Let’s face it, 2012 was a rough year, from fires to floods, to hurricanes, mass shootings, tense elections, economic uncertainty and “Call me Maybe” playing on every radio station, across the U.S. I think I can officially say it was a pretty sucky year on many levels. And Canada, I’m going to demand an official apology for Carly Rae Jepsen, you have one year to meet my terms and conditions.
But aside from bad music, national disasters and a horrible job market. this year did give hope to many of us in the transmedia community, we had a few stumbles here and there, but the overall feeling is one of hope, and dammit, hope is all we need to get 2013 started. So here it is, my (un) official list of some awesome transmedia stuff that happened this year.
Bear 71: is an interactive web documentary by Leanne Allison and Jeremy Mendes about a grizzly bear in Banff National Park, who was collared at the age of three and was watched her whole life via trail cameras in the park. Bear 71 explores the connections between the human and animal world, and the far-ranging effects that human settlements, roads and railways have on wildlife. The webdoc features a map of Banff National Park that allows users to follow Bear 71’s movements by scrolling over the cameras, and look at other users by activating the computer’s webcam. Additionally, Lance Weiler helped produce an interactive, live performance of Bear 71 during the Sundance Film Festival.
The Lost Children: is a sci-fi thriller that tells the story of Evelyn Hamilton, NYC socialite turned would-be messiah. Running from her troubled family, Evelyn joins The Lost Children cult, who believe they are aliens from another world, stranded on Earth and awaiting rescue by their mother ship. Evelyn’s family hires professional cult deprogrammer, Jared Allen Tyler, to extract her from the cult and to “un-brainwash” her. But soon everyone in the film questions what they know to be real as the cult’s beliefs all seem to come true. The Lost Children is a fiction film shot as a documentary, using improvisation, hidden cameras, and actors filming the action themselves. The Lost Children is currently playing at the Film Society of Lincoln Center and was recently featured in Filmmaker Magazine.
The Walking Dead: In the land of prime time television series, The Walking Dead continues to break new ground with additional content, hidden messages, audience engagement, games, apps and contests. If you haven’t caught the series yet, I highly recommend it, you can read all about it on the AMC show website. For those interested in the additional content be sure to download the AMC app which contains webisodes, photos, live chat and social games along with clips from the show, The Talking Dead, a follow up program of interviews with cast, crew and celebrity fans of The Walking Dead. I have to hand it to AMC, not only did they strike gold with a well crafted series, but they have really raised the bar on interactive storytelling, I’m really curious to see what they do next.
TryLife: I stumbled upon this amazing project a few months ago while doing some research. A question posed on Twitter lead me to an incredible 2 hour interview with creator/ director, Paul Irwin.
TryLife is the first of eight websites aimed at young people under the Try brand.
It is an interactive, online drama designed by some of the best in UK talent from the Youth, Education, Health, Media and Creative industries. Based on adventure books brought back to life, TryLife is a new type of series, where at key moments the action is paused and you make a decision. Your choice will change the course of the storyline and will have an immediate impact on what happens next.
Though currently only one episode is available, it is worth the watch and with rumors of possible funding in the near future, this is one series worth checking out now.
Story Hackathon: StoryCode produced the first ever Story Hackathon in April of this year. The event overall was a success and created a sense of community and team collaboration inherent in transmedia storytelling. A total of 7 teams competed in the Story Hack which took place over 36 hours at the Film Society at Lincoln Center. The team’s challenge were to each create a cohesive narrative spanning 3 or more technological platforms to be executed on at last one platform at time of presentation. The projects were created by a diverse group of hackers and ranged from animated space journeys led, to interactive social activism experiences. For more on the initial concept and design of the hackathon check out my earlier post here.
StoryWorld 2: For the second year in a row, the StoryWorld Conference and Expo attracted hundreds of creators and collaborators across disciplines to network with and learn from each other during the three day event in Hollywood, California. I unfortunately was MIA this year, but heard through the grapevine it was even better attended and with more hands on activities than the previous year (and that’s saying something). Be sure to check out the website for video clips of this past year’s presentations and keynote speakers.
#NetworkofNetworks: To borrow the phrase (and hashtag) from my friend and fellow transmedia alchemist, Karine Halpern, this is a short list of the growing worldwide transmedia community: Transmedia NYC, Transmedia LA, Transmedia Vancouver, Transmedia 101 (Toronto), EraTransmedia (Brazil), Transmedia London, Transmedia SF, and Transmedia France.
While this is in no way a complete list of the emerging global transmedia communities, transmedia projects currently in production or release, I believe it does provide a fairly accurate prediction of what is to come in 2013 that can be summed up here…