For their last Transit post of the year, Transmedia NZ's Anna Jackson and Fiona Milburn asked six influential and inspiring people to look ahead to 2014 and share their thoughts on the future of transmedia storytelling in New Zealand.
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2013 has been a great year for the advancement of transmedia storytelling in New Zealand. There have been several outstanding professional development opportunities and many creative practitioners have started using transmedia techniques to explore new forms of storytelling.
In July, WIFT NZ and ASDCS hosted The Power of Transmedia Storytelling event at Unitec in Auckland where we got to meet international transmedia luminary Jeff Gomez. Jeff’s work includes Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean, Microsoft’s Halo, James Cameron’s Avatar, Mattel’s Hot Wheels and Coca-Cola’s Happiness Factory.
Jeff Gomez, President and CEO
Starlight Runner Entertainment
“I think that 2014 is going to be a banner year for transmedia storytelling, and that New Zealand is going to be a key participant in creating it and proliferating it. We know that Weta Workshop and Weta Digital are hosting the production of the new Avatar films in NZ. Weta has a distinctly transmedia approach, which they have been refining in recent years. Weta is proving that, when carefully planned, the production of transmedia content can be integrated into the filmmaking process, which in turn saves time and money.
"On the education front, we understand that various colleges and universities in New Zealand are more closely investigating transmedia practice. Starlight Runner is exploring how we can directly help the Unitec Institute of Technology in Auckland to integrate practical transmedia studies into its curriculum, which is very exciting.
"At the global level, transmedia storytelling will continue to proliferate, particularly on projects that employ these techniques from the start, rather than as marketing strategies after the content has been created. Some of the savviest Hollywood producers are building properties in a concerted fashion across media other than film, so that movie versions are easier to get green-lighted. We're going to see strong evidence of this in 2014. Corporations and consumer products companies are learning that they need to communicate candidly across multiple media platforms and build their relationship with consumers on a foundation of strong narrative — these are the building blocks of good transmedia.”
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Brenda Leeuwenberg, Digital Strategist
NZ on Air
“It has been an exciting year for transmedia storytelling in NZ. The transmedia conference and workshop by Jeff Gomez were stimulating and inspiring for all attendees.
"NZ On Air remains committed to supporting the production of local content through transmedia projects via the Digital Media Fund. Engaging audiences and extending their experience across platforms in innovative ways is what we are all striving for. We are very happy that the Digital Media Fund has enabled local producers to consider a transmedia approach and we continue to be impressed with the ideas that are submitted. Watch this space!”
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Transmedia NZ has started regular Meetups, hosted by AUT CoLab as a place to exchange ideas, inspire each other and learn. Our first guest speaker was Amie Mills who discussed transmedia commissioning trends in the UK, where she had been involved in developing online and multiplatform projects for broadcasters such as Channel 4.
Amie Mills, Senior Digital Producer
“2014 is a year of possibility for me in terms of transmedia storytelling. I’ve recently joined TVNZ and the remit of the role is innovation in the digital space and in particular the way we engage and inspire audiences around the video content we produce. So to me, this means finding ways to extend narratives, characters and content beyond the television screen and deeper into our everyday lives.
"I’m keeping a close eye on the augmented reality space as I think smart AR is where we’re heading with transmedia. We’re not talking gimmicky AR activations either – we’re talking integrated content that lives and breathes via web portals that we engage with at a deep level to place ourselves inside the stories and content we’re consuming. Ask the guys at Imersia NZ - they know what they’re doing!”
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Charlie McDermott and Andrew Foster also spoke at a recent Meetup. They are looking to build a transmedia world around Apocalypse Z, the immensely successful immersive theatre event held earlier this year, and wanted feedback on their ideas for further development.
Charlie McDermott, General Manager
The Basement Theatre
“Elise Sterback and I have a vision next year to lead the way with “live transmedia” storytelling - where live performance becomes the driving platform for transmedia content.
"Both at The Basement and through our immersive Zombie event - Apocolypse Z, we’re striving to be at the cutting edge of live storytelling. We believe transmedia creates enduring audiences around temporary performance works - a challenge that screen media does not have to overcome in the same way.
"We want to use digital media to draw people out of the digital world and into live experiences that connect them with others. After all, there’s nothing more transmedia than feeling a performer’s spit on your face.”
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Caroline Robinson is another artist who incorporated transmedia techniques into her work in 2013. Described as a collaborative water journey, back to the source hoki ki nga waiora is about “people, water and the bonds between us”.
Caroline Robinson, Digital Artist in Residence 2013
The Big Idea - Te Aria Nui
“We have put the digital tools like facebook, twitter, soundcloud, vimeo to work on ‘back to the source hoki ki nga waiora’ as platforms to share stories and ideas about our direct relationship with water.
"What makes this ongoing collaborative water journey a truly interesting ‘Transmedia’ laboratory for me, is that as well as digital media, we are celebrating the ‘communications technology’ that is built into our physical, emotional, mental, spiritual being, recognising this primordial system as our primary communication platform. Our approach to ‘Transmedia’ is to encourage each other to open the two-way exchange, through our senses and higher senses, to communicate directly through the flows of the ‘web of all life’.
"If the new craft of ‘Transmedia’ has a purpose in my mind, in this emerging biological age, it is to use storytelling, across all media and devices, to encourage and support us collectively to reclaim our natural gifts of communion within nature. Thinking of ‘Transmedia’ as both digital and biological, I believe, gives us the possibility of reframing who we are as communicators, and activating a truly restorative focus for our ‘collective intelligence’.”
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We also got to be inspired by the fabulous young entertainers being mentored by the Mika Haka Foundation when we presented to them in November. This workshop, organized by Mika and DANZ, was confirmation indeed that the youth of New Zealand ‘get’ transmedia.
Mika, Kaitiaki/Executive Director
Mika Haka Foundation
“Mika Haka Foundation actively uses transmedia to tell our stories in its diversity and imagination. If there is anything we all know about the arts is that they are, like our audiences evolving. We at MHF celebrate this every day in growing and reaching our audiences. Kotahitanga mate rereketanga – unity through diversity.”
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To find out more about what inspired us in 2013, check out our past Transit blog posts. As well as showcasing creative practitioners and their work, this blog covers various aspects of transmedia, including tools, techniques and trends. You can also follow Transmedia NZ on facebook and twitter, or join us in person at our monthly Meetup.
Until we return in 2014, have a safe and happy holiday season. Nga mihi o te Kirihimete me te Tau Hou - Fiona and Anna