Gettin’ it Going: Transmedia Victoria

Well hello there. It has been a while since I’ve blogged and today you’ll find out one reason why. I’ve been working away at my own creative project and startup, but also on an event. A few months ago the Australia Council for the Arts (esp the cool digital program) approached me about helping get transmedia happening in Australia. They said, hey, what if we could get all the funding bodies together about this? Well that is a good idea! So part of the process is activating transmedia in Australia is to begin by running a conference and workshop day, starting in Victoria. It is important to activate local networks as well as national and global ones. I’m curating and co-organising the event, and Eve Penford-Dennis of Freeplay is project managing it.

Some of the strategies I’ve employed for this event:
1) Target professionals who already work in multiple artforms. What I’ve seen over the years is that if someone has been working (for example) in film for twenty years, they’re the least likely to move into transmedia. It is people who have or do work in more that one artistic sector that are more amenable to transmedia.
2) Target professionals who are interested in creating original IP rather than those who want to just jump onto the latest thing or are just there to try and make money. Those who are attracted to the latter items usually make up the majority of audiences for education events, and they are important…but they’re not necessarily the ones the who progress the artform.
3) Pitch the talks at intermediate level knowledge. This is to make sure those who are already working in the transmedia area are being stretched, but also I believe it will be more appealing to serious artists who don’t want in transmedia. I’m guessing that professionals are inspired more by the issues and inspirations or other professionals more than spin about a thing they “should” be doing.
4) Include discussions about writing, design, directing and producing issues. There has been an overemphasis on producing for the past few years. I think I understand why this was needed. More recently writing has come back on the agenda. But there are other areas in transmedia that are needed as well. Directing is a big one (I’m starting to talk about directing stuff here). Transmedia will really move forward when every member of a team understands the artform they’re working in and works towards the same goal.
5) Include discussions about how to work across creative sectors. One of the biggest impediments to working with transmedia in Australia and any country really is the difficulty in dealing with different creative cultures. Each medium has its own culture with its own language, schedules, hierarchies and habits. Transmedia needs people who can work in more than one industry as much as more than one artform.
6) Include discussions about running a transmedia studio. There are many production companies and freelancers that work on one part of a transmedia project, and there always will be. But it is also important to have more transmedia studios operating so the production processes and understandings of different artforms spreads across a team. Transmedia studios have their own contemporary bent as well, as they have the need for unique deployment & content management technologies, as well as a diverse range of revenue sources. They are also likely to have elastic teams, increasing and reducing according to the demands of different projects.
7) Include as many funding bodies as possible. Another aspect to getting a strong transmedia ecology going is funding bodies. Just like industrial cultures, they have their own languages. But they will all play a part in the emerging transmedia ecology (economy), especially in helping original IP happen.
8) Ensure there is a great mix of people there to facilitate awesome collaborations. Eve and I are contacting so many people from different creative sectors. We’ll be doing overt networking activities at the event, and activating existing meetups after the event.

As for the speakers, I needed to include people who will cover the above topics and approaches as well as represent theatre, dance, gaming, film, TV and digital sectors predominantly. I’d love to have lots of music and literature and so on people there too. It is also important to have speakers that will talk to the funding bodies and other key stakeholders. But I only have one conference day, with certain stakeholders. There are also many speakers I would of loved to have had from around the world and Australia. I really want to make this clear. There are plenty of you that are my favourite colleagues who are not at this event. This was simply a logistical issue. I love you all. But for now, here is the exciting list of people:

Tassos Stevens (UK), Co-Director of Coney – Clients include National Theatre, the Science Museum, Guerilla Science, Tate Britain, Hodder & Stoughton, and the Royal Opera House.

Steve Peters (USA), Co-Founder No Mimes Media – The Hunt, The Threshold (CISCO); Why So Serious? (THE DARK KNIGHT); Year Zero (Trent Reznor); Minutes to Midnight (WATCHMEN); I Love Bees (BUNGIE)…

Flint Dille (USA), Co-Owner Bureau of Film & Games, author The Ultimate Guide to Video Game Writing and Design – DC Comics, Ubisoft, Atari, THQ, Activision, Electronic Arts, Monolith, Marvel, Warner Bros., Dimension, Take 2, Midway, Microsoft, Disney and Namco.

Andra Scheffer (Canada), Executive Director of the Bell Broadcast and New Media Fund, co-editor How to Make Money with Multi-platform Digital Media.

Michel Reilhac (France), Executive Director of Arte France Cinema and Director of Film Acquisitions for ARTE France; previously Executive Director of Forum des Images in Paris, General Manager of the American Centre in Paris and of the National Theater of Chaillot in Paris, Executive Director of the National Centre for Contemporary Dance in Angers, France.

Jackie Turnure (Qld, Aus), Head of Development, Hoodlum – Day X Exists (SALT); Join the Mosaic (FLASHFOWARD); Find 815, Dharma Wants You (LOST); Primeval Evolved; SPOOKS Interactive; EMMERDALE Online.

Sue Maslin (Vic, Aus), Producer, Art Film Media – Road to Nhill (1995), Japanese Story (2003), winner of 26 international wards including the AFI Award for Best Feature Film and Hunt Angels (2006), winner of the AFI Award for Best Documentary Film.

Phil Morle (Syd, Aus), Co-Founder Pollenizer – Kazaa; Posse; Spreets; 99Dresses; MoGeneration; BBC.

Jordan Green (Vic, Aus), co-founder and Deputy Chairman of the Australian Association of Angel Investors and Jordan founded and leads Angel investor group, Melbourne Angels Inc.

We’ll see how it goes, but I am really excited about the event. I can’t wait to be there and be a part of it. Check out: www.TransmediaVictoria.net.au. 🙂