Sunday, February 27, 2011

Creating StoryWorlds for Transmedia Kids

 "I want to create experiences that allow the audience to step into the shoes of the protagonist."-Lance Weiler

When I talk to most people in publishing and tell them I am creating character bibles & StoryWorlds for kids IP, they usually look at me kind of funny and ignore what I say or ask, "what?"

I tell them I'm an obsessed student of transmedia, and in order to create a compelling digital storytelling experience on the web (i.e. to get & retain eyeballs), you need to create an amazing place for your digital story to live and be shared.

You need to create context. That's what StoryWorld is. And it will become increasingly more important as more and more digital products come to market.

As Rick Richter, from RUCKUS MEDIA GROUP famously said, "There are 30,000 Kids APPS in the APP store and 27,000 are bad." How will you get noticed?

This is why context (StoryWorld) counts. But don't take my word for it, listen to what Brian O'Leary said in his TOCCON keynote entitled: CONTEXT FIRST: A UNIFIED FIELD THEORY OF PUBLISHING.

O'Leary asks, "how will what we publish be discovered?" Along with metadata and killer SEO, I believe an awesome StoryWorld is a key component to building & serving your community.
That's right, I said serve, that's what digital natives expect. If you don't give them what they need, they will MASH IT UP & MAKE it themselves.

They get it.

Transmedia and film has much to teach those of us coming from traditional publishing. At the SCBWI conference this year, John Carlin, president of the awesomely COOL FUNNY GARBAGE, told illustrators to look to other media to inform their decisions in creating digital stories & STORYBOOK APPS.

But where will these new digital STORYBOOK APPS live? Most get lost in the APP store. Where is the StoryWorld they belong to? If you don't have a killer IP like Dr. Seuss or Olivia, how will you ever get noticed?

Listen to what Lance Weiler, chief story architect of Seize The Media, has to say about creating a StoryWorld:

If you are interested in creating digital stories, APPS, games or any product for digital play, I encourage you to become a student of transmedia. And not just because it's the 2011 buzz word for trend watchers. Do it because this is where digital natives live ALREADY. Read "The Kids Get it, Even If You Don't": Transmedia Storytelling in The Classroom by Ian Harper. 

And here's a great article by Robert Pratten: Transmedia Storytelling: Getting Started, located on the WORKBOOK PROJECT website.

Transmedia is transforming publishing as we know it. And located at the center of the transmedia experience is the StoryWorld. What StoryWorlds have you found on the web?

The first StoryWorld Conference will take place in San Francisco, October 31 - November 2, 2011and bring together creators, writers, artists, producers, publishers, directors, and game designers to discuss and share transmedia strategies.

The chair of the conference is Alison Norrington, a transmedia producer, storyteller, novelist, playwright, and journalist. And might I add, an AWESOMELY GENEROUS person! The Digital Book World TRANSMEDIA WORKSHOP she ROCKED this year was AN INSPIRATION. I'm really looking forward to seeing what she creates for the conference in San Francisco.

If you are interested in Transmedia, I encourage you to follow her on twitter @storycentral and start reading her blog storycentral DIGITAL.

Watch her TEDxTransmedia talk DARE to LIVE.

Read more about the StoryWorld Conference here.

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