Transmedia NZ's Fiona Milburn brings us the third and final post in a series looking at how innovative storytellers use social media tools to extend narrative and engage audiences.
This time we discuss groundbreaking projects which utilise Pinterest, Vine, Instagram and Tumblr.
Pinterest is a popular social media site where people collect and share online images. Boards are used to group these images into interests, topics, themes, etc. … or, as in the case of beActive’s Beat Girl, into story episodes.
Beat Girl is a transmedia series that includes a TV show, web series, feature film, game and social media presence. It tells the story of Heather Jennings.
“Left with nothing but a piano and debts after her mother’s death, Heather’s only option is to move in with her estranged father and half-brother. She turns to music and DJing to help her through this new stage and to make some sense out of life.”
In 2012 Beat Girl became the first scripted series to be told via Pinterest. Each story episode has its own Pinterest board where the story plays out in image and text. Heather also has her own personal boards such as My Big Dream and Film Favs which provide additional insight into Heather’s world.
Beat Girl is a great example of a project that started small and incrementally built into a major transmedia experience.
Vine is a mobile app that lets you capture and share short looping videos of 6 seconds or less. Last year, Airbnb achieved a first when they created Hollywood & Vines, an unexpectedly beautiful short film made entirely of crowdsourced Vines.
Airbnb explains - “Working with award-winning screenwriter Ben York Jones, we created our storyline – the transformative journey of a simple piece of paper. Once the script was set, the director began tweeting out Vine directions to the world. He then opened a Twitter dialogue with the most prolific Viners, helping to create the perfect shots. A story of travel, adventure, and finding your place in the world.”
Here’s the completed film …
Instagram is a social networking service that enables its users to take pictures, and short videos lasting up to 15 seconds, and share them on social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Flickr. Cult TVNZ comedy, Auckland Daze, which started out as a low budget web series, recently returned to its online roots with the first ever Instagramisodes.
“Auckland Daze follows four hapless wannabes - a model, a stuntman, a dwarf entertainer and a stand-up comedian who are all chasing fame in Auckland's ridiculously small entertainment industry.”
Shot on an iphone 5, using both Instagram’s traditional photo editing features and its new video capabilities, Thailand Daze follows Millen and Glen on their 5 day grabaseat jaunt to Thailand. You’ll find the full Thailand Daze adventure (#THAIDZE) at AKLDZE on Instagram or you can watch the video highlights on YouTube.
Tumblr is a microblogging platform that lets you share anything: text, photos, quotes, links, music, videos, etc. It’s easy to use and makes a great multi-media storytelling platform, but I mention it here for its archival ability. It’s a great place to pull together the many strands of a transmedia project, allowing easy access to a storyworld for those who come late to the experience - they can start from the beginning. Tumblr is also very good at providing a summarising hub for complex and extended experiences.
Churnin Group’s @SummerBreak follows a group of American high school seniors as they spend their last summer together before heading off to college. It’s a reality show that plays out exclusively on social media: YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr. Viewers can also track any of the show’s stars: Nia, Ray, Trevis, Alex, Clara, Zaq, Lena, Kostas and Connor. The daily webisodes are professionally produced and the production company uses HootSuite and Dropbox to co-ordinate the cast’s tweets, videos and pictures. @SummerBreak is intended to be viewed on mobile devices.
On March 11th Churnin Group announced that @SummerBreak was returning for a second season.
If you aren’t familiar with any of the social media platforms mentioned above, Mashable have an excellent series of articles for beginners. Here are the ones most relevant to our discussion above:
It’s also important to remember that your content doesn’t have to be everywhere. Even with a transmedia project, you can start small, be creative, and place your content where your audience will naturally find it.