For the past year I’ve been living in Melbourne, which has provided me with great opportunities to attend some fantastic events and meet some amazing, very talented people.
On the 27th and 28th of January I attended the first Transmedia Victoria conference, organised by Christy Dena and Eve Penford-Dennis. The event brought together transmedia professionals from around the world and Australia including “directors, artistic directors, writers, designers, producers, and project managers in film, TV, theatre, gaming, music, literature and digital sectors” (www.transmediavictoria.net.au).
The calibre of speakers was outstanding:
Andra Sheffer (Canada)
Executive Director of three private Funds supporting the Canadian new media, television and film industries: the Bell Broadcast and New Media Fund which invests in Canadian television programs and their associated interactive digital projects; the Independent Production Fund which invests in dramatic series created for any platform; and, the COGECO Program Development Fund for the development of dramatic series.
Andra’s talk was a great insight into different funding models, and the Canadian perspective on investment in multiplatform projects is enviable. Andra acknowledged that the business model for profit from transmedia is still a mystery, but they’re working on it. Here’s a publication from the BellFund:
Flint Dille (USA) Film and Games
According to his Transmedia Vic bio, “Flint Dille is the living embodiment of what is now called Transmedia”. He invented the Transformers series as a way of selling toys, and is an expert in franchising stories. I attended his workshop, which became a fascinating discussion about how to turn real life into a gameworld to solve such problems as how to encourage people to take public transport. I won’t be developing a multiplatform franchise anytime soon but I actually learned a lot about storytelling principles from Flint.
Kerrin McNeil (Qld, Aus) Hoodlum
Kerrin McNeil is the Commercial Director of Hoodlum (www.hoodlum.com.au), an award winning creative studio that specializes in producing high quality entertainment content for multiple platforms.
Jordan Green (Melb, Aus)
Jordan spoke about ‘angel investors’ and the likelihood of attracting private investment in transmedia projects. In summary – fairly unlikely unless you develop some nifty software as part of your package, or you’re working on the next top-selling game.
Michel Reilhac (France) ARTE France
Executive Director of Arte France Cinema and Director of Film Acquisitions for ARTE France.
The very charismatic Michel Reilhac was a great speaker to end the event with his 10 Commandments for transmedia. You can read these here: http://michel-reilhac.blogs.arte.tv/
Mick Liubinskas (Syd, Aus) Pollenizer
Mick Liubinskas co-founded Pollenizer, and heads up the business and marketing team. Mick gave useful business tips for start-up projects.
Stephanie Salter (Syd, Aus) – Executive Producer, ABCTV Multiplatform
Stephanie’s talk was a great insight into the ABC’s multiplatform strategy. For the ABC it seems there is no question as to the value of developing multiplatform content, and they’ve developed many projects that have attracted very strong audience numbers, rivalling broadcast ratings.
Here’s Stephanie speaking at a Metro Screen event in 2010:
Steve Peters (USA) Fourth Wall Studios
Steve Peters is Senior Designer at Fourth Wall Studios, co-founder of No Mimes Media, co-founded the Alternate Reality Gaming Network (ARGN.net), and now hosts ARGNetcast. Steve talked about being an ‘experience designer’, comparing this role in transmedia to the role of the director in cinema.
Tassos Stevens (UK) Coney
Tassos Stevens is a runner and co-director of Coney: an agency of adventure making live interactive crossplatform play, and a society of artists and makers through play, according to principles including adventure, loveliness and reciprocity. Though I’ve never been much of a gamer, Tassos has gotten me interested in exploring serious games or ARGs and using principles of play.
Sue Maslin (Melb, Aus) Film Art Media
Sue is an experienced and acclaimed producer who has been involved in a number of multiplatform projects including one of the first interactive documentaries made in Australia, a graphic novel about William Bligh. She recently produced Re-enchantment, a project that “combines rich content with state of the art animation design and is immersive, interactive, community building and delivered as a multiplatform experience including on-line, television and radio”. Her latest project Rekindling Venus is an Augmented Reality transmedia collaboration with artist Lynette Wallworth and has been made with the help of New Zealand’s HitLab .
I’m hoping to interview Sue soon, watch this space!
Thanks to the support of sponsors such as the Australia Council for the Arts, Screen Australia, Film Victoria, Arts Victoria, the ABC, ACMI and the State Library of Victoria the event was absolutely free, but attendance was limited to arts professionals by application. I think that events such as Transmedia Vic that support the development of creative industries are invaluable and it would be great if more industry conferences and seminars in New Zealand were given this kind of support to ensure that attendance is not limited only to those who can afford to pay industry rates.