Anti-Hoaxing Strategies and the TINAG Fallacy

A few days ago I published a post highlighting one possible reason why alternate reality games are perceived as hoaxes by some, and posited one strategy to circumvent the problem. The point seemed to caused a little confusion, as some thought I was saying that all the content and marketing should be targeted to the ARG community only. [Steve was right, this would be quicker over a beer at a conference.] To be clear, that is not how I see a launch operates in any scenario. Launches require putting lots of content out into different communities of interest. My point was that a work that looks indistinguishable from real content would benefit from having a community that identifies it as fiction early in the launch process. That is: to target the ARG community in the first wave. Whether other communities are targeted at the same time or slightly after is a design approach relative to the creator — but the point is to include an ARG community early.

But, since focusing on one strategy in isolation is evidently not the most effective approach, I will step back and look at the bigger picture. One of the issues with ARGs is that they are often referred to as hoaxes, and sometimes (rarely) experienced as hoaxes. So my questions have been:

1) Are ARGs hoaxes?
2) Why are ARGs referred to hoaxes?
3) Why are some ARGs experienced as a hoax?
4) Why is it most ARGs not experienced as hoaxes?

And here are the answers:

Continue reading Anti-Hoaxing Strategies and the TINAG Fallacy

From Here to Awesome


Last year DIY filmmaking pioneers Lance Weiler (The Last Broadcast, Head Trauma, WorkBookProject), Arin Crumley (Four Eyed Monsters) and M dot Strange (We Are The Strange) got together and came up with the idea for a film festival in which audiences can watch films they choose in theatres, in their living room, online and via mobile phones. Not only does this give audiences choice and the filmmakers a global audience, all filmmakers are welcome to submit, they retain their rights, pay no fees AND get revenue directly from the distribution outlets. They’ll also be running virtual panels. Here is some more info about their goals:

The festival’s goal is to create a direct connection between filmmaker and audience. There are no submission fees for filmmakers. FHTA attempts to create multiple revenue opportunities for the festival filmmakers by providing a platform that enables distribution across multiple outlets – mobile, online, living rooms and theaters. Filmmakers retain all their rights and choose how to price their work.

In an interesting twist we’ve decided to put the programming of the festival directly in the hands of the audience. By harnessing the power of social tools, audience members will be able to discover, share and assist in programming the festival.

FROM HERE TO AWESOME consists of four main parts.

1. Discovery – filmmakers and audience members use core features and functions of youTube and myspace to submit and select projects that will be showcased in FHTA.

2. Education – audience members learn filmmaking in an engaging and fun way that has them interacting with their peers and directly with showcased filmmakers.

3. Sharing – audience members enjoy interesting feature length and
short form entertainment which they have helped to program.

4. New Models – the goal of FHTA is to experiment with new distribution models for filmmakers that give them realistic options for reaching global audiences and seeing a return for their creative efforts.

In their generous style, they’re already sharing tips and tricks:

So check it out! It is going to be AWESOME!

My latest essay: Tiering and ARGs!

Eighteen months ago I submitted an essay idea to Henry Jenkins and Mark Deuze for their special issue of the Convergence journal. The essay, titled ‘Emerging Participatory Culture Practices: Player-Created Tiers in Alternate Reality Games’ is in the publication and is now available online. I’ve created a website to go with the essay for a few reasons….some of which is to provide general-reader designer-oriented content, to provide the basic info it wasn’t appropriate to put in an analytical essay and because the copyright agreement is that I cannot publish the essay on my site for a year. Here is the full list of contents:

I look forward to reading the other essays. I hope this issue provokes some conversations, please send through your thoughts on the comments here or via email. I’d love to hear them.