In February I did an overview of five transmedia projects I would be keeping an eye on. Of the projects I wrote about back then, Defiance opened to mixed (and some derisive) reviews. I thought it was a brave step, a good story and something I’d be happy to have on my CV. Beat Girl, another of the projects, has since February gone on to movies, bestselling music, deals in the US and so on. Great stuff from Nuno! And Authentic In All Caps ran a successful crowdfunding campaign… all in all, moving forward on all fronts!
At the time, I wrote:
These are exciting times. New transmedia projects are cropping up left and right and the debate over ”what the definition of transmedia is?” seems to have taken a bit of a step back. All in all it feels like we’re slowly – or perhaps rapidly; these are things that can better be assessed in hindsight – moving towards a media and content world where there is no need to talk about transmedia, as every project is as transmedia as it needs to be to fulfil any potential that project might have.
I feel everything is continuing to move in the same direction – towards the media and content world I describe above. With that in mind, here are five transmedia projects, in different fields, that I’ll be keeping tabs on over the following months:
As I’ve pointed out in posts from different gaming conferences and conventions, I believe the TV (and other ”traditional” media) industry could learn quite a lot from the gaming industry and vice versa. Quantum Break is a slightly different animal. Produced by Finnish (yay!) game developer Remedy Entertainment and published by Microsoft Studios, the Xbox One game will be accompanied by a TV series, now in production. Apparently ”how you play the game impacts the show, and the show informs how you play the game”. With ”Defiance” fresh in everyone’s mind, it’ll be very interesting to follow how Remedy and Microsoft pull this one off.
Aurelia: Edge of darkness
The Theatrics platform is an interesting one. It’s designed to enable creators to create a story, invite participants and manage the show, through a video storytelling platform and its suite of social video tools. Aurelia , a ”steampunk fantasy web drama starring you” is distributed via Theatrics and is included in this list as an interesting project to keep an eye on. You could also immerse yourself by creating an account and join the participants already signed up and try the platform out yourself.
Every now and then these beautifully crafted online documentary projects pop up on my radar, dazzling me with their artfulness, the skill and thoroughness on display and the way they invite you to immerse yourself. There have been Pine Point and Bear 71 from NFB or the gripping ”Alma: A Tale of Violence” from LightBox. The Hollow Documentary is another one in the same vein, a collaborative effort focusing on the diminishing and possibly soon to be extinct rural areas of West Virginia. It’s on this list as a great resource for inspiration, whatever it might be you yourself is working on right now.
This project, “Feuten“, comes from the Netherlands and is running for its third season on BNN’s channel 3. It’s a story about ”the troubles of a fictional fraternity group called H.S.C. Mercurius”. What companies Spektor and Elastique have done for season three is create an app where people can apply to be accepted into this fraternity. The culling process involves popping 30 beers in a minute (hopefully not having to drink them all!) and answering questions about the fraternity. When you’re finally accepted, you can – via the app – do all the things you would be able to do in a real fraternity; arrange parties, chat to other members, raise their own chapters together with friends etc.
The reason I find this project interesting is because it touches on one of the things I always keep in mind – plan for success. You never know which project might be the one to take off, and if it does, you have to be prepared. This is what has happened now, with 15.000 members signing up immediately, keeping community managers working 24/7 to keep up. If there is a proper strategy in place, this could become a case study on how to harness success.
The Marvel Experience Tour
A list like this wouldn’t be complete without something blockbuster-y, right? This is something that we’ll see in 2014, but to TL;DR it, it’s a real-life traveling experience bringing the Marvel Universe to everyone.
Producers Hero Ventures promise that the Marvel Experience Tour will be everything from 4D motion rides to VR and holographic simulations, from 3D animation features to ”dynamic interactive activities”, all in the setting of a first-person Super Hero adventure.
Now, I’m fully prepared for this to be something not-quite-what-they-promised, but on the other hand, it could be the oh-my-god-that-was-AMAZING!-experience all Marvel fans would hope for. Definitely something to keep an eye on.
All in all, some exciting months up ahead. Let me know of all the projects I’ve missed in the comments!
Simon Staffans is a content and format developer and media strategist, employed by MediaCity Finland. He works with multiplatform storytelling, transmedia development procedures and great stories. Contact him at simon.staffans(at)gmail.com or follow him on @simon.staffans.