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Transmedia Next conference evolves in UK

Weiler, von Staden, Ondine talk transmedia in London.

The conference, presented with support from the EU MEDIA Programme, is aimed at media professionals who already have a track record in their area of expertise and want to deepen their knowledge and application of transmedia elements in their work. The training is mix of lecture, discussion, and hands on creative training, ending in participants pitching their own transmedia projects, developed in teams over the course of the three days. Transmedia Next is presented by three main trainers who have been key to its success, Lance Weiler [pictured], Inga von Staden and Anita Ondine.

Lance Weiler’s transmedia work has resulted in his being named “One of the 18 People Who Changed Hollywood” by Business Week magazine. His transmedia horror experience, Pandemic, created a buzz at last year’s Sundance Film Festival with its combination of real world augmented reality game and short film. Pandemic billed itself as a “storytelling experience told with 1 short film, 1 magazine, 1 koala, 5 secret locations, 10 scares, 12 totems, 60 story artifacts, 50 mobile phones, 5000 bottles of water, 40,000 people, 50,000 photos and 3.2 million points of data.”

Transmedia, also called “cross-media” or “360-media”, has been a term bandied about but little understood. Transmedia content is distinguished from mere multi-platform content by its adherence to a single coherent storyworld that an audience can participate in via a variety of experiences– film/tv, print, online content, augmented reality, live performance, toys, etc. Audience participation can run from that of passive spectator to active participant, even to co-creator, all within the same storyworld.

Inga von Staden has been a part of the Transmedia Next team since the beginning. She set up Germany’s first European MEDIA programme in 2002, The Academy Of Converging Media, and today runs a diploma studies programme at Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg dedicated to transmedia.

Anita Ondine, producer of the original Pandemic short, noted how the Transmedia Next event has evolved in the past years, “It’s been amazing. Each year, the participants are faster off the mark. Transmedia is becoming a more accepted part of the media landscape and and people don’t need to be brought up to speed as quickly.”

Anita said the level of excitement about transmedia has been skyrocketing in the big media hubs with overwhelming interest in the US and Canada. The UK appears to be slightly slower off the mark in embracing the potential of transmedia, but Transmedia Next – along with other cross-media events, like those produced by London’s “Power To The Pixel” - promises to be a catalyst for deeper British and European investigation into the creative and financial potential of this newest wave of media production.

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