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Herding Cats – a survivors guide to producing transmedia work
Sue Maslin (Vic, Aus), Producer, Film Art Media

Why is it that so few creative working in heritage medias are making this transition into transmedia? Why are they working as digital natives?

Sue Maslin was responsible for creating an interactive graphic novel.

The way a lot of Australian productions are borne is in response to a problem (usually something quite sociological, political or educational). In this case it was 'how do you make a literary writer like William Bligh accessible to secondary school students?'

What should I take from this?

Experience Designer: The Next-Generation Film Director?
Steve Peters (USA), Senior Designer at Fourth Wall Studios, Co-Founder No Mimes Media

As opposed to a franchise media project, works that have a single story are told in a particular way.

An overlay of the entertainment space on the real world.
Interacts with you through many devices and platforms. It is always there no matter where you are.

The story comes to you, rather than the other way around.

Nowadays, people "can tell stories that really surround the audience and hit them where they live".

What is the process of Transmedia design:
  • Writers - you need a story!
  • Experienced Designers. 1+
  • Producer
  • Graphic Artists
  • IT, Programmers, Technical Team
  • Q/A System & Testing - With realtime projects this isn't really possible.

It is similar to the filmmaking process in that the core team is still Writer, Producer and Director, although with Transmedia the director is called the 'Experience Designer'.

A lot of research must go into transmedia design, because you need to know the best way to deliver aspects of a story.
What should I take from this?

Conceiving Transmedia Franchises
Flint Dille (USA), Co-Owner Bureau of Film & Games

Franchises are "indistinguishable from transmedia in that transmedia is moving your story, plot, characters from one medium to another." The subject that you are moving around is your franchise.

Franchises need to have:
  • Living Characters
  • Game-able elements
  • Identifying factors: aesthetically and conceptually

The whole point of the Internet and of Transmedia is that you don't need to have an extremely big-budget to be successful.

This is the process of franchise creation:
  • The Protagonist
  • Family of Characters - the people that surround your hero
  • Antagonist
  • Home
  • Tools
  • Love Interest(s)

The WORLD of Characters
One of: Lawful, Neutral, Chaotic
One of: Good, Neutral, Evil

You need a WORLD!

The same basic principles apply over all of the media; the key is utilising each medium's unique properties and features.
i.e. Toys need to be playable.
What should I take from this?

When creating a transmedia franchise, you always have to build the world. This means everything prequels to sequels to spin-offs to alternate realities. For instance, Batman Beyond keeps the 'character' of Batman alive, but places him in a not completely different, but alternate world.

You have to create a Bible for your franchise. Concept, World/Genre, Pilot (what the first story is), Character Bios & Relationships, Springboards. But your bible is not holy; let people play with it. When you work in teams of people, from different departments and industries, you have to be able to explain your concept and every detail to everyone in the team.

You need repetition/franchise cues. Relate to the audience. Repeat stuff! People love repeat experiences because it feels familiar and comfortable and then throw the surprise in there.

Because our culture is 24/7 with things always happening, you need to keep progressing with your franchise. Things need to be moving constantly!

Just like any story, you are going to have your Loyals and Casuals. Loyals at the bottom, who are hardcore fans, require more and more content.