Transmedia Storytelling... With A CwF+RtB Twist

from the a-cool-experiment dept

Ross Pruden points us to the news that Zen Films, a decade old production house, is launching a new storytelling project, which they admit is partly inspired by the CwF+RtB model that we talk about here. One of the cool things here is that rather than just making a "movie" or a "book," they've this is a "transmedia" project. That is, it's a single story, but told from the viewpoints of (at least) three different participants in the story. One participant's story will be told via a novella, another via a blog and the third via video webisodes. They're still working on the full "reasons to buy," but the initial focus appears to be on offering a combination of convenience and time saving (two important scarcities) by letting you buy access to the full package of content (even as they're just releasing initial segments slowly online). The project is being written by an award winning crime/thriller author. Zen Films is also looking to sign some sponsors (selling the attention scarcity) but seem open to other ideas as well. It definitely sounds like an interesting experiment -- but perhaps we can have a discussion here about additional scarcities that could be offered. Also, I'm wondering if there are ways to make the "connection" element stronger. A great story is certainly one way to connect, but I wonder if Zen Films can also set up a way to build a bigger community around the story, that makes them feel more connected to it and more bought into the concept...


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  1.  
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    Brendan (profile), Mar 9th, 2010 @ 11:16pm

    Connections and RtB

    First, I hope the blog and video portions are smart enough to continue the conversation, rather than just dumping the content for the week/whatever period.

    On each blog post, allow readers to post comments and questions, and have the authors respond in character. If they suspect somebody or saw something weird, share little tidbits (previews of next piece?) in the comments. Get people engaged. Same goes for video comments.

    For RtB, why not sell some bits parts in the video episodes? Let your biggest fans in to be a part of the show.

    That's my two cents at 2am.

     

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    Chargone (profile), Mar 9th, 2010 @ 11:50pm

    Re: Connections and RtB

    the fun part being that they pay you, rather than you paying for extras or whatever.

    that's a two for one right there, on the order of 'if you take your enemy's supplies, they're worth twice as much, because not only do you now have them, your enemy doesn't.' ... to heavily paraphrase Sun Tzu. (i think he actually says 3 or 4 times as much, but i can't be bothered checking right now, and no one said anything about wars, but whatever.)

     

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  3.  
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    Tyler!, Mar 10th, 2010 @ 5:26am

    CwF...

    I had a similar idea on a much smaller scale. A major component in my idea was to have your characters make appearances that were elemental to the story.

    For example:

    One character is a musician - Fans will get location updates on where to find your actor/musician's performances in locations key to the story.

    Another character might be a detective - Fans can follow his check-ins on social sites like Foursquare as he "checks in" to crime scenes.

    Your enemy character can be a mystery to your fans - or fans can be lead to suspect many characters - but at least one actor is leaving real life clues in real life places.

    Most importantly, these actors are doing real-time social updates ABOUT the fans that are interacting with them in the real world - For example, fans buy access through YOU to all the venues the musician will actually be performing at for the chance to have a conversation with the musician that may become integrated into the story line. The scarcity would be face-time with the actors/characters while they're in character. Real fans of the fiction will want to play a role in the fiction too - a real life conversation with an actor would play more like dialogue that's in context with the fiction than an interview with an actor who's out of character.

    Like I said, my idea was on a much smaller scale and the story involved only two protagonists, making it easier to manage. Still, face-time with real people is a legitimate scarcity - one that people would pay money for if it meant interacting with the fiction they love in a real and meaningful way.

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    :), Mar 10th, 2010 @ 2:47pm

    I saw a webserie(I heart vampires) that already do this I think, blip.tv and goolge are going for the last mile.

    The history is funny, they portray the makers as bloodsucking people and the fans do impossible things to get in their good side.

    I think that happened because the story is actually writen by the fans and the actors just tell the stories.

     

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    ZenFilms (profile), Mar 10th, 2010 @ 4:09pm

    Fan Interaction

    Thanks for the comments everyone.
    The ability to interact and influence the story via comments on blog/videos and for the authors to respond is clearly something that's coming through here.

    We'll also have a forum for more in depth discussions because I think audiences/readers seek different levels of involvement - some just on the surface and others much deeper. Plus I think a keep part of successful communities is allowing the audience to communicate and meet with each other - for them to share their experiences of the work among themselves.

    Although at launch we'll have the complete novella and DVD ready to buy, there is still the possibility of an alternative version being made from the comments and suggestions that come in. AND we're making the video footage freely available for others to remix which means someone in the audience who cares enough could actually create their own story with our material.

     

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    Derek Kerton (profile), Mar 15th, 2010 @ 2:43pm

    Interesting how few comments this post generated.

    I speculate that, as of right now, there is still no CwF going on around this article itself. As described by Mike, the Zen Films approach still seems vague, the storyline is not yet developed...thus, there is no connection with the Techdirt community. (admittedly, I didn't click through the links)

    If, OTOH, Mike asked for a discussion around something known and loved/hated, say the OK Go video or Techdirt itself, you would have a lot more comments, ideas, and debate.

    Basically, in a strange and ironic way, this post failed to CwF. I say that with all due respect, because not every post on the site could be expected to do so.

    So, for Zen Films, I would suggest something to start people thinking. A "demo tape" of sorts. Apologies if you already have one, but then it should have been embedded here.

    Cheers, and good luck.

     

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    ZenFilms (profile), Mar 16th, 2010 @ 12:45am

    Hey Derek, thanks for taking the time to comment and I think you're right that the post hasn't really CwF.

    One possible reason that you allude to is that maybe the post has appeared too soon before the project is in fuller bloom: with the scant information here there's little to get emotionally connected to.

    But it could also be that the question is too open-ended. I say this because to make a constructive contribution would require someone to read the details on the Zen Films site and watch both the videos there. I'm guessing that other people, like you, have chosen not to do that.

    I'm very grateful to everyone for any interested shown in Mike's post and I hope that when the time is right - remember that this is a work-in-progress so I can't present new content until it's developed & produced - I have incorporated their thoughtful suggestions.

     

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    ZenFilms (profile), Mar 16th, 2010 @ 12:47am

    Hey Derek, thanks for taking the time to comment and I think you're right that the post hasn't really CwF.

    One possible reason that you allude to is that maybe the post has appeared too soon before the project is in fuller bloom: with the scant information here there's little to get emotionally connected to.

    But it could also be that the question is too open-ended. I say this because to make a constructive contribution would require someone to read the details on the Zen Films site and watch both the videos there. I'm guessing that other people, like you, have chosen not to do that.

    I'm very grateful to everyone for any interested shown in Mike's post and I hope that when the time is right - remember that this is a work-in-progress so I can't present new content until it's developed & produced - I have incorporated their thoughtful suggestions.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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