended to bedominated by the audiovisual industry.  And that’s something I’d like Cross- Platform Pitch Up! to do-  create a space for those people making immersive theatre to start thinking about full cross-platform stories- alongside the many filmmakers who are already making the switch.

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