Nov 20

FOE: Transmedia Design and Conceptualization – The Making of Purefold

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Case Study: Transmedia Design and Conceptualization – The Making of Purefold

A collaboration between Free Scott (Ridley and Tony Scott’s newly launched entertainment division) and Ag8 (an independent studio based in the United Kingdom), Purefold is an upcoming transmedia narrative extension of the Ridley Scott classic Blade Runner. Set in the near future, the project explores what it means to be human. This case study discussion will examine how Purefold’s creators have guided the project through its early concept and design phase.

Drawing together members of Ag8, creative collaborators, and representatives from a major brand sponsor, this panel will examine the project from a variety of perspectives. Exploring the motivations for building a transmedia project around Blade Runner, the panel looks at the potential transmedia might offer for revitalizing older properties. It explores the roles different stakeholders play in the conception and design of a project, as well as the challenges of meeting varying desires and ambitions. The panel considers whether some genres are better suited for transmedia properties than others, and looks at how to extend existing properties with substantial fan bases, considering questions of co-creation and fan/audience production.

Moderator: Geoffrey Long – Gambit-MIT; Panelists include: David Bausola – Co-founder of Ag8; Tom Himpe – Co-founder of Ag8; Mauricio Mota – Chief Storytelling Officer, co-founder The Alchemists; C3 Consulting Practitioner; Leo Sa – Petrobras

  • GL: The origami unicorn has become the blue canary…when I first heard of Purefold I was fascinated. It is an experiment in a transmedia storytelling,
  • DB: We’ve being working on this for about 15months. Asking lots of questions whether this was the right thing. So we will take your through the project, plus one of the sponsors is here today as well.   Looking at design mechanics, insights, mistakes.
  • DB:  Some background….The Joneses. In 2007 Did a project for Ford (via Imagination). Ford asked for some kind of facebook, we suggested it would not work, Suggested an interactive comedy instead.   Where are the Joneses was a sitcom played out through the YouTube, Blog, wiki etc. You could chip into the scripts etc. Dawn Jones was  the daughter of a sperm donor who traveled around Europe looking for siblings.    It was not about product placement, but about a brand experience.
  • DB: we ended up with 92 episodes, published daily, over 3 months. It was multiple platforms, spread around. It did not do huge numbers. Ford evaluated it whether the people liked it or not. Ford wanted to be seen in context and play with their product.
  • DB: another input was a win with TBWA for adidas; setting up a digital agency for the brand, so they could create content immediately, respond and keep content going.
  • DB: these projects caught the eye of Ridley Scott. and his RSA company – they make adverts. But there are fewer adverts. His business requirement was to get these directors some work, so his brief was to write a treatment to get brands to get content. 
  • DB: to do this we wanted somewhere that is good. Bladerunner was looked at – it is all about what it means to be human.  It is set in 2019 – a world that we are close to. 
  • DB: we have bene playing around with social media – and that is about empathy and human. from the business case, this was about RSA owning a property for them to play it. But Ridley does not own Bladerunner. But there is a space to play and design something, about what does it mean to be human/
  • DB: Creative Commons was also important. especially when working with an audience that is adding value, allow them to make new things – which we can also use.
  • DB: AG8 focused on the architecture of the processes, the tools, licensing.  We did the marketing. RSA did the narrtives, (with baby Cow), production, casting, locations.  the Alchemist – developing transmedia extensions for Brazillian Brands.  We had to convince the hollywood lawyers, but with help of Lawrence Lessig we did this to use CC
  • DB: so Purefold is an Open Media Franchise.  It is open as in free to interpret; you can do media collaborations etc
  • TH: the 2019 space allowed us to look at what is just round the corner. Brands we are working with are looking at just round the corner. The near future aspects are a rolling timeline, with all stories set in 2-3 years.   Audiences, brands and filmmakers can share visions about what the future could look like.  With PUrefold we want to open up the vision of the future.
  • TH: But Bladerunner is a dystopian future, not what brands necessarily want. the interesting thing is the bit in the middle.
  • TH: it is all funded by brands. Can we let the films talk about brand prototype. Enables audiences to look for things they want from brands. It is not product placement…it is about product invention.
  • DB: about collaboration to get brands to collaborate with audience to make better products.
  • TH: we are listening to what audiences are saying, to determine what happens next
  • TH: the power law – 1:9:90.
  • TH: So first of all we harvest. We listen into the conversations all over the web. then the 9 % can indicate to us about what they want to see.  then once it is done, we send it out, the 9% comment and the rest is passive.
  • TH: the process.  We get people involved before we go into script writing. We listen to what is relevant on the web. Instead of pushing out for a response, we want them to get involved before production. We use Friendfeed as a platform, we use that as an inspiration for writing. then it goes to production and then out to video platforms.  There is equal use rights for audiences and brands.
  • TH: we listen, write and film. It is about finding out what is relevant/ the advertisers gives us a framework for what they want to explore. Eg cars and electric cars. there is so much conversation happening already, it is trying to find out what is relevant.
  • TH: we have an over arching narrative, we define propositions and synopses. We break it down into keywords and tags. We aggegate conversations across the web, we get audience involvement through comments and likes, which then becomes the inspiration for the writers.
  • TH: it is scaleable, we can set up as many groups around niche interests.  Each of the groups attract a different kind of audience
  • DB: Friendfeed helps us dream, looking about the memories of what a episode should be.  The best rises to the top, which lets the writers focus on the things. The writers can chose what they want. It does make it a little difficult to game the system – you can push stuff our way.
  • TH: using this way of getting audiences involved lowers the threshold. asking them to write ideas and scripts is too high. This is just about indication of what is interesting.  There’s so much info, we have to filter.
  • DB: we are building narratives on top of reality
  • DB:  the amount of content that is being pushed out now is huge…lots of data. But there are land masses and APIs you could build on.  But with all the data, how does a brand cut through?  Clay Shirky says it is not abut Data overload but about Filter failure.  Our challenge is to build filter clouds to bring the story.
  • TH: with advertisers, we go through the agencies to find which brands/clients would work well with the property.
  • LS: Petrobas is an energy company, in 28 coutries.   One key things is advertising, digital presence, product placement, sponsorships.  We are partners also with MIT. We are looking at transmedia with a lot of products. Brand must change their approach.    We need to develop new skills in compnay and agency to do this. Transmedia are a new challenge for us, we must dialog with all the stakeholders
  • MM: when we get a cool IP like Purefold, we think about cars etc, things that may be a lot cooler to gowith Purefold. the challenge was to get the concept of Purefold and mix with how they are thinking about the future of energy. We looked at mapping which stories Petrobas had that could be mapped to episodes,. it is like R&D storytelling. We are developing the idea of what people can bring to the table. through tags and through provocations.
  • DB: we are walking through the pilot season at the moment, 6 global brands doing 4-6 minute pieces. We are testing the process at the moment.
  • MM: one of the challenges with Brazillian countries to Purefold. RSA is amazing, but at the same tome there is a risk issue involved. It is a good risk, but still a risk , So how do you deliver the content in an uncontrolled manner. for hte brands the big challenge. So how does the proposition get dealt with by the audience. are they ready to deal with the consequences, do the objectives get met. So after that what is the role of transmedia around it. We get the episode and then build around it,
  • AUD Q: do brands involve risk giving up their prototypes  and give up advantage?
  • TH: it is not about one particular product. It is more about an areas, ie a mobile operator and Locations based services. Putting an area out there and finding out what people want.
  • DB: it is not just tangible goods, but how they should be acting. It is also about things they can’t change with advertising.  No-one has all the answers, but we can play the system
  • GL: how do you define success?
  • TH: success is in the eye of the beholder which fits this project. Each of the partners want ot get something out of it, have their own goals.   We are transparent as possible. For us it is about an ongoing franchise and continued story.
  • MM: the success is on the whole chain. the end product is a 5min episode.  There are 6 companies involved..but it is all done ‘freely’, with the CC licence, so we can use an asset created by RSA which we can use in our comfort zone. Each stakeholder uses the best of the chain/expectation
  • AUDQ: if harvesting are you violating copyright?
  • DB: no. Copyright is expression, not an idea.  It’s about aggregation, not taking words and using them.  All the data we use is public. If you don;t want to share it hten don’t. Once you share, magic happens. It is the gift economy.
  • AudQ: can we see it?
  • DB: it is all in planning, nothing done yet.
  • AudQ: if you are harvesting across web? how does the audience that is most active, see that there input is being reflected?
  • TH: we see the web as one big connective tissue.   If something gets attention on FF, then that writer will find out, as they get attention.  There are 2 types – as a writer that gets picked up as a source, and as someone involved who comments/likes etc
  • AUDQ: it sounds like your approach is a way for your writers to come up with relevant stories.scripts are reflective of the time. It about creating something that is relevant…so at the same time that people are talking about it the new content arrives.
  • MM: we see following the conversations about getting an empathy fabirc. you get different points of view, the chances of having more empathy because they are talking about the subject.
  • AudQ: how do you recruit commenters etc? Do you hand over the content to agencies?
  • DB: Ridley brings some weight…in FF, we are using widgets etc. We can aggregate on hub, for this.   Yes, we will hand over. Once the content is out there, they can do what they want.
  • MM: we think about extensions during the process.
  • AudQ: if you get it right, it could be a model…so getting the balance between the two futures, how do you manage the balance?
  • DB:it is about making it interesting.
  • TH: we have conversations about what a plausible future is, makes it mor fact based and less bleak
  • AudQ: Gift Economy? How transparent is the brand involvement? will it be clear to the people participating that a brand involved?
  •  DB: you give one line to the Jones, you get 30min comedy.   In this case the brands are giving more than the audience.
  • TH: It is very transparent on the hub, that we have brands sponsored. 
  • MM: it is not every brand that will do this; we remove a lot of the invasive elements, it filters the brands.
  • LS: it is not just hte 5 minutes, it is the whole delivery that is the challenge.
  • DB:
Nov 20

FOE: Changing Audiences, Changing Methodologies

Session 2: Changing Audiences, Changing Methodologies

Audience Research has long been a vital part of the media industries: research helps determine which ideas get produced, where content is distributed, and how content is monetized. Transmedia storytelling has forced media researchers to re-evaluate their notions of the audience since transmedia, by definition, allows audiences to engage at different levels across platforms. Research must now determine how to value audiences across different sites of engagement as they participate in different ways.

This panel will explore how research practices have adjusted to new ways of gauging audiences and making that knowledge useful. How does research understand and predict audience behavior? How does research contribute to monetization models for transmedia properties? How has traditional research adapted to keep up with the demand for better metrics? This panel will draw from a variety of industrial and academic perspectives to understand how we imagine media audiences and how we make them valuable.

Moderator: Eleanor Baird – Director, Partnerships & Analytics, Tube Mogul; Panelists include: JuYoung Lee – Co-Founder & Chief Scientist, ACE Metrix; David Spitz – Director of Business Development, WPP; Trapper Markelz – VP Products, GamerDNA; Joel Rubinson – Chief Research Officer, The ARF; Jack Wakshlag – Chief Research Officer, Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.

EB: Covering the role of research in TS.   In the last panel we were talking about measuring success. Research can help us assess impact; what they do as a result of engagement. Does it change behaviour, encourage spreading? Also what are the goals of TS. Research helps us figure out our goals and if we have met them

  • EB: What does it mean to you and some examples:
  • JYL: technology doe snot make TS. Effectiveness is driven from audience psychological context when using tech and that is what we focus on research. we look at same advertising across TV and online
  • TM: in gaming, its the different types of experiences – mobile to tv, tracking content and artifacts across the platforms. we look at all the ways gamers interact with content and IP. follow them as they change context.
  • JR: we don’t use the term. We use cross-media, or 360 media marketing. What it means is living in a 360 world, with human lives a the centre. The questions coming from marketers are quite different; what meshes with a brand strategy has got more complicated – but more interesting in a way. we;’re having more fun!
  • JW: trying to create more opportunities to immerse themselves, when when and for as long as they want with content we can offer.  large scale and long term, , CNN TV vs etc.  Some simultaneous or some asynch
  • EB: so what role does research play?
  • TM: the amount of research we can do is reliant on the data available.  Prior to the last gen of consoles, it was less, fewer people to generate data. We aggregate explicit interactions from data networks trying to merge with behavioural targeting types etc, browsing and watching videos, sharing, plus the network data on the playing.
  • JR: It’s not a force in marketing that is happening in isolation. We are learning a lot about how the human mind works. Interested in behavioural economics – it’s not all rational for decisions. Have to look at what people are looking for and understand what is up for grabs. Engagement counts for a minority in customers; advertisers should be asking different questions, purposing touchpoints in different ways. each touchpoint does a different things I see digital and shopper marketing will merge – the mobile device is the main point.  Were not constructing these metrics nor have the right tests in place to do this. How does the ability TV create meaning and shopping create activation come together?
  • JW: we can do almost anything if we have enough money,. the question is what should we spend our money on. We need metrics to assess size/scope of businesses, what we should stop etc. If we can’t measure it you don’t know how big/strong it is or what you can do it./ figuring out social media does not fly, you have to ask what you want to know – hoe many people, what they do. It is not the figuring out we have to focus on questions about business metrics. it can be behavioural or financial. don’t care if transmedia, uni or what. There are 3 things i need to know – how may, how often. how long. Need to know it about every medium I play in. Not all I need to know, but key for all channels.
  • JYL: Our metrics are different from many/long/often.  But what we focused on the vast majority of audience that take no action after seeing a commercial. Advertisers need to understand effectiveness evenif no one takes actions there and then. We focus on developing ways to assess from behavioural data.
  • EB: What do we have now or where are we falling short?
  • JW: we have nothing except what people say. we don’t believe what people tell us (if we did, no-one watched the OJ trial). We need to find a way to go deeper. there are companies that are helping us explain non-concious decisions making, we can get info. Asking people what they want does not give you.
  • TM: easy to measure when not, or don’t or actively choose not to.   We looked at Amazon, looking at what people actively did not vote. So the got presented options and watched what they flicked by.. It’s about trying to present choices, so they can actively chose to consume or not, to skip by.  Present as many options for choice and using implicit actions to discern the process
  • JR: Media companies used to think of themselves in terms of the platform they are on. Now content is the organising principles. Thinking about it this way, is a media or publisher perspective and may not be the right way for an advertiser. Not sure impressions are additive. not sure you can add mobile, tv web impressions etc. So we need to consider measuring the holistic user experience, to calculate the multiplatform reach. or get accurate on each platform and put together as a secondary measure.
  • JW: the average person on TV is 35hrs a week, average is 6hrs a week online.  Your world may be different, but that’s the world I live.  Online video is 3hrs month, about half is YT shortform, then Hulu. Neither of them have made a nickel in profit. We have to deal with ad impressions and time spent and count. Sometimes we have to live with the reality is 95% is TV, 4% is timeshifted. Those are the facts that I must grapple with.
  • JYL: Online vs TV is different mind set. TV is passively engageed, so enough brainspace to accept advertising. Online they are more engageed, so not enough room to process advertising. Watching TV is driving with no distraction…online is like driving and texting…
  • JR: from a branding POV…you need to have strong properties.  One of the ways MTV evaluated the different environments for The Hills (online, tv), they looked at brand perceptions. If they consumed in all environments, then highest engagement metrics. but is it that people are more engaged are are looking for the environs or are they engaged because the environments. But it does not matter. you have extended the brand experience in places that are new, it is up to you to assess whether they will add value and then build it. you should do it as entertainment or brand – eg Zappos. their culture is online via social media as well. It’s not just about media measurement it is also about what you want to be.
  • JW: Cause and effect is really important. If building cross platform makes people more interested, but I’m convinced it’s the other way. More interested people look for cross platforms. We provide opportunities to immerse themselves as deep as they want. heavy users of are heavy users of CNN. People are watching more TV than ever before.
  • JYL: from an advertisers perspectives it s simple – can I use the same TV ad and put it online. Our online people have created something can we put it on tv. When they have something good they want to use it different platforms.
  • TM: looking at the gamin space, none of the TS things in gaming, non have been very successful in driving engagement over and above the ones who would be engaged anyway. Metrics not there yet as data is not there, not mature itself. We need unified identity to help. few have made =the idea of TS to move more units. No-one has unlocked how to take a relevant message and target it by behaviour.
  • JR: if you are creating a brand and deciding strategy, you have to decide which media will be the essence which matches the essence of the brand.  Some brands have specific channels. There are multiple plays in the playbook, one of the aspects in media measurement is a testing aspect. You may have alternate strategies, you need to test them. There are organisations that have an experimental design approach to assess effectiveness.
  • EB: Looking to the future, if you could have metric/tech what would you it worth measuring?
  • JW: In my dream, I;’m not sure how to do it. I need lots of metrics..but the ones I need for tv and mobile, is many, often, long. I can’t get those three now.  Everyone Knows it but no one does it! We re decades away from answering the fundamental metrics of those 3 platforms
  • TM: we are going to have to unify a lot of data silos.  Huge data warehousing problems. the data may be collected but consumers are uncertain about it being used. It is up to us to package the data as value add so it does not matter it being used. In gaming, data is useful as it is packaged back as profile etc, but does not work well in TV if they track everything you watch etc. If we can bring all the data together and make it portable then we may be able to do this.
  • JYL: After the many/often/long, then advertisers want to know what kind of content can be used across the platforms. can I re-use stuff, can I use the 10sec from online on tv and still get ROI. most people do not take action, but most is not designed to generate immediate action,. have to be able to measure cumulative impact and then on the impact on behaviour. Standards is good, so they can compare against competitors and past behaviour.
  • JR: if you have a multiplatform brand communication effort, and if it is important to you then you will probably commission a study. They are expensive discrete projects that are hard work to assess the impact. they are expensive, lots of time so limit usage. It is hard t build up a knowledge base. I would love to find a way that media becomes self-measuring, so it is generated as it goes. So the energy goes into not collecting the response but in analysing the response. In a digital space it is much more imaginable about how this works. It’s passive self-measuring is what I want.
  • EB: How can the research side work with  the experience teams in a way that is constructive.
  • JR: I got interested in engagement and dimensionalising it. I tried to calculate the % of sales from engaged customers. Most is more than half sales, but 10-15% of customers. You need to dimensionalise for the situation you are in,, the need to build the platform. For others it is important, for others it is OK to have a transactional view. you need to have a business perspective to create a proportional view.  For a storytelling perspectives, the story still needs to stand up on core platforms, or most won’t go and find the rest.
  • JW: We are fortunate that the core business is growing, people are watching more TV. this allows us to do new and experimental things. We want to provide the options. Do we think the numbers will be large – no. Even of the numbers are not large, I can still be successful, the most engaged customers go, that is where the people who like the product go. You come to us and be prepared to try new stuff but accept that the numbers may be small. Not everything you try is a success. We learn form our failures, not our successes.
  • JYL :Engagement is hard to figure out. Engagement with a programme is not the same as brand etc. Until there is answer to what is engagement, then advertisers have a problem with using that as a standardised metrics.
  • TM :one of key successes in gaming is UGC, and how gamers self-organise in other channels. In MMORPG, guilds were not planned, but they happened. Now gamers are trying to get that to happen elsewhere. it is too new, there are not enough examples. the companies are having to change the models the games are sold, you can lower upfront cost and pick it up for new content. Or a free-to-play model with microtransactions. there is a shakeup and it is too early/
  • EB (via backchannel). If you could quantify engagement, would it change business.
  • JW: we fool ourselves that small niche projects make a model. I would generalise that big brands have more engagement and loyalty than small brands. Coke is coke…if you are trying to create small niche products that is not the way products get big. Successful bigger brands have a different approach.   the difference between TNT and FOX, it is not the time spent, it is the number, Far more people spend time with FOX, even if the time spent is very the same. Small brands suffer on two counts – few people choose them and not very often…law of double jeopardy (1963..missed name). There are exceptions,,eg religious, language – lower reach, longer time spans. Looking at transmedia opportunity, be realistic in how big it can be. It does not have to be big to work for us.
  • JYL: shopping and consumption is a social activity, you want to buy things your friends have.
  • JW: it is partly to do with brand awareness as well, you don’t choose brand you have never heard of. Even if equally good. (measures on perception and return). Even if 2 places are equally good, you tend to go to the one that more has heard of.
  • JR: My problem is that whenever i try to measure it with respect to branding, it is a different brand equity measure, close to brand loyalty, so does not add much. In entertainment, there is a slightly different measure. the big win would be about finding away to apply behavioural economics to marketing problems. Understanding the heuristics that shoppers use to make split second decisions is a more fruitful area than new metrics.  Whereever you can analyse it, it exists. It happens in media, If you want to find light tv users, you look for them in the big shows, not the long tail.
  • JW: of you don’t know how you want to measure it, then you will never know. If you ask them, they will never know, it is unconcious process.  Innerscope we have used…they will measure pupils, heartbeat, sweating etc. Tey are measures that make sense to me, not asking people.
  • JYL: there are ways of asking questions, that do not rely on rational opinion. Innerscope are good for measuring reactions, but practically it is hard to attract people to that study…no-one likes to to be in a machine to watch a commercial. We are trying to look for alternates, they act as a proxy for physiological changes.  Fear of unknown is one reason you go for the larger brand.
  • JR: I took over a marketing class and asked them to write their favourite brand. I asked her how they knew about a brand -no-one said tv. it was peer recommendations.  eg for a mac. But they all knew the Apple commercials by name. the influence of those commercials was not something that could be said.
  • AudQ: how can you do AugReality/mobile in a store. One of the things a web does is give comments…so people can add their own impressions of products. Is there for marketing to get aroudn this? Will it push large bransds to get better
  • JR: there will be brand teams that will be in denial and prevent it and the others will embrace it.  Will also embrace it as manufacturers fight with retailers. So apps allow manufacturers bring their message right into the store, bypassing the retailers. Eg an app to show IUPC code which then shows video about the organic growers, tell the story. you have to be able to embrace it. The smartest people are some of the smaller guys.. but also P&G and Unilever who are all over this stuff.
  • AudQ: Do we need the big measurements or do we need to redefine it?
  • JW: I have 140 people who comb through data and that is there job. Data turned into information and turn it into knowledge and that is their job. You want overriding rules of the road as you don’t need to test everything and ask data questions everyday. There’s tonnes of data out there, but we don’t have people who make sure it is really good, etc, I will not do business with any company that hides behind a black box. Quantcast is not someone I do business with as it is a black box. I need people who will take the data and analyse it to provide information., We don’t know who is online..a lot of people share their computers, erase cookies etc. We have data, we don’t know the demos, how much money etc, we know they visited and then someone used the computer to go elsewhere.
  • TM: When we look at the data directly on the wire. There’s value but it seems really small.  franchise and genre loyal people, with TS experiences, you never get the huge initial audience, it is hard to get back to the main release. there is value created but not a lot.
  • JW: has data you could use, funded by Neilson, they did a large scale multiplatform observational study.  It’s as big and as close as any study has come.
  • JR: you can also mine social media, get insights into hat people think about you and your competitors, plus lifestyle issues etc, Collectively this is referred to as listening. This is about listening for the unexpected.   Comparing research questionnaires vs listening – value in both, but different insights. In research, the researcher controls terminology, in listening ,the user controls it.
  • AudQ: About CNN…every network comes underfire. When networks were putting more focus on Letterman/Palin than Iran, then the tweets CNNFAIL appeared to be reacted to. Also Stewart reactions,. So how do you measure the metrics of complaint?
  • JW: We monitor Twitter, Facebook, blogs, letters, emails. We respect the feedback from people who spend time to send us a message. We are an audience facing business, we have to respect the audience.  You can’t ignore the feedback but you have to weigh it. as CNN as a professional journalist whether you did a good job. We look at shows everyday and ask us the questions about journalism..dod we do the job we should have. Proud to say that CNN take the job seriously.
  • AudQ: would like to respond to some of the statistics.  If you take the average audience, that is a problem. Add age demographics then it is different (JW: that is untrue) So how do you measure?
  • JW: we gather data in a public way..I challenge you to show me data about what they DO.  We have looked at it in 3 ways and all show 15-24 watch lots of TV. People under age of 17 spend least time online as they have the least time. (Missed some as it got into a back and forth overlapping discussion)
  • AudQ: Many/Long/Often is based on advertising.. But not a lot on why. If you can’t do the how questions is this an opportunity to come up with new measures. So why focus on the old measures if there are opps to talk about the why?
  • JW: so I need to know what I want to know the why? It is not that I don’t need to know the why, when I’m doing the media plan, working out how to much to pay people to create, I need to know the How.  We have models on the how
  • JR :you need to know both. but there is commercial purpose for all. I did a meta-analysis of ad campaigns. What you heard in echo chamber it said TV was no longer viable, but the analysis showed that is was as effective as ever. Media strategies and brand platforms need to be done together.    Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty was one of the most innovative campaigns recently. It was all about the customer, not the change to the product.  TV is not everything…it is like a rubiks cube, you have to solve everything together. to do that you need to know they why but you have to quantify it to take it back to the commercial space
  • TM: look to gaming space. we know how many and how long, so the why is being played with. games companies are finding that it is not successful way of monetising as it is the same small group.  Now it is the the change of audience that is happening, eg Eve, moving to a FPS platform, to go after a new audience.
  • JYL: it also depends on product. One of the most successful campaigns…insect repellent, there is a belt clip version of this product (OFF) not a lot of engagement.  they put on a TV ad, they spent a little amount..sales 400% increase right after. Low interest, no brand loyalty…TV large audience has large impact.
  • AudQ: Jack, you are concerned about what people DO rather than say they do. So how do you approach situations where metrics not really reliable…eg Time Magazine poll, Twitter trending topics. Metrics as what is goign on vs cultural attitudes.
  • JW: is a big problem, we know people game the figures. Eg ad click farms. It is about data quality, and quality controls. It should in theory be large and stable but people can  game it, so not there.   It is a problem for us. you can criticise the Neilson system, how can they generalise from 18k to all the home, I wish they could do something better but you take the metrics you have.
  • TM: Game data is very young but there are the same challenges. People who leave games on. they are anomolies, but not huge. eg gold farmers, It can be filtered out, normalised for outliers.
  • JYL: extreme data is online, the vocal minority rules the space. you need 3rd party non-biased, not just the listened to stuff in tweets etc. these opinions are skewered and you need more.
  • AudQ: What internal discussion about making the data publicly available for us to use?
  • JW: It is not our data, we buy it from another company.  I’d love to know where Quantcast get the data from.
  • JYL: as a data provider, we have a business to run. It is hard to make profit by providing data in public. We collect data as well as we can, then make it to other businesses. It is hard to give it away.
  • JW: Has access to all TV data..come and talk to me about getting access as long as it serves a useful purpose.
  • TM: in the same boat. We have provided lots of data to MIT Lab, there is a lot of data out there. we will work with anyone who will look at it.
  • JR: so what analysis would you do?
  • AudQ: what is more valuable, data or analysis?
  • JR: or is it C….what is the data, so what is the analysis and the now what is the business decisions.
  • JW: the data are useless, the information and knowledge is useful. I create the whys, the explanations., Humans observe the world and come up with explanations.We construct explanations for the things I see. My managers don’t want to see data everyday, they want information and knowledge, i need to search for empirical irregularities and come up with why. It is my job to find the secret sauce., If it was easy, I’d be rich! But it’s not and I’m wrong sometimes.
  • JYL: yes, it’s the information,. Look at the large amount of financial data, but few people saw it coming
  • JR: but it is not good enough, you have to take a stand and do something.  With the TV world changing, about DVR etc, the tv people had to make the call about what to do. It is not the analysis, but the choice to make a choice and be held accountable for it.  Everyone should have a now what moment with respect to their business. this is a cultural change, one of the aspects of being a researcher is doing great analysis. It is not good enough anymore, we need to find a way to drive the business forward.  We need to get the marketers past their fear of control.
  • JW: you need to build a model with one set of data..and then test it with another!
Nov 20

FOE – Producing Transmedia Experiences: Stories in a Cross-Platform World


Session 1: Producing Transmedia Experiences: Stories in a Cross-Platform World
As the production of transmedia experiences becomes more commonplace, this panel seeks to pick apart some of the tensions emerging around transmedia as creative practice. As a narrative form, what is transmedia anyway? How can we keep it from being more than a shorthand excuse for multi- or cross-platform narratives? Is it anything more than that? Need it be?

Focussing around a series of case-studies, this panel digs into questions around genre, interactivity, and franchising? Are there certain genre constraints to transmedia narratives, particular genres — science fiction, drama — better suited to become transmedia properties than others? What might a transmedia event built around a romantic comedy look like? What role does interactivity play in transmedia narratives? Can transmedia narratives be satisfying simply by distributing their narrative in lots of forms, or does an “effective” transmedia narrative require opportunities for the audience to “participate” in a more active way than simply interpreting and discussing amongst themselves? Does transmedia require room for the audience to take a narrative in their own directions?

Moderator: Jason Mittell – Middlebury College. Panelists: Brian Clark – Partner and CEO, GMD Studios; Michael Monello– Co-Founder & Creative Director, Campfire; Derek Johnson – University of North Texas; Victoria Jaye – Acting Head of Fiction & Entertainment Multiplatform Commissioning, BBC; Patricia Handschiegel – Serial Entrepeneur, Founder of

  • JM: asked our panellists to add their own definition of Transmedia Storytelling (TS)
  • PH: founder of Nine; how we see it is a solution ot the fragmented market, takes that approach to it; I bring that mindset into new places
  • DJ: a definition is a cultural experience that is shared and proliferated across channels. There is a place for adaptations etc, one of the strengths is about thinking about all the different ways that it can be done.  My interest is about the media franchise, eg IP that is shared by multiple sites of production
  • VJ: we don’t use TS much we tend to use the world multi-platform. they unfold across multiple places, to encourage discovery and access. We see the lifecycle of our content expanded by this world.   Expand reach, innovate and provide a platform for new talent etc.
  • MM: founded Campfire, does things like True Blood.  I tend to shoot down all terms for what we do but not having an answer. It’s about freedom as a story teller, freedom from gatekeepers, freedom to tell stories in way that are unconstrained.
  • BC: Mike and I both come from independent media, excited by the opposite to what HJ said. TS is the result of freedom of talent, not the goal. I tend to use the goal of experience design, interested in the performance relationship as well. It’s not about designing for each box at the time, which seems to be the TV model. It’s about making narratives about of everyday consumption
  • JM: not always clear what examples people share? So I asked the panel to come along with an example to discuss.
  • BC: wants to talk about an original IP we are doing – a techno-thriller. A few years ago we created an experience where we would get people lost. we had 38 hours of character immersion. we watched it all. we did not hide cameras everywhere, but we could have. The idea of losing ocntrol, of letting the audience be part of the narrative, the active protagonists of it, reshapes the idea of all media we touch, about getting it early in process.
  • MM: HBO and true Blood. In writers strike, we met then, looked at building websites, about 20 of them. no connecting story, just sites that should exist outside the show. The HBO said we could not put up a bunch of sites, needed a story. We were tasked with the story of how the vampires had come out the coffin, how true Blood was developed. We had 2m views of the online episode for a show that had not been promoted. We created the framework, then we had ad agencies working off the framework. For Series 2, we were asked to reflect on how the world had changed, we worked with Gawker to integrate the blog into their network.  there were lots of issues, about control, (eg if on Gawker, it had to be written by Gawker etc)
  • VJ: (played showreal) – Strictly; Ashes to Ashes, Dragons Den, Online Psychic test; The Apprentice; Just a Minute remix; Being Human.  The breadth of what we are doing – amplifying our tv programmes. One example is around a soap opera. Eastenders, The forma website is high traffic, as part of the 25 anniversary, we have commissioned 13 young writers to create a new story, of 4 students who move it. A new point of view on the characters.
  • DJ: I don’t make them, I study them. Interested in the way properties are shared and co-produced. Worked with Marvel, spoke with people in a wide production network of people sharing the same world. Marvels exemplifies the breadth of production practice; it’s not just one company managing it but several. With Ironman, the studios practiced a production based licensing model, had close interaction between film and game makers.  Even though the game was badly reviewed, but it was still a cohesive story.   But animated Ironman adventures, was a different Ironman, to target a different market.   Marvel Ultimate Alliance game features Ironman, but a different version. Used the same character but little co-ordination of story.  So interested in the many different ways they are done
  • PH: The New Power Girls, based on an audience of women who are trying to be moguls. we look to create content across platform that is palatable.  We create end to end content, with all elements, with own monetisation for each piece.   A blog, (NPG daily) with TV shows, it’s not just about getting them engaged but useful for whatever platform
  • JM: so the 7 principles that Henry talked about – which are most relevant for the panel.
  • BC: Still reflecting on how many are true when not TS. a lot is still variations on reader response and implied relationship on reader/author and how that is being stretched. Especially when it feels more intimate.  For TS, I know the audience as well as the audience knows me. When Someone come sand says they like the Art of the Heist I ask their username, and have a shared experience about it. It’s about the idea of Multiplicity makes me most exciting. a work does not have to be some finished piece, its the roll between the teller and the audience
  • MM: for me, the direct interaction with the audience. the first experience was Blair Witch, it went on for 8 months before a bible was built. the story emerged in direct contact with audience and still in contact with some of them.
  • JM: can I quote your twitter….MM you wrote…performance of the creator is essential (not just fans)
  • MM: too often is see with clients, they want to lock down a world. They get nervous if audience tries to create things that feels like canon. The storyteller is in the midst of the performance.  You have to deal with what the audience brings you; there is active participation and I react to the audience and change as it goes along.  In Heist we built a story and 2 weeks after launch it was gone and we changed.
  • BC: When you point a camera at something, you are capturing the performance; it is not just documentation, The relationship is changing,
  • VJ: the catalytic power of performance is what creates the drillability, how this transforms into audience performance in response to this. Drillability chimes enormously, the hunger of fans for extra story, or proximity of talent. It’s a Hygiene factor, we have to have other sites, if we don’t then the BBC has not done it’s job
  • PH: our audience participation is in the community where the PG share online.
  • DJ: on drillability, we talk about what can the users investigate. So for the Producers, how does this impact, the ability to produce more, or licencees have the ability to drill more into a property.
  • JM: Comics are interesting, multi-authored by design. a set of stable characters, but you know there will be shifts in authorships.   Many of them focus on non-realistic genres. For genres, what opens up for the producers when talking about a non-fantastic genere – eg Eastenders. What are the limits? What pre-existing properties seem ripe for this. Or are their properties that are difficult?
  • BC: you tend to see more escapist genres at the birth of an artform. Horror and scifi, existing fanbases, this is low hanging fruit. I got stuck with The Lakehouse! there are some stories that do not provide enough universe to get it started. I want to see a comedy, I want to see the opportunities explored.
  • VJ: consistent motivations for the audience, get involved, connect, drill down, take part in action. The creative expression is different for different genres.  So Playalong, light interaction, instant gratification for Entertainment properties. Interactivity etc, I-TV. For Comedy, engagement triggers are sharing funny stuff, shortform video, It pens up the canvas and other forms – puppets, magic, animation, expands it. Drama – more conventionally in TS, for soap opera etc.  We have to be clear on where the audience is in their journeys,, we have to be clear where the fanbase is. With Eastenders is a lot more handholding.  Eve if we point to the website after each show, most EE audience are not aware of it.
  • PH: all is non-fiction. Reality shows. it is not fantasy. In the past, Bravo used it a lot as a marketing channel; so now we have to ask what the audience wants. A lot is to touch the characters.  
  • BC: so want to do a puppet show!
  • DJ: PH does the ability to play a little, share your interaction with audiences. Is it more about creating a system them a story world.
  • VJ: the desire for audience to measure and understand themselves, the web allows this. Eg Sex/gender quiz. It is about extending learning journeys through content.  More product driven approach, ef wildlife, food recipe, earth news. There is a category approach for knowledge, and still a lot of innovation.  Adam Curtis – He created a ‘kit’ to describe a journey, movies and documentary, immersive theatrical things.
  • JM: About the audience, you can know your audience, you can conceive ideas about the group…when you are talking about an emergent property, how do you concieve of the group before it starts. Is it from the client, this demo etc, or from the storyteller POV. And then there is reality, so how do you cope?
  • BC: so an ad agency would say….our aspiration customer is an 18-24 yo girl in her first job who want to be taken seriously, our real is a 45-55 men who is cheap!  But everyone has a sense of narrative. You get the client to tell the narrative, it becomes more goal orientated.   you have a concept, but it’s an internal justification to allow you to tell the story anywhere. In TS it is a highly interactive process. If it has not launched publically, it has not happened.  In most cases, the narrative is far richer if iterative. haters are a problem, dealing with them that is the real test and most frequently the rest of the audience works out a way yo deal with them
  • MM: for original projects, it always starts with the story.  Once you have the story, you can envisage the audience. For marketers, it is about trying to draw out who is the real audience and then looking at their behaviours.
  • DJ: it’s about Multiplicity, you don’t have a single audience, you can’t please all of them all the time, you have to do different things. 
  • PH: it’s the most critical element in storytelling. We have to know our category. We don’t create for brands, but we have clients, we have to keep our finger on the pulse, know what will sell, what the audiences are.
  • MM: the goal is emotional goal. it drives everything else. If you make this you can do a lot. 
  • VJ: we are clear abut having an audience agenda on commissioning. Largely it’s fans we are pitching the ideas at, those with a high level of engagement. Too many producers underestimate the appetite for the multiplatform content.  You can get producers who over-estimate it though, there is danger of too much expectations, have to get the right reasons.
  • MM: one thing I find disappointing, the gatekeepers tend to view the audience as ‘freaks’ or obsessives,
  • JM: is the primary goal to TS to motivate people who would not get involved or those who are fans anyway?
  • BC: for independents the web is a way to build an audience before you are done. you can share what you are making in the process; you can shape what you are making and loyal fanbase.
  • MM: we had about 1000 people on list a year before it…they had ALL connected with it. Those 1000 fans, called shows to talk about; called Sundance to ask for the film. they called the cinemas asking for the film.  We had a core fanbase and it grew and then we reset the topline experience to attract new people and had another layer to connect with the originals. So we had 2 levels.
  • JM: so today, can we do 2 levels etc?
  • MM: absolutely, the most difficult challenge to do
  • BC: but is this a false dichotomy.   We did some work on 39 Clues, with Scholastic,. It was designed for multi-channels, To send readers who wanted the Owl to know that they had moved if they were going to get the Owl letter inviting them to Hogwarts.. We created something to make it real – letters back to the kid
  • VJ: fan management has a bif deal. it is not something that we are skilled with. As we socialise our content, we have a relationship. Some fans are really hard core..we have had to increase management 3x on message boards as the fans are not happy with the way the show is going. this puts off new people, who just want to chat. so how do we host conversations that are worthwhile and fun, this is causing some issues. There are use cases on other platforms, some want to just catch up, others want more immersive, others want to add fictions etc
  • PH: No, the goal is to reach audience where they are at.  fragmentation is what is to reach them, lots don’t watch TV, they want different behaviours. TS is to reach peple
  • DJ: what VJ is talking about is a central tension; how to leverage TS in a way that is managed. Central vs decentralised. It’s not about shutting down, but incorporating
  • PH: fostering the community allows them to play a part int he management – they can do things to regulate.
  • JM: is it the tension between control of property and the audience.  But what’s the tension between the various producers interest.
  • MM: this a legal issue. Compromise is needed
  • BC: there’s no framework for it. If there’s a no risk attitude then it won’t work
  • MM: tension between audience and canon/created. In most cases it’s clear and most people move between OK.  But a lot of tension is between the creators/partners. I often come in via marketing. But you have partnerships, like with Gawker. So only Gawker could write content on Gawker, We had to create content for Gawker writers to write about.  It seemed Gawker were not prepared to deal with fans of the show..and there seemed to have been a lack of comms between marketing and editorial.  Content in advertising spaces – upset when advertising does not act like advertising.  It put off the fans – the story focused on Gawker and their attitude.  We shy away from it more..if media is creating content on behalf of advertisers.
  • BC: but independent is still full of lots of partners, creators, who are specialists, You need to get a whole load of people who would not necessarily work together. There is tension there as well
  • MM: on Blair Witch, we saw the need early to create a Bible, then handed it to licensors. Comic etc . When they added stories we would look at it to see if would be added to canon.
  • VJ: We are a broadcaster, moving towards being a content provider. A big shift. Many producers are less familiar, less excited,  They feel it’s about visibility. Some of the younger get it, they invest in it from the start, that is when it cuts through with the audience. They sell in as a rounded project. we have had most success when this happens. Comedians and comedy world really get it. Sometimes you have to re-engineer shows to recognise it. There are real challenges form talent as well, about signposting this stuff. So many things to balance.  It’s complex. In commissioning, we have to understand strategically what we are trying to achieve and which of the hurdles we are prepared to tackle,
  • PH: we are coming in with an end-to-end franchise, well thought out, and that is why we doing well. It is becoming more about thinking before hand, not add-on.
  • DJ: so TS, talking about bridges across different production studios. It’s not even. So with Marvel, then film is always the lead – even if it a comic book company. cultural issues of prestige and value and meanings, have shaping influencers.
  • JM: so how do you define success and failure.  When does it work and for whom
  • VJ: there are very blunt tools. we don’t have th overnight measures. We have reach metrics etc. Reach/Quality/ Impact/Value for Money. We set out things before a project. So entertainment may be focusing on Impact.  For others it is reach…a big show that does not have a lot of numbers is a failure. So Quality, recommendations is another measure. We map out in advance. so we know what we sign up for. We are now getting a sense of the numbers. Simple light, well-executed, thought through are best. nothing much has changed – performance, story telling, timing etc is the same.  It’s   of tools, be strategic about what you use.
  • BC: back to the pastiche idea. Any success you want to prove, there are metrics already. I look for metrics that our clients are already bought into and how do you use these metrics. Eg advertising ROI and marketing efficiency.
  • JM: as a storyteller, when do you feel you have done something that has worked?
  • BC: no two films have the same goal etc.  there are diferent goals. There is no one metric of success.
  • MM: do you have fans (as a storyteller)
  • DJ: so the implicit question is why is something valued. It is easier to measure commercial success. 
  • BC: it is hard to prove transmedia sometimes So what produced what, everything has a synergistic lift effect. So movie clients are amongst the most difficult, How do you show a dent with $100m movie marketing budget

(Now onto questions)

Nov 20

Henry Jenkins – Revenge of the Origami Unicorn: Seven Key Principles of Transmedia Entertainment

WARNING: Liveblogged, not checked.

Henry Jenkins introduces the conference.

  • first up the hashtag is #foe4. Last year the conference trended high, let’s try to do it again!
  • Twitter is a transmedia tool, conversations across space and time
  • Hold up the origami unicorn as the patron saint of transmedia. It is a single element that transforms the understanding of a narrative (In Bladerunner).
  • Transmedia is a word that means lots of different things to diff people. There are other words as well – cross-platform, deep media. Don’t care what you call it – it’s a shift to the role of entertainment in culture. The words describe diff aspects and get at it in diff ways.
  • So, Transmedia Storytelling (TS) – a process where integral elements of fiction gets dispersed systematically across multiple media channels..a unified and co-ordinated entertainment experience…each medium make sits own unique contribution.
  • TS – adds to the story. Transmedia branding is in the story, but does not add. So a StarWars novel is TS; Star Wars branded ceral is TB, the Star Wars figures are different – an invitation to involve ourselves in TS, to expand the stories in our own ways, What was on the screen was only part of the story and the figures invite us to expand this.
  • Adaptations – eg the movie of Hamlet, adds layers, but not more to the story. An Extension is Rosencratz and Guildenstern are dead.
  • So factors leading to transmedia

    • Economic – media consolidation.
    • Technological, convergence, digitisation
    • Social – participatory culture – consume and spread
    • Aesthetic – transmedia entertainment.
  • Flashforward last week references – and many were disappointed it did not exist.  We have moved from something that was not expected, to expectations. (there were apparently plans to do it and it did not happen due to internal issues). We expect transmedia now.
  • So the concepts
  • Drillability

    • Narrative complexity – drillable rather than spreadable, encourage forensic fandom, to dig deeper and probe beneath the surface. It’s not a hierarchy, but opposing vectors. Drillable is fewer people but more of their time and energies in a vertical descent into a text’s complexities. (See Jason Mittell)
    • Depth is most often across channels, although shows like The Wire is in one channel.
  • Continuity vs Multiplicity

    • Comics – started off as a story in a comic, but as distribution improved, you got continuity, were stories across multiple versions etc.  Now we have Multiplicity – there are local versions, eg Indian Spiderman
    • There are issues – but if you have multiple artists doing their own version – eg Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.
    • this is an unexplored space – taking characters and letting you see them in new light – not used as much in most genres.
  • Immersion/Extractability

    • getting really inside the world, or taking things out and taking it into our world
    • They are the heart of the media mix strategy – especially in Japan
    • Cosplay is one element
    • Felix the cat, played out across many different media, TV, comics, books etc.   the Eskimo pie is another element – released into the theatres to go with Nanook of the North. an extracted element of the story.   Something similar, around the early movie theatres. They replicate the scenes that were seen in the early movies.
  • World Building

    • the story is just the beginning of something. What matters is the world, a world that contains more stories than can be told in one movie or TV series.   Look at X-men relationships, Pokemen, etc
    • The charts of character relationships show a different relationship than straightforward narratives. The Sistene Chapel is also an example of this – took the Bible and told the relationships
    • L Frank Baum is an example of a World Builder  – there are about 20 Oz books; most there’s no Dorathy.  It’s an early example of Product placement – the wizard sings about Budweiser. Each story added new people, places etc. Baum gave lectures about Oz; for him Oz was a world
    • We can take tours of the worlds – visit New Galactica, Tatooine, Lost.  The transmedia work around Watchmen lets you do that.
    • Look at the benches around District 9 – invites us to occupy a space in that world True Blood does this as well – with all the products.
  • Seriality

    • Dickens produced serialised fiction. He was not liked for it – it dispersed information across a series of installments and left us in an excited place, waiting for the next version.  All the things we say about Lost is what people say about Dickens (he’s making it up as he goes along, it is not going to be finished etc)
    • Now we look at a serialised forms across multiple channels.  There are different experiences on stuff that is used prior to a show rather than in a show. 
    • In films, you can look at Story vs plot.  Story is the information, plot is the order it is delivered. So TS is the information across channels, the story is everything, the plot is the chunking before they are dispersed – or the order released
    • BSG complex stories and serialisations, moving back and forth in time filling in pieces of the information
  • Subjectivity

    • the idea that fiction can invite us to look at the world as different characters.  Gives us chance to see viewpoints that can’t be fleshed out in the show
    • Dracula, Robinson Crusoe – transmedia in a single box; stories told through diff viewpoints.
    • With Heroes, the comics, they took the ensemble cast and told story from the characters.   the 2012 site for the IHC tells us the science, the backstory. (or at least the pseudoscience, which NASA is disclaiming) Fictioj is blurring the line
    • District 9  – Everyone deserves Equality, see the argument from the aliens POV
  • Performance

    • we take concepts and bring into own world.  Look at Glee, the number that are performng the musical numbers and put them on YT. Not officially, but unofficially there is a lot of work going on
    • The Hunt for the Gollem is done by fans, rivals Jackson for effects etc
    • Star Wars uncut – multiple ways of creating scenes.
    • As we perform the opens us up to Transmedia activism; taking the mythology and using it on its own terms. The HP Alliance is an example – how do you change the world.  Not just cosplay..but of trying to change the word because we have a shared mythology to share our experiences.
    • That is the next steps for thinking about TS
Sep 25

2Screen from Mint Digital

Last night Mint Digital ran an event as part of Digital Week. Called 2screen, it focused on the trend of watching TV at the same time as using a computer. The team had invited 4 people to give an overview of experiences they had built or been involved in.

Overall, this was a great evening. Although the principles weren’t new for me, I got some lovely examples to add to by case studies, for when I’m talking about Appointment Social Media which focuses on the same area. In addition, Mint had done a wonderful job of catering, with decent food – and champagne (or equivalent fizzy stuff) flowing all night.

I took a few notes.

Gerred Blythe, Lighthouse Experience

  • A laptop user watching the TV is a ‘viewser’ (a neologism that Gerred made up)
  • There are 4 main activities that prompt interactions
    • Prompt. A call to action on an ad or a programme; looking for a song; looking at IMDB.
    • Conversation. Twitter, IM, usually around a specific event
    • Programme Support. Looking up characters, background, episodes, TV shedule. could be on officila sites or fan support sites.
    • Enhanced Viewing. eg Test the Nation. Adding value, engaging or interacting.

Noam Sohachevsky, Mint Digital

  • The are 9 components in theory of flow: Clear goals, Feedback, control, balance of ability and challenge, focused, lose feeling of self, distorted time, rewarding, actions and a merged awareness.
  • A designer needs to thin about these to promote an engaging experience
  • The first 4 are the key challenges for the 2 screen human/PC/TV interaction
  • Examples include The Hills and Backchannel, Football3s (done by Mint) which is ‘live’ fantasy football for a game. Gives you direct and immediate feedback. Question Time using Twitter.
  • You also have to consider the ebb and flow of programme activity.

Adam Gee, Channel 4

  • Surgery Live, done in conjunction with Welcome Trust
  • They combined Twitter with Live TV -there was a direct interaction between tweets and the editorial in the programme. They used a hashtag to monitor the conversation and then respond, both in Twitter or on screen. The tools were also used to cover the action before the live broadcast
  • There was also a facebook group
  • having it off the official sites meant you did not have to moderate
  • Updated the site later with editorial, curated content, summaries and more answers to questions.

Tom McDonnell, Monterosa

  • Did Test the Nation about 5 years ago, Also did Apprentice Predictor
  • Also Living TV 4 Weddings. This was about rating and voting for weddings, plus a comment stream. There were about 3-4k people posting with about 20k posts,
  • So why? it was cool and fun, Only 0.5-2%. People who get involved have a higher chance of talking about it.
  • 84% are more likely to watch live when playing, they loved the on screen continuity, they are more positive about the channel. People seemed to like the interaction more than the game elements.
Aug 17

SXSW Panel Picker

It’s that time of the year again – the time when if you are off to SXSW in Austin next March, you need to consider what you want to see. The Panel Picker is open for business for the next 3 weeks. This year you can also vote for Film and Music panels.

Your vote does count, at least for 30% of the decision, with the rest of it coming from the staff and from the advisory board. So take your time and peruse the 2218 panels, adding your voice to next years programming. There’s a lot there, so you’re sure to find something you like.

In 2008, I put together a panel about games, stories and brands. For next year, I thought I’d try something different. It’s a little difficult putting things together 7 months in advance, as you’re never sure what will be relevant, but I think this could be interesting.

Exciting your Audience with Appointment Social Media

With increased ability of real-time search, it’s easier than ever for fans and followers to find each other and interact around TV shows (American Idol), conferences, sports (Nascar) and even Eurovision, with spontaneous formation of ‘communities’ engaging around the event. We provide case studies and tips for Appointment Social Media

It’s all about joining in a global or national conversation around a single point in time, a shared experience whether it’s a regular TV programme or a one off event. It’s about how the creators and organisers can facilitate or join in, adding extra value.

Joining me, subject to the usual conditions should be:

  • Ewan Spence. A well known face around the conference, easily recognisable in his kilt; Ewan brings his experience of social media broadcasting from Moscow with his Eurovision commentary.
  • Jo Twist. Jo, brings her experience from the BBC in using the channels to support broadcasts and connect with fans.
  • Robert Scoble brings his experience of on always online life, especially around conferences where he often streams live video and commentary.

If you like what you see, we’d love your vote, so please head over. Cheers.

Mar 24

SXSW – Behind the scenes with Mad Men on Twitter

How did characters from a show based in the analog 1960s fast forward to become a sensation on Twitter? Tweeters behind the profiles of Peggy Olson, Betty Draper and Roger Sterling discuss how it happened, why it happened and–most importantly– what does it mean for the future of entertainment branding?

Helen Klein Ross Partner, Supporting Characters
Michael Bissell Pres, Conquent
Carri Bugbee Pres, Big Deal Productions

  • CB:Madmen on Twitter came out serendipitously. I saw a tweet about don Draper on twitter.I loved it never thought it was official, but wanted to join in. So I registered Peggy Olsen, thought it was fun, thought I would do it over the next few weeks. Over the next few hours got about 160 followers, people were getting into it. I thought it would be interesting, a case study, so I treated it as a job, to the extent that it was possible, I deleted the snarky tweets and went to get inside the character. On the same day there were more people involved, over the next few days most Mad Men were on Twitter and it garnered a huge following and lots of pieces about it.  A lot about whether it was by AMC or not. At that point I kept quiet about it was me – I got a kick out of the speculation and writing.   Later, there were issues with getting into Twitter – they had suspended the account.  I had really got into Peggy and was loving it, but the minute they took the character away I was wringing my hands. Got an indecipherable email from Twitter about copyright (so I then emailed my lawyer, just in case). Watched the stream and lots were annoyed about it, it got reported, eg Silicon Valley Insider, who reported from Twitter there was a DMCA takedown notice.  All I could think about that night was oh crap a network was going to sue me. The following morning, lots were writing about how AMC had failed, how it was wrong to do a take down.  A day later, the journalists were contacting other characters.  We did not tell anyone, we kept it quiet. Later they let us go back up…reportedly on the advice of the digital agency.  Lessons:  Brands/Shows reserve your screen names.  Lessons: you may not be able to achieve it.  Lesson: if in middle of PR problem, don’t bury your head.  Give them something, speculation is not good.  Lesson: use your fans to your advantage.  this has not really been absorbed by people who create content.    Once we were back in action it was the long slog of building followers.  It was just word of mouth.  You should use Twitter to follow your brand, to see what people are saying.  You can get real-time feedback about the show and characters.
  • HR: I’m Betty Draper.  I started by being followed by Betty and Don. I thought this was another brilliant promotion by AMC. I had already seen them seed subway cars with business cards and they had wrapped a car in promotion.  I blogged about it about how brilliant AMC was and I was shocked when they were taken down. When they came back up, I went to see what was avalable…no idea why. Just thought it was a brilliant idea, a new kind of marketing. I picked up Francine (betty’s friend) and a few others. I saw it as a form of fiction.  To generate spontaneous fiction.   I could create mini-dramas across my characters to entertain followers.  We made characters live between episodes and seasons.  We enabled Mad Men fans to interact with the characters.   All of us have strived to remain parallel to Matt Weiner’s universe.  I have a whole 1960’s library know, had to do a lot research.  We’re only half of this..the other half are tweets from fans.  Our Mad Men on twitter would not be exciting if it was just us.   I come from advertising … have tried to think about what does this mean for entertainment marketing.  How we think about and consume entertainment has changed. We can expect to have some active participation in it. The old contracts were a very passive model…media heads put a lot of focus on impressions when deciding on which show to advertise on. They are looking now at expressions now, how many are willing to engage with show.  To get 80% reach you used to be able to buy a spot on 3 networks, now it’s 100 networks.  Advertisers have to stop siloing it.  Consumers are changing. Neilson has a convergence channel..combining internet and TV. We think that Mad Men on Twitter is something different. We’re not just fans, we’re professionals. We are transforming fan fiction into a new form of marketing – it’s not fan fiction, its brand fiction
  • MB: I’m Roger Sterling. When first contacted, i thought it was silly, but I went to look for Don Draper, but ended up with Sterling.  It was perfect for me..the tweets about the hangovers etc were not just fiction!  The research, definitely needed.  The Long Island Iced Tea was not invented until the 70s..I did not know this but the fans did. I changed it. Twitter is very transitory, it’s gone. Twitter is very Buddhist, it’s in the now.   But for tracking, it’s very have to regular on a schedule grab all the data.  There’s the peekaboo followers, who follow and unfollow. You don’t catch these in regular stats.  So the people who say they have this figured out are assuming that world will not change again. We started in Aug, when the most followed had 40k followers. There’s an article today about Twitter has peaked. You have to watch and track and know the universe is changing.   The outside stuff was interesting, how people perceived the characters.  The WSJ which came out a few months ago gave very little in traffic or views…
  • Q: does it make sense for an agency/professionals to do this?
  • CB: if I was the agency or client, i would absolutely want to own it.  There is so much more you could do..but we can’t do as we are not sanctioned.
  • MB: Look at Star Trek…Paramount has had pseudo fanfiction that they have managed, to let fan world grow but push it in the direction the want to go
  • Q: Are you getting work out of this?
  • MB: can;t confirm or deny.
  • HR: but we could do it for you or teach you to do it.  We hope to teach others to do this
  • Q: Did it feel like work?
  • MB: we saw that. there were characters that showed up, but no longer there. It is so time consuming.
Mar 16

SXSW – What can we learn from games

Experts from three different (bit connected) industries talk about game design, learning theories, collective intelligence, transmedia entertainment, and the value of play in a participatory culture.
Henry Jenkins Co-Dir CMS, MIT
James Gee Mary Lou Fulton Presidential Professor of Literacy Studies, Arizona State University
Warren Spector GM Creative Dir, Junction Point – Disney Interactive Studios

  • JG: my 6yo got me into games. I realised that I had never learnt anything that new for 30ys. I realised that games use learning as a gateway drug.   I write books about it and why I play games.
  • HJ: at MIT, going to USC in Sept. Blog etc. I’ve been part of Education Arcade, how they put into practice educational value of games.  Alos workign with Macarthur foundation, looking at learning.
  • WS: believe I’m the oldest still making games. Started in 70s, did Advanced Dungeons and Dragons. Worked at Origin.
  • HJ: worked with son, on the Sims, who had to manage his budget.   His son bought all the big ticket items, not about doing plumbing and eating. It applied to his life and he ‘got it’
  • JG: the Sims is often looked down on. but it brings a lot. The Sims players often give simulate what it is to grow up poor.  The game itself is not too good at this, it lead to thinking about how the game was put together.  It is digital, thinking about the world, thinking about how the simulation works
  • WS: games are good at problem solving, how to think about things, how to solve issues
  • JG: you discover think about yourself as a learner. When I started I tried the same thing 300 times until 6yo suggested I try something else.
  • WS: I’ve been making games that are about problems not just puzzles. We had to train players…to be able to make choices and solve problems  In video game sit is infrequent that we ask people to think There is this movement now of getting players to think.
  • HJ; we are learning to depend on others for advice and gaming, though the networks etc.  Schools only recognise only autonomous problem solvers, any kind of collaboration is seen as cheating, there is a different style of learning through the games
  • JG: the Sims example show emotional intelligence and a social intelligence.
  • HJ: the Lure of the Labyrinth is a game we are developing.  We set it up so that kids have to communicate to others about solving the problems, It is abut strategies of solving problems not the answers they have to share.
  • JG: so many games are saying you have to be designing part of it,
  • WS: I’m a little of a luddite, a little more into a traditional narrative and how it combines with gameplay. I’m willing to give up control of gameplay but not the narrative.  There is a thriving community of Spore players, making stories etc.  The most wonderful experiences for me, about the last games I did, if you look at forums, the conversation is different about hwo they talk about my games. It is not about saving puzzles, it is about the narrative, how could you have killed this guy, how could you have done this thing.  A community came to me, at a conference, we went to the bar….and some of the guys started an argument about the a was about politics and ideology, that is the power of interactive narrative it is is about letting you behave one way and seeing how it plays out.
  • JG: narrative acts in many different ways in games.  Doesn’t the narrative in the game have to fit in the gameplay, it can’t just be an addon.  Look at Braid, it has a weird story and a weird gameplay, making people think about how thay match. It’s just a 2d gameplay….there’s a lot of theories about the story.
  • WS: it’s a very lets deconstruct the medium approach, it is very off-putting.   Games are about what you do, so it has to be about the mechanics.
  • HJ: the games come out of a school of theory, people who had gone to game school. You had the same with film, a group of people who had the same language, You are going to get the same in games, designers who are schooled in the theory and can talk the same ideas and the audience who understands this and is seeking content out and can educate themselves.
  • JG:you can have a good story, but the player is in the middle of it. These themes can float around, you see pieces of it, you see bits at ta time. The player can take the themes and make something of it (Deus Ex)
  • WS: with Deus Ex i tried to make the most accessible mainstream game (it failed though). It gave you the chance to try different ways to solve problems. Pick the way you want to play it. I also let you ignore the story if you wanted it.  Games are work and I wanted to disguise this fact, masking the work is something that games to really well. There is a world  work out there that happens online, or just doing your taxes; a more gamelike account could help ease past the work
  • HJ: teachers don’t always recognise the work in a games.  The key word is engagement when it comes to games. A good game makes us engage in a task that may be frustrating and long and boring but will keep involved.
  • JG: when the initial work on Flow, it was about work, the flow state, to make it more engaging.
  • WS: we take things that in other times would be boring and hard and we make them fun.  Some games have control schemes that are more complex than Turbotax -we should be able to make these fun. Find a way to apply game paradigms to real world of work
  • HJ: games to a spectacular job of introducing complexity, spreadsheets etc.   Teachers have not yet caught up this.
  • JG: you play some of these games, pore over the graphs of the results and plan the next strategy. This is valuable skill.
  • WS: this is what the tabletop games do well, give you a framework to build things and learn about stuff. I learnt about medieval Japan, how to run a castle, WWII espionage.
  • JG: you see something as a system and how the systems interact, it teaches you about science and thinking about systems
  • WS: I agree, and I look at most games..they show the world as a system but often a simple system that could mislead you. So thanks that Will Wright exists that show you simple solutions can be a bad thing,
  • HJ: research shows that kids learn a lot of things from games, but don’t look at the game structure.  We have to couple gamespace learning and media literacy. Learnign this, thinking critically, gets people to be able to design themselves etc
  • WS: most of peers believe their work is ideological pure, that they are not defining a world view but this is wrong.
  • HJ: as an artist you have to have a world view…we may not be preparing kids adequately for the Apocalyse but we should be making them thinking about stuff!
  • JG: there’s a whole space their to connect at an emotional level.
  • WS: we have an indi game industry, with skills and distribution etc all that helps. This is great..
  • JG: serious games have not taken off with a speed that was hoped.  Niche games, such as Flower etc, have taken off, I don’t think serious games have been good enough.
  • WS: one thing that games can do well is teach process.  That is not what games do fundamentally. But serious games have tried too much for process and not fun
  • JG: what is good about the games is the engagement, the ability to make choices et. Game designers are trying to model the system, and that is what scientists are doing. We have wrong education theories and that is why we make bad games.
  • Q: What thoughts about how games can be used to get people to think different about their world context?
  • WS: that is what games do, you can walk in someone else’s shoes. It is an experience of being in another place. It is what we do everyday
  • HJ: games are the only media that lets you feel guilt – if you do something bad you have a stake in the consequences (quoting Wright again).
  • WS: my wife has never finished Deus EX as she killed a dog in the beta.she felt such guilt she never went back
  • Q: Do you see development of narrative of games to problem solving? and is there real support to keep them out of classroom to reinforce accidental learning
  • JG: game sin classroom are often to support text books, We have to change theory of learning before we can do this…put different games in classrooms
  • HJ: Labyrinth is not about beng in the classroom, it is to be played outside but then discussed.. Games in schools does not work – the timeframe does not fit in the lesson.  It is not the efficient way of using time. Students look to knowing what they need to know to ge the test. School is not seen a place to play and we have to change this. Until we expect responsibility, then games will not be properly used in classrooms.  But how do we give kids without computers at home access to the skills that game players will have.
  • Q: is there a distinction for difference in narrative between a novel and game? I call it contextual narrative.
  • WS:we don’t have consistent terminology, I call it shared authorship
  • HJ: it is a form of narrative based on world building. Scifi and fantasy os often this.  Worldbuilding narratives invite creativity in a different way to plot driven narrative
  • Q: so how can brand use game theory and gameplay to engage audience in social media.
  • WS: hire a game designer for a few weeks.
  • HJ: it is huge growth area, that appears to a different type of players. I would be wary of learning too much from current theory. Hire female designers etc, bring diff types of social expertise to the table, who understand the networking.
  • WS: Read Rules of Play, has a lot foundational work.  Tracy Ford Game Design Workshop, It will give a vocab to discuss.
Mar 15

SXSW – Dead Space a Deep Media Case Study

This in-depth case-study reveals the method and the madness behind Electronic Arts use of cross platform marketing to communicate separate, self-contained elements of the much anticipated release of their first survival horror game, Dead Space. For this release, EA packaged a comic book, a prequel DVD, and an online experience in order to build, create, and cultivate an audience around the Dead Space brand prior to the official ‘street date’ launch.

Ian Schafer CEO, Deep Focus
Chuck Beaver Sr Producer, Electronic Arts
Andrew Green Online Mktg Mgr, Electronic Arts
Frank Rose Contributing Editor, Wired Magazine
Ben Templesmith Dir, Singularity7

Some live blogging from the panel

  • FR: it’s a successful video game but more than that – Deep Media, (deepmedia blog). we’ve had linear story telling and now the web is encouraging a new story telling. To watch and participate.  these are entertaining and immersive. eg BSG, Dark Knight. EA entered this wih Dead Space – allowing stories to be told elsewhere.  It’s not about doing spin-offs. It’s the same story told across a panoply of different media.
  • CB: it’s a 3rd person scifi survival horror. In the future, a lone protagonist. Similar to Alien, isolated, alone. Isaac has been sent out to correct a communication blackout on a ship.   It’s not a blackout.  It’s not licensed, we did it ourselves.   When we started, we were steeped in licenced games. We were interesting in doing new IP, to own the properties.   It took about 18month to get greenlit.   The dismemberment was from Glen Schofield, our exec producer, we had to rein it back a little. It fits with zombie law.  Some games don’t consider story as essential, we thought it was. We wanted to have a natural story, took it very seriously. We watned to dev a frnachsie so did a whole canon. 
  • AG: it was not just a marketing tool ,We got involved early on, about 16months before. It was the first timeas a marketing team when we got involved with passionate devs. We got 500yrs of back story, a comic book etc. We had to figure out what to do with the great assets, create a strategy around it to build an audience that would be with us to game launch.  It’s a new ‘paradigm’. We wanted to make sure all the products lived on their own. The customer decides what they want to do, you have to give them a reason to come through the door.
  • BT: I got a strange email, I replied that this sounded interesting.   I said that I’d do a comic to do with the game.   I expected it to be like previous ones, a sideline, or just the game story. But as I got further in, they wanted to tell the story from the beginning, this really appealed to me. Usually I get told what to do, it’s restricted. But here, I had tremendous free rein within our part. It can stand on its own or you can follow to other parts.  The visual style was ‘me’ I’m known as the horror guy in comics.  That they got me, with my reputation, meant they were taking the comic side seriously.  Feedback is great, that they did a complete story.
  • CB: we had enough story to allocate bits to different media, the comic, the animation and hte game. Then on the web we had other stories we needed to propagate.  This was driven from Glen; I was in charge of the production.  These were rolled out over a period of months.  We worked with the structure of each media; eg comic books can have a 6 month run, 1 per month, others driven from timing.   How did we keep the story straight? We had a big master timeline, we segmented the story so they would not overlap too much.  A lot of co-ordination.  We had to make the universe.
  • FR: how do you know the property will support all of this stuff?  Did you seed it with takeoff points?
  • CB: yes. We tried to focus on not having a one time event story. We established the canon document, with a centralised universe story.
  • AG: the document had lots of stuff that was nothing to do with the story, but lots of details about the world. We could create new stories and characters from the details.
  • FR: How did you draw the line between defining the canon and overdefining?
  • CB: we did not want the team to feel they were just filling in blanks. We gave the story and feeling. they did all the story development.  We had little to show BT, just concepts.
  • BT: there was a lot of art, I had to extrapolate from that, had to make it work in the civilian setting.  Got to create own assets. Got a little disappointed that I could not draw all the cool stuff?
  • AG: accessibility was a big thing for us on the web, so you would not have to buy a book. We created new assets, which could spin off new stories. We took print assets and created comic book videos, pulled the images together and added VO.  We got lots of views in these.
  • FR: So how do you build something like this in the web.
  • IS: the previous story were linear, on the web we launched, it was far more fractured. you had a different experience depending on the decisions.  Based on original scripts and then extended. We had to keep aesthetic similarity, we had to ensure it went well in the flash environment.  We had to go to studio and get all the assets, 3d renderings etc.  It was not just tech, the tech served the story.   It was to facilitate a connection between the brand and the people who wanted to play. To share the experience, to take the content onto their own spaces.   It was a  week experience, each week another chapter. We had to roll it out slowly., About 500k, site visit 10min on average.  A fair few said it was a key driving factor in the game.
  • CB: the animated feature, it was sort of between comic and game in the story. 
  • FR: how did Deep media benefit the game?
  • AG: you got a lot of people engaging with the world, they came and asked questions, it generated excitement. It gives people a reason to want to interact with brand.
  • IS: it’s how people want to interact; we did some research about a tv show – the brand of the tc show is more than the show on TV –  it’s about what you share with others.   I did film marketing before, you can’t market too early as by the film comes along they think they have seen it. With this, you got people into the storyline, deeper an deeper.
  • AG: I think the comic book/videos were the most successful.  The web was deep and rewarding but the comics took advantage of dissemination, easier to port videos everywhere.  the liner narrative is only one type of content, you will only get so much punch. But it was only one part of a stockpile of ammunition.  Each played for a different audience.
  • FR: what was the biggest surprise?
  • CB: we were surprised at how difficult – we’re a game maker, not a comic publisher.  It was new, we were making up the rules and trying to hit the quality bar.
  • AG: an observation but could have been why it was successful. It was team of people wanting do something well. Everyone interacting, pushing through the late nights, like it was the own pet project.
  • IS: it was visible to end user that it was telling not selling, people respected the credibility of a good story.
  • CB: with EA, for them to treat these not just as marketing one-offs, not just as selling channels, they understood that they were valid in of themselves. We established quality throughout
  • AG: that is the test of deep media, that it’s not just marketing.   It has to be about the passion, give the story tellers the freedom.
  • IS: in context of advertising. When money spent on impression, it could not compare to the hours spent interacting with the content. It’s not impressions you can buy, it’s about creating lasting impressions.  Allow you to spend less on paid media, more on earning respect.
  • FR: what next?
  • CB: it would be great to be able to produce a live action movie, nothing is in the works yet.  We have a new story line for ‘Extraction’ out this fall.  New story, in the world.
  • Q: do you need a lot of budget? Do you need all these pieces to do it well?  What resources are required?
  • AG: You need a passionate creative centre and give it to the community, you can create a deep media experience that could grow. It is all about starting. You have to create.
  • IS: it’s about the expectations of the sale. if you are launching  product, budget accordingly.
  • Q: Would you do the website again?
  • AG: yes. from an ROI the engagement was huge.  You also got analytics (which you can’t necessarily get from other networks. The data set is taken away on ning etc.  I could change content on the microsite based on analytics.
  • IS: from a world of mouth it helped to have something people could be worked through.  it build buzz etc.
  • AG: Deep Focus drive a lot of editorial hits etc.  Got people viewing it.
  • Q: for web site what were the biggest traffic sources?  What was traffic after 6 weeks?
  • IS: Many by editorial mentions, from blog mentions. 
  • AG: getting hits from right blogs, eg Kotaku, Wikipedia was the biggest one.  We have a link on official site, tht gets 100k/200k. upwards of 10k new a week.  they can jump in many places.
  • IS: a fifth is after the game release
  • Q: Dead Space came to me via PS3, all the downloads. I slowly got into it, even though can’t stand horror. We played the game…we got to the end and thought ‘what did that mean’. So was there any plan around the ending
  • CB: that’s a fairly delicate thing for me to talk about. The ending does have a structure, has meaning, and I hope to be able to explain in the future.
  • Q: how important is premium downloadable content after the game?
  • CB: it’s a consumer expectation, so you have to do it or it’s a negative. we have to figure out how to make it happen as it is a drain on dev team
  • AG: the economy and expectation of it is driving a new way of selling games.  Expansions are good. Stprytelling is about blocks of content I guess game makers are going to be planning and budgeting for this.
  • Q: you talked about dolling stories in bite sized..did you give away too much? how did you recover?
  • CB: the final trailer…the marketing wanted to show the final boss.  The devs did not want to this. The PR team wanted this…the rest of the story was fine
  • Q: what did theis process show you about new IP?
  • CB: it is so risky, that is why EA did licensed IP, it’s a safer model. We have been critically rewarded from this, I think you will see more from this.
  • AG: Ben you create new IP all the time
  • BT: putting on paper is easy.  But in this, it was good as they did not drive changes, I’ve had more control on others, eg Marvel and DC. there is more that you cannot mess with. So Dead Space was part of a larger thing, but free rein.
  • IS: it was pretty ballsy, about placing control in other hands about telling the story.  It was amazing, eg bringing in Ben.
  • AG: budget levels, for games etc, it is a sequel business. When you are up against sequels, it is a difficult game. The deep media elements all helped, bridged the value over to us.
  • Q: Where is this going, what is the potential
  • BT: for me, it’s animation. Comic books should stay static, but will turn online as well.
  • AG: you’re going to see every kind of media feeding the other media, based on resources, ability around it.  It is easy to get seduced by idea of your creativity becoming something else. Trying to create something for a commercial reason is the best to make it fail.
Mar 15

SXSW – report of the first day

Arriving in the US, I’d ticked ‘pleasure’ on the Customs’ form, the TSA immigration officer decided that was not the correct designation and insisted that I was here on business. Given I work in digital marketing and the SXSWi is about interactive stuff I can see how he can get idea, but for me, this conference is not about business it’s about fun, connecting with old and new friends and just really enjoying myself.

Yesterday, I went to 3 panels, mostly OK, some new stuff learnt. The Privacy Panel was interesting but very theoretical; the keynote from Tony Hsieh, taking about Zappos was great and then the Core Conversation with Zoe Margulis went in unexpected ways (feminism, US media and US legal system) but was good anyway.

Lunch was with Jeremy, Ted and Ashley, great mexican at the Rio Grande. We bumped into Lucretia, GeekMommy and a whole bunch of the Eleven Moms at Walmart, some of whom took up Ted’s challenge to lick him to get a free T-Shirt.

In the evening, a great series of parties. First up was the dorkbot party, where I bumped into zeroinfluencer (David) where I caught up about his latest project (it’s going to be fun!). Then we wandered along to the Razorfish Opening party, just missing people. A busy place, we only stayed for one before catching up with friends at Six, where Crispin Porter Bogusky and a company whose name just completely escapes me now! A little more space here, far better to cartch up with Faris, Katy, Adam andDamiano.

After a few margaritas there i left them to it as jetlag was hitting, heading home but calling in at the Maker’s Mark party, which had a cracking band playing. Didn’t stay long as bed was calling; sleep and then up bright and early for today.

Feb 20

Notes from BeeBCamp

I was honoured to be invited along to the BBC for their second BeeBCamp, one of a group of external people who came along to, as Philip says ‘to leaven the mix’. Hopefully I contributed something, I definitely learnt a lot. Each session was only about 20mins, not nearly long enough, and many ran over.

UGC: What do you do with it?

Ran by Charlie Beckett, this session asked questions about why the BBC asks for UGC, what they do with it, what are the transaction costs and what is it worth. The session specifically focused on content that is SENT TO the BBC, often current affairs/news related, through the website or after on-air requests. From the discussion, the BBC thinks it obviously does add value, both for the participants (happy to submit things) and for content that is used. But they only use a small handful, with the recent Snow Day resulting in over 60k images being sent in and only a few displayed.

The discussion later went onto the difference between ‘publisher’ or an ‘enabler’. For example, with the snow photos, they BBC could publish a few of them and that would be it. But for one of the audience, who worked in the education site, the BBC could also be an enabler – take the UGC, comment on it and use it to add further value to the relationship, ie discuss how people could take better snow photos.

When it comes to more newsy items than photos of snowman, there is always a burden of verification on the BBC, they have to be sure that what they use is truthful, valid and genuine, so they have to think carefully about what they use and how they can use it.

Games and the BBC

The next session I took part in focused on what the BBC is doing and could do with games. A key issue seems to be the definitions used, which are not consistent. A better set of words to use would be ‘playful content’, stuff that the public can play with. Games/interactivity are part of the BBC remit and their is an opportunity with some re-organisation to consider the strategy and plan for new things. However, there is a cultural issue (as there is most other places) about what games are and what they actually mean to people.

Different groups across the BBC are working on this problem and this appeared to be a great session for them to connect, as the work in London, Radio, Salford and Glasgow were all discussed. There’s some fascinating collaboration taking place between the Glasgow BBC and the University of Abertay in the gamespace.

The BBC could offer some valuable development opportunities, giving game companies the opportunity to do stuff they would not normally be able to do. Dan, from Six to Start, suggested that they BBC need to ensure that there is a clear structure in place to talk to about ideas, as at the moment, it is spread out and not clear at all.

I’m a pirate, what are you going to do about it

A general discussion about ‘piracy’, the Pirate Bay trial in Sweden, alternate routes for getting content and making money out the content, such as, rights, iPlayer, streams and downloads. According to some around the table, many people are torrenting because of the ease and convenience. Another group argued that actually, it is far easier for most to hit the play button on iPlayer (or Hulu, or whatever your choice is) and torrenting is far too difficult. A key reason why people may struggle through the set up of the clients is because the entertainment is not available in ways that make it easy for them – in their format, their time, their place.

There were three key types of ‘pirates’. those who do it because of ease and convenience of access (the ones who would most easily switch to channel provided routes), those who do it as they will never pay for anything and want to ‘stick it to the man’ (unlikely to choose an alternartive route) and those who want the content to do things with – the remix brigade)

BBC Blackops – post lunch there were a few wild moments triggered by a laptop sticker, where a new pitch for a TV show was considered: BBC BlackOps. It included stealth helicopters, men in uniform zipping down lines, secret computer rooms with computers that could never be turned off and the porn highlight editing suite, producing highlight packages in the same way the sports guys do. (although there was a discussion about how you determine what a porn highlight is). However, the madness soon abated and we got back to the serious discussions.

UGC: Enabling co-creation and remixing

Following on from the first session this morning, which looked at the public sending content to the BBC, I decided to run a session on how the BBC could help enable co-creation and remixing my letting content OUT from the BBC. I tried to steer away from data, which I know they do a fair bit of already via Backstage, and look at the entertainment properties. One rational, which I don’t think I explained in the session, was that the BBC make some great programmes based on the ‘classics’, programmes that appear make a fair bit of money in foreign and DVD sales and win awards. These stories and characters are in the commons, in the public domain, so how are the BBC contributing back to the commons. My notes on this are understandable brief, but it seemed to go well; there were some interesting future activities discussed which will become visible in the next few weeks/months but were not bloggable – I’m looking forward to see what happens with them.

Some notes I took were:

  • Comedy Soup tried something like this, released the raw material, but the uptake was small and had little focus
  • Producers are concerned about people subverting the content. (this is the same argument found in my industry, but brands can be very surprised at how much good stuff can be created
  • Commissioners don’t necessarily have the same understanding as the people round the table
  • Adventure Rock – a children’s virtual world – had great success letting the members create the story around the assets, gave them all the tools to work with.
  • Teachers TV does it all the times – expects remix, reuse and re-release. Al Jazeera does something similar
  • Major concern about allowing more certain types of content (mainly currently affairs/news) out. I think this was a misunderstanding about the call for content to be released – I primarily wanted to focus on entertainment not news. Also, it was never said that it had to be done with everything, you would choose what to release just as carefully as you choose what to broadcast.

A new kind of Book Club

this session was about a new tool that is being developed by Adrian Hon, which allows you to annotate texts/books online. Not new, but he’s adding a lot of social network tools to it, such as groups, notifications etc to make it a far more community appearance. The discussion extended to being able to do this with videos, scripts etc.

Communities and Comments

A mainly off the record conversation about message boards and comments on the BBC. One things I learnt, which is never realised, is the the Points of View Boards have lots of conversations about ITV programmes, such as Emmerdale, as those sites don’t allow conversations. Completely weird in my opinion. In general, the conclusion was that boards where there is clear direction from hosts (community managers) were far more effective than those without, which is not an unsurprising conclusion

That was it; then we went to the pub. Well some of us did, I think a lot of the BBC people went back to their desks! I had a good day and was exhausted at the end of from concentrating hard. This was the second BeeBCamp, i hope they run more.

Dec 10

Day 1 Le Web

The first day at Le Web ’08 was a mixed day. The venue is great, as a space, but problems came out of this conference being the first to use the building, from heating that was not working correct, incorrectly positioned wifi that performed poorly and a badly chosen caterer that did not understand the need for lots of coffee and food.

I was not impressed with the first set of speakers, from the major sponsors Microsoft, Google and MySpace. Steve Gilmor interviewed Dan’l Lewin from Microsoft first, a series of soft questions that were easily turned into a business pitch, despite Gilmor’s seeming dislike in general for the big company, I was not impressed with the interview. The only thing I remember about the Google interview, with Nikesh Arora, is a comment about how scanning all the books in multiple languages will help them develop a translator and I missed the MySpace interview entirely but caught Amit  Kapur being interviewed in the Press Room, where he probably delivered the same message in about 3 minutes, the launch of the MySpaceID and the toolbar.  Overall, the corporate speakers were delivering a sales pitch, very little of interest.

David Weinberger was something else, a passionate talk about leadership in the post-information age. I blogged my notes and suggest again that you watch the video. This was great. Also memorable was Helen Fisher, talking about love. I’ve got a post to do about her biological basis for love. A third talk that had me thinking was my Paulo Coehlo, who discussed how he puts his work online, seeding it in the torrents, because it gives people access and has been shown to increase sales. (another full post to follow). I’ve heard plenty of genre writers talking about this (sci-fi, fantasy) but this is the first ‘mainstream’ author I’ve heard discussing it.

I missed many of the later sessions, spening most of my time catching up with friends and doing what conferences like this are best for – the networking. There was also a great Finnish sauna built into a truck that had been driven here.  They seemed to do a great business as people got colder and colder, a moment to warm up.

At the start of the second day, the heating seems to have been improved and the wifi is walking. The catering is still poor and we’re subject to a interview with the internet minister fromt he French government, but it looks like it could be a good day.

Dec 09

Leadership at the end of the age of information

I’m at LeWeb in Paris, taking notes on some of the talks.

Dave Weinberger gave one of his trademark inspirational speeches, all about leadership in a a changing world. I’ve taken live notes, not a strict verbatim copy, but got most of what he says. I fully recommend watching this one when it’s available

Are we at the end of the age of information? It does not mean the end of information…we will always have it. but the way it has effected our view of the world has changed…

In the last few generations..we have been driving down a stack..we are good at managing bits,….you reduce what you know to make it manageable, so machines can process it. We know more about people than the machine does…that stuff that make a person our friend.  In an information system a person is boring, all the interest gets stripped out. We do it so we can process the information.  In the information age, we are required by the systems to throw outtmost of the info as we can only manage so much.

In the age of the web, there’s a lot more info on a person’s Social Network page. and there are links all over the place, everything is connected.  Each of the links carries rich information. they each add to what we know. it is a much richer view than the age of information.  Hyperlinks are the opposite of information, links join things, connect things, in rich ambiguous ways, they are uncontrolled., they are the opposite of info, which is why the age of info is coming to a close

Now we are going up the stack, to increasing socialisation., it’s an abundance of good stuff AND an abundance of crap. we are good at dealing with crap, it is the abundance of good that is throwing things for a loop. we are just not ready for that, we do not know how to deal with that, the amount of good content is overturning the structure.

Leadership has been based on scarcity. Jack Welsh is taken as the avatar, the paragon of leadership. He’s a great leader, great business leader…leadership itself is scare, most people are followers. In an organisation, a leader has access to all the info, they lead by restricting access for the rest of us, there is an imposed artificial scarcity of info, that is how it worked. 

Humans make decision in the different way to computers, we have all these inputs and we decide which inputs are going to count, diff to a computer. we make judgements, the process of making a decision is the opposite of the model, of computers.

In leadership, there is a scarcity of people…it’s lonely at the top. we treat leaderships as thought  it is a type of heroism leader at the top, alone, with the weight of leadership on their shoulders. 

Leaders are realists…they would not have built wikipedia, Linux, realism is not ambitious enough.  Leadership in a networked world is a property of the networks….we need networks with the properties of a single heroic leader.

In the US, we have strong leader now (or will do in Jan). We have s strong, traditional leader who understands the network.  You can see this in his campaign, they had a social networking site, they connected. One of the first things they did was put up at the start. It was not a great site but they are getting it better. They understand the web, which is to put something up, get feedback and then fix it.

Let’s talk hypothetically. Say Obama set up a social network for citizens, let’s say it has to face 100m people talking to each other.    Conversation and intimacy don’t scale, but this has been solved before.   Let’s say they combine properties of Daily Kos, plus Facebook,  MySpace etc.  So here you would have millions of little conversations, then a mechanism by which the important ones would move up.   There would be filters using a reputations system, things will rise up and then the government can start to participate in areas.  The people who are in the conversations will emerge from the  reputational system.  It’s reputational democracy (Simon Willis).   A new structure of democracy, it did not exist before and now it does, it has come out of the software implementation of a reputation system, based on small choices form a a developer.  But let’s say one day the developers change from a 5 star to a thumbs up and down syst, this has huge implications on the dynamics, the entire system can be changed in important ways from small decisions…They change a level of democracy. In this situations, leadership is a property of the network itself.

We will still have leaders but it impossible to predict what the new leaders will be and how they are found. There are lots of contending interests, there is no way of predicting what the outcome will be.   On a local and national level, with politics, with the nature of leadership.   There is no clear way through, we just have to struggle on when we cannot predict what will happen.    I hope the old style leadership will be toppled…that the old hero that knows it all , that idea will tumble. There are great leaders, but they are no longer the only thing we need, they are too scare, we need abundant leaders. It has to be about the connected needs, the network. A leader has to embrace abundance….we need fewer leaders and more love.

Mar 16

BarCampBrighton and SL connections

Aleks Krotoski talking about the social graph.

  • [missed the start] A social psychologist, trying to examine connections
  • Pathways can be mapped across friends and people.
  • Mass friending…impact the data and how the network connects.
  • there are certain relationships and strengths of relationships. You can technological measure strength but difficult as you get to semantics.
  • Adding arrows to the graph starts adding information. You can add lots of information, but then it all gets mushy in the middle.  Fuzzy and gooey and technologiest don’t like that. Then I come into the mix and go oooh psychology.
  • So how do you measure strength…

    • I asked the social psy questions. list friends and rating of them..
  • Based study on actual connection on a virtual world, on the qualitative assessment of relationships

    • Second half of study was looking at getting behavioural shortcuts for this
    • some evidence about how interactions acorss various channels indicates trust.  ie talking in public, IM in SL, outside of SL via email.
  • Once you have all the information, all the messy stuff. I was looking at interconnected, closely related groups of people.  I’m interested in them…as they know each other. In the mess, many people, but don’t know others, they identify as something.  Look at a self-decared group to see if they are differently connected.  I did an island analysis, pulled out 4 groups of people who are extremely closely connected to each other.  There’s a lot of trust between each other.
  • The point: There are social relationships which have psychologies that can;t ey be articualted through technolgy.  There are social flocking/network effects in these spaces – people move to where their friends are.   Whatever is happening…they’re capturing a lot of data about us.
  • The data they are capturing is going to be a key discussion coming up

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Mar 16

BarcampBrighton and Cloud Computing

Jeff Barr, from Amazon, was at BarcampBrighton as part of a long European tour, talking up cloud computing.

  • apologised for going to be a little more commercial than others….but taken out the prices so it’s not a sales pitch!
  • been at Amazon for 6 years.   Saw real potential, the first catalog service.  they started sending me out to conferences, I was good at it so they made me the evangelist and that’s what we do, me and 3 others. we have a wiki that people can request us.
  • FOr the last 5 years we have been opening up the infrastructure – the product catalog, alexa and now infrastructure services. putting APIs out there, charging models around them. we try and make it really simple to get started. Sign up and away you go
  • we offer access in a number of ways. a lot of what we have had to do over the years has to do with scale, have the infrastructures.  we offer that out to developers.   The developers can focus on the innovative and creativity part..we do the hardware.
  • we rely a lot of input and feedback from developers. let me know what you like and don’t like. we write a trip report everyday to get the feedback to the company.
  • Cloud computing- emerging trend. you look to the cloud to do stuff for you. You can treat it as infinite capacity, scale on demand.  With cloud computing, what were fixed costs turn into variable costs, where you pay for what you need.  You get possibly better staff to keep it up, get economies of scale.
  • It can reduce your time to get things up and running,
  • We have 6 different services – Queue, storage, elastic compute cloud, flexible payments,
  • S3: object based storage…1b-5GB. private or public, redundant and dispersed. storage. US and Eu locations. (Ireland). EU added due to latency and data legal issues. We dynamically manage the copies of the data.   We are redundant enough. 99.99% availability goal. Can organise in buckets/ each bucket is a flat storage model. Can use it as a bit torrent seed. Complete API around it.  We have libraries for a number of different languages, that we have built or other developers.
  • Elastic Compute Cloud: (not the ZX81): use Xen, take lots of machines, slice into small components, using a indi OS. when you have an instance it is yours while you pay. you get root level, elastic capacity,. There’s a lot of apps built on top as well for you to use. you get to scale in minutes.  Up and down control. We have 3 different instance types – small, Large and XL.  You have an Amazon Machine Image – which is your’s.  You put this in S3, then roll it out to the servers you need as you scale.  Full API into the cloud, you can start machines with one call.  Used in lots of scientific research. MapReduce and Hadoop, for engineering and science calculations.   For Fortune 500 companies, often for high impact, short term projects, as a dev host.  One example is the NYT archive, When it was a closed service, they re-rendered PDF from TIFF every time. They decided to use EC2 with Hadoop to pre-render everything.  They tested it..then ran it over 24 hours over 100 instances. Far better than having to do internally.  Some one has built EC2 Firefox UI – a browser addon that allows you to control the instances

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Mar 16

BarCampBrighton and Stories and Games

Adrian Hon from Six to Start talks about Games and Stories

  • Creative Director at Six to Start, make ARGs, but not what I’m going to talk about it
  • ARGs are games that use multiple media or media in interesting ways to tell a story. Email, twitter, newspapers, IM, GPS etc.
  •  What I want to talk about is stories. A lot of the work I have been doing recently has been about telling stories in different ways.
  • Interactive stories, a few ways of doing it.

    • story as reward. Told through cut scenes, no way to influence. no resemblance to actual gameplay. It’s the last thing you do as a game developer.   A lot of people play the game to get to the fun video. They are trying to hire writers to make these better, put still not brilliant. These are stories on rails. Like a book, completely linear.
    • story as experience. The story is told by gameplay, eg half-life. No cut-scenes..or rather cut-scenes integrated into game.   Story has to be written right from the start – mission design and level design are all tied in. Still on rails.
    • branching narrative. Choose Your Own Adventure. Gives an illusion of choice – often 2 choices, story line joins later.   Involves creating wasted content. Sometimes not subtle..really annoying.
    • PseudoAI. you can completely influence the story within certain parameters. Only example is Facade at the moment.   It got a lot of buzz. Natural language processing and AI, or an enormous amount of scripting (which Facade actually does). It 3-4 years and only lasts 15 minutes. Still a maze just more complex.   Don’t see it happening for a long while, until get really good AI.
    •  make your own story. No set narrative, but maybe a setting. eg Civilisation, the Sims. Sort of cheating.   Civ has a huge community, A lot of players write stories about their game.  A lot of people talk that this is the ultimate way of doing stories in games, The stories can be better than anything pre-written, in a book etc but normally they are not. The design may not be that good or oyu may not be that imaginative.   Requires great games design and not for everyone.
    • DM/PM – somewhat set narrative. D&D, ARGS. you know you are going to hit certain plot points.  There’s a human controlling the story in real time.  You have a group of players, people are guiding the story according to the actions of the players.  An issue is that it requires real-time response. Not really re-playable or scalable for personal experience.  It is sort of on rails.  Somewhere in between writing a game and improv. A different sort of skill set.
  • With Penguin Books, they wanted to do a ARG, but not right for them – budget etc. I as looking at how you could design stories that aren’t games or CYOA, still on rails. But still interactive. We tell Stories. A different way of telling stories.  New ways of tellign stories that are only possible using the internet.  Six different authors and stories and 6 different ways of telling them, Some people have already started doing this…email mysteries.   It is not enough to have a really good idea or even to have a really good story, the writing has to be be really great. You need a story, good design and very well designed interaction and presentation. A graphic novel or a book have had years to be designed.   Working out a way to tell stories online that are still linear, with the authors is something that we are excited it.  One of the first one we are doing is based around Google Maps.  Follow the movements around the places.  I was worried it may be really gimmicky. We worked really hard with Charles Cumming, about where is he, what can he see, what is he thinking about. We animate the map.   Don’t think we have it perfect but we have some cool things.  The last story we are doing with Mohsin Hamid is another I’m really excited.  We are playing around with improvisation on writing.
  • Q: how did the authors react?  One of them found them difficult to deal with, another was really easy, the first thing written was wrong and would not work…we had to rewrite but it was cool. Another was really receptive to feedback.  We’ll just have to see. In general they have been very good to work with. We know how to do the design, they know how to do the writing.

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Mar 15

Jane McGonigal Keynote at SXSW

Jane McGonigal Keynote.

  • The Lost Ring Video played. A call for help. Being going a week – are you in?
  • going to talk yo you about alternate realities. instead of trying to make games more realistic, trying to make the real world more like games.  we need more alt. realities and the real world needs to be changed to function more like a game. it will start on a game designers perspective on the future of happiness. I work at the Institute for the Future. we look at interesting things that are happening today and imagine what the future will be like.
  • Happiness – the last year has seen a lot of growth and attention to happiness. there has been the launch of a new field – positive psychology, to look at brains working well, the good stuff. what makes us happy, what is the best case scenario.  good books, one thing that really interests me, is the parallel between what makes us happy and the core tenants of game design.
  • Last month, book Against Happiness came out. this is not about warm fuzzy feelings, it is about the trying to capture the best experience possible and using research to define it, how to make lives more worth living
  • there are many metrics for measuring, to implement and insert happiness making things in your life. 
  • what i wanted to ask if you think you re in the happiness business.?  I don’t think we are quite yet imaging product as happiness, but you will be in the business very soon.
  • It’s coming faster than we think.
  • Predictions – quality of life becomes a primary metric,. Positive psychology will be used to design tools; communities will form around different visions of a real life worth living.  Value will be defined as a measurable increase in real happiness or well being – the new capital.
  • Happiness is the new capital. you need to be explicitly generating some positive well being for them. happiness does not mean what it used to..the internets has changed. Happiness is not a warm puppy. 
  • researching for a will distill the 4 key principles

    • satisfying work to do
    • the experience of being good at something
    • time spent with people we like
    • the chance to be a part of something bigger.
  • nothing in the world gives you these things better than games,
  • Multi-player games are the ultimate happiness engine.  as the rest of the community starts to catch up, then more of us will be in the business of this happiness venture/
  • Signals for things changing? Some graffiti in my town…’I’m not good at life’. for a lot of gamers their experience of life is that it is not sufficiently designed for them to be good at. we can be really good at them, at games. In real life there is not the collaboration as there is in the games. you get visualisation in WOW of all the data, help that you use ingame.  you don’t gain speaking points for presentations in life. you gain points in game.

    •  So you have better instructions in games.
    •  Games are giving us better feedback all the time. we know how we are doing.
    • games have better community. shared rules and story give you better time.
  • there is a global mass exodus..started in asia…towards virtual worlds and game worlds. I’m not critical of the mass exodus as I understand it. it is a rational decision to spend time and money in virtual worlds as those environments are set up better for them to succeed. there is a better chance for them to learn.  An MMO players spends 16 hours a week and that is average.
  • we could make better and better online and console games to take what we have learnt from  there and do something in the real world.  for many people, quality of life, virtuality is beating reality.
  • us here are lucky compared to many who play the games we do, real life is not as exciting as virtuality, it does not make them as happy. if I was as good at life as I was in my games, what would it be like.
  • I think games are is like we invented the writen word and we only write books. why are the games not in the real world, to use the games to navigate, meet people…
  • ChoreWars  -experience points for housework.  you get to claim XP for chores.
  • zyked – in alpha. exercise is the  target, give points and skills for working out
  • Seriosity – for games at work. an overlay of virtual currency for work. you have to pay people to do things at work.  you can set priorities. it creates flows of virtual currency, you can watch it. you can see who is important, connections.
  • Citizen Logistics – missions to help other people. knows where you are because of GPS etc, people can tell you what to do. mobile co-ordinations.,
  • Good news as some people are trying to make the world into a game.
  • What do they mean? to imagine the future it is important to look backwards at least twice as far as you are looking forward.  the best analogy is soap, in 1931. ‘Soap kills germs’ was a headline. games are like soap..we should install them in every building, in our pockets we are killing boredome….games Kill boredom, alienation, anxiety, depression,
  • AR designers are trying to embed these happiness engines in everyday life.
  • So, AR comes from Science fiction.  the community names it. it is not an alternative, it is an alternate way of experiences this reality, these are immersice experiences in this reality. one of the earliest OED entries for AR is 1978 – another way of experiencing existence.  they sit and exist in your real world, the game is there at the street corner.
  • World Without Oil – won an award at SXSW. we told the players that we had run out of oil and they players had to run real life as this was true. we would give you updates in your area about the gas and process and impact on food etc. levels of chaos, misery etc.  you would know what the fictional parameters and you would document what it was like.  we had a soldier in iraq on LJ about what it would be like it would be like without oil.  people changed trucks, people were interviewing non players. it’s all archived. it lasted 32 weeks, it got really dark at times,  then the players got it together and kind of fixed things.  there;s a lot of info all still there. still have people doing it.
  • so how do args amplify happiness., they deliver 10 superhero capabilities to people who play.  10 kinds of happiness that match up with research.

    • mobbability. the ability to collaborate and co-ord really large scales. 
    • cooperation radar – the ability to detect who would make the best collaborator for any given mission.
    • Ping quotient measures ability to reach out and respond to other people in your networks
    • influency – the ability to adapt your persuasive strategies to individuals and media and environments….understand communities require a different motivation.
    • multi-capitalism – understand that people are trading in different capital systems.  so how do you get the different capitals trading?
    • Protovation – big companies get scared of this. rapid innovation, that failing is fun and that is when you are learning the most. fail rapidly and often…
    • Open Authorship – naturally to blogger age. comfort with giving content away and knowing it will be changed. it’s a design skill about creating something that won’t be broke by others changes
    • signal/noise management. he ability to handle noise and know which clue is relevant.
    • longbrading – the ability to think in much bigger systems – the zoom out.
    • emergensight – this is the trickiest. the idea that you can spot patterns as they come up, comfortable with messy complexity.
    • lost ring game is in 8 languages…a lot of content, players will create more. it gets really big, so how do you spot opportunitiy etc.
  • they amplify our tendency towards the optimal human experience doing lots of research.
  • so how can interactive systems amplify happiness?
  • so where to next?

    • twitter is a good place to start, a natural interface.
    • the nike ipod. I love it. want to make a game.
    • planes – comms sytems. would love to play a game on a plane.
    • dogs..need a game to fix it….i feel guilty for playing. how about an MMO when you avatar is your dog. you have to get them all working together.
    • a friedd said – ‘my car is a video game’..a Prius using games
    • trackstick – records GPS every 5 secs and follows you. 
    • neuro detector, hook up to games. an idea for a game about people I don’t like and using my brain to destroy them
  • the Lost Ring is for the Olympics. we are going to give people the opp to have an AR at the Olympics. a game that no one has played for 2000 years. learn a lost sport and be an olympic champions.
  • The important stuff  –

    • I believe that most of us will be in the happiness business, study it and be ready for when the public demand it
    • game designers have a huge head start. we have been trying to optimise human experience. 
    • AR signal the desire, need and opp for all of us who design interactive systems to redesign reality for real quality of life.
    • jane    at avantgame   com
  • Questions. DOD/war…using gaming language. do games help prevent wars

    •    i would want to differentiate the types. games make soldiers easier to fight. that’s not the best direction for blurring the line between reality and games. it is extremely powerful we design games to draw people to benevolent action.,  i think game devs should be trying to win noble prize by 2032. if we are playing games together than much harder to hate each other.
  • to what extent that gaming etc are substitutes to things that are missing..

    • for some things..blogs can work better than conversation for many people. games work better for some people. not everyone who plays games has a life that needs fixing. I do worry that some gamers do replace, and it is something we should talk about. we need a real conversation
  • interested in the idea we have more forms but a lot less social. ARGS narrative story and not necessarily with people.

    • a lot of the press for args are online…but they have a real history of real life stuff. ie SF0. all mission in real world. a lot of stuff going that way
  • args..successful ones are productions, narratively intense. they are temp and they go away how do you…when do have continues things

    • business model needs to get fixed. it was seen as marketing and budgets fixed. tried as pay to play, lots of people trying to figure out new models.  it has to happen, i want my nike+ to run for my life
  • I’m interested in the whole business model things….Macdonalds is one of the sponsor for lost do you reconcile that with the game considering the relationship with mcdonalds

    • we don’t actually have a sponsor, we had a group of people who wanted to get involved..IOC, McD, AKQA. it’s a different model, it’s like P&G when they invented soap. I’m thrilled to be working with orgs that are big enough to get the game in may places. it’s going to be tricky to walk the line…where do you get the money,.it is moving more to TV…it is the ecosystem…
  • i played the game to reclassify books.and when i go to bookshops I do the same things. is it changing how people look at the world (ministry of reshelving)

    • its one of the most powerful things…we had 40k people doing this.  I love Tombstone Holdem, we designed games that allowed people to play serious with tombstones…
  • SF0 does a geat job of balancing creativity and real do you script vs openness

    • it’s a combination. if you are trying to solve world problems, you need a bit of a harder top down approach at the beginning
    • The x2 project, with scientists, playing games about future of research and science. we use real world science scenarios. our players inhabit the AR. we guide it with a story, we are interested in a particular reality. do research first, get people to solve the problem, then let them figure out of you are right or wrong.
  • The Game – pick up artists…evolutionary pyschology…people are gaming each other in life…

    • it is important to define the game you are playing. any game is collaborative as you are playing the same rules. in real life is they do not know there is a game playing then a problem. AR announce them selves as a game, it is better. rules are explicit.

Jane’s post on the speech, also Slides on Slideshare

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Mar 15

BarCampBrighton – Slorpedo

This is about Slorpedo – a mixed reality game in Second Life

  • based on an Icehouse game Torpedo. Difficult to play in real world, due to complex rules. so fits well with a virtual world
  • built at HackDay London, uses reacTIVision
  • How it used to work – runs on laptop (server), interacts with SL, via some kind of HTTP, something inbetween – which as written in Processing.
  • Source code lost….URL was hard coded, they did not know the magic numbers.  Tried to re-write it Python yesterday. Approx 60 linrd, in Amazon S3 data,
  • Now – webcam : reactivision : PythonScript : Amazon : SL scrip : game in SL
  • Interesting intersection of technologies.
  • You put your pieces on the board in real life.  Using one hand. aim the subs at the other subs. First one on with all on board, yells stop. Then it switches to SL, where the subs fire all their torpedoes to see who wins, the one with the most subs left wins.
  • Q?; could you play across countries?   Yes, but you’d have to have projector…and how do you say stop?

A rally fun session with people slapping down fake submarines in real life to have them translated into fake submarines in Second Life

Bar Camp Brighton

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