There’s a lot of rhetoric thrown around about the creative opportunities provided by an Interactive, Online, Multi-Platform Transmedia world but such assertions are rarely backed up by substantive processes for how to go about exploiting those opportunities in tangible ways. This is especially true for writers where the discourse swings from “it’s all New and forget Everything you think you Know about STORY”, to “It’s just STORY and STORY matters and we all love STORY and Yay STORY…!”
Both assertions are insipidly vacuous - the former arrogantly throws the baby out with the bathwater, the later offers the word Story as some sacred relic that somehow defies need of investigation or interrogation.
But never fear, the 2012 Immersive Writing Lab is here!
Following up from the success of last years IWL event and the inaugural Immersive Storyworld Writing Competition, Portal Entertainment along with partners The Literary Platform, Ogilvy, Cisco and BBC Writers Room are presenting the Immersive Writing Lab again October 26th and 27th.
The 2 day free writers workshop aims at developing writers for the digital age and also offers a £6k development contract with Portal Entertainment for a selected project in the follow-up competition.
The principle of ‘immersive entertainment’ is simply stories that are told over more than one medium and require the audience to take part in the experience in an active way.
As Head of Story development for Portal Entertainment it was my job last year the paw over the hundreds of proposals we received and the experience was much like taking a snap-shot of the zeitgeist of writers grappling with how to write in such a ecosystem of media, platform and interaction. After reading over 2500 pages from last year’s competition entries, the focus of this year’s workshop is ‘ROLEPLAY’ – how do you get an audience to discover and navigate through your story? How do you construct an active, meaningful and motivated role for the audience to undertake? How do you illicit tension, character, suspense, transformation and catharsis from such role-playing?
It’s not easy and an experience suited only to the creatively brave.
The range of speakers, ideas and perspectives is about thinking outside of traditional parameters for ways to understand the potential of this kind of writing, whilst at the same time building on and extending the well established principles of narrative storytelling.
Day 1 – Learning the tools
High profile experts and industry leaders from disciplines already working in immersive stories will help you engage with important principles and perspectives for the digital age:
- Immersive Theatre: Pete Higgins, Punchdrunk
- Comedy: Adam Riches, winner of Best Show at Edinburgh Comedy Awards 2011
- Magic: Brad Henderson, one of the best sleight of hand magicians in the world.
- Video Games: Dan Burwen, formerly of EA, writer of groundbreaking interactive comic All the Shah’s Men
- Interactive Narrative: Mike Jones, Head of Story at Portal Entertainment
- Technology and Perceptive Media: Ian Forrester, Head of R&D at BBC
- Branded Entertainment: Doug Scott, President of Ogilvy Entertainment
Day 2 – Workshop
This is where the fun really begins! We will be handpicking fifty writers for a hands-on workshop developed with BBC Writers Room. Develop and extend your storyworld with other writers.
As the Lab draws to a close, we’ll be launching a three-month competition allowing you to develop a storyworld. The winner will receive a £6k development fund from Portal Entertainment to push forward their idea. We are currently developing Blackout by Laura Grace and Elizabeth McGuane, the winner of the 2011 competition.
Sounds completely up my street – how do I apply?
The event is completely free to attend. We’re looking for applicants at any stage in their career – we’re really looking for people with an idea of how an audience will take part in, discover, and navigate, your stories. We expect theatre, performing arts and video game writers to see this as standard, but we also expect to hear from TV, film and radio writers looking to branch out.
Commitments at other events here in the southern hemisphere prevent me from appearing live at IWL 2012, but I will be presenting via Skype on Friday the 26th.