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The technical side of cross-media projects is usually the most discussed item at cross-media events that I’ve attended. Conglomerates now want to produce works across all the platforms within their empire and they need systems to manage the data, traffic, security and payments. One company, of many, is offering such an ‘end-to-end’ solution. Zone4Play ‘provide a range of solutions to the satellite, cable TV and mobile phone carriers/providers. Zone4Play’s technology uses a single account that enables switching from one platform to another with the same virtual account balance and user information – be it iTV, Internet or Mobile.’ The 3 areas of the ‘solution’ includes ‘client applications’, ‘game engines (server side)’ and what they call their ‘Management Applications Suite (MAS)’. The suite manages the communication between all the platforms as expressed in their diagram:

Such ‘back office’ systems will have/do have a great impact on the effectiveness of cross-media works but what about the discussions, the research, the diagrams, the funding into how these ‘stories’ and ‘games’ will work? We’ve (cross-media researchers and practitioners) have got to get out there more…Inspired?

Mobisodes are the New Blog

Mobisodes are the new black, no blog. Last year was the Year of the Blog and this year it seems ‘mobility’ is the new area of boom. The key area of ‘mobility’ is the mobile phone. They have been described as the ‘third screen’ and the ‘fifth media’. Australia is about to have its first mobisode series debut on May 2. Random Place is apparently based on Dutch soapie Jong-Zuid. Rather than video each series is a collection of still images with text (the comic reinvented or remediated?) so that any mobile phone user can access the work. It is produced by iconmobile, a company in Berlin that is also creating a Trading Post app for Sensis Pty Ltd.

Other mobisodes cited as coming our way (Oz) is the similarly styled comic series FanTESStic by Endemol which is designed for dynamic usage:

The strength of FanTESStic is its flexibility, which allows the storyline and type of subscription to be adapted to suit local preferences and target groups. In the UK, the series has a more conservative storyline and users can order it in single episodes or via a weekly subscription.

Hoodlum Entertainment, the gang who brought us the cross-media work Fat Cow Motel are also bringing out some mobisodes and in Melbourne we have Harvey Taft Productions, and in Perth Loop Creative. As I’ve also mentioned before, Fox Entertainment Group’s 24: Conspiracy, will be delivered to Vodaphone customers in the UK on Jan 31st and to Verizon Wireless V Host customers on Feb 7th.

Also on Verizon will be mobisodes based on the Fox TV series of Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie, The Simple Life: Interns (April 6), Sunset Hotel (9 Feb) and Love & Hate (10 Feb). The later are described as follows:

“Love and Hate” introduces Twentieth Television’s groundbreaking production approach it calls “manipulated reality,” in which cast members work without a script and involve everyday citizens into their improvised performances and the series’ storyline. “The Sunset Hotel” will be entirely scripted.

“By giving ‘Love and HateÂ’sÂ’ cast the freedom to work without a script and allow them to creatively weave interactions with non-actors into their craft, we add another level of intrigue and depth into this project. This is a low cost, yet distinctive production technique that we will continue to explore,” Cook explained. “‘The Sunset HotelÂ’ features a captivating script and performances replete with enthralling melodrama that will engage consumers.”

For the cross-media folk out there keep your eye out for the aforementioned cross-media work Girl Friday (TV, mobile, Web) and TXT MS C (TV, mobile, Web) in the UK.

Filmmaker turns to Webisodes

Daniel Myrick, the co-creator of the Blair Witch Project, has a webisode online called ‘The Strand’. It is a live-action fiction series delivered on the web that is a mix of real people and actors. The story is set in Venice Beach and is about the ‘freaks, geeks and muscle beach’.

Like Jupiter Green it has a collection of actors that reflect appealing characters for different viewers and a forum for fans to discuss the work (and beyond with The Strand). Once again their is a claim of being a ‘first’:

The Strand is the first live-action, independently produced; narrative episodic intended specifically for the web, hence the term “webisodic.” 

It seems a really well-made series judging by the well-designed web imagery and evocative music. The first episode is out on March 15th and is free. The rest are on a fee-per-view basis and managed by BitPass technology.