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DIY Days in L.A.

DIY Days in L.A.

By guest blogger Christine Weitbrecht who writes a blog on transmedia called Thoughts on the T

Needless to say, Friday’s workshops at DIY Days LA were filled to the brim with great speakers and innovative perspectives. For those that couldn’t attend today’s workshops, here’s a re-cap of the most important bits:

Common Points

There were a few common themes mentioned in almost every talk I attended, and they were all based on experiences (god and bad) from existing projects:

1. Your audience consists of three main groups: Casual consumers (around 70% of your audience), active consumers (25-30%) and enthusiasts (5-10%). Your transmedia strategy must try to lead your audience members from casual to active consumers, and ideally on to enthusiasts. Casual consumers are relatively passive, active consumers engage with your content on a frequent basis, and enthusiasts are your most dedicated fans and torch-bearers. Active and enthusiasts are also the ones that will spread awareness of your content and bring you new audiences.

2. Know your audience. Know who they are, where they live, what they love, what they hate, what they care about and value, what they want and what they need, and on which existing media platforms they can be found. You cannot force them to come to you, you have to bring your content to them.

3. Know your content as well as your content’s themes really well. Both are entry points for audiences, and both can draw in consumers that would usually not be interested in your content/the themes.

4. Spreading and sharing is crucial, and obscurity is far worse than piracy. In this market, it is better to be seen and to build an audience rather than to suppress piracy. Going back to the first point, if you manage to turn your casual consumers into actives or even enthusiasts, their dedication offers a steady and frequent source of revenue. If you suppress the sharing of your content, interest and enthusiasm cannot spread, and can alienate potential active consumers and enthusiasts.

5. “Don’t be bossy” (Alison Norrington). Don’t try to force your content upon your audience in the way you intend, but let them use your content to cultivate their own engagement and their own communities around it. And don’t expect your audience to simply follow you from one media platform to the next – you need to start out where they already spend a large part of their day, and then lure them onto the next platform with your content.

Henry Jenkins: If it Doesn’t Spread, it’s Dead
Sydney here interjecting my own take on this keynote: While I have heard of Henry Jenkins, read his blog and have read his book Convergence Culture, I was surprisingly inspired and exhilarated by how he linked transmedia and the use of popular icons with participatory politics, the Occupations here and and abroad and the Arab Spring starting with the Green Movement of Iran. He used the use (usurpation would be the corporate name for it) of Superman as an illegal alien by the Dream Activists as an example of Transmedia. (How did Superman come to America and when did he become an American?). As a matter of fact, today I was told that he denounced is U.S. citizenship to become a citizen of the world. The use of icons helps spread the word not only for the cause but also spreads the popularity of the product itself. The issue of piracy is turned on its head in the name of freedom of expression.

 There is a difference between distribution and circulation. Distribution is the top-down, tightly regulated and corporate-controlled dissemination of content, whilst circulation is a hybrid form of bottom-up and top-down dissemination that is regulated but also participatory.
 If you let go of your content and let consumers share it amongst themselves freely, you give your content a greater visibility and a greater possibility to be found by consumers that turn into fans.
 Humans have an innate disposition to share and to give each other things. The same applies to media content – humans want to share it, and consume it to share the experience with others.
(Sydney again: Jenkins uses the example of buying wine (as a consumer buying a commodity) and taking off the price tag to make a gift of it. Sharing increases consumerism.)
 This means that producers must consider carefully how consumers instill media content with new and additional meaning through sharing.

Christy Dena: Spiral Worlds: Writing & Experience Design
 A common writer mantra is “write about what you know.” This is true, but also, like Tim Ferguson has said, “write about you want to know.” Writing can be a journey of discovery, and in turn be a lot more meaningful for audiences as well.
 Make sure all of your content has an overall theme that is continuous throughout all of your media.
= Sydney here again: She also said that each character embodies its own theme which fits within the overall theme.
 Bear in mind that your target demographic is not only dependent on your type of content but also on the themes you touch upon.

Tommy Pallotta: Story & Code: Shifting Perspectives of Storytelling in Culture
 Storytelling is changing rapidly. The good news is you have no choice but to adapt and to make use of the resources and tools you have at your disposal.
 Release often, even if your product is not perfect. Release, adjust, release again.
 One of his indy projects, “Waking Life”, became globally visible only through piracy because he had no global distributors. The piracy of “Waking Life” also helped to build Pallotta’s reputation on a global scale.
 Get your work out there and be seen, and build an audience for your work. Don’t worry too much about monetization.
 Pay attention to your interfaces. They become part of the storytelling experience.

Alison Norrington: Top-Down/Bottom-Up -Where is the Value?
 Don’t tell your audience what they are supposed to do. Meet them on the platforms they are already on, and lure them on to other platforms with your content.
 Try many different media and different types of content. They can pull in audiences that may not be your regular target.
 You need to know your audience. You need to be a part of their communities and know what they talk about and how.
 Be prepared for unexpected ways in which the audience would like to engage with your content.
 Generate an architecture and an image for your world that clearly communicates to your audience what is expected of them and how they are supposed to behave, but without being bossy.
 Be relevant, credible, spreadable, exceptional, genuine.
 Create opportunities for co-creation with your fans.

Robert Pratten: Brand Integrated Storyworlds
 Transmedia can be used to create storyworlds around brands, and to generate a wholesome consumer brand experience based on a narrative rather than short-lived promotions.
 A brand storyworld should give consumers the opportuntity to explore on their own terms.
 A brand storyworld is based on non-linear storytelling.
 A means of measuring the success of a brand storyworld is to compare the increase in sales it generated against the estimated increase in sales following a traditional marketing campaign. Ideally, a branded storyworld should exceed the sales estimates of traditional marketing techniques.

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