Starlight Runner is proud to announce that it will be creating and producing the heroic universe at the heart of a major new sports entertainment franchise. Jeff Gomez and Mark Pensavalle will act as Transmedia Producers.
FactoryMade and Lucha Libre AAA have brought onboard Starlight Runner Entertainment, a New York-based production company specializing in the global transmedia growth of leading entertainment properties. Lucha Libre AAA will be the first entertainment-sports league to be reimagined for the American and global market and launched with Starlight Runner’s proprietary franchise development methodology embedded in its DNA at inception.
“The team united behind bringing Lucha Libre AAA to the United States has provided us with an extraordinary opportunity to use our transmedia techniques to build an exciting multi-platform world of heroes, villains and spectacle,” said Starlight Runner CEO Jeff Gomez. “This new experience will resonate with the aspirations of the powerful emerging Latino audience and the youth market beyond.”
David Ewalt of Forbes magazine profiles CEO Jeff Gomez and EVP Mark Pensavalle of Starlight Runner and announces our wonderful work with Pepperidge Farm. Online today, in the 2/11 issue of Forbes.
Consulting firm Starlight Runner helps movie directors like James Cameron–and big brands from Coca-Cola to Mattel to Pepperidge Farm–keep their stories straight.
“Jeff inspires me every time we get together,” says Jonathan Mildenhall, vice president of global advertising strategy at Coca-Cola. In 2006 he hired Starlight Runner to consult on a 60-second commercial called “Happiness Factory,” which depicted tiny creatures living inside a Coke machine. “It was an ad, and only as good as the media dollars that we put behind it,” says Mildenhall. “But transmedia helped us understand how the story arc and the narrative of the Happiness Factory could evolve over time and how it could be used through different channels.”
Fast Company covers Starlight Runner Entertainment and Nickelodeon’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, delving deeply into how Starlight Runner contributed to some of the greatest brands and story worlds.
Nickelodeon has tapped New York-based production company Starlight Runner Entertainment to answer the question of what the Turtles are really made of in order to prep the classic franchise for multi-platform growth—websites, apps, a toy line, and ultimately, a feature film.
“We had to understand the essence of the property,” says Starlight Runner cofounder Jeff Gomez. “What are the archetypal elements that resonate deep inside the audience when they are watching and enjoying this property? There is something about it that is unique and rings true because it touches the hearts and the primal minds of people and has transcended decades.”
Starlight Runner’s “10 Commandments of 21st Century Franchise Production” from the StoryWorld Conference 2012, as given by CEO Jeff Gomez:
1. Know the Essence of Your Brand and Never Stray From It
Before embarking on a multi-year journey generating a rich product line or multiple feature films, with messaging and extensions across multiple media platforms, you must take ownership of the creative asset that is your franchise story world. You must gain an intimate understanding of why it is successful and how it resonates with a mass audience. Knowing this will allow you to properly plan for the building of its characters, narratives, iconography, and themes. What is your brand or story world giving to your audience? What questions does it answer? What gifts does it give? If all your communication is flesh, brand essence is bone.
2. The Story World is Unstoppable and Rules Over All
Once you have a fundamental understanding of your franchise universe, you must commit to its health, integrity and proliferation above everything and everyone else. Creative visionaries, agencies, actors, directors, marketing, licensing, must all be committed to serving the needs of the story world.
Sony Pictures Entertainment has teamed with Starlight Runner Entertainment to vastly expand the story world of ‘Men in Black’ for sequels and beyond.
“As we sought to create a unique buzz and fan engagement around the launch of ‘Men in Black 3,’ we felt that we had an excellent opportunity to expand the world of Men in Black beyond the film. Starlight Runner’s work on the movie ensured that no matter how fans engage in the world of the Men in Black, they will immerse themselves in a wide-ranging, consistent universe,” said Walter Parkes, producer on all three of the films.
In this interview with Redazione Subvertising, Jeff Gomez talks about the Arab Spring, sits on the Game of Thrones, and parses out Alternate Reality Games.
We have seen an increase of storytelling platforms for emerging countries or countries where censorship is strong and do not allow people express them. Although this is not really transmedia, it is storytelling. Why should any producer or advertiser be interested in those events?
All of us must be interested in such events for two vital reasons:
1) when the walls of censorship crumble and fall, then the audiences for our stories increase vastly. There are new markets, new participants, and new possibilities, and
2) even more importantly, we will get access to new perspectives, new sensibilities, new influences and new stories. So we will become a richer and even more connected people. It’s win-win!
On Bloomberg News, Jeff Gomez points out Disney’s historic first use of the entire Marvel Universe in the marketing of the upcoming Avengers film.
“Disney is leveraging its assets in such an exciting way across multiple platforms,” said Jeff Gomez, founder of Starlight Runner Entertainment, which consults with companies on online strategies. “Our tracking indicates it’s been highly effective. They’re going to reap rewards.”
Starlight Runner Entertainment is happy to announce its collaborative work on Activision ‘Men in Black: Alien Crisis’, led by Transmedia Producer Steele Filipek.
To create a completely authentic “Men in Black” world and tone, Activision aligned with Jeff Gomez and Mark S. Pensavalle’s Starlight Runner Entertainment, Inc. to create the story and script of the upcoming videogame. Starlight Runner was selected by Sony Pictures to work in concert with the filmmakers to provide a single voice to the “Men in Black” universe with the upcoming film and related properties.
Forbes’s Michael Humphrey speaks with Jeff Gomez about ‘Prometheus,’ ‘Mass Effect 3,’ and their audiences.
The days of creating story lines in an ivory tower and delivering them to the masses are numbered. Perhaps it will survive in certain genres. But not in those that expect invested, large-scale audiences in the age of Social Media, says Jeff Gomez, founder of Starlight Runner Entertainment.
To understand this, he says, look at two recent examples on either side of the spectrum — the revolt over the ending of the video game “Mass Effect 3” and the viral marketing campaign for would-be summer blockbuster “Prometheus.”
Gomez has no investment in either the game or the movie. (He has worked with the studio behind “Prometheus,” 20th Century Fox, on the movie “Avatar.”) But as one of the important architects of transmedia –defined as the extension of stories across multiple platforms — he has been watching both properties relate to their audiences in very different ways…
Meant to be Seen goes medieval for Battle Castle in part 2 of their interview with Caitlin Burns.
You mentioned a video game component to Battle Castle. How did you use video games as an educational tool?
We knew that Battle Castle is more than a TV Series and that the research and history of these castles would be able to fill more than six hours of television – we wanted to give the audience several ways to explore the world of Battle Castle.
Knowing that there is a lot of really great history and stories, the browser-based and tablet compatible Masters of Constantinople is a fictional tale that allows the player to learn about the castles as well as dive deeper into Medieval history. This compliments the episodes and allows audiences (in Canada and abroad) to weave their way through history and enter into the Battle Castle.
The Future of Story is the topic of discussion in this video interview between Starlight Runner CEO Jeff Gomez and Milan Business Television. Clips from the recent event Meet the Media Guru are interspersed.
Caitlin Burns speaks to Meant to Be Seen, a 3-D Production Blog, on Starlight Runner’s work with Avatar, Tron, and Battle Castle.
It’s easy to assume that when you watch a movie like Avatar or Tron Legacy, there is a central story to follow, and that’s it. Is there more to this storytelling than meets the eye? Please elaborate.
The story is key. It’s fairly simple to understand, the strongest narratives for this kind of work have broad story worlds, so not only is there the story you see for 90 minutes onscreen, there is a past, present and future in this world. There is a richness to the narrative that understands that when someone is out of the audience’s field of vision, they have stories of their own. There are a variety of places where these characters have been before a player picks up a controller and guides them through a story.
Simon Pulman and Jeff Gomez contribute their first article to AdAge magazine, about the innovative use of transmedia techniques in Ridley Scott’s ‘Prometheus’ marketing campaign.
The internet is abuzz over director Ridley Scott’s forthcoming film “Prometheus.” A trailer that debuted at the pop culture event Wondercon in Anaheim, Calif. racked up around 3 million views in less than two days.
In concert with the movie’s traditional marketing effort, which includes the trailer, Scott and 20th Century Fox have pursued a second, more innovative path to publicity. It began unexpectedly at this year’s TED conference, with a presentation by entrepreneur Peter Weyland, who powerfully articulated the challenges facing a society beginning to question its own nature in the face of rapidly advancing technology. Weyland’s talk was one of the highlights of the conference of presentations by thought leaders. The twist, of course, is that Weyland isn’t real. He’s a character from “Prometheus,” played by Guy Pearce, and he was speaking from the year 2023!…
Join Starlight Runner’s Caitlin Burns at KR8V.Asia’s CXO Day on April 6th in Kuala Lumpur where she will be speaking about transmedia.
Jeff Gomez is interviewed by X Media Lab on his inspiration and creativity. This Friday, Jeff will be speaking to digital entrepreneurs at XML Bath in the UK.
1. Where do you find your inspiration for ideas?
I’ve had the great fortune of working with many extraordinarily talented people, in Hollywood, the gaming industry, in education, and especially with my own team at Starlight Runner, hugely inspiring. But my greatest inspiration comes from my interaction with children. Often it seems I have enormously complicated thoughts and emotions, concepts fly through my head that feel impossible to communicate. But then I watch and listen to kids who have not yet developed filters or emotional dampeners. They see and express life simply and directly, and there’s so much truth in this communication. Truly striking when you think about it. That’s how I finally learned to convey the complexities of transmedia narrative. More importantly, it’s what inspires me to persist and think my way out of problems in the face of what sometimes has been enormous adversity.
Rachel Dodes Wortman provides sharp insights on how Lionsgate Films has risen to the challenges of bringing the movie to all four audience quadrants. Starlight Runner CEO Jeff Gomez is briefly quoted in the article.
According to a recent tracking report, 73% of young women surveyed had definite interest in seeing the movie, a “staggering” figure on its own, according to a former studio executive. But male interest could boost the box office for “The Hunger Games” exponentially, with 48% of young men saying they’re definitely interested in seeing the movie. The movie has sold more advance seats than any film in online ticket seller Fandango’s 12-year history, and has sold out 47 opening-night shows at IMAX theaters.
Finally leaving endless arguments about definitions behind, rising transmedia models were explored at the March event Digital Hollywood Media Summit in New York. Simon Pulman’s Transmythology has the story, including notes on the panel “Producer’s Guild of America Presents: The Transmedia Producer Credit” featuring Jeff Gomez.
Jeff Gomez presented last. He began with an overview of transmedia storytelling, which I won’t bother going into now. Although Gomez discussed working with major studios on massive transmedia implementations, one of the major refrains of his presentation is that transmedia techniques can be applied both to major entertainment brands and independent creations. To that end, of course, the PGA transmedia credit is an excellent route into leveraging transmedia techniques for both original projects and client work…
Jeff Gomez will be speaking in Milan, Italy at Meet the Media Guru next week. Previous speakers have included Pixar’s John Lasseter, Boing Boing editor Cory Doctorow, and virtual reality pioneer Jaron Lanier. If you’re near Milan, feel free to join him there. Admission is free but seats are going quickly!
Starlight Runner Entertainment is happy to announce its co-production of the interactive documentary experience, Battle Castle.
Parallax Film founder and the Executive Producer and Director of “Battle Castle”, Ian Herring and his business partner and Series Producer, Maija Leivo brought inLondon-based Ballista Media Inc. to co-produce the TV broadcast series while the convergent media component was co-produced by Agentic Communication Inc.in collaboration with Starlight Runner Entertainment, a New York-based transmedia company that has worked on projects including “TRON”, “Transformers”, and“Avatar”. The result is an interactive documentary experience which includes a high-concept website, episodic motion comics and a browser-based adventure game.
On Thursday, March 8, CEO Jeff Gomez will be participating in the panel ‘Producers Guild of America Presents: The Transmedia Producer Credit,’ with Chris Pfaff, Craig Singer and Brian Iglesias, at the Digital Hollywood Media Summit.
9th Annual Media Summit
March 8, 2:15-3:00pm
McGraw-Hill Building, 49th St and 6th Ave
CEO Jeff Gomez sat down with Christopher Rick of ReelSEO to discuss how the Internet is not television.
[ReelSEO] What’s the first thing you look at when taking a property that is only video and expanding it into other forms of media?
[Jeff Gomez] At Starlight Runner when we examine a property for its potential to be expanded across a variety of media platforms, we first have to establish with our client that we are not a company that repurposes content. What we do, that I think is in sync with what at least two generations of audience members are looking for, is to place the established video content into a greater context in terms of the vision and story being told. If your property or “story world” is rich and detailed enough — or if it lends itself to enrichment and depth — then it is a good candidate for multi-platform expansion. We’re the first to say that not all stories lend themselves to this kind of treatment.
Jeff Gomez will be the keynote speaker at the 37th annual Trenton Computer Festival.
In this exclusive talk, Jeff Gomez, CEO of Starlight Runner Entertainment and the world’s leading producer of transmedia entertainment properties, recounts his personal journey from the inner city to the soundstages of the greatest movies and video games of the past decade. Jeff will recount how his understanding of the fundamentals of storytelling and interactive technology in the 1980s influenced his ability to foresee and develop the techniques of multi-platform narrative being used today in projects as diverse as James Cameron’s Avatar and Microsoft’s Halo, as well as the nation-building we are witnessing in the wake of the so-called Arab Spring.
Saturday, March 10, 2012
Buy your tickets here
Video is now available of the New-Gen panel featuring the crew of the New-Gen comic book series, Mark Hamill of STAR WARS, and Starlight Runner’s Jeff Gomez.
Starlight Runner’s Caitlin Burns will be participating in two events at Digital October.
Caitlin will be moderating a roundtable on February 3, livestreamed on the internet from Moscow.
Caitlin will also be a key speaker at the “Investments in Cinema, TV and New Media” Forum, which will take place on 4 February at the initiative of Sberbank of Russia, Troika Dialog, and Cinemotion Group.
Jeff Gomez will reunite with X/Media/Lab and journey to Peter Gabriel’s RealWorld Studios in Bath, United Kingdom to deliver a keynote and mentorship to an array of startups and creative projects at the first Bath Digital Festival in March.
Experience “The Great Happyfication” which employs much of the mythos, characterization, messages and themes developed by Starlight Runner for Coca-Cola’s Happiness Factory campaign.
Variety’s piece on transmedia at CES featured an interview with Jeff Gomez, dubbed a “Power Player” in the entertainment and tech industries by veteran journalist Marc Graser.
Transmedia should be an easy concept to understand: Create a project that can play across multiple platforms. Walking the show floor of the Las Vegas Convention Center, during CES, all of those various screens are on full display.
But Jeff Gomez, CEO of Starlight Runner Entertainment, who has helped studios develop transmedia storytelling with franchises like “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “Transformers,” says there’s still a lot more work to be done. He spoke to Variety about the issues the biz still needs to deal with to make transmedia successful…
Today’s Variety, now being distributed to thousands of attendees of the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show, features a piece on the significance of the Producers Guild of America transmedia producer credit in Hollywood since its introduction in 2010. Jeff Gomez and Starlight Runner figure prominently in the article:
Since the PGA started recognizing the role in April 2010, the first credits have already started to appear with George Stayton getting a transmedia producer title on Paramount and Hasbro’s “Transformers” franchise. The credit’s also appeared on THQ’s “Red Faction” video game.
But 2012 should prove a watershed year, according to veteran transmedia producer Jeff Gomez, who’s been championing the concept for more than a decade. The Canadian Media Fund will add the credit to its projects. And “there will be (another) major studio getting on board very soon,” Gomez said.
If you are at the Consumer Electronics Show this week, join Jeff Gomez at Digital Media Wire’s Games Summit on Wednesday, January 11. His panel at 4 PM is called Hollywood and Games – A Transmedia Approach to Entertainment Content.
Starlight Runner’s Simon Pulman interviewed Henry Jenkins about his new book, “Spreadable Media” at Merging+Media 2011 in Vancouver.
Simon Pulman graciously posted the text of Starlight Runner CEO Jeff Gomez’s keynote on World Building & Mythology on his Transmythology blog. The candid speech tracks Jeff’s efforts to introduce multi-platform narrative to Hollywood and share the fundamentals of storytelling with the world.
If you’ve been following the many interviews 343 Industries has been doing surrounding the release of Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, you might have seen a mention of a company called Starlight Runner Entertainment. The New York–based Starlight Runner specializes in what’s called “transmedia,” or branching fiction into other media platforms. If it’s a videogame franchise, for instance, the process could involve taking the game’s world and preparing it for expansion into novels, comic books, TV series, movies, etc.
Starlight Runner’s work has been felt in popular franchises such as TRON, Red Faction, Pirates of the Caribbean, Prince of Persia, Transformers, and Avatar, but President and CEO Jeff Gomez calls its undertaking of Halo, which spanned about a year-and-a-half of the company’s time, one of its proudest moments.
“It was the biggest and most challenging work of our entire careers,” he says…
Starlight Runner Entertainment’s Caitlin Burns spoke on the panel A Tale of Two Worlds: When Film/TV-Game Worlds Collide at the 2011 Merging Media conference in Vancouver.
Film and television storyworlds appear to make good game fodder and vice versa, is this true? We hear first hand from industry observers and those involved in these adaptations on what it takes to create a cohesive world and successful title from an existing IP, from blockbuster movies like “Star Wars-Republic” and “Tron” to popular TV Series “Lost” and “Family Guy.”
Starlight Runner Entertainment’s Caitlin Burns participated in the Tribeca Film Institute’s Transmedia for Social Documentaries panel, alongside Vladan Nikolic, Megan Cunningham, and Opeyemi Olukemi.
Jeff Gomez’s talk at the recent Power to the Pixel conference in London was highlighted by references to Ernie Cline’s science fiction novel Ready Player One, and an overview of the potential of J.K. Rowling’s Pottermore and the future of the Harry Potter Universe.
Date: Saturday, October 15
1:30 pm – 2:30 pm
Location: American Airlines Theater, 1A06
Speakers: Abdul H. Rashid, J.D. Matonti, Jeff Gomez, Mark Hamill
Mark Hamill appears on this very special panel with New-Gen, discussing his role in the upcoming film based on this science fiction comic book series. For more information visit www.newgenuniverse.com.
This Sunday, fans of the Harry Potter book and movie series will flock to Pottermore.com because of one sentence currently posted on the splash page: “Come back on 31st July to find out how you can get the chance to enter Pottermore early.”
Those lucky few will not only enter a world where the stories can expand both in length and depth. Or perhaps be the first to enjoy Potter e-books. They will also witness a historical shift in entertainment, according transmedia expert Jeff Gomez.
President and CEO of Starlight Entertainment, Gomez has transformed stories, games and products — such as ”Pirates of the Caribbean,” “Tron Legacy,” ”Halo,” “Avatar,” and Hot Wheels — into interactive universes. He has lectured on developing transmedia brands (which he defines below) to the MIT Futures of Entertainment Conference, Game Developers Conference, O’Reilly Tools of Change and the Producers Guild of America.
And Gomez is seriously bullish on Pottermore’s potential. In this email interview, we talk about what Potter fans can expect, the role author J.K. Rowling will play and how this one site could change the way we tell stories.”
“Tracking the potency of social media is part of what I do for a living, and more than the trending topics I scan on my Twitter feed, this (and so much more of what I’m seeing today) was tangible proof of that power. Arriving at Comic Con today, I was met with a jubilant wedding entourage of zombies, their open wounds glistening in the brilliant San Diego sunshine. What’s better than that? Most of the zombies were young women! “How did you two meet?” I asked the bride and groom. “#WalkingDead!” they grinned. “
“Comic-Con: Robert Rodriguez and friends bring “Heavy Metal” to the social media masses”:http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504943_162-20082666-10391715.html
“But, what’s really trippy is that Rodriguez has invited fans to contribute “characters, worlds, and/or story ideas” to Quick Draw via a dedicated web site, with the chosen concept being added to the film as a final segment! This is no ordinary trip to the set contest, but an embracing of the power of fandom that makes Comic-Con relevant today.”
“If you’re a cynic — and there are a few of you lurking right here in the convention center — this is Hollywood at its worst, a bankruptcy of ideas, the scraping of barrel bottoms. But, my sense of it is that there’s room for hope.”
“Guys! How did this happen?” Like so many hand-stapled ashcans and photocopied ‘zines in fandom’s past, New-Gen could have stayed exactly as it had started, a labor of love that never improved, a dream forever being pursued. “We had some help from our friends,” smiled J.D.”
The world’s most successful transmedia producer who wowed participants at Melbourne International Film Festival’s “Film eXtended” last year, returns to Australia to present his full one-day masterclass – which sells out at Kidscreen, Cinekid, Comic Con and other major media events all around the world. Jeff’s Australian tour includes Melbourne – 27th July; Sydney – 29th July & 30th July; Perth – 2nd August.
This is your opportunity to spend a full day learning from the number one transmedia guru.
Jeff’s credits include: Avatar, Tron, Transformers, Pirates of the Caribbean, Hotwheels and Coca Cola’s The Happiness Factory, amongst many others.
If you’re in film, television, marketing or interactive media – this is your sole opportunity to spend a day learning from the world’s foremost expert.
You will learn how to create intense loyalty and long-term engagement amongst audiences and communities, and how to turn that into multiple revenue streams.
Part Tolkien and part Bruce Springsteen, Jeff Gomez ’85 helps Hollywood and Fortune 500 companies tell their stories across multiple media platforms
You can’t hide in your bedroom and “play with your plastic dinosaurs forever,” muses the boy inside Jeff Gomez ’85. Instead, through his imagination, this lonely Latino child from the Lower East Side morphed into a globe-trotting storyline universe creator, consultant, and producer. From a gritty childhood and an adolescence of playing Dungeons & Dragons in the Queens College Student Union, he has shaped a professional life immersed in dozens of fictional worlds.
President and CEO of Starlight Runner Entertainment in Manhattan, Gomez is a guru of transmedia storytelling, which involves creating a narrative robust enough to span animation, ads, films, web content, and books to video games, toys, and theme parks. He guides Hollywood and Fortune 500 companies as they incubate or expand their epic fictional realms of branded entertainment, such as Disney’s sci-fi Tron: Legacy and Microsoft’s $2-billion Xbox game Halo. The fantasy universes Starlight Runner has been involved with generate millions of fans eager to interact with that world—as well as megabucks for the companies.
We hosted the second in a series of exclusive Transmedia workshops last week in Washington D.C. with Starlight Runner’s Jeff Gomez. This time I had the opportunity to sit in on the workshop and wanted to share some key take-aways with DMW readers. For those of you not familiar with Jeff Gomez, he has worked on blockbuster franchises such as Avatar, Transformers and Pirates of the Caribbean.
BANFF: Hero Dogs of 9/11, a joint-venture project from Dog Files, Starlight Runner Entertainment and kelencontent that was inspired by a six-minute viral video, is being presented as a one-hour pilot to Animal Planet Canada.
The video Hero Dogs of 9/11 was released online in September 2010, attracting more than 250,000 views in the first 24 hours. Following the success of the video, executive producer Kenn Bell of Dog Files, Starlight Runner Entertainment and kelencontent teamed up to produce the project. The series is slated to launch into production this summer. The Hero Dogs doc special looks at the search and rescue dog teams who were at Ground Zero. The series will feature 12 half-hour stories.
Jeff Gomez of Starlight Runner commented: “As long-time supporters of Kenn Bell and Dog Files multiplatform franchise, it gives my partner Mark and I great pleasure to join [as Transmedia Producers] to open a new chapter in our relationship in the form of Hero Dogs of 9/11, a celebration of the noblest of canines at Ground Zero.”
Starlight Runner is proud and thrilled with Laura Sterritt’s new blog, Transchordian, a look at popular music through the prism of transmedia. First installment: the multi-platform intrigue of Bjork!
Transmedia Storytelling – The Power of Connected Narratives
June 8, 2011 – 1:15 PM to 2:00 PM
The most dynamic entertainment franchises and the most potent social movements in recent years have something profound in common: Transmedia Storytelling.
Young people are no longer satisfied with being broadcast at. They want to engage, create and participate, and the brands that validate their involvement will be a step ahead of their competition. Transmedia Producer from New York-based Starlight Runner Entertainment, Caitlin Burns, will explain how to entice young consumers with evolving technologies and platforms; whether to evangelize a cause or a brand.
Learn how core storytelling tools can be used to activate and develop communities leveraging multimedia and emergent technologies including mobile content, social media, marketing, commercial campaigns, online ventures, gaming, television and film.
While traveling a few weeks back I had the good fortune to meet an Egyptian scholar. “Isn’t it wonderful,” I said, “how the Internet and social media were used by your people to free themselves from an oppressive regime?”
His response surprised me: “Oh no, Facebook and Twitter didn’t free us. Yes, they were tools we used along with diligent housewives, copy machines and handwritten flyers. The true tipping point happened late last year when our parliament retained power with the usual brazen wave of election fraud, corruption and thievery. The difference this time is that they didn’t even bother to lie to us about it. They didn’t even tell us a story.”
As someone who has spent the last decade advising the entertainment industry on how best to extend big movie and videogame properties across an array of strange new media platforms, I’ve had to think about story from any number of perspectives. What I’m coming to understand is this: Story is more powerful than any weapon. More than warriors, storytellers have influenced the way we’ve evolved as a race.
“After introducing the members of the panel, Jenkins discussed the recent addition of the new Transmedia Producer credit from the Producer’s Guild of America, and asked Jeff Gomez to speak on the subject. First, Gomez discussed his interpretation of what transmedia does: “What has been discovered initially is that, yes, transmedia can help us sell stuff: this has been . . . the most common application of thinking about how to tell stories over multiple media platforms because somehow, if you like the story, you might buy iterations of the story from one medium to the next. But that’s not going to be the most brilliant application of transmedia.” Gomez focused instead on other changes brought on by transmedia narratives, such as affording producers and creators the opportunity to enjoy a greater level of control over their properties; being able to take equity and stronger financial stakes in their properties; and giving creators new ways of expressing themselves. “The canvas of the story is no longer a television screen, or even the movie theater screen; you are now envisioning how to tell stories that dovetail and flow across these different media channels.”
“Gomez conceded that greater financial investment would be needed in order to create robust storyworlds necessary to carry the story across media platforms, but found hope in new models of financing where creators and investors work in concert. Partnerships between struggling industries like the publishing or the music industry, and software companies looking to cross over and develop entertainment in these areas, are currently forming, and Gomez predicts they will become more prevalent in the future. There are also international partnerships forming. Canada has a new media fund that requires television and film makers to take other platforms into consideration in order to be financed by the new fund, recognizing the need for transmedia talent in order to make this happen. Brazil and other European countries have also been entering into co-production deals with the United States for transmedia properties. The greater equity this will afford will lead to new kinds of contracts: the amount of work needed to create a successful transmedia project will “command respect and participation. If we’re working harder, we deserve more.”
“Last year, when the Producers Guild of America officially accepted “transmedia producer” as one of its Producer Code of Credits, the term “transmedia” suddenly gained a lot of currency in the entertainment world. For years, transmedia has been applied in a very general fashion to describe the process of stretching stories across several platforms. “
The global demand for producers familiar with the process of developing transmedia content (across several mediums like games, mobile, television and film) for studios and networks is on the rise. This 4-hour event is the first of its kind and unique in the world, delivering practical, how-to transmedia training led by leading cross-platform producer and strategist Jeff Gomez. Now he will teach his signature transmedia development process to business executives, content producers, marketers and creators which has been used for such blockbusters as Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean and Tron Legacy, James Cameron’s Avatar, Microsoft’s Halo, Hasbro’s Transformers, Mattel’s Hot Wheels and Coca-Cola’s Happiness Factory.
bq. 1:30-6pm, April 25th, 2011
bq. SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills
For the past five years, Power to the Pixel hosted a Cross-Media Forum at the London Film Festival, seeking to connect the film community with digital innovators exploring new methods of distribution, marketing, and financing for their projects. On April 19th, Power to the Pixel is partnering with the Independent Filmmaker Project to bring the Cross-Media Forum across the pond to New York City, at the Walter Reade Theater.
One of the highlights of the program in years past has been the opportunity to witness pitches for new projects seeking funding, providing open feedback on what financiers and investors are looking for in projects. And the New York edition of the forum will be no different in this respect, with three new film-based transmedia projects slated to be pitched in front of a live audience. The forum will also feature presentations and case studies from leading figures in the transmedia production space, including Jeff Gomez (Starlight Runner), Kevin Slavin (Zynga NY), Lance Weiler (Seize the Media), Ty Montague (Co.), and Nina Bargiel. The Cross-Media Forum will feature a few new networking events to the schedule. On April 18th, the Cross-Media Forum will hold its official kick-off at SPiN with a ping-pong tournament. After the event, Wired is hosting a cocktail party for forum attendees.
You can purchase your ticket online or at the door for $100. If you use the discount code MISC20D upon registration, you can receive a 20 discount on the price of your ticket.
“Jeff Gomez is one of the leading figures in a new approach to developing and packaging media properties called “Transmedia.” As CEO of Starlight Runner Entertainment, he packages books, comics and graphic novels, and develops video games and alternate reality experiences with world-renowned partners and clients. On April 25th in Los Angeles, he will, together with Digital Media Wire, host the first of a series of exclusive transmedia workshops. In an intimate setting at the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills, he will teach a small group of media and marketing executives how to understand understand and leverage the most effective transmedia techniques out there. In this exclusive interview, he shares some of the insights that he will explore in the workshops.”
Pictured: Henry Jenkins; Caitlin Burns, Transmedia Producer, Starlight Runner Entertainment; Abigail De Kosnik, Assistant Professor, UC, Berkeley (Co-Ed., The Survival of the Soap Opera: Strategies for a New Media Era); Jane Espenson, Writer/Executive Producer (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Battlestar Galactica); John Platt, Co-Executive Producer (Big Brother, The Surreal Life); Tracey Robertson, CEO/Co-founder, Hoodlum; Lance Weiler, Founder, Wordbook Project.
Last Friday’s second annual UCLA / USC Transmedia Hollywood Symposium capped off an extremely vibrant month of confabs and overall reporting from the transmedia trenches.
“NAB has also announced a panel centered on everyone’s favorite new buzzword — transmedia. Media scholar Henry Jenkins, who has been credited as the originator of the term, will moderate “Transmedia: Telling the Story Through Narrative Content, Games and Real-World Adventures.”
Panel aims to analyze the fundamental components needed for a successful transmedia property, which easily travels from one platform to another, using the examples from recent and soon-to-be-released films, TV shows and vidgames. Panelists will also discuss how multiplayer participation in videogames is changing storytelling.
Session participants include Danny Bilson, exec VP, Core Games, THQ; Jeff Gomez, transmedia producer & CEO, Starlight Runner Entertainment; Gale Anne Hurd, producer; Tim Kring, multiplatform storyteller (“Conspiracy for Good,” “Heroes”) and Kim Moses, exec producer-director-writer, Sander/Moses Prods./Slam (“Ghost Whisperer”).”
Transmedia has been a buzz word for a while, but it’s rapidly rising up the radar: Content creators are increasingly seeking innovative ways to develop stories that arc over platforms, providing consumers with multiple entry points. Our trend report this month explores why transmedia is bubbling up right now, how it’s significant for brands and where it’s going.
“Transmedia Rising” includes a half-dozen case studies, a guide to finding more information (from events to podcasts to books and video clips) and a timeline charting some of transmedia’s milestones. It also features insights from experts, including several we interviewed for the report: commercial and music video director Mathew Cullen, a co-founder of the new transmedia studio Mirada; Wired contributing editor Frank Rose, author of the new book The Art of Immersion; and Dean Baker, managing director of JWT Entertainment in London.
At Digital Hollywood’s Content and Media Summits, the premier entertainment and technology conference in the United States, Gomez will participate in three sessions that address the various facets of transmedia implementation for writers, studios, networks and brands. On Wednesday, March 9th Starlight Runner will be showcased as part of Content Summit’s Best of Breed Transmedia Showcase: Screenings, Casestudies, Success Stories at 1:30PM. Gomez will also participate in the Day-end Fireside Chat: Tips and Wisdom from the Frontlines of Indie Producers creating Programming for TV, Cable, Broadband, Mobile at 3:00PM that day and Branded Media Marketing – Across Platforms – TV, Film, Broadband, Mobile, Virtual Economies, Music and Games – Reinventing the Commerce & Media Model at 3:45PM on Thursday, March 10th at Media Summit. For a list of speakers, specific times and locations please see the full schedule. Digital Hollywood officially kicks off on Wednesday, March 9th and concludes on Thursday, March 10th.
Later that week, Gomez heads to Rio Content Summit, the greatest audiovisual content market of Latin America, where he will speak on the Content and Transmedia Narratives panel on Wednesday, March 16th. Additionally, Gomez will conduct three Business Roundtables sharing insight with young creative’s on topics such as, planning, creating, and producing highly engaging story worlds that maximize both the creative potential of a work, equity participation, and subsequent revenues. For more details on the event visit: http://www.riocontentmarket.com.
The High Five Power to the Pixel Lab, showcases a three-day workshop for the six selected Nordic cross media projects and international experts with topics covering, creating the story universe, story design, project planning, delivery platforms and audience engagement design. Gomez is excited to be sharing a keynote, Building Aspirational Storyworlds for Children and a special case study, Hot Wheels: Highway 35 Through Battle Force 5 Fused — Building An Evergreen Property on Friday, March 18th. For a list of speakers, specific times and locations, please see their website.
Thanks to some serendipitous travel timing, Jeff Gomez and several of the Starlight Runner team will be in Los Angeles later this month.
Tuesday the 29th at 8pm to allow for an ad hoc meetup.
Caitlin Burns will be Speaking at Transmedia, Hollywood 2: Visual Culture and Design in Los Angeles:
USC Annenberg School of Communication &
USC School of Cinematic Arts Friday, April 8, 2011
James Bridges Theater, UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television
9:45 AM-7 PM
Transmedia, Hollywood 2: Visual Culture and Design is a one-day public symposium exploring the role of transmedia franchises in today’s entertainment industries. Transmedia, Hollywood 2 turns the spotlight on media creators, producers and executives and places them in critical dialogue with top researchers from across a wide spectrum of film, media and cultural studies to provide an interdisciplinary summit for the free interchange of insights about how transmedia works and what it means.
Saturday, March 5th 2011
9:30 AM attendee registration opens
10:00 AM Opening statements
10:10 AM to 5 PM Conference
5:30 PM to 8 PM After Party and mixer
REGISTER NOW – IT’S FREE BUT SPACE IS LIMITED
CLICK HERE TO REGISTER
The New School
66 W 12th St.
NY, NY 10011
As attendees were learning the details about Borders’s bankruptcy filing, O’Reilly’s Tools of Change conference was winding down three days of programming with a slate of panels that included a look at the rise of Transmedia storytelling and presented a new generation of online literary ventures that offer a glimpse at the future of reading. Indeed, despite a crowded calendar of digital conferences, this year’s TOC sold out completely attracting 1,400 attendees, and the event’s popularity, utility, and cachet only seemed to grow.
As we launch TFI New Media Fund this week, we’re asking a number of people working in this space the same four questions. We want to create an ongoing discussion about what is possible when you work across different platforms to tell stories and embrace new technologies to engage audiences so please add your comments and questions. The first to tackle these questions is Jeff Gomez, President & CEO of Starlight Runner Entertainment:
With their mania for film franchises, leading studios are behaving more like packaged goods marketers than the showmen of yore in pumping out movies, and appear more interested in taking direction from fanboys, brand managers and multimedia consultants.
So the time appears ripe for consultants such as Jeff Gomez and Mark Pensavalle, co-founders of Starlight Runner Entertainment. Their job: To make sure that stories and characters remain consistent as a movie is reincarnated as, say, a TV series, a video game, a theme park attraction or an online virtual world.
How To Make A Great Preschool Series
February 19 through February 21, 2011
Little Airplane Academy will be offering an intensive three-day workshop following the annual Kidscreen Summit in New York City. Participants will learn the fundamentals of creating a preschool series from pitching through writing, character design, directing and producing both live action and animated shows.
During the three day course, Academy participants will get an overview of every step in the process of making a preschool series, from pitching through writing, curriculum development, directing, music, legal and production. The course covers both live-action and animation and features a team of accomplished preschool TV veterans.
A highlight of the Little Airplane Academy is a panel discussion of network executives moderated by Josh Selig. This past August, we welcomed an impressive list of notable Academy speakers including PBS’s Linda Simensky, Nickelodeon’s Kay Wilson Stallings, Sprout’s Andrew Beecham and Kurt Mueller from Chorion Silver Lining. A very noteworthy group!
Jeremy Bornstein (Subutai Corporation)
Flint Dille (Ground Zero Productions), Jeff Gomez (Starlight Runner Entertainment)
1:40pm Wednesday, 02/16/2011
General New York East
Storytelling is at least as old as humanity. The forms and accoutrements change through the ages: cave paintings, campfires, amphitheaters, novels, games, movies… The structures of a basic narrative don’t change, though. Right? Well, what if they do? How much is the experience of narrative a function of delivery technology and the relationship of the audience with the work, and each other? How can publishers of commercial entertainment adjust to a world in which the audience owns and controls your property, and your IP isn’t stories, characters, and settings, but a mythology (and toys and lunchboxes….)
In this panel, which boasts some of the world’s transmedia luminaries, we’ll explore what’s happening—and what could happen—with the business and art of transmedia.
The Power of Transmedia Storytelling
February 15, 2011 – 9:00 AM to 9:45 AM
ROOM: Bryant MASTER CLASS – Transmedia Bootcamp
Its history, its value proposition, how Jeff came to embrace it, and the latest industry news as its potential begins to be realized in the entertainment industry.
MASTER CLASS – Transmedia Bootcamp
A full day of practical, how-to transmedia training led by leading cross-platform strategist Jeff Gomez. He wowed the crowd at last year’s Summit with his “New Narrative Paradigm” keynote. And now Jeff has partnered with KidScreen to teach his signature transmedia development process to you using models and examples that are highly relevant to a kids entertainment crowd.
CEO of Starlight Runner Entertainment, Gomez is one of the world’s pioneers on the subject and responsible for the development of projects like “Happiness Factory”, or Coca-Cola, and actions for the publicity of the movies “Transformers” and “Avatar”, among other works.
About his coming to RioContentMarket, Jeff Gomez says: “Media in Brazil is still very traditional and conservative,” says Jeff, but I notice that a quick in course, because I have kept a close watch on this process. The Brazilian market is becoming digital and there is a great interest by Brazilian professionals in the advances of transmedia storytelling , which demonstrates a new vision, in touch with the cutting edge.
Writer and editor Fabian Nicieza has been a fixture in the comic industry for the past 25 years. As writer for X-Men, Thunderbolts, Turok, and Nightwing, this prolific writer has moved shared worlds for years. Now, he’ll be tackling virtual worlds with his latest project, FunGoPlay, which will be launching later this year. The developers of FunGoPlay describe it as “An online sports theme park, [which] separates itself from all other virtual worlds through “connected” sports gear that rewards kids every time they use them in the real world by tracking their play periods and earning them medals, points, and power-ups in the online world.”
Nicieza was kind enough to talk to MTVGeek about this project, weaving narrative into sports games, and the huge lineup of talent behind the scenes at FunGoPlay.
MTV Geek: How did the transition from comic creator to virtual world developer come about?
FN: Well, to be honest, the only “transition” takes place during the course of any part of the day when I have to shift my attention from one kind of work to another. I’m working on comics, Intellectual Property management for Starlight Runner Entertainment and serving as Chief Creative Officer for FunGoPlay on a weekly basis, so my emphasis shifts depending on the need for that day. How do I do it all? I learned how to add two more hours to the day and an extra day to the week. Piece of cake.
“In the interest of candor, I’d like to offer an update on my professional situation. I have been offered – and accepted – the opportunity to work with Starlight Runner Entertainment in a freelance capacity. Obviously, I’m thrilled to have the chance to with the SLR team; it was one of Jeff Gomez’s presentations that sparked my initial interest in Transmedia and I’ve been a strong advocate of his principles on this blog since day one. It’s a friendly, exceptionally talented team, and I’m looking forward to learning a great deal.”
Turnstyle delivers a mix of news, opinion, commentary, and entertainment produced by bloggers, filmmakers, photographers, and poets. It’s content with an edge that has visual allure and eclectic pacing.
“Formally recognized by the Producer’s Guild of America last year, the job of a transmedia producer is to weave one story- or a set of entangled storylines- across multiple platforms to create a greater tapestry.
The transmedia experience for Tron— which unfolded through all of 2010, right under our noses— makes a good example of what they do. The stories tied into Tron: Legacy have run across comic books, video games, iPhone apps, and into events produced by Alternate Reality Game pioneers 42 Entertainment. Starlight Runner’s work on the Tron franchise will continue to be revealed in cartoons and potential film sequels.
While many key techniques in transmedia were developed as part of marketing efforts for large media franchises, the opportunities for transmedia producers go beyond commerce.”
KidScreen’s LA Transmedia Bootcamp was a huge success, selling out completely and preparing producers and brand managers from companies including Nickelodeon, Mattel, Sesame Workshop, DreamWorks, Ubisoft, Random House, E1 Entertainment and National Geographic Kids for the future of kids entertainment.
And now, in response to heavy industry demand, we’re bringing this unique one-day workshop closer to your door!
Join us in Toronto (Friday, December 3) for this can’t-miss opportunity to learn the ins and outs of transmedia property-building from the best in the field, and amp up your business with a new set of skills that are in hot demand!
Transmedia Talk is a podcast covering all things story. Transmedia Talk is co-hosted by Nick Braccia and Robert Pratten and looks to shed light on the topic of transmedia storytelling with commentary, interviews and tips on how storytelling is moving into the 21st century.
Guests, Caitlin Burns and Jay Bushman, discuss Twitter Storytelling and Representation for creators in the Transmedia Storytelling field in this episode of Transmedia Talk
The future of Hollywood includes focusing on older auds and emphasizing the importance of a global view, according to panelists at Variety’s Future of Film Summit.
Meanwhile, the easing of the global recession and continued appeal of Hollywood fare is creating guarded optimism about the features biz.
Jeff Gomez, topper of Starlight Runner Entertainment, said studios need to provide far more than two hours of film when they release franchise pics. “If the fans like the world of that film, they are going to want a lot more content,” he added. “Franchises are determined by the size of the audience, not the size of the budget.”
Future of Film Summit: Crystal clear cloudy outlook
Showbiz players examine the issues of the industry
Will future tentpoles come from existing properties or is it still possible to create original material that can turn into a franchise?
Jeff Gomez, CEO, Starlight Runner Entertainment:I’m biased because I worked on “Avatar.” I definitely think we’re going to see brand-new tentpole franchises. We’re going to see new original properties because there’s now a new rich and fertile source in multiplatform storytelling. You have people like Tom Hanks and his Playtone company launching a property like “Electric City” on the Web with another company in India (Reliance Big Entertainment). Young creators are operating with no rules. They don’t have to sit there and think about what their movie or TV show has to be to fit into the Hollywood establishment. They can take it to the audience using Twitter or Facebook or YouTube.
This past week, Amsterdam played host to Cinekid, the annual international film, TV, and new media festival for young people. The festival also provides separate sessions for professionals working in these entertainment media. One of these sessions, the Junior Cross Media Market, brings together producers of transmedia content for children with international financiers and co-producers, including broadcasters, networks, and entertainment companies.
The Junior Cross Media Market was held on October 28th, and while ARGNet was unable to attend the Market in its entirety, we were able to attend and report on Jeff Gomez’s transmedia masterclass.
Where Conventional + Interactive Producers Converge to Explore the Dynamic Business of Cross Media production
Join us for a Stunning Showcase of “Best in Class” Case studies, discussions on Cross-platform business strategies, Trends + Best Practices in cross-media production, the latest cutting edge technology + significant networking opportunities to form Cross-media partnerships…
Starlight Runner Producer, Caitlin Burns, will be attending Merging+Media Canada to mentor its Masterclass and speak on two panels, Going Going Games! and CanCon Convergence Roulette.
The Conference will take place on October 28th and 29th in Vancouver, B.C.
Join Jeff Gomez and these others at Digital Hollywood : October 20-21
Wednesday, October 20th
10:15 AM – 11:00 AM
Transmedia Storytelling – Crossing the Line towards Infinity and Beyond
Sarah Szalavitz, 7 Robot, Digital Brunch
Flint Dille, writer and interactive storyteller, Dragonstrike, Dead to Rights
Hope Hutman, Co-Founder, President, Telefon Projekt
Patricia Handschiegel, Commentator Huffington Post; creator, The New Power Girls
Alex Barkaloff, Executive producer, Lionsgate Digital
Behnam Karbassi, Founding Partner, No Mimes Media
Barrett Garese – founder, Spytap Industries
Jeff Gomez, CEO of Starlight Runner Entertainment
11:30 AM – 12:15 PM
Hollywood Content Summit – HwdSummit
Transmedia Production – Inventing the Language of Cross-platform, non-linear narration
Moderator: Suzanne Stefanac, Transmedia Maverick, Former Director AFI Digital Content Lab
Jeff Gomez, CEO of Starlight Runner Entertainment
Thursday, October 21st
11:05 AM – 12:20 PM
Strategizing the Campaign and the Entertainment Brand: Selling Movies, TV and Video on the Web, Social Media, Mobile and TV
David R. Beebe, Director, Video Production, Post Production & Distribution, Disney/ABC Television Digital Video Group
Jeff Gomez, President & Chief Executive Officer, Starlight Runner Entertainment
Lisa Marino, Chief Revenue Officer, RockYou
Dimitry Ioffe, CEO & Founder, The Visionaire Group
Jason Yim, CEO, Trigger
Bill Baxter, CTO & Executive VP of Engineering, BuddyTV.com
Donald A. Jasko, Chief Executive Officer, Digital Economics, Moderator
What had been a cold hard fact to me for over 40 years instantly vaporized into myth.
I guess this is one of those threads that we all have in life that is so weirdly personal, so seemingly unimportant to others, almost no one else knows or cares about it. I’m reminded, though, that just because we’re little doesn’t mean that what we felt or experienced was small or insignificant. Our feelings were every bit as intense and affecting as they are today, perhaps more so, because they were brand new. They can impact our attitude about people, places, things for the rest of our lives.
Producers Guild of America: Transmedia Storytelling Master Class
10/26/2010 7:00 p.m.
Transmedia development, production, and implementation is practiced at the highest levels in companies such as Disney, Saban, Microsoft, and Mattel. Around the world, visionaries are generating stunning multi-platform endeavors based on the principles of transmedia.
Jeff Gomez, CEO of Starlight Runner Entertainment, is the world’s foremost expert at turning entertainment properties and premium brands into highly successful transmedia franchises. He conceived, co-wrote, and produced one of the most successful transmedia storylines of the decade with Mattel’s Hot Wheels comic books, videogames, web content, and animated series. He also worked on such properties as Pirates of the Caribbean, Avatar, Coca-Cola’s Happiness Factory, Halo, Transformers, and the upcoming Tron Legacy.
In this master class, Jeff candidly shares his latest experiences in the field and the techniques of funding, planning, creating, and producing highly engaging story worlds that maximize both the creative potential of a work, equity participation, and subsequent revenues. Case studies include analysis of some of the biggest entertainment franchises of today, and the discussion includes advice on how to apply these concepts to your own projects—large or small, fact or fiction.
Jeff is a member of the Producers Guild of America (PGA) East executive committee and serves on the national board of the PGA New Media Council.
This event is co-sponsored by the Department of Media Studies and Film.
Theresa Lang Community and Student Center, Arnhold Hall, 55 West 13th Street, 2nd floor
Free; seating is limited; reservations required by emailing
The NYTVF was founded in 2005 as the industry’s first recognized independent television festival, providing a platform to elevate the work of artists creating for the small screen. Held annually each fall in New York City, the birthplace of modern television, the Festival unites artists, executives, industry figures, and fans together in one forum to celebrate the medium and to help shape its future.
Jeff Gomez be on the “Building the World: Multiplatform and Transmedia Storytelling” Panel at 3pm presented at the SVA Theatre.
For more information check out www.nytvf.com
The third part of Jeff Gomez’s discussion of Hot Wheels, transmedia storytelling and sticking to your ethical and creative guns is up on Kidscreen.com in his column The Cosmic Streetcorner
“Interestingly, a few Mattel execs (who are no longer at the company) expressed hesitation about female characters. They didn’t know how young boys would respond to them, Hot Wheels being a very “boy world” and they thought perhaps we could do without them. This would be one of the few times I really spoke up. I really wasn’t interested in a major story world that didn’t include girls. Had Disney’s Fairies property not included boys I would have protested equally loud. Single gender worlds compound artifice and by definition are not resonant with the contemporary world in which we live. It’s one thing to market toys to boys, but it’s another altogether to create entertainment in which girls don’t exist.
Fortunately, the series animation house Mainframe and several others at Mattel did agree with me and female driver Lani Tam got some nice screen time. There would be several other heroic girl drivers who would star in their own comics as well. Bravo Mattel!”
What does it say about being forward-thinking that venerable banking houses and cottage industries alike have gone multi-platform and even your parents have a social-networking strategy? It’s increasingly clear that terms like 3.0 are worth exactly 0.0. Today’s innovators are too busy actually innovating—challenging orthodoxies, shifting paradigms, redefining industries—to tout dictionary-ready catchphrases. These 16 game-changers in the worlds of entertainment, politics, fashion, and technology would rather leave the slogans for the suckers chasing their own long tails. Which makes sense: Being visionary means setting your sights beyond the horizon, on the things yet unshaped and unnamed.
As it turns out, “Star Wars” is a model that 343 is aspiring to with Halo–and that’s not just because both franchises involve outerspace, aliens and threats to civilization. In an interview at the studio’s offices in Redmond, Wash., Ross, the general manger of 343, says Halo “is a franchise that we want to take to the level of Star Wars as far as something that, 30 years from now, is still relevant.”
There’s also a dizzying selection of Halo products, including the games, comics, best-selling graphic novels, an anime video series and toys. A couple years ago, Microsoft hired a firm called Starlight Runner Entertainment that specializes in helping entertainment companies develop coherent story-telling plans for franchises that span various media.
From the Wall Street Journal
Jeff Gomez’s second installment of his Hot Wheels Case Study profiles the use of mythology bibles:
“We quickly realized that this would be no ordinary bible. Mattel was rapidly shoehorning the burgeoning Hot Wheels: Highway 35 campaign into their licensing and merchandising plans. I was certain that I did not want to repeat the same story in the comics, animated series and videogames. This meant that the story world had to be expansive and robust enough to furnish many hours of content in ways that best leveraged these varied media platforms. So the bible kept growing, and would wind up becoming a prototype for the Mythology books we would become known for.”
Starlight Runner Entertainment is proud to help produce this gift in memory of 9/11, a special episode of Kenn Bell’s The Dog Files.
Marrus, author of Lightsurfing: Living Life in the Front of My Mouth, published by Kissena Park Press will be at DragonCon over the weekend at table BT29. If you’re there, drop by and get a copy.
If you won’t be at DragonCon, it’s available through www.marrusart.com and Amazon
“It’s an idea that dates back to the 1940s and 1950s in America,” Mr Gomez said.
In Australia recently to talk about the future of films, he said movies and television shows began to create a world beyond the screen with comic books and toys based on props from the shows that allowed viewers to “be part of the action”.
“History tells us that if you tell a story well, people will be willing to pay to be a part of your audience. The trick with transmedia is that we as creators will have to work harder to tell the story well.”
Secondary characters are often reduced to basic stereotypes, which tend to be less interesting and more limiting in portrayals. Transmedia Storytelling requires that these characters get a deeper look and a fuller life so they can be the stars of their own stories.
Transmedia and Writing: Starlight Runner Goes The Distance
Jeff Gomez in Script Magazine
“It was mind-blowing, how these different media — animated television series, feature films — were dealing with the same persistent universe in intricate ways,” Gomez says, with the enthusiasm of someone who is still clearly in touch with his inner child. “I loved the idea that a storyteller could be given that kind of platform and I endeavored to be able to do that myself.”
Thanks so much to UTA, EA and Everyone else who made our San Diego Comic Con 10 year anniversary bash so wonderful.
More pictures of Starlight Runner’s adventures at SDCC after the Jump…
Gomez says the transmedia producer can nurture a story world so it can blossom outside the film itself, and become integrated, artistically legitimate additions to the original work.
‘’With transmedia storytelling you are designing the narratives to carry over into all these different platforms. That means you can assert your creative vision over other manifestations of your story world.’’
Crucial to the transmedia success of an enterprise is that, as narrative universes expand across platforms, each iteration should add something new to the story and remain internally consistent with that universe.
“They are gorgeous,” said one Comic-Con attendee, Jeff Gomez, CEO of Starlight Runner Entertainment, a movie production company.
“And movie studios realize this is one way to rebuild equity in a brand name, by bringing out these beautiful packages.”
Quotes: “The secret to quality transmedia is partnership, not licensing.”—Danny Bilson, distilling the philosophy behind the transmedia approach.
The Takeaway: The transmedia approach is going to be a big trend in the coming years as game companies, television studios, book publishers, and more strive to maximize consumer engagement in their products.
Random Fact/Who Knew?: The Producers Guild of America recently ratified their first new recognized position in decades: Transmedia Producer.
This is not about plonking a character on a shirt, or a doll in a toyshop. To the proselytes like Gomez, the task is to tell important stories related to the original material across the range of material. It is called transmedia storytelling.
On the phone, Jeff cited the webisodes for Battlestar Galactica as an elegant example. “Things were revealed about ancillary characters, or terrestrial creatures or certain concepts that could be viewed independently but gave you new insight into the characters and concepts of the show.” he said. “They made you want to go back to the show, and re-examine their characters and motivations – that’s a great transmedia mutation because it caused you to look at the ancillary and rethink whats going on in the main content.”
This makes sense as a marketing tool. The ancillaries reach far beyond the film, and can be made to point back to it. “Look at District Nine”, he said, “and its marketing. Almost everything in that marketing was canonical. That makes it fascinating, and helped to build the level of interest in the film. You are paying for that if you are a studio. However, you might also accrue a number of licensees for the tee shirts and magazine and comic books and toys, based on your IP. Why not go further and give them bits of canonical content so you are simultaneously licensing the content, and nurturing the storyworld? That is a major rethink for many of our clients to get that.”
To do this, the story elements have to be distributed across the media, and therefore ruthlessly consistent. Indeed, the central property has to be able to bear the strain of all this extra material. This is far more elaborate than ensuring all the properties enhance the brand – it cuts to the heart of the script and the world it creates and inhabits.
This is the bit that creates a model of development which explains just why and how the big tentpole franchises are filling our multiplexes – a process which can be subverted for our more modest purposes.
Red Faction Armageddon: How to Build a Transmedia Universe
— The biggest event in the mythology of one of the world’s most popular video games is also a flashpoint in the launch of the Red Faction multiplatform universe. Get exclusive information about it and pick up tips on world-building and game concept development, along with info about the partnership with Syfy in this in-depth Q&A with creator Danny Bilson (EVP Core Games, THQ), Lenny Brown (director IP development, THQ), Hollywood’s leading Transmedia producer Jeff Gomez (Avatar, Transformers, Tron Legacy, Men In Black 3D), Alan Seiffert (SVP, Syfy Ventures), and Erika Kennair (director, development, Syfy). Room 9
The XML: Film X-tended Pro Day Conference will be held in one of Australia’s most iconic venues, the Australian Center for the Moving Image; while the venue for the Lab is the beautiful art deco Forum Theatre. The Lab will be the usual social and cultural joy, plus always the great business opportunities and connections that arise from every XMediaLab event.
This is your opportunity to learn from and work with world’s leading transmedia pioneers!
International Speakers/Mentors include:* Nathan Mayfield – One of the world’s leading transmedia producers: LOST, SPOOKS INTERACTIVE, DAY X EXISTS (Brisbane) * Jeff Gomez – CEO of Starlight Runner Entertainment, who was behind transmedia strategies for AVATAR, PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN, TRANSFORMERS & more (New York) * Gavin McGarry – President of Jumpwire Media, former Head of Cross Platform for Endemol, and creator of some of the first cross media TV content with NBC and Discovery (New York) * Suzanne Stefanac – Media and technology strategist, former Director of the American Film Institute’s Digital Content Lab (Los Angeles) * Dibakar Banerjee – Writer/Director of India’s first digital feature LSD: LOVE SEX AUR DHOKA (Mumbai) * Morgan Jaffit – One of Australia’s leading game developers and designers: PANDEMIC, HAPPY FEET (Brisbane) * Lisa Gray – Head of Content, The Feds: video mashup tool for THE GRUEN TRANSFER (Sydney) * Christy Dena – Transmedia designer and producer: worked on Tim Kring’s CONSPIRACY FOR GOOD (Melbourne)
“It represents a fundamental paradigm shift—one that producers all over Hollywood are scrambling to understand and leverage,” said Jeff Gomez, CEO of Starlight Entertainment, who has consulted on franchises such as “Pirates of the Caribbean.” “They’re going to make their budget back in 24 hours.”
But perhaps the closest cousin is the Fox series “Glee,” which invited the LXD to be the opening act in its recent concert tour. Both take classic media — show choir and dance — and recontextualize them for a contemporary audience. Both focus on misfits who eschew more popular high school pursuits such as football and drinking Coors Light while upside down. “There definitely are a lot of correlations,” says Harry Shum Jr., who plays Mike Chang in “Glee” and performs in and co-choreographs for the LXD. “It’s rooting for the underdogs.”
“The LXD would have a much tougher time without ‘Glee,’ ” adds Jeff Gomez, a transmedia producer who has helped build the universes for “Avatar” and “Pirates of the Caribbean,” among others. “Spiritually, symbolically and basically in reality, there is a direct connection between the two that opens a mass audience to the possibilities presented to the story worlds of the LXD.”
Jeff Gomez doesn’t seem like a salesman in the traditional sense. As CEO of Starlight Runner Entertainment, his job is to turn a movie plot (or a toy or any product with narrative potential) into a bigger, more lucrative franchise that will pay off long after the blockbuster has left theaters. He’ll turn the story into mobile phone games, comic books, toys – sometimes all of the above – and in the process, turn audience members into brand super fans. In short, Gomez knows how to sell a story — something that every good salesman must do. And he has become the go-to person for big brands like Disney, Hasbro, Microsoft, and Coca-Cola. Most recently, he helped James Cameron and 20th Century Fox extend “Avatar” into games, Websites, books, and more.