Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Some thoughts on crowdfunding

Last Thursday I attended the webinar ”Transmedia Outsold or Sold Out”, hosted by the people behind the Storyworld Conference. Informative, thought provoking and all around a well spent hour (check out hashtag #swc11 for tweets from the session, or go here to take part of the recorded session (needs e-mail to access)).

There were other people listening to the webinar as well, amongst them Tom Liljeholm from my neighbouring country Sweden. Tom has been involved in The Truth About Marika, in Conspiracy for Good and is now working with new transmedia project The Karada (which btw sounds absolutely fab). Tom asked me if I was going to Storyworld or not. I replied that I’d love to go, but funds weƤre not readily available. Tom had the same problem – a burning urge to be at the conference this year where Transmedia would be in utter focus, and that would attract an amazing host of people connected to this form of storytelling, but a serious lack of funds to support such a trip.

I mean, we can bicker on about the definition of transmedia (and I agree that it, for several reasons, public funding one of them, would be good to have a definition to cover all bases) but at this conference chances are some pretty awesome things are going to happen. Not only at the conferences, but at breakfast, at 2.30AM at the Smuggler’s Cove, or somewhere else ☺. Naturally, we want to be there.

The idea sprung within a couple of minutes. ”How about a crowdfunding campaign?” ”…. Well…. Yeah! What is there to lose? Some of our time, perhaps, but who needs sleep anyway? Mead and mushrooms will take us through the next couple of weeks no problem!”

And so the campaign ”Get Tom And Simon To Storyworld” (or ”Where the Wild Vikings Roam” or ”Trip To Transmedia” or a number of other titles) was born.

It’s now on it’s 5th day, and already it’s exceeding expectations. We chose IndieGoGo for no particular reasons (aside that Kickstarter is still closed to non-US ppl). We could have gone with Sposume, or perhaps InvestIn, but IndieGoGo was recommended to us so IndieGoGo it was. We set a goal of 2700$, which is what the actual flights would cost just about, and set it to run for 2 weeks so as not to leave it too late before the actual conference.

Some reflections on the process so far: when crowdfunding, really really think about your perks. What do you want to offer people in return for their support? For us, the Transmedia Viking t-shirt has been the absolute favourite. Perhaps we should’ve gone for the set of underwear as well? Ah, next time ☺.

Also, be prepared to be a bit of a pain in the ass for your social contacts. You WILL be asking for endorsements, for RT:s, for blog posts about your campaign, for just about anything that will give you more exposure. Most people are surprisingly OK with all of this, perhaps because they’ve tried crowdfunding themselves. I will readily say that I for one will always RT the crowdfunding efforts of contacts in the future, and look hard at funding them to some extent as well. It’s a small effort for one person, but it can mean the world for a certain project.

I am looking forward to the next 13 days and hoping for some serious traction and some more funding. I’m already amazed though, as right now we’re at slightly more than 18% funded, so only 82% still to go. Wish us luck!

Our progress so far - actually a little bit to the west of the Faroe Islands right now!

Thursday, September 08, 2011

The transmedia format

I recently stumbled (again) upon this good post by Jason from The Connected Set on why television is an integral part of a transmedia format. Coming from a television background much as Jason, I guess it is no surprise that I agree with him on most of his points.

Television is still very much a powerful player with it comes to getting viewers and audiences engaged in your content. That engagement in turn will generate traction for other parts of your transmedia property – or the other way around, as, for instance, HBO’s Game of Thrones showed this last spring. I wrote a piece for MIPBlog at around the same time, wondering if there was going to exist such a thing as a transmedia format. I wrote at the time:
”The one thing that will be sure to stem the rise of the transmedia format at this year’s MIPFormats and MIPTV is simply the fact that very few formats are transmedia at this point. As more and more projects are initiated, more and more tools are made available and more and more success stories unearthed, however, expect this to change, as transmedia simply offers so many logical and compelling ways to engage consumers more fully into your content.”
Since then I have become more and more acutely aware of the need that transmedia can have of television. TV still boasts impressive revenue. TV has tried and tested (and admittedly sometimes a bit outdated) business models. TV knows (again, a bit outdatedly) how to calculate success. TV has a broad reach.

Now, show me the transmedia project that would say no to impressive revenue stemming from tried and tested business models, with calculateable success founded on a broad reach.

So, as much as television needs to be looking in the direction of transmedia to be able to offer an audience the multiplatform approach many take for granted today (”if this show doesn’t invite me to do something on a 2nd screen (that ties logically and seamlessly into the show itself or the world the show depicts) I’ll just use that 2nd screen to bitch about it on Twitter. Or play Empires & Allies on Facebook”) transmedia needs to be looking at television as an integral part of many transmedia projects. And not as an add-on either, like a reversal of the state of affairs when tv shows should have interactivity at all cost, leading to slap-on, underdeveloped and seriously underwhelming interactive content being published regularly. Nope; just as much as multiplatform or transmedia content need to be developed at the same time as a television show, so must a television show be developed at the same time as the multiplatform and transmedia content.

On that note, see you all at MIPCOM perhaps? :)