Storytelling as experiences (continued…)

This is the continuation of my previous blog post entitled Storytelling as experiences. It introduces some other real-life examples to they type of story-telling that has appeared as a result of emerging technologies. Here’s one I recently had while watching the first Streamy Awards, co-hosted by a consortium of leading new media companies — Tilzy.TV, Tubefilter, and NewTeeVee — on March 28, 2009.

The event recognized outstanding achievement for shows produced originally for broadband distribution. What was interesting about this was that the entire program was streamed online, in real time, and it was quite similar in structure to the Academy Awards. Nominations in 24 categories are reviewed by members of the International Academy of Web Television, an independent organization whose members are leaders in the field of Web television, Web video and the digital entertainment industry. What was interesting about this event was how I experienced the whole ceremony. Because I was busy trying to finish a completed draft of my dissertation, I was oblivious that the ceremony was to take place that night and was vaguely following in the background the interaction that was going on between my Twitter friends. After having noticed a few of my cross media specialist friends mentioning the event, I tuned in to the Web site by clicking the URL Tweeted by one of them and waited for the show to begin. More important, when the official backstage channel Streamy Awards failed to launch, a Kyte user (Kyte is an end-to-end, online and mobile platform for the production, distribution and monetization of video content), Shira Lazar, started streaming video and audio from the main event from her Kyte account, not only interviewing those in attendance in a red carpet-like fashion, but also allowing the audience to interact through her account in real time.

Streamy Awards

Shira Lazar interviewing Dr. Horrible’s Felicia Day while the audience is chatting about the event on the right screen

As I was watching the show, some of the audience was commenting on Shira Lazar’s Kyte account and some of my Twitter friends were commenting on Twitter. As I watched the Streamy Awards unfold, I wondered how mobile phones, online video distribution outlets (such as YouTube, Revver), or other emerging disruptive technologies will affect the materiality of films and television programs that will be produced and how will they affect story-telling. After the show, several of my Facebook friends who had actually went to the event which took place in Los Angeles posted pictures and status updates from the event. I am not alone my experience. As I am reading my usual blogs the next week, I come across an interesting blog post in the Future of Media blog. Entitled “Afternoon in the life of Battlestar fan,” the author relates her experience in watching the BSG finale that was aired couple of weeks prior to the blog post. She narrates her viewing experience as such:

  1. I turn on the Tivo and select the latest episode. I have saved the Friday night broadcast viewing for Saturday afternoon…when I have time to savor it.
  2. I log on to the Facebook group to check out the chatter. What a bunch of frackin’ geeks.
  3. I watch more of the show.
  4. I pause the show to hit the main fan site, and watch a webisode that I missed, that feeds nicely into the episode I’m watching. I do a search on Battlestar webisodes and find them all over. Including veoh.com where some brits complain that they can’t find the webisodes anywhere else due to rights issues and “thank god” for video sharing sites. I want to tell them that the BBC player needs to be available in the US so I can watch the last few Dr. Who episodes…but why get into a battle. (I will do a Dr. Who search later tonight to see if I can grab anything. I yearn for new Dr. Who episodes and don’t understand why David Tenant can’t sacrifice his career goals to continue playing the role forever. He is obviously selfish. But he’s the doctor and so groovy).
  5. I get a snack
  6. I watch more of the show and pause…sometimes the lighting is so dark it reminds me of the W hotels, when I bang into everything in the lobby. I somehow connect Starwood points to Battlestar episodes and wish for a little more brightness in space. Star Trek was well lit. What the frack!
  7. I hit a Battlestar wiki to see what they have to say about this episode, and wonder how people have so much time to post.
  8. I watch more of the show…and the clips for next week…Damn, Tivo cut off the last second. Why does it do that!
  9. I log on back on to see what else they have for next week. There are only three episodes left. What a void that will leave in my life.
  10. I am interrupted and mocked by my fiancé, I tell him to “frack off”

These new venues bring about additional questions regarding the impact of online video, Web technologies, and social networking sites on the production of films and television programs. Already, most popular television shows have online existence with extensive Web sites that host spinoff mini-series, bonus materials (such as interviews with actors and producers), in addition to launching ARGs that help mobilize communities around these shows. This is the beginning of an interesting transformation that is about to happen full force within the next decade or so.

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