As technology rapidly expands what is possible in terms of storytelling—and audiences become increasingly immersed in a story’s creation and dissemination—Tribeca is leading the way in supporting storytellers through this evolution.
Tribeca Film Institute’s Director of Digital Initiatives Ingrid Kopp leads an insightful video tour of the inaugural TFI Interactive, a one-day event that brought together creative, smart leaders from the worlds of media, entertainment, education and technology. Fasten your seatbelts!
Transmedia may have become an eyeroll-inducing buzzword in some circles but the ability to tell stories across platforms is a more relevant skill than ever. Writer and game designer Andrea Phillips takes us through some of the key lessons from her career in transmedia—lessons that are applicable to anyone with a story to tell.
Information does not want to be free; instead it wants to be distributed friction free. What that means is that information - content - wants to be in as many places as possible, with many options for access, and with an ease of use to access.
Today, we have an abundance of great content flowing through many channels.
Stewart Brand is infamously reported as saying “information wants to be free”— the rallying cry against any limits on information ownership, the mantra for free content and ideas.
Which obviously leads to scorn and mockery: “You’ll often hear cypherpunk weenies with poorly-thought-out philosophies trot out ‘information wants to be free’ as some kind of pseudo-socialist Utopian vision.”
Except Brand never said that information wanted to be free, and I don’t even think he meant that. What he said was much more profound, and as timely now as ever. He said either:
On the one hand information wants to be expensive, because it’s so valuable. The right information in the right place just changes your life. On the other hand, information wants to be free, because the cost of getting it out is getting lower and lower all the time. So you have these two fighting against each other.
Information Wants To Be Free. Information also wants to be expensive… that tension will not go away.
Either way, I believe that what he was talking about was NOT the value of information. He wasn’t purporting to opine, for example, about the inherent value to a user of content, or the equilibrium pricing relationship between demand for information (which is limited) and its supply (basically unlimited).
He was referring to the power of networks— the wealth of networks. Human networks amplified by the Internet. What networks do is that they take the traditional “distribution” roles associated with information— production, marketing, promotion— and push those to the edges, the nodes, as opposed to a centralized source. And they do so in more transparent, non-hierarchical manner.
In centralized systems, production, marketing, promotion and distribution are viewed as costs, expenses, and something to be tightly controlled and managed. That’s what traditional media companies do. In the networked world they are opportunities, but they are pretty much uncontrollable. In that way they are authentic. And this is precisely the tension about which Brand spoke, for this represents maybe the final breakdown of the traditional media content producer/distributor/consumer buckets.
Those separate pieces now become one, they blend into one another. They aren’t centralized core competencies anymore. This is represented by the idea that there are no more consumers now, there are only “users”. As a result, this transformation alters fundamentally the whole media value chain. This is potentially disruptive to many companies.
Therefore, it’s not helpful if the discussion centers around whether information wants to be free or not. For that is not the right equation.
Information (content) does not want to be free. Instead, information just wants to be distributed friction-free. That’s a big difference, and also the massive opportunity that should be at the center right now.
Andy Weissman is a partner at Union Square Ventures. Andy began his career in the Internet at AOL in the mid-90s, then managed a series of venture funds with Dawntreader Ventures. In 2007, he co-foundedbetaworks, a new media company based in New York that both builds companies and invests in them. You can follow him on Twitter.
When Campfire’s Steve Coulson set out to create an immersive experience around the HBO production of George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones, he faced a now-familiar problem: how to simultaneously generate buzz for the show, introduce the story to a new audience, and provide a deeper level of engagement for fans of the book. In this case, the task was complicated by the fact that HBO audiences weren’t expecting a fantasy series and that Martin fans were fiercely protective of his work. At a stellar presentation at last week’s Transmedia NYC Meetup, he explained how he went about it.
Out of the DLD conference comes the announcement of Duran Duran’s last project, Here Right Now, an online experience that compliments the release of their latest album. Here Right Now is a data visualization project, based on input from fans. Through the website, fans are prompted to upload impression of their needs and views by using simple generic keywords. The result is a mosaic of interconnectedness from creative Duran Duran fans from around the globe.
Hollywood is discovering that the return on investment becomes more minimal if you don’t employ your property across all platforms… young people want to be told stories in the way that they use media. So you’re looking for a way to reach them pervasively.
— Jeff Gomez in THR on the approved transmedia credit for the Producers Guild of America
There’s been a great deal of breathless chatter recently about comedian Louis CK’s online sale of his comedy show, which, at the risk of dredging up what is old news at today’s pace, is as good a starting point as any for this post.
Some of the latest praise came from Fred Wilson, the founder of Union Square Ventures, who doffed his hat in a recent post to the power of direct-to-fans sales, repeating a familiar refrain that a bracing new age of unbridled creative genius is upon us. In this brave new world, the Artist finally invents and fully controls her own destiny.