Sunday, April 26, 2015

How to Emotionally Manipulate Your Fans 101: Transmedia Storytelling

The internet and social media is drastically changing how we view, create, interact, and discuss art and story. Television networks and Hollywood studios no longer monopolize entertainment because there is now infinite ways to create and distribute art. From web series to published fan fiction, the age of the internet is redefining how we see entertainment. Transmedia storytelling and fan interaction didn't necessarily start with the internet, it just became incredibly popular and more accessible. Fans now feel that they have a voice in their respected fandom and that the creators can actually listen to them. Through social media fans can influence content creators for the better of their content.

One of the most innovative pieces of transmedia is fan creation. Fans of giant shows and movies created hundreds of thousands of stories, art pieces, songs, games, short films, and many more based on their love and enjoyment of the fandom. Harry Potter has an entire website devoted to millions of fanfictions, and some of the authors even get paid for them! Transmedia also gives the audience a chance to interact with the creators for q&a's, behind the scenes, discussions, and never released footage and content. Fans have the opportunity to be heard by the creators and have an influence in the work. 

Another huge part of transmedia is marketing and advertising. With a huge fandom and unlimited access to the internet, studios and campaign workers can utilize the fan interaction to generate buzz for their work. One example is the The Hunger Games explorer: a wiki page created by Lionsgate for fans to visit for exclusive content. One of their big campaigns was a fashion contest inspired by the Capitol attire. The winner of the contest would win a trip to LA to go to the Catching Fire premiere. This and other online marketing strategies helped Catching Fire be one of the top-grossing films of 2013. 

An issue with transmedia is the relationship between creator and fan. These relationships can very from JK Rowling - who created Pottermore and is now developing a spin-off film trilogy based on a fanfiction piece - to Ryan Murphy - who is the showrunner of American Horror Story who uses and twitter and Tumblr to tease the audience and generate buzz about the show for ratings and views, not for the interaction. This past week Shonda Rhimes, the creator/showrunner of Grey's Anatomy, purposefully leaked to the Hollywood Reporter that a main character on the show is getting killed off. This of course, riled up fans, and took to twitter and got the topic trending worldwide. Thursday night on ABC, which is nicknamed Shonda Night because of her three shows airing, a very important character was killed. Grey's Anatomy has been airing for 11 seasons. Over the past few years the show has dropped in views and ratings, and since the show is still in limbo on whether it will be renewed, Shonda and her team needed a way to generate buzz about the show. In my opinion, this was a genius scheme to gain attraction to the show. The topic trended on Twitter for two nights after airing, and is still being featured on Buzzfeed and other news platforms. 

In the age of the internet and creator-audience relationships, transmedia storytelling is essential to have a popular and successful television series or film saga. With the audience feeling that they are an important part of the show's future and content, the shows themselves will be much more popular and loved. Transmedia, like the internet, has infinite possibilities. We don't know the full power either of them can generate and we are only in the in the infant stage. It is exciting to see what will become of transmedia in the next few decades. 

I am a huge fan of Game of Thrones and the books. I don't know what happens in the books, I'm only on book three, so I don't know what is going to happen in the series. I am going to write a spec script on the penultimate episode of season five, based on my idea of what is going to happen in the series. I have read many episodes and I can imitate DB Weiss and David Benioff's writing style and the dialogue of the characters. The reason I am writing the penultimate is because is the beginning of the climax of the season and bridges to the finale. The most famous penultimate episode in the series is "The Raines of Castamere" or The Red Wedding in season three. This episode changed the entire series and caused a huge backlash from fans. My episode will probably not be the actual story of the season, but it will be interesting to compare the two when the episode is released.  

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Mashin' Up Family Guy

I decided to mash up two different episodes of Family Guy in a script. The two episodes are Saving Private Brian (S05 EP04) and McStroke (S06 EP05). These two episodes mash together well because they have two completely separate stories. I had to write the script myself, since they aren't on the internet - not these specific episodes at least. The dialogue is not my own, nor the original plot, but I created a new episode with original action and I changed some characters and situations for the newly mashed plot. Writing the script was a tiring process, I had to dictate word-for-word and action-for-action from the episode to the page. I had to pause the video every minute or so to write it down. I then translated it all into an actual screenplay and rearranged and "mashed' the episodes together.

Family Guy Mashup Script

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Update Required to Continue: Copyright Laws in the Internet Era

I believe this is the fundamental code: if you're not making money off of it, you do not need to pay for the right to remix it. If somebody wants to make a parody spoof or a remix of a media, but does not make a profit of it, they should not have to pay a fee If it is just for the purpose of entertainment or education, then there is no stealing. If an aspiring musician or hobbyist wants to make an EDM remix of "Drunk In Love" by Beyonce, and share it on Soundcloud or another networking site just for the purpose of sharing and networking, then that remixer should not have to pay a fee to Universal Records or Beyonce. 

With the infinite "piracy" constantly happening and how easy it is to do, laws and companies need to be updated and made clear to everybody. My idea is that there is a where one registers their media and that's that. People can go onto that site and learn what their rights are as content creators.

Broadcast television is irrelevant now. It is obviously clear now that HBO is gutting their broadcast network and switching to an online streaming source. Game of Thrones was the most pirated show last year. Why? It is one of the most popular series but is legally accessible to around a quarter of its viewers. If you want a subscription to HBO GO, you need a subcritptfion to HBO. Most people don't have an HBO subscription because it's expensive and the majority of people don't have broadcast tv! HBO is now going to make soooo much more money because now the majority will get an HBO account, along with their Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Amazon subscriptions.

I am a huge fan of American Horror Story. I watched the first three seasons on Netflix and was excited to watch the fourth season as it aired. But wait, the latest episodes are not available on Hulu Plus or Amazon the day after. Not a problem, I'll just go to a free-streaming "pirate" site and watch it for free online. I am happily willing to pay for subscriptions to those sites, but I will go on a free streaming site to watch the content I want to watch. It's what I did for Game of Thrones and it's what I am doing currently for True Detective.

With how easy it is to get free and illegal content, networks need to make their content easily and inexpensively accessible. Otherwise we'll go the other sites that are easy to use and virus free. No harm to us. 

1) Do whatever you want with the media as long as there is no profit being made, but make sure to cite the original.

2) Request to purchase a copyright fee for the media you want sampled/used with the intention to make a profit
That's it. Simple as that. 

If an artist wants to make a remix of my film, do it, as long as they cite that I am the original creator. Creativity comes from inspiration and what others have done before. Creators should be limited to what they can create because of out of date laws. I believe that if someone wants to create new art for the sake of art and not profit, create it as long as it is known where the original or sample came from. It's a sign of respect for their fellow artists and their integrity.