Tag: Brian Clark (Page 1 of 2)

A Group of Friends, Mourning Brian Clark


“All art movements start with a small group of friends…when historians look back on this phase in art, the movement that we will be a part of, what they will marvel at is how interconnected we are.” Brian Clark was fascinated with the formation of movements and creating scenes, and was tireless in his efforts to foster a community of creators looking to find new ways of telling stories in the digital age. Yesterday, Brian passed away after a brief bout with cancer, leaving behind a community and industry he affected deeply.

As president of GMD Studios (originally Global Media Design), Clark helped construct the web realities for Nothing So Strange and Freakylinks, extending the narrative storytelling of film and television onto the internet. He continued exploring different ways of telling stories through his work on beloved alternate reality games like Sega’s Beta-7, Audi’s Art of the Heist, and Eldritch Errors. His projects delighted in stretching the boundaries of fictional worlds outside their comfort zones, asking players to do everything from “stealing” SD cards out of cars on display at events to joining characters at a Lovecraftian cabin in the woods.

Clark worked tirelessly behind the scenes to mentor new creators in the space, offering them help on everything from the craft of subversive storytelling to the realities of running a small business, including knowing what to charge for their work. He delighted in playing with other peoples’ creations and testing their limits, whether that meant donning a Ronald Reagan mask and dancing under his “Jihadi Jazzhands” persona, or creating a well-endowed, chain-smoking sock puppet named “She-Crab” for a game originally intended for children. He was an irrepressible prankster, leading to frequently outlandish conversations punctuated by his staccato laughter.

His impact was not limited to the alternate reality gaming and transmedia storytelling arenas: he was a founding member of Indiewire, helped create an online marketplace for brand journalism, worked on a documentary about the next generation of astronauts, has been accused on occassion of inventing the spambot, and found a creative use for LinkedIn’s “endorsements” functionality.

More than anything, he’s been the dynamo that vociferously argued for the people who knew him to resist complacency, pushing them to make things to see if they’d work, and to figure out what went wrong when they didn’t. People impacted by Clark have turned to Facebook to offer their condolences and share their memories of him by sharing “things I learned from Brian Clark”.

We’re going to miss you, Brian. You took your not-so-small group of friends, and fused them into something bigger through the generosity of your friendship and the sheer force of your personality.

Acts of kindness, secret dances keep citizens entertained

akoha_tsdoNot every project we write about here starts with an attractive brunette female in trouble, and in the case of these two campaigns, we don’t even know where the game starts and real life ends. First up, we have Akoha, a company that describes itself as one that believes that “community is not only the lifeblood of our company, but also an ongoing dedication to listening and working with our users to create something special.” Akoma recently made waves at the TED Conference by distributing packs of mission cards in its Inspired Minds series. The cards describe missions tailor-made for kindness, which include giving someone a hero medal, or sharing a book. In the world of community building and social networking, Akoma missions seem like a good way to spread kindness throughout your digital and physical world.

The second project on the list is the Top Secret Dance-Off. We were tipped off about this endeavor through Jane McGonigal’s twitter stream, and many people in the ARG community are participating in the game. The general idea, as described on the web site, is that there is an “underground world of dance quests and dance-offs,” where players can “[d]iscover new dance battlegrounds and develop [their] top secret Choreopowers!” Choreopowers might just be the word of the year, and as such, we encourage those that aren’t afraid to don a mask and complete an dance-based mission to grab your nearest video recording device and get started. Learn all about the rules through a video posted by a very familiar-looking Punky McMonsef, and check out the videos of one of our favorite Cthulhu-loving dancemasters.

GMD Studios Stalked by Cricket; Eldritch Gifts Prompt Response from PuppetMaster

On April 16, 2007, mysterious packages began finding their way into the hands of unsuspecting people about to be lured into a world of dreamscapes, nightmares, madness, and death. The contents of the packages led to a network of dreamers, reaching out for help to dwellers in the mundane world. The Dreamers found willing listeners and clever helpers in several internet communities. Together, these Good Samaritans became Sentries; became Providence; watched helplessly as several friends left them, one by one; embarked on a journey together to find answers; and then waited together in the darkness when, at the last, all contact with their friends was lost as the signal faded out nine weeks ago.

The Eldritch Errors ARG, produced by GMD Studios, gathered a strong following of players from its launch in 2007 into its third “book” in 2008. In February, at what was supposed to be the climax of the game’s third installment in February, the game’s momentum faltered. The day for the promised climax passed in silence. After realizing that the game was on hold indefinitely for reasons unknown, frustrated players created a space for venting and even “uncovered” an obituary for one of the game’s characters, in hopes of eliciting some comment from GMD.

On Monday, April 14, two days before the game’s one-year anniversary, a person using the alias of Mr. Cricket visited the GMD Studios offices, leaving a drawing of a cricket taped to the door. On Tuesday, Mr. Cricket visited again, this time leaving a dog collar – with the nametag of “Providence” – hanging from GMD’s doorknob. On Wednesday, the game’s anniversary, Mr. Cricket returned a third time to draw a familiar mark in colored chalks upon GMD’s doorstep.

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Eldritch Errors Launches Book Three, Officially

redmoonrising.jpgLet the speculation end! After last week’s article from Michelle Senderhauf and mention on episodes 46 and 47 of the ARG Netcast series, we turn to Schmeldritch for definitive word regarding the launch of Book Three of Eldritch Errors, the long-running Lovecraftian alternate reality game. In the January 23rd entry on the developer’s blog, Brian Clark points to a post on the Unfiction forums (as well as back to here, thankyouverymuch) as a clear indication that festivities have begun for the third installment of the experience.

Clark also notes that he is setting the bar even higher for this new stage of game play, stating, “My expectations for ‘Red Moon Rising’ are obviously higher than they were even for ‘Scream in the Mountains’,” adding, “May I recommend that experienced participants change their tin foil hats daily during Book Three and leave it at that?” If this tickles your fancy and you wish to get caught up with everything that has happened thus far, head over to EldritchErrors.com. Clark acknowledges the new people who may want to jump on board by promising, “Don’t worry that Eldritch Errors has been going since last April, Book Three was developed with you in mind. It was also developed with Book One participants in mind, as well, so you’ll have lots to discover together.”

Book Two of Eldritch Errors comes and goes, PM chat tonight!

pm_chat.jpgNow that Book Two of Eldritch Errors has wrapped up, the people behind the curtain are eager to get together with ARG players to talk about things, and so tonight at 9 pm ET, you can join Brian Clark, Brooke Thompson and a few other distinguished guests in the #stfeline room on the Chat-Solutions IRC network (irc.chat-solutions.org). If you’ve never accessed IRC chat before, you can use our handy-dandy chat applet here at the web site — simply pick the room from the drop-down list and give yourself a nickname, and join in the fun!

In case you’re not up to speed on all things EE, the puppetmasters have their own behind-the-scenes blog at Schmeldritch.com, where they have commented on a very interesting (and somewhat creeptastic) three-day live event that occurred late in October. While we missed the boat on live coverage (sorry!) you can read all about it at Sentry Outpost, the in-game forums for EE, through Biff’s summary post, as well as Mapmaker’s four-part detailed recap (part 1, 2, 3 and 4). From all accounts, it was a nerve-wracking, intense, unforgettable experience.

Transcript Published for SXSW ARG Panel

plat.gifDan Hon was kind enough to send us an email letting us know that the transcript from the 2007 SWSX panel discussion “ARG! The Attack of the Alternate Reality Games” is pubished on his blog, Extenuating Circumstances. Alice Taylor, the Vice President of Digital Content at the BBC, was the moderator for the panel which included Hon (also the COO of Mind Candy), Brian Clark (Founder/CEO, GMD Studios/IndieWire), Evan Jones (Creative Director/Producer at Stitch Media) and Brooke Thompson (Giant Mice and ARGNet).

There is a lot of information to sift through, as the panel talks about everything from how ARG is still “emerging” to how budgets are created. Thanks, Dan.

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