An update on the #Algren Project and a few things #Transmedia. #storytelling #business #innovation
Things don't always go according to plan... And that's a good thing.
A while back, my sister roped me into an independent project with Michael Caplan on the life and times of Nelson Algren. The project essentially started as a feature documentary, and of course I had to go make things difficult by suggesting that we turn it into a multi-platform narrative.
Several plans and a botched Kickstarter campaign later, we're finally tracking to do something pretty cool. The documentary itself is actually quite good, and now we've decided to create a program that leverages Gail and Michael's students at Columbia College to build out some of the storyworld assets (I've borrowed from Lance Weiler's course at Columbia to do this... Thanks, Lance).
I had initially hoped to make this a "pure transmedia storytelling" effort in which participants like John Sayles, Salman Rushdie, Michael Mann, Russell Banks, Art Shay and Billy Corgan contribute their own versions of the story through their own select media in chapters and verse -- writing passages, songs, web shorts, participatory art pieces, pervasive games, etc.
We'll still do this on some level, but my real aim in this - as I've been very clear about with Gail and Michael - is to create a model for an independent documentary project that actually demonstrates extensibility and scale. We'll see if it helps in our submissions to festivals like Tribeca, and if it's enough to provide a business plan for investors and brand sponsors. Fingers crossed -- this is all about experimentation!
A cutting-edge, annotative storytelling platform: CODOC.
Speaking of documentary storytelling, I was approached several months ago by a couple of young, switched on filmmakers, Guy Gunaratne and Heidi Lindvall, to help them build out a really exciting platform called CODOC.
CODOC was initially incubated by Virgin Media Innovation Lab as an NGO-based storytelling effort with a simple video technology to help spread and distribute those stories. Without giving away our secret sauce, we've blown out the model to include something called the "Story Graph" that matches up online storytelling communities all over the world to the themes and topics addressed in the NGO stories.
Forget Thanksgiving -- we're Sydney bound.
The omniscient Gary Hayes was kind enough to invite me down to Sydney, Australia from November 22 - December 4 to join a diverse group of mentors for StoryLabs. As an industry thought leader and director of the ABC network's multi-platform efforts down under, Gary has written extensively about his storytelling and community-building experiences for a while now, and I'm beyond excited about this event.
Us mentors will be speaking on topics ranging from online community development to storyworld creation, and we will be working on eight new, highly visible film projects. There will also be a host of leading studio executives and brand folks in attendance.
And of course, I'll be tweeting and blogging a fair amount on what comes out of these sessions... So yeah, stay tuned.