By guest blogger Meredith Levine. Meredith Levine (my niece) is currently getting her MA in Cinema and Media Studies from UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television.
This entry is an introduction to a conference in its second year hosted by UCLA and USC, called Transmedia Hollywood . This post is the first in a series about the conference which will contain live coverage and interviews from the conference as well.
On Friday April 8th, UCLA and USC will be holding a conference, Transmedia Hollywood. Transmedia Hollywood is a conference bringing together industry professionals and scholars to talk about new ways of telling stories. Hosted by Prof. Denise Mann and Prof. Henry Jenkins, this conference will drill deep into the world of the entertainment industry, past the spin, and into the design process and business approaches.
Last year, in its inaugural year, Transmedia Hollywood: S/Telling the Story explored subjects like designing alternate reality games, the role of the digital distribution, the blurred lines between content and promotion, fan engagement, and the contemporary role that branding plays in franchises that exist over multiple platforms. The conference explored what it meant to be a “transmedia franchise” and how that role is being played out in the current entertainment environment.
This year Transmedia Hollywood 2: Visual Culture and Design will cover issues about building these transmedia franchises and with an emphasis on designing immersive worlds and what it means to structure a franchise around the space in which it takes place, and the movement of that space across platforms and even into the physical world. How are characters being designed so that they may travel across platforms telling different stories, or how does a sequence of events do the same thing? In the midst of these engaging experiences what is the role of the content producer and content consumer? In conversation with leading industry professionals, we seek to answer these questions and more. This year’s conference comes following the Producer’s Guild of America granting a “Transmedia Producer” credit. The PGA describes this new credit by saying,
A Transmedia Narrative project or franchise must consist of three (or more) narrative storylines existing within the same fictional universe on any of the following platforms: Film, Television, Short Film, Broadband, Publishing, Comics, Animation, Mobile, Special Venues, DVD/Blu-ray/CD-ROM, Narrative Commercial and Marketing rollouts, and other technologies that may or may not currently exist. These narrative extensions are NOT the same as repurposing material from one platform to be cut or repurposed to different platforms.
A Transmedia Producer credit is given to the person(s) responsible for a significant portion of a project’s long-term planning, development, production, and/or maintenance of narrative continuity across multiple platforms, and creation of original storylines for new platforms. Transmedia producers also create and implement interactive endeavors to unite the audience of the property with the canonical narrative and this element should be considered as valid qualification for credit as long as they are related directly to the narrative presentation of a project.
Transmedia Producers may originate with a project or be brought in at any time during the long-term rollout of a project in order to analyze, create or facilitate the life of that project and may be responsible for all or only part of the content of the project. Transmedia Producers may also be hired by or partner with companies or entities, which develop software and other technologies and who wish to showcase these inventions with compelling, immersive, multi-platform content.
To qualify for this credit, a Transmedia Producer may or may not be publicly credited as part of a larger institution or company, but a titled employee of said institution must be able to confirm that the individual was an integral part of the production team for the project.
Scott Bukatman, Associate Professor, Stanford University (Matters of Gravity: Special Effects and Supermen in the 20th Century)
Rick Carter, Production Designer (Avatar, Sucker Punch, War of the Worlds)
Dylan Cole, Art Designer (Avatar, Alice in Wonderland)
Thierry Coup, SVP, Universal Creative, Wizarding World of Harry Potter, King Kong 3D
Craig Hanna, Chief Creative Officer, Thinkwell Design (Wizarding World of Harry Potter-opening; Ski Dubai)
Angela Ndalianis, Associate Professor /Head, Cinema Studies, University of Melbourne (Neo-Baroque Aesthetics and Contemporary Entertainment)
Bruce Vaughn, Chief Creative Executive, Disney Imagineering (elecTronica, Toy Story Mania)
Francesca Coppa, Director, Film Studies/Associate Professor, Muhlenberg College; Member of the Board of Directors, Organization for Transformative Works
Geoff Johns, Chief Creative Officer, DC Entertainment
Geoffrey Long, Program Manager, Entertainment Platforms, Microsoft
Alisa Perren, Assistant Professor, Georgia State University (co-ed., Media Industries)
Kelly Souders, Writer/Executive Producer (Smallville)
Steven DeKnight (Spartacus, Smallville, Buffy, Angel)
Jeph Loeb, EVP/Head of TV, Marvel Entertainment (Heroes, Smallville)
Craig Relyea, SVP, Global Marketing, Disney Interactive (Epic Mickey, Toy Story3-The Game, )
Avi Santo, Assistant Professor, Old Dominion University (co-creator of Flow: A Critical Forum on Television)
Matt Wolf, Double 2.0, ARG/Game Designer (Bourne Conspiracy, Hellboy II ARG, The Fallen ARG)
Caitlin Burns, Transmedia Producer, Starlight Runner Entertainment
Abigail De Kosnik, Assistant Professor, UC, Berkeley (Co-Ed., The Survival of the Soap Opera: Strategies for a New Media Era; Illegitimate Media: Minority Discourse and the Censorship of Digital Remix)
Jane Espenson, Writer/Executive Producer (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Battlestar Galactica)
John Platt, Co-Executive (Big Brother, The Surreal Life)
Tracey Robertson, CEO and Co-founder, Hoodlum
Lance Weiler, Founder, Wordbook Project
For more panelist information and biographies please see the UCLA web site here. Tickets are $30 for general admission and $5 for students, staff and faculty and are available for purchase online and through UCLA’s Central Ticketing Office. The conference is from 9:15AM- 8PM on Friday April 8th and includes four panels, question and answer sessions, and a reception following the conference.