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DIGITAL MEDIA FROM THE INSIDE OUT: My focus is digital content -- production, distribution, collaboration, innovation, creativity. Some posts have appeared across the web (HuffPo, Tribeca's Future of Film, The Wrap, MIPblog, etc.). To receive these posts regularly via email, sign up for my newsletter here.

Friday
Sep062013

Hello, New York: Upcoming Talks

I’ll be in New York City in September (a gift, IMHO) for two talks and booking meetings during available times 9/16-19. Pop by the following, or ping me if you’d like to grab some time.

FAN-POWERED MEDIA: Inviting your audience into the story with Theatrics.com

Theatrics.com is an interactive entertainment startup whose flagship product enables the creation of crowd-sourced online storytelling. The cloud-based system allows show creators to create and manage a story environment in which audience members can create characters, respond to story prompts, engage and share their content. Recent examples include the steampunk adventure Aurelia: Edge of Darkness; USA’s Psych Social Sector and “Wecome to Sanditon,” the sequel to the popular web series “Lizzie Bennet’s Diaries.” 

STORYCODE, September 17, 7pm at Ogilvy Headquarters - 636 11th Avenue (btw 46th and 47th St). Also presenting: Elaine McMillion, with interactive documentary “Hollow.”

See if U can find me....

CONTENT CREATORS’ ROUNDTABLE: MAKING GREAT CONTENT FOR DIGITAL PLATFORMS

It all starts with the content: the TV networks, the online video websites, the buzz on social media. This panel focuses on creating content that works on digital platforms.

Panelists

Rich Cusick, Vice President of Entertainment and Women’s Lifestyles, Yahoo!
Reid Genauer, Chief Marketing Officer, Magisto
Shane Rahmani, VP, Corporate Development, Electus
Nick DeMartino, Head of Business Development, Theatrics.com
ModeratorPaul Kontonis, General Manager, Magnet Media Originals and Chairman, International Academy of Web Television

DMW Future of Television Conference, September 18, 10am - Museum of Jewish Heritage, 36 Battery Place

 

 

 

Wednesday
Jul172013

Join in the SteamPunk interactive adventure AURELIA

One of the most interesting genres of fantasy storytelling is steampunk, generally with characters set in the Victorian era when the world was powered by steam and enlivened by inventiveness in science and costumery.

If you're one of the genre's many fans, you should check out Lisa Walker England's Aurelia: Edge of Darkness, a steampunk-fantasy interactive web drama officially debuting online today on Theatrics.com. Inspired by her illustrated steampunk-fantasy serial Rise of the Tiger, the show invites anyone to create and develop a character to help tell the story of the doomed city of Aurelia.  With a run scheduled for 12 weeks, fans will create characters -- citizens of the city -- using Theatrics’ collaborative video communication platform. Their video and other content posts will drive the ongoing story.

Walker, who works by day as a digital marketer, has assembled a team of illustrators, performers, and supporters from her home base in Milwaukee. Many of her collaborators are afficianados of the live-action role-playing communities in the region, and have already begun to perform in character on the Aurelia site. 

She has also created a blog in order to share the backstage evolution of the project and the community which will help the story unfold, here.

Map of AURELIA, one of many back-story items to discover on the new show site.

Aurelia: Edge of Darkness follows the citizens of a self-sustaining, steam-powered city as they battle a deadly energy crisis.  Each week, fans will receive new calls to action that invite them to react to plot twists and tell the story from their character’s unique point of view.  Fans are also encouraged to post photos of the costumes, sets and props they are developing for their character to Facebook and Twitter with the hashtags #aurelia, #aureliaspoilers or #aureliaprops.

The story of Aurelia: Edge of Darkness begins after the once-utopian plains of Aurelia were transformed into a cold, uninhabitable wasteland, fit only for monsters and the almost dead. The citizens have been forced to flee to a central mountain where they have built a fortress and named it Aurelia after their lost home.  Inside its walls, their civilization has flourished through scientific inventions and the power of steam, but now, Aurelia faces a serious energy shortage. If the city’s boilers fall silent, another paradise will fade into Darkness.  As fans take on the personas of Aurelia’s citizens, they must overcome political intrigue, social unrest, and strange magical happenings to find a new source of power... before the lights go out, forever.  

Friday
Jul122013

Why I miss my iPad

I left my iPad on CalTrain car #138 at 11:07 am PDT on June 27, 2013 at the Menlo Park station. If you’re the bastard that has it, please give it back.

#@argh!! I’m stupid. They’re stupid. I hate everyone. I hate myself.

I decided, after the requisite stages of grief over my loss, to go without. I mean, I’ve only had one since 2010: I survived just fine before, right? And maybe, just maybe, the friendly folks at CalTrain lost-and-found might find it, right?

Well, I can tell you, my iPad-less two weeks have convinced me: Somehow, I’ve organized my life around that damned device, and I’ll be going over to the Apple store this weekend to remedy the situation.

Why? Let me count the ways.

First off, there’s my book-reading. I’m a voracious reader in general, but really, I break into a cold sweat if there isn’t a stack of mystery novels in reach. Ironically, I recently talked all my friends into giving me Kindle downloads this year instead of physical booooks. Now have more than 20 unread digital books in my cloud, just waiting.

So by Tuesday, I had a new Kindle Paperwhite ebook reader, and quickly began reading the next selection for my bookclub: "Neverwhere" by Neil Gaiman. I'm almost done with the book, and so far, I'd give the device a 6 out of 10 for reading. I can read out in the sun, there's no glare. It's small, fits into my pocket. But that's about it. The UX in general is awful, kind of like a cable TV settop box from 10 years ago, only in BW. The lag time is very noticeable, certainly compared to the quick snap of the iPad, and this really makes a difference over time. And don't get me started on Kindle's "Experimental Browser" that allows you to sort of surf the web. Badddd.

So for “mobile browsing” I went back to my iPhone. Snappier, for sure, than the Amazon device, but after 15 minutes, my eyes start to hurt. And forget about typing messages any longer than a tweet. I do have access to many, though not all apps I use on the iPad. But it's just too small for a media consumption experience.

Certainly the iPad has spoiled me for video, as well. That awesome screen and semi-decent sound allow me to dive into the content. Not immersive like the big flat screen with surround sound, but better than an airline or a small TV. And portable. And connected. 

Back in the day, of course, I felt that way about my laptop. It was portable, connected and a great video player, along with everything else it does. When I try it now as an iPad replacement, my trusty 13" MacBook Pro seems so heavy, so awkward, and well, it doesn't have a touch-screen!

Plus, I now use it as my primary computer, so it’s a hassle to unplug it from my 30” monitor and speakers in the home office and bring it to the media room. Why would I need to do that? Well, duh, because the iPad lives on my couch. It's my 'second' screen, and I feel incomplete without it while watching TV.  Sometimes I’m accessing content related to a show I’m watching, either thru a second-screen app, or Twitter, or maybe IMDB. But more often, I’m just picking up the iPad and checking email, Facebook, or adding a note to my to-do list on Evernote. I may also be cruising the news on an app like Zite which isn’t on my laptop and other unmentionable sites out there on the interwebs. 

So, here I go again, back to the Apple store where I’ll drop some sawbucks and get my digital life back in order. It’s not really the money, it's a lifestyle thing. It's the way I do what I do now.  

But I confess, it's kind of the money too. Another wealth transfer from my bank to Apple's, putting me in mind of a great tool built in 2010 computer science geek Kyle Conroy who wanted to calculate the difference in dollars if he had spent his money on Apple stock instead of buying Apple product. For example, if you had invested $299 in April 2003 instead of buying that iPod, its value would be $11,000 in the then-ascendant 2010 Apple share price.

Can't get that at the Genius bar.

 

Saturday
Jun222013

TVOT

 

 I'm now on stage three times in two days at next week's TV of Tomorrow Show

Tuesday

"Watch What Happens Live" and the Next Generation of Embassy Row
Join Michael Davies, President of prominent production company, Embassy Row, and Deirdre Connolly, Executive Producer/Showrunner of Bravo's "Watch What Happens Live," as they answer any and all questions about the only live, late-night interactive talk show on television. Additionally, Davies will talk about the future of Embassy Row, including upcoming projects, the importance of the second screen, and how ad integrations are the key to keeping audiences tuned-in and engaged. The session will be moderated by Nick DeMartino, Principal, Nick DeMartino Consulting. 

Wednesday

Accelerating the TV of Tomorrow

Business accelerators are offering start-ups a new way of refining their business and gaining access to networks of investors, customers and collaborators. The breakout success of broad-based technology accelerators, YCombinator and TechStars, has inspired scores of variations on their inspired model of a bootcamp that provides mentorship, learning, building, pitching and launching. Now, a new crop of accelerators is focusing on developing technologies and services for television and other areas of the media business.

This session--hosted by industry consultant, Nick DeMartino, who in his previous role as SVP of Media and Technology at the American Film Institute and founder of the AFI Digital Content Lab, himself played a significant role in accelerating and incubating today's burgeoning advanced-TV industry--will feature a roster of panelists who are working to transform television and other entertainment media with their own spin on the accelerator methodology. Panelists include:
Business accelerators are offering start-ups a new way of refining their business and gaining access to networks of investors, customers and collaborators. The breakout success of broad-based technology accelerators, YCombinator and TechStars, has inspired scores of variations on their inspired model of a bootcamp that provides mentorship, learning, building, pitching and launching. Now, a new crop of accelerators is focusing on developing technologies and services for television and other areas of the media business.
This session--hosted by industry consultant, Nick DeMartino, who in his previous role as SVP of Media and Technology at the American Film Institute and founder of the AFI Digital Content Lab, himself played a significant role in accelerating and incubating today's burgeoning advanced-TV industry--will feature a roster of panelists who are working to transform television and other entertainment media with their own spin on the accelerator methodology. Panelists include:

  • David Austin, Senior Director of Emerging Technology, Media Camp, Turner
  • Nick DeMartino, Principal, Nick DeMartino Consulting (Moderator)
  • Mike LaSalle, Partner, Shamrock Capital Advisors
  • Jigar Mehta, Director of Operations, Matter
  • Ana Serrano, Chief Digital Officer, Canadian Film Centre 

Storyworlds and the Reinvention of Programming, Advertising and Audiences 

This session--sponsored by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Interactive Media Peer Group--will bring together companies that offer platforms and services for developing and monetizing transmedia/multiplatform interactive storytelling experiences, in order to explore how the "storyworlds" they make possible will impact our conception of television programming--as well as television's advertising/monetization strategies--going forward. Topics to be addressed include: 1) The implications of the transformation of the audience from mere viewers to, as it were, "citizens" of a storyworld, for whom a program is not something that is viewed on a screen within a half-hour or hour-long timeslot, but something that is immersive and available around the clock. 2) The extent to which new, interactive storytelling platforms and services promise to increase engagement by actually allowing the audience to become co-creators of the programming experience--how do programming creators remain in control while ceding ground to the creativity of their audience? 3) The implications of the fact that storyworlds are not confined to the TV in the living room--how will mobile technologies and services such as geolocation and location-based social networks allow transmedia programming to extend beyond the home (and perhaps even beyond the screen) into the real world? 4) The ways in which marketing and advertising will have to adapt to take into account a new type of audience that is not only immersed in a storyworld but, in some cases, is helping create that storyworld, and that has that storyworld potentially available to them around the clock and everywhere they go. Panelists include:

  • Nick DeMartino, Senior Advisor, Theatrics
  • Robert Pratten, CEO, Transmedia Storyteller/Conducttr
  • Thomas Rigler, Executive Producer, "City Walk" (KCET/LinkTV)
  • John P. Roberts, SVP of Digital Media and Commercial Affairs, Endemol USA
  • Craig Singer, CEO, Hopskoch
  • Lori Schwartz, Governor, Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, Interactive Media Peer Group/Principal, Tech Cat, World of Schwartz

 

Wednesday
Jun052013

June 2013 Conference Talks

June is a busy month for conferences and events. Here are a few sessions I’ll be involved with. Let me know if you’ll be attending and we’ll say hi.

National Association of Latino Independent Producers - June 7-9 at Universal Sheraton Hotel, Universal City CA

WHATEVER IT TAKES: DIY TECHNOLOGY AND THE DEMOCRATIZATION OF CONTENT CREATION (9am Saturday June 8) In the analog world, it was difficult, expensive and time consuming to make a film. In the DIY digital world, technology and ingenuity are driving tectonic shifts in content creation. From hacking a DSLR camera to coding a new app, the customization and democratization of the filmmaking process helps to cultivate new and fresh voices and empowers storytelling. The savvy, tech-driven and ingenious producer will soon dominate the multiplatform media frontier. This session will cover how the accessibility and customization of filmmaking tools and resources can enable smart content creators to future-proof their craft, save money and make compelling media.

  • Ben DeJesus, NGL Media;
  • Edwin Pagan, LatinHorror.com;
  • Nick DeMartino, Theatrics.com;
  • Ryan Koo, NoFilmSchool.com;
  • Monika Navarro, Monika Navarro Productions;
  • Gustavo Stebner, StebnerShow.com
  • Moderator: Ben Lopez, Viento Fuego Productions

Banff World Media Festival - June 9-13, Banff, Alberta, Canada

I will be attending as Senior Advisor to the Canadian Film Centre’s IdeaBoost accelerator, part of the team helping the six companies involved with the program access the expertise attending Banff.

TV of Tomorrow Show, June 25-26 in San Francisco. 

ACCELERATING STARTUPS IN THE MEDIA BUSINESS - Business accelerators are offering startups a new way of refining their business and gaining access to networks of investors, customers and collaborators. The breakout success of broad-based technology accelerators YCombinator and TechStars have inspired scores of variations on their inspired model of a bootcamp that provides mentorship, learning, building, pitching and launching. A new crop of accelerators focus on technology in service to the media business. Find out how a roster of visionaries are working to change the world of media & technology with their own spin on the accelerator methodology.

  • Ana Serrano, founder, ideaBOOST, Toronto  
  • David Austin, founder, Turner/Warner Media Camp
  • Jigar Metha, Matter Ventures
  • Mike La Salle, partner at Shamrock Capital Advisors
  • Corey Ford, founder, Matter Ventures
  • Nick DeMartino, moderator

PLATFORMS AND SERVICES FOR TRANSMEDIA EXPERIENCES - The panel explores how the transmedia ecosystem will impact our conception of television programming and advertising/monetization going forward. Issues we expect to be addressed include: 1) The implications of the transformation of the audience from mere viewers to, as it were, citizens of a storyworld, for whom a program is not something that is viewed on a screen within a half-hour or hour-long timeslot, but something that is immersive and available around the clock. 2) The extent to which new storytelling platforms and services promise to increase engagement by actually allowing the audience to become co-creators of the programming experience--how do programming creators remain in control while ceding ground to the creativity of their audience? 3) The implications of the fact that these new story worlds are no longer confined to the TV in the living room--how will mobile technologies and services such as geolocation and location-based social networks allow transmedia programming to extend beyond the home--and perhaps even beyond the screen--into the real world? 4) The ways in which marketing and advertising will have to adapt to take into account a new type of audience that is not only immersed in a storyworld but, in some cases, is helping create that storyworld, and that has that storyworld potentially available to them around the clock and everywhere they go.

  • Nick DeMartino, Senior Advisor, Theatrics
  • Jeff Gomez, President and CEO, Starlight Runner
  • Robert Pratten, CEO, Transmedia Storyteller (Conducttr)
  • John P. Roberts, SVP of Digital Media and Commercial Affairs, Endemol USA
  • Craig Singer, CEO, Hopskoch
  • Lori Schwartz, Managing Partner, StoryTech (moderator)
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