Friday, July 30, 2010

Where did July go

Phew - finished training staff for the summer bridging program - showed them the Drive animated video features Dan Pink's talk on motivation (I highly recommend that video) - the training seemed to go well. The third unit is forensics so I will have another neat crossover between work and the writing and other fun stuff I love to do.

Summoned for Jury duty for sept 27 - I served not too long ago and that I during school so seeing if it can be deferred.

Trying to get the online Oceanography course set - we switched to a new learning management system called Desire 2 Learn and have to do a complete conversion. I use wikis and blogs heavily in my course and they are having major issues with that.

The moodle server at my high school I having issues so we have to reset and redo

And need to start creating the Blackboard course for my Earth science and GIS classes at the one community college and the physical science and environmental class at the other community college. I will be using FOUR different learning management systems next school year - Oi!!!! and ugggg and I am so going to forget how to do something in one of them ;P I have different colored post it notes for different systems pasted all over the place

One month and the madness begins :)

still working on the transmedia resources site - found a few cool projects to back and working on writing - and.......

and taking a breath now, going for a walk, and just thinking

rambling thoughts about wishes and potential ;)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

TILT - support this project

I am asking everybody I know to go check out this project -

It has a great transmedia/crowdfunding/just awesome piece to it in the concept of TILT Town and being able to become "part" of the story

The idea of having a "character" in TILT Town is awesome along with the concept of the story - They have to meet their goal by August 6th or else everything is refunded (That is the way Kickstarter works). So hurry and go and support - then we all can "live" in Tilt Town : ) Check this link for more -

I'll copy a bit from the website's summary - "all started with a nightmare - my nightmare. And now I'm turning it into a feature length thriller that explores the question: WHAT WOULD YOU DO FOR YOUR FAMILY?

THE STORY: Paul hasn't connected with his daughter for over 10 years, but when their world is turned upside down by an unthinkable act, he has to decide what's more important: doing the right thing or setting things right? TILT is about revenge & forgiveness, betrayal & redemption, and second chances...small town style.

THE LOCATION: TILT will be filmed in my hometown of Brainerd, Minnesota, where many generous friends and strangers have already pledged essential services that are making this movie possible.

THE COLLABORATORS: In addition to myself, there are a few other core TILT collaborators you should know. Filmmakers / screenwriters Julie Keck and Jessica King (also known as King is a Fink - are sharing writing and producing duties, with Jessica also stepping up to try on the newly coined PMD (Promotion / Marketing / Distribution Manager) title. Cinematographer Jeremy Doyle ( has promised to make everything look pretty and scary and (sometimes) pretty scary.

THE MUSIC: We held a contest on our TILT website for a composer, and the winner was the very talented Bill Finn ( Bill got started by providing the music for our TILT pitch video, and we're excited to see what he comes up with for the movie.

THE PERKS: When you contribute to this film project, you not only get the satisfaction of helping me fulfill my dream, you'll also get perks ranging from DVDs, to film credit, to sneak peeks at special short films that give you insight into the characters of TILT. If there's a perk that looks fun to you, go for it! We'll make it worth your while.

Friday, July 23, 2010

transmedia realtime events - some thoughts

I watched something very interesting yesterday.

Something I have seen in a few other places and disguises; something I wonder if I shall see more of.

I jumped in on the Flynn Lives – Tron legacy ARG yesterday as a page on the Flynn Lives site was counting down to zero. I was sooooo excited and in high anticipation.

When it reached zero – a couple of things happened – an "access'"gate appeared (not what I want to talk about) and the twitter stream/facebook wall for the operationtron – Flynn Lives ARG began transmitting.

I was like ohhhh cool – this is real time interaction. That right there was the first rub – what about all the people sleeping, or working, or not at a digital device?

Eh, ah well, their loss, right?

On facebook, people were starting to comment and get excited. Then, as the event unfolded, the mood of the group changed.

It turns out instructions were tweeted for people to go to certain locations in San Diego and photograph themselves with different "characters" from the Tron movie – AWESOME – yet – I am not at comic-con in San Diego

And neither were the people talking on twitter and facebook. As the event continued, the comments, from many, soured (not sure if they are still there – but take a gander). People began to complain and sulk and all sorts of variations on the "I am not in San Diego so this whole thing sucks.

Now, a few comments tried to remind people to enjoy the event and live "vicariously" through those actually fortunate to play (which when it was happening no one who was playing was checking in, I am sure they were busy, but we had no one to live vicariously through).

Also, many people have left because the "game" was to hard to follow or solve. They could not go along with the "treasure" hunt, so they had no way to sink into the story.

The comments, reactions and mood reminded me of some other events and "things" I have noticed. In many ways, people

1. Are greedy and selfish in that they want to be the player and have a hard time just watching and enjoying the "collective" mindset. That seeing someone else "win" is not good enough and mind very much in filling the role of passive observer.

2. People like some level of predictability and to be able to move along with the story.

Many of the people once they found it was not something they could do, left, or checked out, pretty much leaving the "experience". Frustration and jealousy will be what they think about with this event and many may even not really turn into other events.

I think back to my "attempt" to play along with "The Beast" – yes I was one of the first there, but only to watch. I never got a chance to solve the puzzles, or participate in the first line events. Plus, many were late to the game so they could not play, or certain things had been opened and they could not recreate the experience.

Now I have an odd quirk; I like to watch people play video games. I am often content watching someone else play the game and get through the "puzzle" (whether it be dexterity or mental) and seeing the story unfold. Myst, Half-Life, Bioshock, Red Dead Redemption, etc, I take the passenger seat.

BUT there is a difference between that and the Flynn Lives event, I get to help out. The "driver" is doing the work, but when he/she gets stuck, I can jump in and suggest things to try and kinda "drive" by proxy. At least I am still "involved" and making a difference.

I have seen these flashes of "me" or "green-meanies (jealousy)" or "if I can't play, I won't stay" many times with these type of events. This attitude creates a negative perception and often pulls people away. I remember reading about Lance Weiler's great events surrounding Head Trauma ( but as I read more and more, I was like, "Well that sucks I could not be there" and I found I missed a lot of the story and reading about it just was not the same. The Rocky Horror Movie falls in a similar vein, but at least I can still watch the movie and not miss too much, although the live show does add a level to the experience.

Then there is predictability. I was watching "Hot in Cleveland" yesterday (ok yes I admit I like the show and you may be going OMG where did a reference to Hot in Cleveland come from and has what? to do with Tron…). And as the story progressed, I knew two characters were going to end up together. I think everyone knew, two of the other characters even had a punch line that they had bets and knew it would happen. Yet, I kept watching and I laughed and I enjoyed the show. Why? Because I could predict what was happening and could follow along and it was not hard to do. I enjoyed seeing the reactions and just visually seeing what my mind had already begun to set up. And, I was not disappointed, so I enjoyed the experience.

A really good blog by Scott Walker hits on this topic as he discusses transmedia and collaborative gutters (in a sorta connected way take a look here, it is a good read) -

I understand that not everyone can participate in a real time event. And unless you have deeeeepppp pockets you can only have so many real time events. But, when planning a story around an event – there are many woes and issues you should make sure to address.

1. Real time events are awesome and something a transmedia project can use to enrich the story – but negative reactions can lose your audience. Finding ways to bring along "passive" observers is as crucial as making a dynamite event for those playing. The Regis and Kelly show (I do pull in odd connections and references, don't I ;) has this trivia game they do – and they pick a person from the audience as well as a person on the phone – this ties these two people together and even though only one is playing, at least the other now has a vested interest.

2. ARG/Transmedia/Real Time events at this time serve mainly a small, focused, game-oriented crowd. If you want to up the ante to the masses, you need predictability and a way to make sure the story includes a way to help bring along the crowd (again I give a shout out to Scott Walker's article Although some might argue these events are NOT meant for the masses....

3. Late to the Party – not everyone lives on the game schedule. If your event is a one time shot, that's fine, just calculate that in as a piece of your story that may not have impact. If possible, design the event to have an after-live. Rocky Horror – sure you missed the Saturday night event, but there are plenty of guides and ways to help you recreate your own showing or a chance to find another showing.

Speaking of, does anyone know if Lance Weiler is planning more Head trauma events (ala the traditions of Rocky Horror and having it be "part" of the story almost as a given) – I would love to not just participate but host a Head Trauma event. Think one of those murder mystery parties to the Nth degree ;) - seee there is a way to do these things – turnkey the whole event – then fans can recreate and well – that is transmedia viral spread of the story – how delightful!!!!!

4. Half-Life and sustainability – one of my many interests runs to preserving these narratives and how they will stand the test of time. More and more digital mediums are disappearing and without being archived. That means when the forum closes, there goes your story. And how do you capture these events. I will read today reports about the event and go, oh cool and damn wish I'd been there, and then poof on I move. The richness of Flynn's Arcade to building the Tron Legacy storyworld may be lost to me (or maybe not, perhaps the creators have a few ideas up their glowing sleeves ; )

But regardless, a lot of transmedia properties are disappearing, or at least being… whittled down (which will, IMO, show the true difference between a transmedia story and others. A pure transmedia story does not necessarily need all of the parts to still reach the core story. The parts just expand the storyworld. so if one or two are "lost" or not experienced, a person can still walk away satisfied and not lacking.

Hmmm, does that mean in many transmedia worlds, the world has the potential/danger of becoming smaller in the over time, not bigger?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Environmental Literacy and Transmedia curriculum

Here is a link to the curriculum I wrote for a class that uses transmedia delivery and project-based learning as a major part of the classroom structure. It is an exciting course and I can not wait for the new school year. If you are interested, or have ideas, or would like the materials/resources and other items I have for the course, please give a holler. I want to make this course the best it can be for the students as well as using the concepts of transmedia in the classroom.

Here is the link and also trying below to see if it embeds -

I am also playing with Issuu - an online publishing tool - let me know what you think about Issuu as well!!!!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Slow steps to setting up transmedia class

Whew – trying to jump back on the work horse after being away for three week is not easy – especially when, as with any large family, there were many ups and downs during the family visit.

On the work front – I am working on figuring out how to use these portable Nova devices we have to integrate into the environmental science / transmedia course as well as learning Moodle to use as the learning management system (LMS) for the course delivery/content. My dream is using something more like an iPad (anyone know of any grants I just want one classroom set, nothing tooooo big ;) I will not have a print textbook, rather a set of digital materials as well as the approach that students will be finding much of the information and bringing it to the class rather than I am just spoon feeding them.

This is, IMO, a very important piece of some "transmedia-like" systems. The content comes from multiple places, and is generated as much by the user as the guide/puppetmaster/teacher/creator, etc. Students can learn how to research and locate content, how to determine if it is valid, how to visualize and communicate this content and how to give and receive feedback to aid in editing.

Lofty goals, now if I can just make it work.