Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Transmedia: Hollywood 2

Hey Blog Fans,

I know I've been busy, but if you need a fix of hearing me talk about things, check me out in Los Angeles next week at Transmeida, Hollywood 2: the Sequel, like Godfather 2, and not other sequels that are not good.


See you there!


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TRANSMEDIA, HOLLYWOOD 2:
Visual Culture and Design

A UCLA/USC/Industry Symposium
Co-sponsored by
UCLA Producers Program,
UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television
and
USC School of Cinematic Arts

Friday, April 8, 2011
James Bridges Theater, UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television
9:45 AM - 7 PM

Event Co-Directors:
Denise Mann, Associate Professor, Producers Program, UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television
Henry Jenkins, Provost's Professor of Communication, Journalism and Cinematic Arts, USC Annenberg School of Communication

Overview
Transmedia, Hollywood 2: Visual Culture and Design is a one-day public symposium exploring the role of transmedia franchises in today's entertainment industries. Transmedia, Hollywood 2 turns the spotlight on media creators, producers and executives and places them in critical dialogue with top researchers from across a wide spectrum of film, media and cultural studies to provide an interdisciplinary summit for the free interchange of insights about how transmedia works and what it means.

Co-hosted by Denise Mann and Henry Jenkins, from UCLA and USC, two of the most prominent film schools and media research centers in the nation, Transmedia, Hollywood 2 builds on the foundations established at last year's Transmedia, Hollywood: S/Telling the Story. This year's topic: Transmedia, Hollywood: Visual Culture and Design is meant to move from an abstract discussion of transmedia storytelling in all its permutations to a more concrete consideration of what is involved in designing for transmedia.

The past year has seen the Producer's Guild of America (PGA) embrace the concept of the transmedia producer. The other Guilds have begun discussing the implications of these developments for their membership. A growing number of small production units are springing up across the film, games, web, and television sectors to try to create and distribute transmedia content. Many of today's new transmedia producers are helmed by one-time studio or network insiders who are eager to "reinvent" themselves. Inside the studios, the executives tasked with top-down management of large media franchises are partnering with once marginalized film directors, comic book creators, game designers, and other creative personnel.

The underlying premise of this conference is that while the traditional studios and networks are hanging onto many of their outdated practices, they are also starting to engage creative personnel who are working outside the system to help them re-imagine their business. With crisis and change comes the opportunity for the next generation of maverick, independent-minded producers--the next Walt Disney and George Lucas-- to significantly challenge the old and to make way for the new. So, now, it is time to start examining lessons learned from these early experiments. Each of the issues outlined below impact the day-to-day design decisions that go into developing transmedia franchises. We hope to break down the project of developing transmedia content into four basic design challenges:
  • What does it mean to structure a franchise around the exploration of a world rather than a narrative? How are these worlds moving from the film and television screen into other media, such as comics, games, and location based entertainment?
  • What does it mean to design a character that will play well across a range of different media platforms? How might transmedia content re-center familiar stories around compelling secondary characters, adding depth to our understanding of the depicted events and relationships?
  • What does it mean to develop a sequence of events across a range of different media? How do we make sure that the spectator understands the relationship between events when they are piecing together information from different platforms and trying to make sense of a mythology that may span multiple epochs?
  • What does it take to motivate consumers to invest deeply enough into a transmedia franchise that they are eager to track down new installments and create buzz around a new property? How is transmedia linked to a push towards interactivity and participatory culture?
As with the first event, Transmedia, Hollywood: Visual Culture & Design will bring together comic book writers, game designers, "imagineers," filmmakers, television show runners, and other media professionals in a conversation with leading academic thinkers on these topics. Each of our speakers will be asked to focus on the unique challenges they faced while working on a specific production and detail how their understanding of transmedia helped them resolve those issues. From there, we will ask all our speakers to compare notes across projects and platforms with the hopes of starting to develop some basic design principles that will help us translate theories of transmedia entertainment into pragmatic reality. The creative personnel we have assembled include many of the key individuals responsible for masterminding the fundamental changes in the way traditional media operates and engages audiences by altering the way stories are told temporally, by exploring how graphic design translates from one medium to another, and by explaining how these visually-stunning worlds are being conceived in today's "connected" entertainment arena.

Monday, March 7, 2011