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RiP! A Remix Manifesto should be required viewing at all schools. It explains both the history of file sharing and mashups, as well as the hypocrisy. Metallica would have never been a success if it wasn't for their fans SHARING bootleg tapes in the first place. But they forget that every time file sharing comes up.

If traditional media companies don't see that this is the future, they WILL go by the way of the dinosaurs.
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Jesse Alexander: Appreciating the "Heroes" of Star Wars
Words: Bonnie Burton


As a writer and producer for such hit shows as "Alias," "Lost," and "Heroes," Jesse Alexander is not only one of the geek elite on the Hollywood scene today, but an avid Star Wars fan. Alexander took time out to chat with about his love for the Star Wars franchise, the origins of transmedia, the collectibles he'd save in a fire, playing it cool around Carrie Fisher, his childhood visit to ILM, why he'll never make fun of Porkins and which "Heroes" character he thinks is most like Luke Skywalker.

What was your first introduction to Star Wars

I remember when I was 10 years old seeing the commercial on TV and getting a glimpse of the lightsaber fight between Darth Vader and Obi-Wan; and then some footage of a TIE fighter shooting at the Falcon. I was completely blown away. I couldn't figure out what it was. I was fascinated by something I wasn't sure what I had seen. My father later took me to Grauman's Chinese Theater to see Star Wars in 1977 shortly after it opened. The theater was so crowded that we couldn't sit next to each other, so as a 10-year-old I was kind of freaked out that I was in a strange city in a theater and I had to sit away from my dad. But then watching this amazing movie energized my life creatively and helped me become the person I am today.

When you went home did you immediately draw the characters, write your own stories, and play out your favorite scenes with your toys?

Absolutely! The challenge for all of us who were part of that first generation of Star Wars kids that even though George Lucas had a vision of creating a property with merchandise to support it, there was nothing coming out yet to the stores. We were all obsessed! I was into drawing so I would sketch out TIE fighter and X-wing battles, and stick figure lightsaber duels constantly.

At the time I was also into making Super-8 movies with all my friends. That was the way I expressed myself as a super geek. So me and my friends would make our own Star Wars films and got really ambitious with what we were trying to do with effects. We turned our parents' cars into spaceships. It really expanded the way I envisioned how I could be creative with the tools that I have within my grasp.

When you were using your toys to act out scenes and make new Star Wars tales, which toys were your favorites to cast in roles?

I was so into hunting down and collecting the toys that some of my most critical Star Wars memories revolve around getting to the toy store in Santa Barbara, the town where I grew up. When I saw that landspeeder on the shelf, I couldn't believe it when I had it in my hands. That landspeeder was so well-made as a toy and beautifully lived up to its potential. It still has a place of honor on my shelf of toys. I look at that toy so fondly not only for the memories it gave me but for the ideas of what was possible in terms of bringing a piece of mythology into the physical world. And I definitely miss my Imperial Troop Transport which had the sound effects in it. That for me was an iconic toy because it was Expanded Universe before that concept even really existed. The fact that it had sound effects and an amazing design that felt like it really was part of the Star Wars universe made it really stand out. They have one for sale at a store near me and I look at it constantly and think about picking it up. But I'll have to win the lottery to allow myself to get it.

Jesse Alexander's Star Wars collection

What's the one item in your current collection you'd save if your house was on fire?

Most Star Wars fans have probably thought about this question. I would probably grab the landspeeder and my Han Solo blaster. And there's a Luke Skywalker figure that's an Early Bird Special vintage I would save, plus the plush Chewbacca I used to sleep with as a little kid. I'd also save my Harrison Ford autograph that I got as a kid. I wrote him a fan letter and I got a picture of him and someone wrote a signature with a thank you note. I just loved it whether it was real or not.

I'm really thinking of this as "How can I fill my arms as I flee the fire?" If I can carry one item, I can carry three! (laughs)
Read more... )

bonniegrrl: (BoozeWookiee)
"Gin And The Cognitive Surplus" speech from author Clay Shirky at the Web 2.0 Expo. He chats about the idea of "where do people find the time" and the 100 million hours of thought working on Wikis vs. 2 billion hours spent watching TV.

Shirky really drives the point home that making media tends to be more rewarding than merely consuming it.

More on Clay Shirky here.
bonniegrrl: (Default)

This MIGHT have been a believable example of transmedia where marketing folks use Facebook, Wikipedia, Youtube and a blog to promote a UFO game or movie or whatever it is, if it weren't for the fact that the reporter in the Youtube clip is Will from "Will & Grace." Note to marketing guys: viral campaigns don't work if you're trying to pass off well-known actors as reporters and other normal folks. You didn't see Matthew Perry in Cloverfield YouTube news reels for a reason. It's called "Believability."

What Happened In Piedmont? Fake Youtube Clips
What Happened in Piedmont? viral campaign blog
Andrew Tobler fake Facebook Profile
bonniegrrl: (CartoonBonnie)
Here’s a fantastic feature in Fast Company magazine about the new wave in marketing and franchise building via transmedia with quotes from “Firefly” creator Joss Whedon, “Heroes” creator Tim Kring, “Heroes” co-executive producer Jesse Alexander, and “Lost” co-creator Damon Lindelof, among others.

They chat about the future of franchises by letting them thrive across multiple platforms (TV, movies, comics, books, games, widgets, blogs, etc.), the importance of passionate online fans and an amusing shout-out to the “Star Wars Holiday Special.”

This is EXACTLY the kind of article that inspires me to do more with the work I'm doing on my own -- whether it's book trailers or comic book to merch pitches.

Here's a short excerpt about Whedon here:
And there is one member of the Geek Elite -- their Jedi master -- whom they all point to as their inspiration. "That's the genius of Joss Whedon," Grillo-Marxauch says.

For Whedon, it all comes back to his own years growing up as a fanboy in Manhattan. "I don't understand creators who aren't fans," he says. "My experience as a fan was, things that I loved, I loved very hard -- Marvel Comics, science fiction, Dickens, Shakespeare, Sondheim. The things I was a geek about, I was a serious geek about."

When Buffy started to take off, in 1997, Whedon went to where the nerds were: the Internet. Trekkies and other hard-core sci-fi and fantasy fans were among the earliest settlers on the Net, in newsgroup discussions, early bulletin-board systems, and online games. Whedon's tales of mythological empowerment tapped a new wave of Webby misfits. "They were starting to build clubs, and I was able to get feedback," says Whedon, who maintains an active presence on fan sites devoted to him, such as "I could do a show and go online and see what people thought of it right away," he says. "That's a crazy feeling."

"Joss would email fans of the show, have a Web site where they'd gather, have parties where he'd meet with them," says Alexander. And the more involved the fans got, the more they fed the aftermarket. "I've always believed that the only thing that's important is back end," Whedon says. "I don't care what they pay me as long as there's back-end money, because back-end money is success. Back-end money means people liked it. If someone pays you a huge amount up front, all you get is pressure." But he is quick to add a caveat: "If I don't have a purpose for repurposing -- if there's not a reason to tell a story that way -- then I avoid it."

Read the full interview here:
Rebel Alliance -- How a small band of sci-fi geeks is leading Hollywood into a new era
(Fast Company magazine)
bonniegrrl: (Thinking)
The movie site for The Signal has an interesting component to its site for viral and grassroots marketing. It's called a Blogger's Tool Kit.

The online toolkit includes video trailer embed codes, photos and slideshows, film info, buddy icons, wallpapers, animations and more to be placed on personal web sites, blogs and Myspace pages.

It's very interesting to me to see more and more movie companies embrace its potential fan base as well as bloggers and online press, instead of yell at them for snagging official photos for their sites or copying trailers to Youtube. I genuinely believe that if you give bloggers embed video codes, access to EPKs and images, and make fun widgets, and give them content to use on their own web sites, blogs and social networking profiles, they'll promote your movie, TV show, comic book, ARG, video game, etc. Which in turn creates more authentic buzz for your property.

Bloggers aren't the enemy. And they could very well make or break your project. So a little love like this sure doesn't hurt. The folks who are promoting The Signal get it.

bonniegrrl: (CartoonBonnie)

I've been obsessed lately with the evolution of Transmedia storytelling -- storytelling across multiple forms of media like Web sites, blogs, zines, video games, comics, TV, film, and so on. Great examples of this include "Lost," "Alias," "Heroes," and Cloverfield. Shouldn't be a shocker that J.J. Abrams is big on this kind of storytelling. And of course, so is Lucasfilm. Expanded Universe is exactly what transmedia is -- we have Star Wars movies, comics, video games, novels, toys, role-playing games, fan films, and soon TV. And it will be exciting to see what we do next online as well.

Recently TV producer, writer, and all-around cool creative guy Jesse Alexander came to our work for a lecture on Transmedia and how to have fun with it to further the story. His talk not only inspired our group to brainstorm some exciting new ideas for online, but it jumpstarted a few old ideas I had bouncing around about projects outside of Lucasfilm I'd like to get started on -- a comic for one, and another screenplay for another. So I'm excited to get started on it. Jesse also reminded me that anything really is possible if you just go for it and stop second guessing your chances.

Case in point, he recently wrote in his blog -- The Global Couch -- about a friend of his -- Javier Grillo-Marxuach -- who had a great idea for a movie. It had secret agents, robots, aliens and talking monkeys. Sounds rad, right? Well, he had a tough time convincing his agents that it was worth pitching as a film or TV show, so he shelved it and went back to work writing for "Lost."

But then he couldn't help but tinker with it more and more and more and decided to go for it anyway. So he made it into a comic called The Middle Man and got a publisher interested. And ya know what? It got a good following and great reviews. He hired a girl to dress up as his main character and walk around Comic-Con to promote the comic. He created buzz on his blog. He put up art and kept his fans interested. And eventually, he had a property that his agents couldn't argue with. And he just sold the comic idea for a TV show on ABC Family. So yeah, he did it.

And now I'm thinking, what the hell am I waiting for? I need to get my act together and get my comic book idea out of my head and on to paper. I need to convince one of my artist pals to join forces with me and make it rock. I need to just freaking do it already. And so I am.
bonniegrrl: (bonoctimonster)
Producer and director J.J. Abrams talks at TED about the best elements of the unseen mystery -- the heart of "Alias," "Lost," and Cloverfield -- back to its own magical beginnings. He brings up his own obsession with making things, magic and his own unopened Mystery Box.
bonniegrrl: (bonoctimonster)
Here is an assortment of Cloverfield-related video and radio interviews from across the country:

Cloverfield Video Interviews

Cloverfield Radio Interviews
bonniegrrl: (tongue)

(don't read this FAQ if you haven't seen the movie yet!)


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