Announcing Transmedia, Hollywood 2: Visual Culture and Design

Transmedia registration can now be done through

http://www.ticketmaster.com/Transmedia-Hollywood-2-Visual-Culture-and-Design-tickets/artist/1559777

TRANSMEDIA, HOLLYWOOD 2:

Visual Culture and Design

A UCLA/USC/Industry Symposium

Co-sponsored by

UCLA Producers Program,

UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television

and

USC School of Cinematic Arts

Friday, April 8, 2011

James Bridges Theater, UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television

9:45 AM – 7 PM

Event Co-Directors:

Denise Mann, Associate Professor, Producers Program, UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television

Henry Jenkins, Provost’s Professor of Communication, Journalism and Cinematic Arts, USC Annenberg School of Communication

Overview

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.

Co-hosted by Denise Mann and Henry Jenkins, from UCLA and USC, two of the most prominent film schools and media research centers in the nation, Transmedia, Hollywood 2 builds on the foundations established at last year’s Transmedia, Hollywood: S/Telling the Story. This year’s topic: Transmedia, Hollywood: Visual Culture and Design is meant to move from an abstract discussion of transmedia storytelling in all its permutations to a more concrete consideration of what is involved in designing for transmedia.

The past year has seen the Producer’s Guild of America (PGA) embrace the concept of the transmedia producer. The other Guilds have begun discussing the implications of these developments for their membership. A growing number of small production units are springing up across the film, games, web, and television sectors to try to create and distribute transmedia content. Many of today’s new transmedia producers are helmed by one-time studio or network insiders who are eager to “reinvent” themselves. Inside the studios, the executives tasked with top-down management of large media franchises are partnering with once marginalized film directors, comic book creators, game designers, and other creative personnel.

The underlying premise of this conference is that while the traditional studios and networks are hanging onto many of their outdated practices, they are also starting to engage creative personnel who are working outside the system to help them re-imagine their business. With crisis and change comes the opportunity for the next generation of maverick, independent-minded producers–the next Walt Disney and George Lucas– to significantly challenge the old and to make way for the new. So, now, it is time to start examining lessons learned from these early experiments. Each of the issues outlined below impact the day-to-day design decisions that go into developing transmedia franchises. We hope to break down the project of developing transmedia content into four basic design challenges:

  • What does it mean to structure a franchise around the exploration of a world rather than a narrative? How are these worlds moving from the film and television screen into other media, such as comics, games, and location based entertainment?
  • What does it mean to design a character that will play well across a range of different media platforms? How might transmedia content re-center familiar stories around compelling secondary characters, adding depth to our understanding of the depicted events and relationships?
  • What does it mean to develop a sequence of events across a range of different media? How do we make sure that the spectator understands the relationship between events when they are piecing together information from different platforms and trying to make sense of a mythology that may span multiple epochs?
  • What does it take to motivate consumers to invest deeply enough into a transmedia franchise that they are eager to track down new installments and create buzz around a new property? How is transmedia linked to a push towards interactivity and participatory culture?

As with the first event, Transmedia, Hollywood: Visual Culture & Design will bring together comic book writers, game designers, “imagineers,” filmmakers, television show runners, and other media professionals in a conversation with leading academic thinkers on these topics. Each of our speakers will be asked to focus on the unique challenges they faced while working on a specific production and detail how their understanding of transmedia helped them resolve those issues. From there, we will ask all our speakers to compare notes across projects and platforms with the hopes of starting to develop some basic design principles that will help us translate theories of transmedia entertainment into pragmatic reality.

The creative personnel we have assembled include many of the key individuals responsible for masterminding the fundamental changes in the way traditional media operates and engages audiences by altering the way stories are told temporally, by exploring how graphic design translates from one medium to another, and by explaining how these visually-stunning worlds are being conceived in today’s “connected” entertainment arena.

Conference Schedule

Friday, April 8, 2011

9:15–9:45 am

Registration

9:45–10:00 am

Welcome and Opening Remarks

  • Teri Schwartz, Dean, UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television
  • Denise Mann, Associate Professor/Head, Producers Program, UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television
  • Henry Jenkins, Provost’s Professor of Communication, Journalism and Cinematic Arts, Annenberg School of Communication, USC

10:00–11:50 AM

Panel 1: “Come Out 2 Play”: Designing Virtual Worlds–From Screens to Theme Parks and Beyond

Hollywood has come a long way since Walt Disney, circa 1955, invited families to come out and play in the first cross-platform, totally merchandised sandbox–Disneyland. Cut to today and most entertainment corporations are still focused on creating intellectual properties to exploit across all divisions of the Company. However, as the studios and networks move away from the concrete spaces of movie and TV screens and start to embrace the seemingly limitless “virtual spaces” of the Web as well as the real-world spaces of theme parks, museums, and comic book conventions, the demands on creative personnel and their studio counterparts have expanded exponentially.

Rather than rely on old-fashioned merchandising and licensing departments to oversee vendors, which too often results in uninspired computer games, novelizations, and label T-shirts, several studios have brought these activities in-house, creating divisions like Disney Imagineering and Disney Interactive to oversee the design and implementation of these vast, virtual worlds. In other instances, studios are turning to a new generation of independent producers–aka “transmedia producers”–charged with creating vast, interlocking brand extensions that make use of a never-ending cycle of technological future shock and Web 2.0 capabilities.

The results of these partnerships have been a number of extraordinarily inventive, interactive, and immersive experiences that create a “you are there” effect. These include the King Kong 360 3D theme park ride, which incorporates the sight, smell, and thunderous footsteps of the iconic gorilla as he appears to toss the audience’s tram car into a pit. Universal Studios and Warner Bros. have joined forces to create the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, a new $200 million-plus attraction at the Islands of Adventure in Florida.

Today’s panel focuses on the unique challenges associated with turning traditional media franchises into 3D interactive worlds, inviting you to come out 2 play in the studios’ virtual sandboxes.

Moderator: Denise Mann

Panelists will include:

  • Alex McDowell, Production Designer for Tim Burton and Zack Snyder (Corpse Bride, Watchmen)
    • Dylan Cole, Art Director, Tron, Alice in Wonderland, Avatar, Lord of Rings
  • Thierry Coup, Art Designer, Wizarding World of Harry Potter
  • Angela Ndalianis, Associate Professor and Head of the Cinema Studies Program at the University of Melbourne, Australia (Neo-Baroque Aesthetics and Contemporary Entertainment)
  • Bruce Vaughn, Chief Creative Executive, Disney Imagineering

12:00–1:50 PM

Panel 2: “We’re Looking For Characters”: Designing Personalities Who Play Across Platforms

How is our notion of what constitutes a good character changing as more and more decisions get made on the basis of a transmedia logic? Does it matter that James Bond originated in a book, Spider-Man in comics, Luke Skywalker on screen, and Homer Simpson on television, if each of these figures is going to eventually appear across a range of media platforms?

Do designers and writers conceive of characters differently when they know that they need to be recognizable in a variety of media? Why does transmedia often require a shift in focus as the protagonist aboard the “mothership” often moves off stage as extensions foreground the perspective and actions of once secondary figures?

How might we understand the process by which people on reality television series get packaged as characters who can drive audience identification and interest or by which performers get reframed as characters as they enter into the popular imagination?

Why have so few characters from games attracted a broader following while characters from comics seem to be gaining growing popularity even among those who have never read their graphic adventures?

Moderator: Henry Jenkins

Panelists will include:

  • Geoff Johns, Chief Creative Officer of DC Entertainment
    • Geoffrey Long, Program Manager, Entertainment Platforms, Microsoft
  • Alisa Perren, Assistant Professor, Georgia State University
  • Kelly Souders and Brian Peterson, Executive Producers of Smallville

2:00–3:00 PM

Lunch Break

3:00–4:50 PM

Panel 3: Fan Interfaces: Intelligent Designs or Fan Aggregators?

Once relegated to the margins of society, today’s media fans are often considered the “advance guard” that studio and network marketers eagerly pursue at Comi-Con and elsewhere to help launch virtual word-of-mouth campaigns around a favorite film, TV series, computer game, or comic book. Since tech-savvy fans are often the first to access Web 2.0 sites like YouTube, Wikipedia, and Second Life in search of a like-minded community, it was only a matter of time before corporate marketers followed suit. After all, these social networking sites provide media companies with powerful tools to manage fans and commit them to crowd-sourcing activities on Twitter, Facebook, and elsewhere.

Given the complexities and contradictions involved in negotiating between industry and audience interests, we will ask the game designers to explain their philosophy about the intended and unintended outcomes of their fan interfaces. Marketers clearly love it when fans become willing billboards for the brand either by wearing logo T-shirts or by dressing a favorite Madman avatar in the 1960s clothing, accessories and backgrounds on display on the AMCTV.com “Madmen Yourself” and then spreading the content through Facebook and Twitter.

What is the design philosophy behind a video game like Spore, which allows fans free range to create their own creatures and worlds but then limits their rights over this digital content? Who owns these virtual creations once they appear for sale on E-bay? These and other intriguing questions will be posed to the creative individuals responsible for designing many of these imaginative and engaging fan interfaces.

Moderator: Denise Mann

Panelists include:

    • Jeph Loeb, Executive Vice President, Head of Television, Marvel (executive producer for Lost, Heroes, Smallville)
    • Craig Reyna, Disney Interactive Studios Marketing (Epic Mickey, Tron, Chronicles of Narnia)
  • Avi Santos, Assistant Professor, Dominican College and Co-editor, FlowTV.com and In Media Res.com
  • Matt Wolf, Double 2.0, ARG/Game Designer

5:00–6:50 PM

Panel 4: “It’s About Time!” Structuring Transmedia Narratives

The rules for how to structure a Hollywood movie were established more than a century ago and even then, were inspired by ideas from earlier media — the four-act structure of theater, the hero’s quest in mythology. Yet, audiences and creators alike are still trying to make sense of how to fit together the chunks of a transmedia narrative. Industry insiders use terms such as mythology or saga to describe stories which may expand across many different epochs, involve many generations of characters, expand across many different corners of the fictional world, and explore a range of different goals and missions.

We might think of such stories as hyperserials, in so far as serials involved the chunking and dispersal of narrative information into compelling units. The old style serials on film and television expanded in time; these new style serials also expand across media platforms.

So, how do the creators of these stories handle challenges of exposition and plot development, managing the audience’s attention so that they have the pieces they need to put together the puzzle? What principles do they use to indicate which chunks of a franchise are connected to each other and which represent different moments in the imaginary history they are recounting? Do certain genres — science fiction and fantasy — embrace this expansive understanding of story time, while others seem to require something closer to the Aristoltelian unities of time and space?

Moderator: Henry Jenkins

Panelists include:

  • Caitlin Burns, Transmedia Producer, Starlight Runner Entertainment
  • Abigail DeKosnik, Assistant Professor, University of California-Berkeley (Co-Editor, The Survival of the Soap Opera: Strategies for a New Media Era; Illegitimate Media: Discourse and Censorship of Digital Remix)
  • Jane Espensen, Writer/Producer: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Battlestar Galactica, Torchwood.
  • John Platt, Co-Executive Producer, Big Brother, The Surreal Life
  • Tracey Robertson, Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder, Hoodlum
  • Lance Weiler, Founder, Workbook Project
  • Justin Wyatt, Executive Director, Research at at NBCUniversal, Inc (High Concept: Movies and Marketing in Hollywood).

7:00 PM

Reception

Lobby, James Bridges Theater

Location

James Bridges Theater, UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television

Registration

Faculty/Students:

Tickets are $5 for faculty and students of accredited institutions and will only be sold at the box-office of the UCLA Central Ticket Office and at the door on the day of the event (prior registration required). Valid university I.D. is required. Registration includes admission to conference and reception.

General Public:

Tickets for the general public are $30. Registration includes admission to conference and reception. Please register: http://www2.tft.ucla.edu/RSVP/index.cfm?action=rsvp_form

Directions

Directions to UCLA:

http://www.ucla.edu/map/

Campus Map:

http://www.ucla.edu/map/ucla-campus-map.pdf

Parking Info:

http://map.ais.ucla.edu/go/1002187

http://www.transportation.ucla.edu/portal/maps/parkingmap/0206UCLAParkingMap.htm

Bus Info:

http://www.metro.net/

http://www.bigbluebus.com/home/index.asp

Contact

UCLA Producers Program

UCLA Department of Film, Television, and Digital Media

203 East Melnitz

Los Angeles, CA 90095

Phone: (310) 206-3761

Fax: (310) 825-3383

Email: producers@tft.ucla.edu

Web: www.tft.ucla.edu/producers

Comments

  1. conficcoes.com says:

    Hi Henry

    I’m from Brazil, I work with Transmedia here, and I’m trying to get a place at this conference. I’ll be going to LA just to take part on it. But I’m having problems with the RSVP on the website.

    Is there any other way of booking this place on the conference?

    Thanks!

    Pedro

  2. Hey Yoda!

    We will be there suppporting the event! Talk to you on friday about this and other matters.

    Hope all is well.

    Best

    Maurício

  3. I found your blog using msn. This is an extremely well written article. I will be sure to bookmark it and come back to read more of your useful info. Thanks for the post. I will certainly return Olympus X-845 Olympus X-835

  4. thanks for posting this awesome informations!

    depuy lawsuit

  5. There are few things in life that are Cheap mbt footwear simply better in every way, and leave no room for argument. Mbt shoe for sale is one of them. This product, which does not depend on his appearance, but its Mbt online execution. This may be a good idea to test them on their feet.Company in thevibram MBT Chapa sale for over 70 years and is known for producing high quality footwear. MBT Fora are soft and supple nylon sole that can easily be extended to cover the contours of the legs to do. This is the only MBT Baridi, in one machine so that you keep them clean and fresh can be washed.If you have compiled one of those unfortunate set of MBT Imara shoes for long hours almost every day wear in your life, then you probably know how much load can MBT Kimondo shoes. People’s feet at least 26 bones, 33 joints, 20 muscles, and hundreds of sensory receptors, tendons and MBT Kisumu Sandals ligaments in this small space. He is not without reason, of course. Our feet are capable of great strength, speed, endurance, and it alone, we need to MBT M.Walk improve their potential. Barefoot and regularly ensure that our legs carried out in order to MBT Men’s Shoes enhance MBT Moja productivity. For runners and athletes who have MBT Sandals shoes, calf muscles, finally, to take the load MBT Sapatu pressure while the feet and toes curled up in a lather.We have MBT Shoes Clearance experienced a sudden resurgence of a large number of functions that We lost MBT Sini power years, our bodies move against nature. Gradually, we begin to bring our original way of MBT Sport walking, we used a pain in the muscles of the shin or on our waistline MBT Women’s Shoes disappears suddenly feeling that we are starting to Air Max feel particularly Nike Air Max 95 happy and free.

  6. thank you so much for this informative post. free online dating site

  7. yipretti says:

    howdy,for the Visual Culture and Design as you posted above,in a simple way,some film maker seemed to have lost something,they just eager to chase the special effects ,rather than the story itself which would be the real thing keeping fans on it.

    thanks:)

    How to Fix xr6rae.xrs Error

  8. PornoPixel is Seo Friendly and to improve backlinks, for sites that have purchased the pixels, their links are appears on the popular Social Network, Blog and Service. (with a single purchase) Start Advertising

  9. you could have an incredible weblog here! would you like to make some invite posts on my blog? kidney stones

  10. Very interesting post..thank you.

  11. Jimlaker36 says:

    Some are used in dense urban areas for utility purposes, being faster than a folding scooter and more convenient

    than a utility bicycle. Some are made for off-road use and are described as Mountain Scooters.Folding kick scooters

    optimized for adults generally have more durable parts and are designed with wider decks, hand brake, and larger

    wheels,for smoother transportation instead of less weight and portability.
    mobility scooters