Investigating cross platform storytelling

October 3, 2012
posted by sheric

Over the next few weeks, I am going to investigate and write some pieces on cross platform, or transmedia, storytelling. This form of project is gaining interest from many independent filmmakers, but most do not really know what is entailed in putting together such a story or what their goal is in going to this effort. For the majority of filmmakers, cross platform stories are peripheral to the “main event,” their feature film, and so it is in the Hollywood studio space. These stories are largely a marketing effort to funnel audiences to see or buy the film, but the consensus in the transmedia space is the effort IS the project, not something made in support of a product. To be clear, I do NOT consider myself a transmedia or cross platform storytelling expert in any way, but I am curious about the developments of this space and how it might pertain to independent filmmakers.

While I am researching, I leave you with this interview of Elan Lee, chief creative officer of Fourth Wall Studios. Fourth Wall is a company founded on the principle that the next generation of entertainment will be fully immersive and blur the lines between reality and fiction. They currently have two projects in release, RIDES which is a true transmedia project where audiences experience stories via browser, email, cell phone and other connected devices. The stories draw audiences into the action, giving passive viewers the opportunity to become active participants in the narrative and deepening the connection to the story in order to bring the content to life. As their website says, “It’s entertainment…with a pulse.” The stories can be enjoyed both episodically or as a standalone experience. One of the stories within the RIDES experience, Dirty Work, just received an Emmy Award® for Outstanding Creative Achievement in Interactive Media, Original Interactive Television Programming. Congratulations to them!

Their second is a technology software they’ve developed called Elsewhere which creates augmented reality for the viewer  to seamlessly blend computer graphics, narrative and gameplay into the real world using mobile devices and tablets.

In this video, Elan Lee talks about his foray into cross platform storytelling through an alternate reality game project called The Beast which was developed for use by the Steven Spielberg film A.I. The game ran for 12 weeks and entailed endless man hours of work to create and moderate the content because it was being created as it was played. You’ll see in the interview (at 8:03-8:41), this was an incredibly grueling way to work!

Start the interview at 3:35 to hear about The Beast

Lee will be speaking at the upcoming Storyworld Conference in Los Angeles, October 17-19.

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