There seems to have been a lot of Twitter and email activity recently about how to actually go about developing a transmedia project so I thought I’d share my approach to a project I’m producing right now.
This is a work in progress so this is only part 1!
Background & Objectives
I have a suspicion that many readers and viewers – I’ll collectively call them the audience – aren’t as demanding... or as knowledgeable... or as willing... to consume stories as much as the technology will allow. Hence, with so many platforms and so many things that can be done I wanted to scale everything back to do something very simple.
I want to reach as wide an audience as possible.
Step 1 - Keep it Simple.
I started with a high concept: One story, three perspectives – each point of view told across a different media. That’s hopefully easy to understand, right? Hmm.. time will tell :)
Step 2 – What’s the Business Model?
I wanted to employ the CwF+RtB model so that I could give away all the digital content for free but still get paid.
I'm also assuming the audience is fickle. Make it easy for them to consume and buy with minimal effort in a way that they decide. When I have their fleeting attention, maximize the benefit to both of us.
Step 3 – Story Synopsis
A decorated San Francisco homicide detective, Larry Hayes, wakes up in a gutter in the Tenderloin after coming round from a drug-induced coma. His radio beeps – there’s been a murder two blocks away. How long has he been out? Could he have done it?
His story is told in text in a novella.
Hayes’ wife is fighting for custody of their 12 year old daughter and has hired a private detective to dig the dirty on Hayes to use against him in court.
The wife’s story is told on her blog.
The private detective’s story is told across a series of videos (webisodes).
At this point lots of ideas start jumping off – a MySpace page for the daughter, webcam clips for the wife’s blog, a web page for the private detective, a Google map with murder victims on it etc. BUT I want to keep it simple and cheap. Each media adds another layer of time and energy. I can always come back and develop these later or – better still – they’re sandpits for the audience to play in.
Step 4a - Mesh the Story with the Business Model
To meet my requirement that the audience be able to consume the story as easy and as convenient as possible, I wanted each media to be stand alone without requiring the audience to jump from media to media. I wanted someone to be able to buy the book to read on a journey and not worry that they didn’t have an Internet connection to watch the videos, for example.
It’s not a requirement for the audience to consume all media – only that they enjoy whichever one they have right now. Now, given all the attention we’re giving to the fact that there are three media and that they represent three perspectives on the same story, if someone enjoys the novella I think it’s likely they’ll watch the webisodes and vice verse.
So, there are no particular calls-to-action within each media except the plot points and the twists and turns of a great story which I think will motivate people to get a different perspective on events – who’s telling the truth?
The story is being written by the award-winning crime thriller writer Simon Wood and I’ve left him alone now to continue writing while I’ve turned my attention to the money.
Step 4b - Getting Paid
All the media will be free to read and watch online. It will be released episodically – possibly two episodes a week (Tues and Thurs) maybe weekly... But from the first episode we’ll be selling the whole story so you don’t have to wait.
I believe that reading a book (or Kindle) or watching a DVD on the TV is still very popular and often more convenient than doing the same online. I’m hoping that audiences are going to pay for that.
The picture above shows the “media browser” I’ve developed to make it easy to consume the
media, easy to connect with us the creators and for the audience to connect
with each other.
It should also work well with the iPad ;)
The default configuration is for the shop to be displayed in the right panel. The shop has a range of purchase options from $5 to $50,000 – each intended to pique the interest of different members of our audience. If you check the video I explain more.
pretty much where we are right now. We have our own financing to deliver the
project but I’ve started to reach out (although very early days) to anyone that
might be interested in sponsoring the project . I know the subject matter isn’t very family
orientated but it’ll be no worse than CSI or The Wire. To that end, I created a
very short video to help pitch to possible sponsors. If you’re reading this and
you’re interested in sponsoring, please get in touch ;) – DM me on Twitter.