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The journey from story to legend

August 4th, 2010 by admin


On 27th of september, together with NBF (Dutch Association of Film- and Video Professionals) and NFF (Dutch Film Festival Utrecht) we are organising an event on crossmedia, transmedia and film. Which actually is not just about film.. off course. More information can be found on the website

The conference is a starting point…

From Story Legend strives to stimulate and increase high quality transmedia productions in the Netherlands, creating larger and more diverse audiences attracted to media productions, strengthening the Netherlands’ position as an international player in the audiovisual market:


- Encourage and promote the quality of transmedia productions in the Netherlands

- The deployment of transmedia techniques to search, find, engage and preserve new and diversified audiences for Dutch arts, culture and entertainment productions.

- The deployment of transmedia techniques to promote and encourage ‘media literacy’ of audiences. (For instance: participation, co-creation & crowd sourcing of media content)

- To encourage better cooperation between makers of classical media utterances and ‘new’ media practicioners to establish meaningful cross-media projects.

- The exchange and promotion of knowledge about transmedia production techniques

- Promoting transmedia co-productions for Dutch media companies

- Actively taking up a position in the international market for transmedia works by Dutch parties.


- Educating media professionals in the current film and television market on crossmedia and transmedia.

- Training and building curriculum on cross media for television, film and media students.

- Actively building a recognizable and acknowledged level of international Excellence in transmedia production for Dutch parties.

- Encouraging co-production for Dutch companies to leverage productions to wider audiences/markets

Co-production and funding

* Collaboration between disciplines from traditional media and new media.

* Actively investigating and acting upon international co-production possibilities for crossmedia/transmedia productions in all fields (originating from film, television, “new” media, games etc).

* Supporting, actively searching and finding transmedia specialists and international co-production partners for Dutch- producers,  broadcasters, film distributors and Publishers

* Actively investigating and identifying sources for funding of transmedia productions for transmedia developers.

New & diverse audiences

* Search, find, build and maintain audiences through audience engagement strategies: social, interpersonal and contextual ‘entrypoints’ as means to encounter upon transmedia productions.

* Developing and enabling second-and third screen strategies for broadcasters, publishers and producers geared towards getting audiences engaged in the unfolding transmedia production.

* Actively enabeling media users to develop a self-conscious way of using media and to learn to make choices and encourage participation in the media domain as media audiences.

For who?

* Script Writers, developers: How does storytelling change with transmedia, what formats are applicable?

* Publishers and broadcasters: How to reach more diverse audiences and enable to find new audiences in ‘unexpected places’.

* Producers: How you can increase productionvalue for your projects with the use of transmedia techniques.

* Distributors: How new forms of storage and distribution of film and video, generate new business models.

From here our journey has started…. we heartfully welcome all who find these goals meaningfull to join us on our great adventure and contribute a little or some more.. All is welcome, such as referrals to our work, your time and comments, expertise and well yes..  funds as well. ;-)

Chatroulette, Next wave in social?

April 8th, 2010 by admin
Today I tried for a while. I tried before, but then the service was down. Monday evening at the upload event (an event putting webfilms on the screen: subject webcams) we chatrouletted with a filmhouse full of people. Today i wanted to try the intimate 1- on – 1 version.

It’s actually really fun to do. Got nexted à lot. Found many bare bodies, but the real sticky bit of it is, you don’t want to stop doing it. You keep on being curious for your next ‘bait’. Sure.. It’s exhibisionostic, maybe scary. But did we not have that feeling when we where first on twitter, just a little bit.. Being over-exposed? Well chatroulette takes that even a step further.

The contacts you make are split-second flirts. Judged by your looks instantly.., no safeguard there. Nexted by the second..

But really really intriguing and very sticky..

It’s a very different paradigm of social interaction compared to twitter, Facebook etc.. I will definitely explore this more.. So.. see you on chatroulette!

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How small ideas can grow big

April 6th, 2010 by admin
Who would have thought, over 10 years ago when I started pioneering in the field of crossmedia/transmedia that our ideas for new more engaging ways of storytelling would become a real accredited profession today! (that of the first theorists and practitioners playing in this greenfield, yes even before Jenkins wrote his influential work; 'Convergence Culture' and coined 'transmedia' for much of the work we where already looking at and doing, giving it names like "crossmedia"/ 'deep media"/'digital storytelling" etc..)) The Producers Guild of America has acknowledged the work of those who build transmedia productions as of now to be an official accredited field of expertise!

Here is how the PGA defines a Transmedia Producer:

A Transmedia Narrative project or franchise must consist of three (or more) narrative storylines existing within the same fictional universe on any of the following platforms:  Film, Television, Short Film, Broadband, Publishing, Comics, Animation, Mobile, Special Venues, DVD/Blu-ray/CD-ROM, Narrative Commercial and Marketing rollouts, and other technologies that may or may not currently exist. These narrative extensions are NOT the same as repurposing material from one platform to be cut or repurposed to different platforms.

A Transmedia Producer credit is given to the person(s) responsible for a significant portion of a project’s long-term planning, development, production, and/or maintenance of narrative continuity across multiple platforms, and creation of original storylines for new platforms. Transmedia producers also create and implement interactive endeavors to unite the audience of the property with the canonical narrative and this element should be considered as valid qualification for credit as long as they are related directly to the narrative presentation of a project.

Transmedia Producers may originate with a project or be brought in at any time during the long-term rollout of a project in order to analyze, create or facilitate the life of that project and may be responsible for all or only part of the content of the project. Transmedia Producers may also be hired by or partner with companies or entities, which develop software and other technologies and who wish to showcase these inventions with compelling, immersive, multi-platform content.

To qualify for this credit, a Transmedia Producer may or may not be publicly credited as part of a larger institution or company, but a titled employee of said institution must be able to confirm that the individual was an integral part of the production team for the project

Why is this relevant? Because by an official credit transmedia producers (that what I also see as belonging to the field of crossmedia communication) can set up workable contracts with other parties in the field. Thereby being able to build (tradeable) property for their work. That is assets in the transmedia production company. I read… that much of this is the work of Jeff Gomez, one of the fierce protagonists of transmedia storytelling. Well done Jeff!

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A lack of clarity when it is most needed

March 9th, 2010 by admin

images-1In the middle of a storm, it is difficult to see the bottom of the ocean through the muddy waters

This is one of Plato’s stories:

It is about a ship in the middle of the ocean. On this ship was a gruff burly captain who was rather shortsighted and slightly deaf. He and his crew followed the principles of majority rule on decisions about navigational direction. They had a very skilled navigator who knew how to read the stars on the ship but the navigator was not very popular and rather introverted. In the panic of being lost, the captain and crew made a decision to follow the most charismatic, eloquent and persuasive of the crewmembers. They ignored and ridiculed the navigator’s suggestions, stayed lost and ultimately starved to death at sea.

While the navigator tries to read the signs and suggest there is a need to change directions,  most people do not like to change directions at all. It makes them feel uncertain about the road ahead. They feel agile, uptight and warry. Why do they need to change? Live is comfortable and I don’t want to think about something new and risky! And then they look at the navigator and actually find him an incredible pain in the butt!

In order to see the bottom of the ocean,  the storm has to lie down, so the water is calm again. In order to navigate we need to trust upon the skies. But here’s the story of today: The storm is not about to lie down soon. And the sky is full of diamonds. Some are false and some are true. It’s not easy to find your way these days. But maybe it’s a good idea not to blame the navigator, this time.

Loss of first window control

February 24th, 2010 by admin

To me “Alice in Wonderland” is one of the greatest meta-stories there is around. Is see it as methaphorically for the work I do, helping media companies going through the “rabbit hole”. How symbolically that it is this story that today illustrates how Disney is trying to get cinema’s to enter into the ‘rabbit hole’.  It is imminent for a while now, that the current business model of subsequent release windows for films (and tv series for that matter) is collapsing. With the “battle for Alice” the fight is coming into the open. While cinema’s are hanging on to their “last straws” to keep their windows as long as possible, publishers want to adjust to the  changing market conditions.


So what is happening?

The development of the realtime web is putting ever more pressure on the release dates of properties. After airing any new film or series, within the hour you are able to get it from a torrent. This has resulted in the habit of people to not wait untill they are “officialy” able to see the film in their region, but instead going for instant satisfaction and grabbing the material.

So, the publishers are seeing their windows collapsing, especially a (still) profitable DVD window. But facing reality means there is actually only one first window, and that is a global release moment. Instead of getting into a fight with the publishers, agile young film makers are  looking for smart new release models; using social media to gather public and fans and planning exclusive screenings in film art houses as a festival tour of films. They understand that the social experience of watching a movie with friends is what they need to support (in their own interests)

Now curiously enough there is an advantage to seeing Alice in the cinema. As this makes it possible to engage in the 3D experience of the film, where as a DVD will not grant you that experience in your home  (…yet, for 3D television is in fast development as well).

So cinema’s seem to feel robbed of their last chance to attract audiences on the bases of a superior film experience. This is a fight that was bound to happen and Disney (as one of the big publishers) has chosen to take the lead..

Moving from stories to legends..

January 20th, 2010 by admin

Moving from stories to legends..

This is part of my 10 years old quote:

….Some people think we are made of flesh and blood..

Scientist say we are made of atoms.

But actually I believe we are made of stories!…

& here is what I was thinking of recently..

Now we have come to a time where we have the chance to change our relationships with the stories in our lives.

Once as an audience we where separated from our stories by impermeable walls, forced into being mere spectators.

But now these fourth walls are becoming liquid.

And the real is merging with the imaginary.

We have come to a time where our lives are materialising in digital traces.

Where we continuously flow between parallel presences, real and digital, actual and imaginary.

Where we have the chance to go from just telling stories to

Building legends.

A Legend is a living story

That creates meaningful ritual relations with others

Legends build and grow as we go

We can invite others to get involved, to crossover from one form of connection to the story, from presence in one medium onto the next one. Moving from the real to the imaginary and from the imaginary back into the real.

The stories of our lives are mingling, through our conversations and the real time sharing of our live experiences. Meanwhile weaving wonderful tapestries out of the digital traces of our lives.

When hero’s journey they have to overcome many obstacles and face life changing challenges. Going these paths transforms them. In our lives we too face many quests, choices and doubts. And that is what makes us relate to our heroes. We too are continuously transforming on our paths of life. The motivations to connect get involved and move through living stories together, lies in the power of those stories to touch upon our lives and transform us.

I therefore believe the most meaningful story relations are ritual relations. The ones where we progress through paths and go through transformations be that either personally or as a shared experience. And that is why we need to move from just telling stories to building legends, creating meaningful ritual relations with our stories. May these stories be our own, sharing that of our friends or the ones that become manifest in imaginary worlds.

We will be the first generation where the stories of our lives become manifest and ordinary people become extra ordinary legends. Where we can go from ordinary acts and together build extra ordinary events that will remain to transcend the times of our lives. And leave us with a truly inspiring digital heritance for those that come after us.

For we are made of stories and if we die, this is what remains, the legends of our lives, and the monuments we have build together, may they have originated from the real or the imaginary.

‘Dondersteendag’ It’s a go!

September 11th, 2009 by admin

Yesterday we had a kick-off of what we call “dondersteendag”. We plan to do special stuff for our clients and relations on Thursday. It’s a quick thought up word joke; as in our company name ‘Dondersteen Media’ associates with “donderdag” the Dutch word for Thursday.. Together with CMBO, knowledge organization for digital media, Syntens, subsidiary of Economic Affairs in the Netherlands and the MA Factory, the Amsterdam Media Academy, we could off a free-of-charge game workshop.

Ward Geene from Dondersteen Media has two big passions in life.  One of them is gaming. He has probably gamed “all of his life” (since he happens to be in his fine young twenties, that is quit normal behavior as we will see in this article). Besides working for Dondersteen Media he also writes for Power Unlimited, the biggest game-title in the Netherlands. For our kick-off of Dondersteendag he gave this presentation about video-games, discussing:

  • Who is the gamer?
  • What is a game (which is actually quit a profound philosophical question..)
  • Why are games important from a crossmedia-transmedia perspective?
  • And what can other entertainment industry learn from the great successes that games have in the digital entertainment field?

It was quit a special day. So many beautiful people have supported us. First of all, the people from CMBO, Syntens and the MA Factory. They made it possible for the workshop to be free of charge. But I want to most specially mention my friend Steven Kruijswijk (@kruithoph on twitter) who made our day by taking care of the live U-stream we could broadcast from the presentation, so that people could hook in through the web!

You can watch the embedded stream (it’s regular web quality ;-)

Since it is Dutch let me also give you a recap of the presentation in text here.

The gamer:

First there is a bias towards ‘the gamer’. For starters according to TNS-NIPO who did research in 2006, 73% of the Dutch game. That is a very large figure, because it incorporates casual as well as hardcore gamers. The bias of “the gamer” is towards male, aged 19 to 35, hardcore gamers. What you see from the figures is that people in their teens and twenties practically ALL game. When they grow older, they spend less time on games and it gets up in time again at around 50 years. But considering this 10-20 generation has really grown up with games, compared to the 30-to-50 aged group, who did not, one could conclude that time spent on gaming when the younger group gets older will probably not get less. Since gaming is more a part of their natural entertainment habits.

The game:

Game philosophers are still debating what exactly is a game? In the opinion of Ward a game is about the present, about the NOW. Since if there is no player, there is no game and the game unfolds in the here and now. Gaming is a process, more than a linear route. The process of going through the game can be different every time. What you do as you game is you learn, by continuously exploring the “what if..” Gaming takes a lot of time. There may be other and more efficient ways to deliver a message.

Games and crossmedia-transmedia:

Looking from a crossmedia-transmedia perspective, what is interesting is that games are able to ‘move people’. If you want your public or community to move towards a next ‘step” you need to reward them for their actions. That is basically a very important design implication. Furthermore the game communities that are being developed right now by Microsoft and Sony for example give you a profile that you can share with other gamers, going beyond single play gaming. The gamers’ profile however is bound to the platform, making a lock-in for next generations, since you do not want to loose your build up achievements. Disadvantage is you cannot play a game together cross-platform. Microsoft as well as Sony anticipates on a probable opening up of their walled gardens by supplying very rewarding community features.

They won their tickets ;-)

August 22nd, 2009 by admin

Jeff Gomez on transmedia experiences & future entertainment bizz

August 22nd, 2009 by admin

Susan Boyle, how traditional media clash on social media reality

April 27th, 2009 by admin

susan-boyle-picI am putting in this link of the You Tube video of the Susan Boyle moment that has been watched more then 100 million times!!

Why do I have to put in a link? Because I cannot embed the video anymore!!

How illustrative!  This is the way traditional media parties are dealing with social media reality!

While Simon Cowell and Fremantle smartly directed there little but Oh soo precious treasure very carefully into the spotlight (the Boyle performance was already taped in January of this year) they completely “forgot” to set up a strategy that would enable and monetize on the moment in our today social media reality!

Jenkins has a very informative post on Boyle. He calls this kind of swarming of media content “spread” with which he points out there needs to be a motif for fans to want to post, link and twitter about the Susan Boyle moment

I cannot agree more, a good crossmedia design needs to motivate people to start acting upon. His post is very interesting and his arguments for people to start ‘spreading’ are understandable: People having a ‘sense of discovery’ with the video, or ‘the uplifting nature of the moment to give to others’. He points out that ‘the meaning rests in the conversations that Susan Boyle enables us to have with each other’. Jenkins asserts everybody may have different motives to start spreading the Boyle video, because the arguments they give friends and relatives to watch may differ depending on who you are sending messages to.

That may very well be so, but his arguments do not explain the unifying reason why this particular moment is spreading.. So what I find an even more interesting question is: What IS the binding nature of the Susan Boyle moment that makes all these different people want to start spreading?

I think the magic lies in the old metaphor of Cinderella, sleeping beauty, the princess awakening. That coupled with seeing this very everyday woman, “deprived” of any good luck, that finally did get her break-through DESPITE being too old and not in line with “beauty-prescripts”. Now imagine how many people feel mirrored in that image? And I assure you; they will not tell you out loud.

Exactly this contrast makes her a dream to any producer and Simon Cowell knew exactly what a precious gem he was holding. There was only one-way to launch her and that was trough a format like “Britain’s got talent”.

Take away all prejudice in one shot.!! Marvellous, brilliant from a classical television and music producers’ perspective.

But what an incredible loss in creating social media advantage!

Let me sum up the losses here:

I am not able to “own” the moment as a fan anymore (since I am not allowed to embed)

I am not able to make my own fan blog, helping to spread the word about who is Susan Boyle..

Can you do this in a better way?

Recently I have been working on a social media player for Dutch public broadcasting to be able to DO capture these moments and support and enable them as much as possible in today’s social media reality.

Where the BBC i-player is much credited for being innovative, this player is designed to take things leaping even more forward. Being able to grab the content and even pick up your own fragments and off course embed them everywhere.

I was wondering what would have happened if the Susan Boyle moment was accessible to the public from such a player.

Mind you, this player accounts for all views, inside the website as well as embedded anywhere else. Besides probable load balancing problems ;-) there would also be You Tube to air the moment as well (that’s what You Tube is for).

But what if the quality of the “official” player will be HD. What if you can do as much and even more with it whatever you want?

I think there really may be a substantial part of the audience choosing for the official player then.

Now let’s look at the potential commercial losses (most painfully as always ;-) )

Right after the program is aired:

1. Have an embeddable player (counting streams) available on your official website. Remember: Here YOU control every layer, all the cross-branding, pre-roll/mid-roll/post-rolls. On the web still the commercial rules are different from the television rules (which in this case. Britain’s got talent is a non-commercial television environment)

2. Right after the program, enable the moment to be captured on You Tube (just place it), with an i-tunes overlay offering the whole performance (from the moment she gets on stage to the moment she hears she’s got the vote)

3. Have available all kinds of little widgets containing snippets of that moment.. (Sponsored by.) That I can take away on my mobile phone.

Off course the Susan Boyle moment is staged extremely carefully (Oh. I’m sorry if you really thought this was spontaneous.) But it illustrates very strongly how traditional media just do not capture the power of the social media reality yet. And how the Susan Boyle moment forms a marker for how television has already changed profoundly.