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YSA Transmedia Trailers

Posted by admin on August 24, 2010 in Marketing, Pitching, Production |

I’ve been a judge on plenty of awards ceremonies, both public and private (internal to an organisation or corporation). I’m always surprised (and disappointed) when I assess the material submitted for a ‘cross-media’ or ‘transmedia’ or ‘multi-platform’ etc project. Why? Because nine times out of ten the assets provided are for one media. I cannot tell you the amount of times I’ve been given the trailer to a game or film to assess an entire franchise with. So what I’m really looking forward to seeing more of is pitch videos that describe the entire experience, not just one medium, and ultimately, for the audiences, trailers for an entire experience. A fan-made video I saw recently excited me to this possibility (see The Matrix Trilogy – sans the other transmedia elements – below).

We’re seen some great videos created to describe the experience of alternate reality games and extended reality experiences etc too, such as the Why So Serious campaign for The Dark Knight, The Art of the H3ist campaign video, and the online narrative for True Blood. All of these describe the experience across all the media.

Art of the Heist Campaign Video from Baldwin& on Vimeo.

True Blood Case Study from Campfire on Vimeo.

There are many examples of these types of videos that explain the transmedia-native experience. But you’ll also notice that these videos don’t include the feature film or TV show they’re a part of either. They can’t, that is not their role. These transmedia experiences deserve their own videos as well. But I’m keen to start seeing more media-encompassing videos. I have seen some good pitch videos but they are not for public display, and I’m sure I’ve come across other on the Internetz. Do you have ones to share?

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6 Comments

  • Michael Andersen says:

    Would you say that Cathy's Book has done that with it's long-form app video? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3GmGDTJA3LU

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  • Evan Jones says:

    Hi Christy – again a great spotlight on an important part of the process.

    These trailers – although amazing in their own right – are always understood to be a patch to cover a glaring problem with many transmedia campaigns: that many of them exist at a single point in time and cannot be replicated without their time-sensitive audience.

    I was about to list a second problem – that many transmedia campaigns demand engagement measured in hours. You're right to explain that these trailers are meant for award juries and future clients – most of which don't have hours to devote to the full experience. I realize though that this isn't a problem – it's a misunderstanding.

    It's correct to call these videos 'trailers' because they are created by the creative team behind the project – there's a lot at stake with making a great impression in these videos. I think we've all seen how Hollywood can make incredible trailers for real stinker films and publishers can marvel at the genius of an author in a single paragraph on the back of a book.

    The trouble is when these projects evaporate, the trailers are often used as the collective archive of a project. True Blood has 30,000 forum posts (an impressive aggregate) but what did they say?

    It speaks to the fact that there is a gap in the transmedia world. We don't have third-party reviews that can keep up with the transmedia experience. I'm sure part of this issue is the reluctance to spread 'spoilers' on the (perfect memory) internet, but every other narrative form has run into the same problem – what's the gist? is it worth my time? An opportunity waiting to happen…

    Especially for the awards that seem to be cropping up around transmedia. Imagine our authors receiving awards based on their jacket summary? Does the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences distributes film trailers for Best Picture? At the moment this is the state of the transmedia industry – where the trailer producer shapes the narrative of the project as much as the original work.

    I'd enjoy seeing those external reviews – warts and all. Even if it doesn't fit in a glossy trailer. Perhaps that's what this site is going to accomplish… I look forward to it.

    • christydena says:

      Hello Evan! Yeah, I hear you. You and I have spoken at length about transmedia awards in the past. đŸ˜‰ I think these sort of videos seem to be a showreel – which is why I think they're important. I personally would love to see a transmedia experience trailer. Not just the movie, but all the other elements as well. But the point you were making is about the unfortunate situation where these case-study videos are what is judged for awards. I don't think any high-status transmedia project (whether they be a franchise or an “immersive” campaign) has ever been experienced by the judges. The only transmedia projects I'm aware of that actually have been seriously considered are those in pervasive gaming awards.

      Your ultimate point was about the need for criticism. Yes, many of us have been talking about that for years. This site is part of that, but it is more concerned with the creation side than the experience side. In case someone jumps on me, I'm not saying that design doesn't entail thinking about the audience. Of course it does. I'm talking about sharing insights that aid creation. What is also needed is another type of criticism. Films, books and games have critics, but not transmedia. There are the hardcore that does experience a lot of ARGs etc out there, but I think they're perhaps careful to encourage people than be critical. To be honest though, I seriously don't think transmedia criticism will emerge properly until transmedia projects are repeatable, replayable and more understood…

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