Bridget Jones: Cross-Platform Programming

Bridget Jones: Cross-Platform Programming

Jan 20, 2015: In 2000, I was tasked with creating the convergent platform strategy for “Bridget Jones.” I was heading Entertainment for <kpe> Europe, an American digital agency responsible for building Channel 4’s e4.com. <kpe> was managing the digital properties/extensions for the book. The movie had yet to be released. It was an exciting project that not only challenged traditional tenets of storytelling but also gave us the chance to boost audience engagement, brand equity and revenues. What’s the point of cross-platform programming? Standaone properties in each of the media – film, TV, Internet and mobile devices – that are not integrated and fail to feed off of each other pose a missed opportunity. Integrated media may unify and greatly enhance brand equity and present new opportunities for advertising, sponsorship, subscription and e-commerce. With regard to Bridget Jones, we intended to not only distribute content across multiple platforms but also exploit the property across multiple channels – online and off. Why resurrect a project from 15 years ago? In Internet time, is this not ancient history? At the time, we were striving for “convergent programming” – now known as transmedia or multi- / cross-platform entertainment. By exploring the process of extending traditional content – books, films and TV – into digital properties, we began to ask questions that are as relevant today. Technology was lagging behind content in 2000. Not only were the pipes small but few people had broadband. Imagine waiting for minutes to download a large image or watch a 5-second video. Technology has caught up if not leaped ahead of storytelling. Oculus may sell thousands of... read more
Ripples After the Wave

Ripples After the Wave

June 2013: “When the first moving pictures were shown, at the beginning of the 20th Century, they were fairly rudimentary, even crude films: images of zeppelins on maiden voyages; people attending operas; cotton mills in actions; guns being fired; trains running on tracks. People were impressed with seeing a representation of real life, whether exotic or trivial. Is this very different from the current state of YouTube, with its cat videos, recut movie trailers, and home-made TV programs? A hundred years from now, people will look back on our first usage of the internet as a quaint fascination, a group of people who had neither the tools nor the context to push the form to its sophisticated end point… TIMEWAVE is a fascinating project, in that it is beginning the conversation and exploration of how we as artists use this medium, a medium that will continue to change our world in unimaginable ways. Who knows where this will take us, who knows how it will be part of our work as theatre artists in even five years time, much less twenty or thirty? I can’t begin to measure the value of this experience just now, I can only appreciate having the chance to be part of the act of pioneering.” Drayton Hiers ~ Artistic Director, LoNyLa Singapore and director (“Paradise”) “TimeWave was a great opportunity to collaborate with artists across the pond. Being able to use current and popular technology in a theatrical context is a great affirmation of the continued relevance and importance of live performance. As a performer, I found the practice of taking a theatrical script, written... read more
Raquel Santiago, Winner of Photo Contest

Raquel Santiago, Winner of Photo Contest

June 2013: Selected as the best photo by Amogh Desai, Founder and Director of the National Institute of Photography (India), “London Bridge from Top of Shard” by Raquel Santiago has won the TimeWave photo contest. Please see further details of the contest on award.io’s TimeWave page. Given the competition’s theme “Photo memories of your life,” Santiago’s photo captured a startlingly beautiful aerial view of London Bridge. The TimeWave team is thrilled to see this entry and announce Santiago’s photo as the winner. Santiago’s photo “follows the rules of composition properly and also the river flowing in between creates a dramatic effect in the image,” says Desai. As the winner, Santiago will receive a case of delicious wine as sponsored by Naked Wines. TimeWave thanks Naked Wines as well as award.iofor running the contest with an elegant 21st century vehicle. Although other photo submissions by TimeWave artists and crew didn’t make the cut, the TimeWave team was thrilled by their participation in the contest. In particular, British director Ben Mills submitted a shot of the TimeWave space station in which Production Designer Simon Gethin Thomas and Producing Artistic Director J Dakota Powell were sweating it out over the technology required to make the festival happen. Camera operator Shan Christopher Ogilvie also submitted a wonderful picture of Princess, the Innovation Warehouse startup... read more
TimeWave Space Station

TimeWave Space Station

June 2013: The expectations of whizz-bang tech and the realities of current and affordable applications for video streaming/telepresence haven’t yet shaken hands. Compared to tools available a decade ago, the digital space has taken huge leaps. However, one may underestimate the complexity of a festival that not only streams remote pieces from multiple locations during the course of an evening but also employs telepresence. LoNyLa had evolved to the point where we were streaming in HD online with one camera. In Velocity Lab 2012, we streamed rehearsed readings between London, NYC, LA, Singapore and Berlin. TimeWave represented a steep ramp-up in terms of technical complexity. While Simon Gethin Thomas ran sound and lighting for the live theatre performances, J Dakota Powell managed the video streaming and telepresence components of the festival.  THE SPACE STATION EXPLAINED What was affectionately known as the “space station” consisted of 4 laptops. Each one had a designated function. To combine all of these functions in one computer would’ve overloaded its processing power. Certain applications had to remain open and accessible for transitions. Even so, the transitions between plays took too long – a hard-learned lesson in front of a patient audience. As TimeWave evolves, the transitions between plays need to be compressed. The functions of each of the four computers were as follows:  COMPUTER 1: COMMAND AND CONTROL (C&C) We used a 2012 Macbook Retina with an i7 quad core processor, two Thunderbolt ports and plenty of RAM. Two Canon Vixia HV30s were hooked up to Blackmagic Intensity Extreme video encoders, which plugged into the laptop. The Canons were set to stream in HD.... read more
Update from LA: When in Doubt, Sketch It Out

Update from LA: When in Doubt, Sketch It Out

June 2013:  How many people remember strapping a Sony Walkman to their upper arm…the size of a brick…to go for a jog around Central Park and feel as if it were coolest thing on earth? If you got mugged, all you had to do was zap the offender with the Walkman to knock ‘im out. Well that was then and this is now. In 1958, Kilby’s microchip was the size of your pinky and had a single transistor, three resistors and a capacitor. Today, the average microchip is penny-sized, if not smaller, and can hold as many as 125 million transistors. Computing continues to speed up. When it comes to covering a live performance with multiple cameras and streaming it to the Internet, our grown-up kids in 10 to 20 years (if not sooner) will be saying: That was then, this is now. Wires and cables will be obsolete – a laughable remnant from a bygone age. No plugs, no wires, no adaptors. Everything will be wireless. Why bother with a projector when the wallpaper is smart? Wave your hand – huzzah! The wall lights up and projects an interactive live video stream from any city in the world. In 2013, we’re still figuring out which adaptor to use to hook a MacBook Pro to a projector. New York-based playwright, David Simpatico, has written a dark comedy, “Carpe Diesal,” about three American copywriters who are creating advertisements from news coverage of riots and uprisings. The four-part serialized format begs the question: can this era be defined as the commercialization of injustice and discontent? Dylan Southard, the co-founder of LA-based... read more