My Blog Writings Published Elsewhere

Smash Worlds

s3This is a story about finding lost.

Allow me to begin with a disruption, an interruption of form, to throw you off your horse, throw you down, and hopefully, by the end, overthrow.

“If you haven’t noticed I have a horrible tendency of beating a subject to death with a horse,” I had just said to Rhys in a brilliant moment of Red Bull + Vodka + two-hours-sleep-a-night post Storyworld exhaustion.

This story is meandering and sometimes goes off track. And doesn’t lead to a finite end point and I’m content with that. And maybe I will lose you along the way and that’s okay. But I do hope you soon find lost too.

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Storyworlds: A Need for A New Model

s2The challenge for those utilizing the Storyworld Hollywood franchise model (particularly those who are independent creatives) is then to aspire to an insurmountable and unattainable pinnacle of immersion and pervasion that is near impossible to pull off with success unless it comes with a blockbuster franchise budget (or shoe elves). The model also assumes that pervasive immersion is what any given target-audience actually desires.

And it is the dominance of the Hollywood Storyworld franchise model fostered (more and more so) within the global transmedia storytelling entertainment communit(ies) that is leading to a plethora of muddled and mired properties that are all attempting to replicate “a kitchen and the sink” approach as the dominant transmedia strategy de jour. We see this again and again with many independent creative driven properties that all have strong narrative ideas sadly weakened by overblown expectations in terms of both platform integration, scope and reach of user engagement. Particularly with Canadians trying to fit Hollywood square pegs into Canadian film/TV landscape round holes when devising their transmedia strategies in applying for funding.

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Is Rape Never Funny?

936full-seven-brides-for-seven-brothers-photocat-not-funnyAs a storyteller who often sifts through the blender grind of my existence: the pulpy mash and grit of my childhood, history and culture, I am of the firm belief that no topic is too sacred, too painful or horrific that it does not bear being told through the lens of story. It is the way I personally process the world, bleeding the toxic poison of my both my child and womanhood onto paper in ink: a formalized bloodletting that pushes pain out of me. Often my more serious writing, and even my pulp-fiction, deals with cultures of violence and silence and ritualized physical and sexual abuse with not only pathos but wit and humour as well – a survival skill my mother taught me, and taught me well, to make lighthearted jokes of the most serious of matters. Why cry when you can laugh? Or as John Candy more accurately put it: Laughing on the Outside while Crying in the Inside. And so I have a bit of a rap for being a funny lady – a bit cheeky and someone often not to be taken so serious even when the most serious subjects threaten to cloud ponderously in the room.

However, the subject of if the topic of rape is off limits in story or even joke telling is a different question entirely than: Is Rape Never Funny? And I encourage you to read Chuck Wendig’s brilliant response to the latest “rape joke” controversy…this time brought on by Matthew Inman’s ill-considered The Oatmeal comic. But as for myself, I’d like to attempt to answer that question the only way I know how – by telling you a story: one that is most certainly true but written to you by a writer of fiction, or “pathological liar” if you prefer.

Last spring I went to New York and needed a place to stay. On a limited micro budget, I decided to use one of those websites that hooks you up with locals who have rooms and apartments to rent. Read more

10 Things I Learned From Story Hack

Last week I met and teamed up with three virtual strangers to create a transmedia spectacle to live three platforms (or more in our case) for StoryCode’s Story Hack: Beta at the Lincoln Center April 28th and 29th. Since much has already been covered by my fellow Team US Maple teammates James Carter and Randy Astle (here, here,  here, here and here) outlining the event, I will just dive into the lessons learned.

In the first part of this series, I will illuminate what the experience has taught me in how to work more efficiently in the future based on the mistakes we (or largely I) made. The next part will dive into hot tips based on what our team nailed right from the get-go.

1) When planning your work flow don’t forget an essential item such as  your User Interface.


It’s great to mesh several divergent technologies together for a cohesive narrative experience but don’t overlook the essentials that will bring those elements together. Or in other words:

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Authorless Arthur

Whereby I start out by giving you the impression I may be a communist BUT prove I’m a rampant capitalist and cover a lot of ground YOU ALREADY KNOW (but I say it sooooo well).

Please read Andrea Phillips and Scott Walker’s takes to see much better articulated opinions on the topic than mine.

The problem regarding “value co-creation” isn’t at all about monetization as some have commented (and I do agree with Andrea Phillips that I think part of the problem is terminology – sorry, Scott). The problem or rather the confusion arises from exclusively Western ideas about intellectual property: the fundamental idea being that ideas can be owned as a form of capital and therefore monetized. It is important to understand that this notion came out of the modernist era, which triumphed the individual artist as an author of ideas (and therefore owner of ideas). This is a very heady statement that is doesn’t exist in many cultures, including much of Europe’s own pre-modernist culture.

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Where I Correct the Rumours Regarding Transmedia Money in Canada (Including the Rumours I Started)

For a great nuanced rebuttal to this post, please read Jill Golick’s post Canada: Transmedia Heaven?

I decided to write this post about Canadian Funding for transmedia professionals because, as Ian Ginn pointed out to me, I am being equally unfair by glibly ranting there is no money in Canada as those who glibly comment that the streets of Canada are paved with transmedia gold.

Yes, there is money in Canada for transmedia, for new media, for filmmakers, for artists etc. It is a country rich in opportunity for those who understand how the system works and have the business and street smarts to navigate the layers of bureaucracies well. Those industry professionals who understand the system and who have a sophisticated understanding of transmedia production or ancillary industries will best be poised to potentially have access to those funds. Especially so, if that professional promises to create jobs in Canada. Frankly, American film and TV production companies do really well working with the maquila film communities Canada has established. If you have a money-making production company, you may want to skip to the end for links to the resources you want (or better yet, pay someone on your team to do it for you). But please read the rest of what I have to say.

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