I didn’t see it coming – being asked to be Conference Chair for StoryWorld Conference and perhaps that was the best way. I’d been busy with my PhD studies, writing and developing my own crossplatform/transmedia romantic comedy IP, consulting to some exciting commercial projects, speaking at various conferences about Staying Single (which was my first foray into transmedia – mentored by the amazing Christy Dena) and running development workshops. Back in January StoryWorld was the essence of an idea, a concept, a thought-provoking proposition but I immediately saw StoryWorld Conference & Expo as an opportunity to bring together theorists with practitioners from both indie spaces and Fortune 500’s.
So now, 8 months later, after a long chain of very late nights in the office, the support of a Conference Council – many of whom have helped shape my MA and PhD studies for over 5 years – along with some new friends who continue to shine a light on the way forward, a legion of phone calls, Skype chats, email introductions and lengthy explanations of what this is really all about, we’re only weeks away from me standing up in front of a room of 400 people to welcome you to the first StoryWorld Conference. (eeek!)
There is a lot to consider when strategising and developing a transmedia IP and I often liken the approach to spinning plates. I’ve also discovered that the plate spinning theory extends to conference curation too…
StoryWorld Conference is bringing together writers, designers, filmmakers, producers, techies and digital mavens to make sense of and get a handle on User Experiences, User Interaction, Narrative Design, Monetization, Contracts, Branding, Community Management, Distribution, Analytics, Gaming Behaviors, Licensing and Tech Innovations – all of which, and possibly more – mark the touchpoints of a robust transmedia IP.
To claim this could be the ultimate in face-to-face entertainment convergence might be rather overdramatic, but I believe that it certainly could be the first global meetup of a large community that, in true transmedia style, are passionate about continuing the ‘story’, the sharing and the learning, over a series of platforms – from the fabulous 140 tweets of Gary Hayes, through to the insightful blog postings of Simon Pulman and Laura Fleming to a host of Facebook and LinkedIn groups.
There has been both an infusion of passion and energy around the transmedia, from the buzzword bingo to intense dissemination of the ‘term’ itself. StoryWorld Conference won’t bring all of the answers, but it will bring a lot of smart people together to try and figure them out using case studies and hands-on experiences from practitioners that have earned their stripes.
Ad agencies are adopting transmedia/crossplatform strategies to build brand loyalty; film directors, publishers and writers are looking to crossplatform to extend their storyworlds over timelines, geographies and platforms.
StoryWorld Conference + Expo gets its name from the idea that the development of a cohesive universe, in which characters and storylines coexist and follow the rules of an established mythology—is at the center of any successful, lucrative, well-crafted transmedia effort.
There are no theorists speaking at StoryWorld.
I’ve done everything I can to remain focussed on amplifying the wisdom of practitioners who will share their real-life experiences.
There are a significant number of practitioners that I would have loved to be speaking at StoryWorld, but unexpected pregnancies (not mine!), changes in job title, vacation plans and workloads have meant that this isn’t THE collective by far. (I have my sights on you for next year, so you haven’t escaped.. you know who you are…) However we are proud to have an impressive collective of speakers that have direct practical experience in working on crossplatform properties and will speak from the heart about their lessons learned.
I hope you’ll join us too – to learn the art – and the business of cross-platform entertainment.
See you in San Francisco!
StoryWorld Conference & Expo