For the past five years, Power to the Pixel hosted a Cross-Media Forum at the London Film Festival, seeking to connect the film community with digital innovators exploring new methods of distribution, marketing, and financing for their projects. On April 19th, Power to the Pixel is partnering with the Independent Filmmaker Project to bring the Cross-Media Forum across the pond to New York City, at the Walter Reade Theater.
One of the highlights of the program in years past has been the opportunity to witness pitches for new projects seeking funding, providing open feedback on what financiers and investors are looking for in projects. And the New York edition of the forum will be no different in this respect, with three new film-based transmedia projects slated to be pitched in front of a live audience. The forum will also feature presentations and case studies from leading figures in the transmedia production space, including Jeff Gomez (Starlight Runner), Kevin Slavin (Zynga NY), Lance Weiler (Seize the Media), Ty Montague (Co.), and Nina Bargiel. The Cross-Media Forum will feature a few new networking events to the schedule. On April 18th, the Cross-Media Forum will hold its official kick-off at SPiN with a ping-pong tournament. After the event, Wired is hosting a cocktail party for forum attendees.
You can purchase your ticket online or at the door for $100. If you use the discount code %MISC20D upon registration, you can receive a 20% discount on the price of your ticket.
Unless you’ve presented a slide deck to potential production partners and financiers, the process of pitching a transmedia property probably seems like a foreign concept. Since 2007, Power to the Pixel’s Cross-Media Forum has sought to make this process more transparent. The centerpiece of the conference was The Pixel Pitch, where nine transmedia projects were pitched in an open forum before a jury of decision-makers, commissioners, and industry executives with a £6,000 prize on the line.
Michel Reilhac, the Executive Director of ARTE France Cinéma, gave the first of two keynotes kicking off Power to the Pixel’s Cross-Media Forum on October 12, discussing The Game-ification of Life. In his keynote, Reilhac recognized that the ubiquity of gaming culture is a reality that cannot be ignored in storytelling and experience design.
Reilhac traces the gamification of life through cash incentive, loyalty, and status reward systems. He notes that in gaming culture, the status / bragging mechanic is the most powerful tool for interaction, citing the prestige of having a platinum airline mileage card, earning Foursquare badges, and gaining social equity through Twitter followers as examples. Just as players turn to games to satisfy different motivations, transmedia participants seek different methods of interacting with stories. Specifically addressing alternate reality games, Reihlac celebrates the genre’s ability to empower players, not through an avatar, but as themselves. Alternate reality games engender trust that extends beyond the game and into the real world.
The second keynote was delivered by Campfire Media’s Mike Monello with the alliterative title Babies, Buns and Buzzers, a historical look at the last century of experiential entertainment told through the framework of Coney Island, and running through an ARGFest-spawned obsession with tiki bars (along with a brief mention of Campfire’s work, including the multi-platform viral campaign leading up to author Andrea Cremer’s Nightshade).
This October, after the 2010 London Cross-Media Forum, Power to the Pixel will be holding The Pixel Market, a chance for producers to pitch transmedia projects to industry heavyweights and to compete for the £6,000 ARTE Pixel Pitch Prize. The application deadline is August 6, 2010, and extensive instructions are available at the Power to the Pixel site.
Taking place after the October 12 Cross-Media Forum this year, The Pixel Market is a brand new two-day showcase for cross-media projects and is supported by the Media Programme of the European Union, ARTE, and the BFI London Film Festival. On October 13, Power to the Pixel will hold The Pixel Pitch, a public event at BFT Southbank. At The Pixel Pitch, twenty qualifying international teams will present their projects to the public and to a roundtable jury of financiers, decision makers, and judges. Ten of these producer-led teams will qualify to present “in competition” for the £6,000 ARTE Pixel Pitch Prize.
Lewis Murphy agreed to share his spine-tingling experiences at Pleasure Principled: A Night of Xcess in this guest post. So sit back and listen to his harrowing tale…if you dare.
On October 14th, the first part of Yomi Ayeni and Expanding Universe’s Breathe was shown for the first time at the Power to the Pixel party, at London’s County Hall. However, that was not the only thing happening that evening – previously, players who had joined the mysterious secret society Clamamus Pro Aeris received a message to be there holding a copy of TimeOut magazine. Amongst the mingling and drinking at the party, one or two suspicious waiters approached people holding the magazine and offered them a free drink. Upon receiving their free drink, they were given a VIP invitation to the Pleasure Principled Night for Xcess party… and told to arrive at 9pm, one hour before the stated opening time of the party, for free entry. A message was posted to the Clanamus group, requesting players to arrive at the venue by 9pm for “challenges.” I attended the event along with several players.
Once the shutters of the front entrance to the club opened, our group entered the empty club with trepidation. We were soon greeted by a man covered head to toe in a white bodysuit that covered his face. He silently beckoned us into the club, where we were guided by many more people in white bodysuits, including one filming us throughout with a small video camera. This was our first hint of exactly how creepy the evening would become; the people wearing bodysuits were breathing very heavily and audibly, but not saying a single word. Instinctively we followed suit, remaining silent as we approached a series of chairs in one corner of the room. There, printed sheets on a clipboard informed us the reason we were there. We would take part in a test of our strength to see if we were able to join the Clamamus Pro Aeris sect fully. Failure was a distinct possibility.
Power to the Pixel’s Cross-Media Film Forum at The Times BFI London Film Festival has come to a close. Capping off the event, Power to the Pixel announced that Desedo Films won the 2009 Babelgum Pixel Pitch Award for their project Heart of the City, taking home a £6,000 prize to turn their pitch into a reality.
Power to the Pixel received 120 submissions from 14 countries for the Pixel Pitch competition. Seven teams from production companies hailing from France, the UK, and the United States were invited to present in London during the festival. In the end, Desedo’s project came on top, with the evocative tagline, “What if Kanye West Met Lord of the Rings?“
Heart of the City was pitched as a “quest narrative set in the world of urban teens: a web series, an ARG, comics, products and a feature film.” The story revolves around two New York City teens who discover a talisman that enables them to transform their daydreams into reality. Over the course of the story, they explore the talisman’s secrets “between skateboarding, romance, and momma jokes.”
Last December, ARGNet announced plans for an upcoming game courtesy of Expanding Universe that promised to draw players into the underground club scene. The idea of a London-based murder mystery spanning several nightclubs piqued the interest of the ARG community, while the way Expanding Universe planned to incorporate and immerse players into that mystery drew national and international attention.
The game is set to run for two weeks with multiple live events in London and three 15 minute videos. Breathe offers players the chance to not only interact with characters in real time, but also to help shape the narrative itself. Those brave enough to attend the live dance events will get the chance to socialize with the in-game characters and in all likelihood become characters themselves: possibly even accomplices to the unsolved crime.
This past August, players who signed up for the game at the Breathe homepage learned that the months of waiting were almost at an end when they received e-mail invitations to a masked ball, “A Night of Xcess,” a live event set to kick off the first episode of Breathe. Intrepid players next discovered Pleasure Principled, which included the dress code for the event, a list of performers attending, and instructions on how to buy tickets to the ball.