Tag: lance weiler (page 2 of 3)

HIM Wins Arte France Cinéma Award at Cinemart

artefrancecinemaawardImage courtesy of Scott Macaulay.

Lance Weiler just got back from his trip to Rotterdam for the International Film Festival. At the festival, Weiler’s upcoming transmedia project HIM (produced by Seize the Media) won the Arte France Cinema Award.

The Arte France Cinéma Award is given out every year to the best CineMart project. The winner receives 10,000 Euros towards financing the development of the project. Filmmaker Magazine noted that director of Arte France Cinéma Michel Reilhac remarked that the award “acknowledged the visionary nature of Weiler’s project and noted that it speaks towards the type of new thinking about audience and platforms that will be necessary if our world of specialty cinema is to survive in the coming years.”

Congratulations to Lance Weiler and everyone at Seize the Media.

Mr. Weiler Goes to Rotterdam: Transmedia at the International Film Festival

HIMlores.JPGArtwork by Reinier Clabbers. Click picture for downloadable hi-res version.

In a few days, Lance Weiler is going to Rotterdam to attend CineMart, the annual co-production market of the International Film Festival. Weiler’s upcoming cross-media project HIM was selected as one of 36 films to participate in this year’s presentation to an expected 850 international producers, sales agents, distributors, and funds. HIM, in addition to being the only work selected from the United States this year, is the first transmedia work to be selected at CineMart in its 26 year history. Previous films selected to participate in CineMart include the Academy Award-winning film Boys Don’t Cry, the grotesquely captivating Ichi the Killer (殺し屋1), and The Eye (見鬼), recently remade for the United States starring Jessica Alba.

When reached for comment, Weiler explained that HIM would be an interactive experience fusing storytelling and gaming, set on a global stage. The thought-provoking horror story will be a film at its core, but will fuse together elements of gaming, live events, serialized shorts, and graphic novel content taking place around the world and in your own living room. While the rules of the universe are established, Weiler has left considerable room in the story for what he describes as “controlled spontaneity”: the rules of the universe are set up, but the ripples from audience participation can have significant effects on the final product. As co-founder and principal of Seize the Media, Weiler developed the Hope is Missing ARG for the DVD release of his immersive film project Head Trauma, and worked with Hammer Films to produce the Beyond the Rave experience on MySpace.

The project is also an attempt to move away from traditional financing models for films relying on private equity and pre-sale financing deals by utilizing branding and licensing agreements. The ideal is to cement transmedia as a new media format. And one of the advantages of transmedia storytelling is the ability to set up considerable story elements on a limited budget, leading to a gradual rollout drawing on an international audience. Indeed, a number of times Weiler hinted that some elements may be floating out there relatively soon.

Presenting HIM to potential investors at CineMart is an opportunity to showcase both the potential and opportunities inherent in transmedia storytelling and alternate reality gaming as a self-sufficient format. And as one of BusinessWeek’s 18 People Who Changed Hollywood, Weiler just might be the man for the job.

DIY Days Boston: Catching up with Lance Weiler and hanging out with filmmakers

DIY Days logoWhen I heard DIY Days was coming to Boston, mostly I was looking forward to reconnecting with filmmaker, Alternate Reality Game enthusiast and ARGFest Boston speaker, Lance Weiler, (Hope is Missing and Beyond the Rave) and maybe getting a scoop on his next project. While I did get to do all that, I also got to meet some incredibly talented independent filmmakers, culture researchers, and writers, and participate in a great discussion not only about independent filmmaking, but also about the future of media and technology.

DIY Days is an offshoot of Weiler’s The Workbook Project, and is paired with the From Here to Awesome Film Festival. All are grounded in his commitment to open-source filmmaking, mentoring and encouraging creativity and helping independent filmmakers to finance, distribute and promote their projects inside and outside of traditional media channels (but mostly outside). Weiler’s partner in DIY Days is Arin Crumley, co-creator of indie film/YouTube phenomenon, Four Eyed Monsters.

DIY Days Boston, a free, all-day event, was the fourth and final conference in this series. (A new series will resume next year.) Speakers for the day included, among others, Weiler, a venture capitalist, MIT researchers, and, of course, many filmmakers, all bringing their knowledge and expertise to share with others. You can watch the conference proceedings online at the DIY Days site, so instead of giving a blow-by-blow of each talk, I’ll highlight my favorites.

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ARGFest 2008 in Review: Extended Media Experiences (The Mustache Strikes Back)

ARGNet Writers pose at ARGFest 2008

This article is the first in a series, providing summaries of the panel presentations at ARGFest-o-Con 2008 in Boston.

The first panel discussion featured Evan Jones of Stitch Media as the moderator, Yomi Ayeni (Expanding Universe), Elan Lee (Fourth Wall Studios), Lance Weiler (Seize the Media), and Blair Erickson (Millions of Us). The panel explored the challenges and advantages that arise from cross-media productions.

Blair Erickson started the discussion with a description of an early project, an alternate reality game promoting World Wrestling Entertainment. Recognizing that a major draw of wrestling is the love of a fight, Erickson moved the rivalry between two wrestlers onto virtual worlds, with a game that played out over more than 100,000 threads, with players contributing in support of their favored athlete. The game culminated in Summer Slam, a pay-per-view match between the wrestlers. More recently, Millions of Us developed an ARG for the Sarah Connor Chronicles, which delved deep into the franchise’s mythology.

Yomi Ayeni discussed his work with Violette’s Dream, an ARG running as part of the upcoming video game, Velvet Assassin. The video game is based on the true story of a female soldier in World War II. The alternate reality portion of the game operates under the assumption that the game’s protagonist repurposed Nazi gold to help undercover agents in need. The aim was to make the game as real to life as possible: the first gold bar was found by former ARGNet writer Dee Cook in Fredericksburg, Texas, a town with deep historical ties to Germany. Ayeni described the project as a “fingerprintless” project that runs parallel to the video game.

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Beyond the Rave: Humans vs Vampires

Beyond the Rave logoFilmmaker Lance Weiler, who recently promoted the VOD release of his film Head Trauma alongside an alternate reality game called Hope is Missing, was kind enough to talk with me about his current project, Beyond the Rave. For the first time in almost 30 years, Hammer Films is releasing a feature-length horror movie, and Lance and his company, Seize the Media, are producing a companion alternate reality game in conjunction with Hammer and MySpace.

The feature will be released in twenty installments on MySpace, with new episodes every Monday and Wednesday. The plot revolves around a British soldier trying to find his girlfriend who was taken by a group of vampiric, night-time ravers. According to Weiler, the game aspect is broken down into two paths, with hints and clues strewn across the videos and MySpace: “Find the Wraith,” based around the movie’s vampire-centric plot, and “Humans vs Vampires,” a combat-based system that allows players to hunt down weapons and trophies, and battle to increase their collection.

In stark contrast to “Hope is Missing,” where the gameplay led players through a variety of websites such as MySpace, XBox Live, Twitter, Stage 6, and Opera, “Beyond the Rave” is much more centralized. Lance claims this allows the developers to take advantage of the MySpace Developer’s Platform in order to receive finite information on gameplay that helps the team optimize the experience, and suggests we’ll be seeing a lot of innovative uses of the underlying API.

Bringing alternate reality games to social networking sites has exposed the genre to new audiences, with over three hundred players discussing the game so far on the MySpace forums and over 14,000 users listing the main page for the experience as a friend. Due to mature content, access to the videos and the game is restricted to anyone 18 or older.

Lance notes that bringing alternate reality games to social networks can also help bring people together. On their own, social networking sites let you set up a page, deal with your friends, and occasionally meet a new person randomly. “What’s cool about an ARG is the ability to work through things together, and to become friends.” Since Beyond the Rave has multiple levels of interactivity, players can choose the level of involvement that suits their interests, whether that involves leaning back and enjoying the first new movie from Hammer Films in decades, or progressing through the videos frame-by-frame to isolate subliminal clues leading to websites that can provide weapons helpful in battling for supremacy.

For those of you looking for prizes, you can answer twenty questions about the episodes on Faustino‘s profile for a chance to win “a truly vampiric top prize” or one of forty goody bags.

Click Here to visit the Beyond the Rave page on MySpace.
Click Here to check out the MySpace forums for the game.
Click Here to join the chat channel for Beyond the Rave.

How Was Your Weekend?

weekend.jpgWhile the weekend represents quiet and solitude for many of you, alternate reality gaming does not stop for days of the week that begin with an S. We received a plethora of ARG tips, tidbits and updates through the past few days, and here are the highlights:

  • Lance Weiler, a recent guest on the ARG Netcast series, has written about Hope is Missing, the ARG that was created to promote the DVD release of his film Head Trauma. His article at The Workbook Project is chock full of details and statistics about the campaign, and is an excellent read for people finding themselves on either side of the Puppetmaster curtain.
  • This year marks the second time that the Trinity University’s Coates Library in San Antonio has run Blood on the Stacks, an alternate reality game that helps new students to get familiar with the school’s library. According to this entry at the SHU – Blogcause07 blog, “anecdotally the library and support staff reported feedback from students of feeling more familiar, less alien in the environment, the library was associated with fun and the staff were more approachable.” This appears to be yet another neat way that people are using ARGs to assist in a social environment.
  • Thanks to a press release we received, we know how survivors of a zombie-apocalypse will find each other — Last Day’s Journal. This is a project that began in 2005 at the hands of Superfreako Productions, a two-brother team that had the idea for a television show dedicated to the concept of a post-apocalyptic zombie-infested world.

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