Young Creative Entrepreneurs in London, October 2011
Titash Neogi, an Indian winner of our Young Creative Entrepreneurs (YCE) award in the ‘Interactive’ category, recently visited the UK along with 14 other international winners as part of his prize. The trip gave him the opportunity to network with his peers and UK industry professionals, besides enabling him to attend an eye-opening conference in his sector.
The technology, media and digital industries in the United Kingdom seem to be exploding with creativity.
The key theme is to challenge conventions, break boundaries and merge different kinds of media and technology to create new, hitherto unseen experiences.
I am usually pretty keyed in and quick to catch anything that is new or great in technology. But it took me a while to figure out what was going on in the UK, primarily because it appeared to me to be heavily centred on advertising and film media.
What changed my perspective and made me see things in their real light was Power To The Pixel, a two-day conference on transmedia.
Held at the Southbank, on the sideline of the British Film Institute’s London Film Festival, this conference attracted luminaries, enthusiasts and experts from across the world in film-making, digital, social and other forms of media. The central slogan was transmedia.
Transmedia is a pretty powerful and awesome concept, but rather than give you a Wikipedia link I am going to try and explain the term through a story that I heard at the conference.
This is the story of Jezabel.
Jezabel is a young girl who is going to Lille for her higher education. To capture her life experiences, she puts up a blog called ‘not just jezz’. Some days later, she puts up a song on Youtube and links to it from her blog.
This song becomes an instant hit with millions of views. A director contacts her to make her a pop star. This is where her journey from student to pop star, her tribulations as someone who is now an instant celebrity, is captured on film.
The story is a real transmedia project, pitched at Power to the Pixel by Eric Pellegrin and Julien Bittner.
The plan is to introduce Jezabel via a blog, compose the title track and make it go viral via Youtube, make her a real entity on Facebook and Twitter, and then finally start making the film.
This is the essence of transmedia. Jezabel is ultimately a movie – but by adopting transmedia, its makers are making it much larger than a two-hour experience. Jezabel comes to life thanks to multiple forms of media being put together before and after the film.
The concept of using multiple forms of media to promote a film might not be new or unique. But transmedia is not about simply using multiple media – it is about stringing together disparate pieces of technology into a single sequence of meaningful cohesive efforts, which give more credibility and life to characters or stories.
And transmedia is not restricted to film-making – we saw numerous examples of transmedia in advertising, marketing, gaming and education.
We saw examples of games being designed to promote a product via Facebook, or Facebook apps being designed to build a brand and engage a community. We saw examples of how viral videos can hold the key to beaming out a concept across the web despite low budgets and short deadlines.
What is amazing about London is that it seems to have become home to some of the most creative, energetic people, who are breaking new ground in transmedia implementations and projects.
I think transmedia is the future for all of us in the digital industry. Consumers are expecting us to give them 360-degree experiences in everything – whether it is a piece of software, an advertisement, an app or a film. The idea that these things are separate watertight compartments is dead – especially for the consumer.
With ubiquitous computing has dawned an era of ubiquitous digital experiences. This has challenges for people who are still clinging to traditional forms of digital content production. For others, who are willing to experiment and think outside the box, the future has no boundaries.