Transmedia Leaders Gather in NYC Forum

Jeff Gomez, president of Starlight Runner Entertainment, Inc., helped design the cross-platform story worlds of “Avatar” and “Pirates of the Caribbean” and he was also a force behind the Producer's Guild’s recent acceptance of a transmedia producer credit.

Kevin Slavin, chairman and co-founder of game design company Area/Code Entertainment, has worked on cross-platform marketing with clients including Nike, Nokia, Disney, EA and the Discovery Channel.

Lance Weiler was the man behind “Pandemic 1.0,” the transmedia project which played in Sundance’s New Frontiers section in January 2011.

Jeff, Kevin and Lance were among the speakers at the one day (April 19, 2011) Cross-Media Forum held in New York at the Film Society of Lincoln Center co-hosted by IFP and the UK-based Power to the Pixel. According to this recap of the Cross-Media Forum, written by Eric Kohn for indieWire, the daylong series of presentations touched on the potential of transmedia to add to the expressive possibilities for artists working in multiple platforms.

Jeff Gomez spoke to the potential of cross platform storytelling in areas other than entertainment - citing examples like the role of Facebook and Twitter in the recent uprising in Egypt and the way that the early 1970s TV program “All in the Family” affected the national dialogue about race.

Kevin Slavin spoke about the evolution of audience involvement with television, tracing the death of the laugh track in American television and the rise of tweeting during broadcasts: “There’s something para-socially interesting about being able to watch somebody onscreen and converse with them.” According to Slavin, “The audience is becoming a part of the cast.”

Lance Weiler talked about his Pandemic project, which told the story of a virus spreading over Park City during the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. Pandemic engaged the audience with real places and objects at the Festival, using clues tweeted and called into the festival and a short film that played at the festival and online. For Pandemic, Lance Weiler wasn't concerned with revenue models or making a profit, noting that the current stage of transmedia was comparable to the early days of the silent film era: “It’s really about exploration... I wasn’t so much concerned with it as a marketing device as I was with finding a development tool for myself as a storyteller... I’m really thinking about it as how I can make the story richer. Out of that comes new opportunities.”

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