It’s with great delight and excitement that we can finally announce a debut partnership between storycentralLABS – the training, mentoring and development arm of storycentral – and SundanceTV on the Digital Extensions Story Lab on 12th and 13th November in Vancouver in partnership with Merging Media 5 Talks & Market.
In a response to discussions for a creative lab at Merging Media 5 Market & Talks, storycentralLABS has gathered high-level mentors to guide and advise 10 teams of 5 over two-days, working on creative, interactive, digital extensions for a yet-to-be-revealed, exciting, SundanceTV show.
As a Masterclass Trainer for Eurovision Academy (European Broadcasting Union) and a judge for various film, media, publishing and entertainment hacks, labs, challenges and awards around the world I launched storycentralLABS after being impressed and amazed at the energy put in by teams at these events. I’ve watched passionate creators, inventive creative technologists, hackers, storytellers and artists create extensions around fictitious projects and storyworld briefs only to watch weak and exhausted pitches for a ‘pie-in-the-sky’ brief that, with all good intentions from burned out team members, rarely saw the light of day in the commercial domain.
storycentralLABS launched with a view to partnering with commercial networks, broadcasters, publishers, game developers to allow participants to work their ideas on a tangible IP with a mutual win-win. The networks/studios/publishers have direct access and introductions to emerging and fabulous talent and the participants gain experience and insight on working on ground-breaking IP in a fun, lab environment but with the real challenges and parameters that come with strategising extensions around a commercial property. With associates and colleagues as high-level mentors the SundanceTV lab is as much creative lab as it is masterclass.
Dovetailing with Merging Media, the Digital Extensions Story Lab takes place on November 12-13, a groundbreaking 2-day hands-on collaborative workshop in which participants, mentored by Drew Pisarra, SundanceTV’s VP of Digital and Marketing (former VP Digital Media at AMC– who pioneered digital extensions for AMC’s award winning series Breaking Bad, Mad Men and The Walking Dead), and lead by storycentralLAB’s Founder/CEO Alison Norrington, will develop an interactive, complementary element for a SundanceTV series.
The jury-assigned top three teams will be invited to pitch their prototypes before an esteemed international jury on the Merging Media 5 stage and the winning team will gather for a private meeting with SundanceTV, storycentral and key mentors, will be featured on SundanceTV’s website … with potential for further, longer-term discussions at high level…(project-pending).
Basically, make your idea as awesome as you can! The opportunities are very real and we want to discover great things!
The Lab combines all the best features of story hacks and collaborative workshops, but with a real television IP in development and under the mentorship of top notch mentors! Participants will work side by side with facilitators Alison Norrington and Drew Pisarra, as well as receive 2 full days of insightful presentations, guidance and advice from top industry mentors from the US and the UK .
Our mentors, still being finalised, include:
Watch this space as we announce more mentors, but act now if you’re interested! Space is extremely limited to 10 teams of 5 participants each, who must meet eligibility requirements and will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.
Apply now for the opportunity to collaborate in a fun, creative environment on an incredible TV show. A registration fee of $100 will be made – upon acceptance to the Lab.
For more Info on the The Digital Extensions Story Lab, contact Alison at email@example.com
Click here to download your Digital Extensions Story Lab application.
Click here for an overview of the Digital Extensions Story Lab rules.
As a writer you want to make your audience ‘move in’ and then unpack their bags by evoking feeling in the sensory elements of your storyworld, playing on the elegant nuances of the 5 senses. Experience Designer and Ravensbourne graduate, Robert Andre took a leap to make the audience unpack their bags and experience rather than simply suspend disbelief and imagine with his Virtual Reality experience, Act 2.5 of Meet Lucy, a 3-act interactive story highlighting the reality of housing issues in London which debuted at Learn Do Share at Ravensbourne.
The brainchild of Creative Director and PhD researcher, Nina Simoes, the story was written by David Varela and designed and built as an environment and a personal experience by Robert Andre. Housed inside a red booth 2 metres high, 1.5m wide and 1m deep the VR experience lasts between 1.5 to 2.5 minutes, with immersion taking between 20-30 seconds as you become accustomed to the Oculus Rift headset and your experience goes from being physically transported into the middle of a story to an overwhelming ‘wow’.
Now what you’re watching is what you’re feeling!
Virtual Reality Experience Designer & Creator of Act 2.5 of Meet Lucy – Robert Andre and a player
This Virtual Reality component was cleverly designed so that the 400+ players who had already been interacting with the story through email and SMS prior to Learn Do Share would have a ‘real-life’ enhancement at the Ravensbourne event. Nina explains, “They experienced everything they’d been reading about up to that point – the confinement of the small space that Lucy and her family were living in along with the oppressive sense when all options aren’t ones you’d choose. This is where technology makes a difference – there is a particular moment in which you want the user to experience with you what it feels like. It’s deeply immersive.”
Robert adds that the sense of confinement was key. With players arrival point being Lucy’s kitchen it was critical that the space felt cramped and playing with spatial awareness was a deliberate design point. Robert explains, “The first entry point is the kitchen where you’re immediately feeling the oppressive heat of the oven. You’re confronted by Lucy, the protagonist, and she talks to you! This creates an immediate connection, as prior to this moment you’ve been talking to her through email. You’re not simply listening to her – she’s asking you to talk back.”
Robert, Nina and the team see huge value in creating VR experiences to tell societal stories, to allow people to literally put themselves in somebody else’s shoes and experience from an existential point of view and believe that with the involvement of audience they can listen and build a world in which we can help create solutions – this is storytelling with context and purpose!
Nina added, “We wanted to see how people would interact and if the story would hold people together and we proved that it did. Our proof of concept worked and was very successful, now we would like to explore the concept further. We need to look at making technology to work more for us. VR allows participants to enter into a different dimension. These fictional experiences can encourage interactions that can contribute to the development of new solutions for the challenges we face in the world today.”
There’s an opinion that technology, when applied to storytelling, changes everything.
There’s an opposing opinion that it, in fact, changes nothing – that our behaviors around stories remain the same, simply our way to share and talk about them is enhanced through social media sharing, liking and forum discussions.
Oculus Rift is the Virtual Reality of the moment – immersive storytelling that puts you at the heart of the story, but how can you really put your readers/audience into the mind of a character? How can you make them see the world from a characters eyes, experience the world from their perspective? If you don’t have Oculus Rift at your disposal and want to ‘push’ stories to where your audience are already hanging out (their devices) rather than ‘pull’ them to an event or space where they stand in line to try out the Oculus Rift headset?
Every now and then a storyteller comes along who wants to add experiential and immersive depth to their stories; storytellers that appreciate the intersection of experience design with narrative design, who appreciate and respect the impact of literally putting their readers in their characters shoes. Professional Playologist and specialized play therapist to deaf and autistic children, Denise Chapman Weston has been inventing magical experiences and bringing dreams to life for most of her life. Co-author of three books teaching parents how to use play to solve their children’s challenges, she then transformed her skills of play and storytelling into entertainment on a larger scale consulting for companies such as Hasbro, Walt Disney Imagineering, UniversalStudios, and other large amusement companies. Continue reading →
Any story that’s designed to combine ‘multiple narratives, simultaneously delivered through interactive experiences’ is always sure to catch my attention. I’m constantly looking for great examples that marry narrative design with experience design and when Denise Chapman Weston told me about her vision for her new company Media Melt, I was excited.
A few months down the line she has launched her debut story, The Memory Machine - an epic story of a family brought together across generations, specifically through the eyes of a nonverbal, autistic boy ‘Blue’ and his Alzheimer-suffering grandfather as they build a fantastical machine on the family farm in the hopes of bringing back lost memories.
I’m excited by The Memory Machine not only because it tells a heart-warming story, but because it uses a distinct ‘media-melt’ approach to bring the storyworld to life in your hands. Continue reading →
The brainchild of Creative Director and PhD researcher, Nina Simoes, Meet Lucy is an innovative and interactive story that highlights the reality of housing issues in London and runs parallel to Learn Do Share.
Nina brought together a smart trio to work together to produce and deliver the story of Lucy Maddox, a fictional character created by writer David Varela. This interactive story culminates in a live event at Learn Do Share and is supported by 2 technologies: pervasive storytelling tool Conducttr and Virtual Reality technology Oculus Rift, powered by Unity.
In the run up to Learn Do Share the story of Lucy Maddox highlights the lack of social housing in the UK. Nina and her creative team’s vision is that the story is more resonant and relevant as it specifically focuses on Lucy, a 22 year old girl and her Mum and sister who are ‘statutory homeless’. The story is a strong example of purposeful storytelling, as advocated by Learn Do Share Founder, Lance Weiler and explained here by Peter Guber.
Creative Director Nina Simoes felt very passionate that Learn Do Share was supported by a story that was both relevant, purposeful and interactive and I was lucky enough to speak with Nina, the Conducttr team – Robert Pratten, Jonny Virgo and Eduardo Iglesias and Virtual Reality Experience Designer Robert Andre about the vision for the story and how these 2 technologies dovetailed to create a seamless experience around David Varela’s story: