Transmedia is the word of the day! A lot of energy has been going to the newest generation of multi-platform, interactive, crowd-sourced nonfiction work. The brains behind these experiments are most often creative partnerships between producers and technologists, many hatched at the hackathons happening around the globe. Hot Docs just hosted a marvelous sampling of this work at their Hot Hacks event. Thanks to the brilliant leadership of Ingrid Kopp, Tribeca Film Institute (TFI) organized an entire day, open to the public, sampling and discussing this work at TFI Interactive: The Future of Storytelling in the Digital Age. The BAVC Producers Institute for New Media Technologies has been leading in this space since their beginnings in 2007 ( applications for their next institute open up this June). And in our own backyard in Boston, FRONTLINE teamed up with PRX to create a hack day supporting their films.
This is all just a quick snapshot of the energy and talent going into this field. In terms of the projects themselves, some of the work is deeply powerful. Some is playful. Some is targeted at social change. Some is techno-savvy and story poor. Some is dead on arrival. And then I’m back to the deeply powerful again. The absolutely insane and colorful circus of brain energy it takes to conceive and execute all of these iterations inspires me to my core. This work requires throwing away the box and giving birth to new thinking about story, interactivity, audience, and technology. Significantly, it also requires real critique to work alongside the enthusiasm as these artists carefully consider what it takes to create a meaningful experience, a move to action, and, in some cases, when it’s best to just let go and have fun.
Zeegaco-founder Jesse Shapins just wrote a piece called “How the Indie Audio Community is Transforming Storytelling” that captures what’s exciting, challenging, and what’s emerging from this space. Importantly he gives a proper shout out to the audio doc community (particularly AIR, PRX, Localore – produced by AIR, Transom, more) who have been playing and innovating in this space for years. He gives some great examples of projects that get it right, and some insights into his own work in this field. I urge you to read it. Really good stuff!