Transmedia : Podcasting by Erick Mertz

Erick Mertz

Podcasting

Anyone explored the idea of creating and producing a podcast? I have a high concept, horror story that could (and should) go a multitude of directions. I've been developing this for years and whenever I look at the full scope of the project, I think that it would be great serialized over many episodes, given time to stretch out and breath. When I hit the Great American Pitch Fest and threw the idea out to a few producers seeking web series, they all said that "everyone is looking for the next 'Serial'" and left it at that. Since then, I have written eight, 35-40 minute scripts that really just establishes the onion subsequent seasons would peel back and reveal. Anyone else tried/considered this approach? I'd be interested to compare notes. My basic breakdown was quite simple, that I could tell more story only producing audio.

Stage 32 Staff - Julie

A good person to network with is Michael Bekemeyer: https://www.stage32.com/profile/14880/michael-bekemeyer

Jonathan Kramer

Who's the audience? Remember Transmedia is Audience focused. The other questions needed to be answered are the 'why's. Example: Why would a viewer watch, care, want to see more, move to other platforms, etc. Remember transmedia is building a storyworld, not just a linear story where each platform narrative can stand on its own though is better within the context of the storyworld

Erick Mertz

Thanks, Julie

Erick Mertz

Jonathan The audience would be super natural horror fans, tending toward the literate side. Looking at that demographic, I feel like multi-platform stories are quite effective. My vision is this as a podcast, series of fiction, movie, web series, comic. It works across all of that. I don't want to get pinned down in a linear narrative. The story itself is non-linear, so it feeds my vision. Erick

Jonathan Kramer

Transmedia is a non-linear format as you know. If you truly understand storyworld as opposed to 3 act structure, you then realize that each platform narrative ADDS to the sum of the parts yet can stand on its own. If your podcast has a fan base that comments on that platform you invite them to the party and reward those who join. Fan base first, then expanding to other platforms according to the timeline set forth. If you want to succeed, a transmedia development bible is necessary. I'm working on one as we speak for our project. You will find this helpful if this is where you want to go:http://goo.gl/IMBV5L

Erick Mertz

Uhm, that's invaluable looking material. Thank you!

Jonathan Kramer

You're most welcome Erick.. Also I would recommend getting more specific about audience.. age, lifestyle, gender, location, etc. For example our initial target audience for the project in development is professional multi-ethnic millennial women in the US. I would also recommend the books "Transmedia 2.0" and "A Creator's Guide to Transmedia Storytelling". Remember that gamification of story is crucial and that your genre is the MOST prevalent with transmedia projects making the importance of the fan base top priority. We tend to shy away from horror, super hero or sci-fi projects due to this fact.

Kristopher Rickards

Hi Erick, I notice your scripts are 35-40 minutes. Is there any chance you could shorten or split them into 10 minute chapters. I know it sounds a little awkward, but the modern 15-35 year old audience who have adopted youtube serials want them in smaller bitesize chunks that they can either cram many episodes of, or catch one during their breaks on a phone. If you think about it, the TV show 24 did this over ten years ago, with a mini cliffhanger before every ad-break.

Jonathan Kramer

Again, transmedia is all about the audience who are mobile, social and have more choices than ever. To capture them, content must be unique, engaging and as Kris says, VERY short.. in fact the ideal webisode is 3 min +/-. Podcasts as you know are VERY prolific making it more important that how they're created must be unique

Perry Goldman

With the success of narratively complex podcasts, or even podcast-style production, such as: -> Welcome to Night Vale ( http://podbay.fm/show/536258179 ) -> Cabin Pressure ( http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00lmcxj ) -> Zombies, Run! ( it's a fitness app... at least that's all it was supposed to be. But it's turned into a huge fandom because it really is next-generation storytelling in audio-only format, https://zombiesrungame.com/ ) I think you're making a good choice. But I agree that you need to think about attention span. Your audience probably isn't going to hit play and sit around the radio the way people did in the 1930s; you'll need to think about where and when they'll be experiencing your story, and gear it towards that. Orrrr pull a Steve Jobs and refuse to do market research and hope for the best. That might work, too.

Chris Regan

I think it sounds like a great idea, but definitely check out what's already out there. The Truth is another really good example (thetruthpodcast.com) , although it's one-off stories rather than a serial. However, it's a great example of audio storytelling in a bite-sized format (their episodes are 15 minutes max.). Also, think about the moment you post the first episode - who is going to listen to it and how will they find it?

Erick Mertz

I'm not married to the idea of a 35-40 minute podcast (in fact, it's one of the earliest instances of my questioning myself). I'm trying to listen to podcasts of all length, and so far, my feeling is that the shorter turn around feels like a very good chance to blast out more notices about your show. Why create one thing at 40 and have one new "thing" when you can do four at ten and tease your audience 4x as often?.

Jonathan Kramer

Erick.. the other thing worth utilizing in a true multi-platform story world is short form Twitter storytelling where you can insert links to the podcast. If done creatively and with hasntags you can drive followers to your story.

Erick Mertz

Cool. Can you send me some examples? I've thought of ways to integrate the story with the marketing message, and this sounds right up that alley.

Jonathan Kramer

Erick... there are literally tons of examples though these two articles might be of assistance. Keep in mind brands have been using Twitter stories for a long time though the principles remain the same regardless. 1) http://www.fastcoexist.com/1682122/how-twitter-is-reshaping-the-future-o... 2) http://marketingland.com/once-upon-a-tweet-telling-stories-in-twitter-6827 Remember that Twitter users are keyword oriented so when you Tweet you want to make sure the buzz words in your story tweets or hashtags will trigger the fans

David Jackson

Podcasting is a really interesting idea and over the course of 2015 and 2016, podcasting will be more popular. Ideally, if you're considering this route, take some time out and do some market research. Analyse what your competitors are doing (length of podcasts, number of updates each month, what channels are they marketing on, etc).

Erick Mertz

All the Libsyn podcasts describe a broadening market, so I feel like it's a really good place to be. I'm just leery of getting trapped there, so I'm turning my stakes up a notch.

Jonathan Kramer

Erick.. not sure if this is of interest, but I recently viewed a Periscope broadcast that had been saved and posted somehow on a Periscope.tv site branded by the author of the broadcast. While not exactly a podcast, it's becoming very popular, highly social and allows you to Tweet links which in your case could be those of your podcast series? Hmmmm

Erick Mertz

Oooh. Thanks Jonathan. What's the name of the broadcast? I'll link to it for the next time the baby keeps me up and I'm bleary eyed and open to suggestion.

Jonathan Kramer

It was broadcast by Randy Gage, a prosperity guru which may be of little interest to you. I mentioned it purely as an example of how to use other platforms to build fan base. Periscope is becoming very popular and as you know, owned by Twitter.

Debbie Elicksen

The problem with Periscope is it can be buggy in Android, at least on some devices. You can set up podcasts through iTunes via Podomatic and other aggregators.

Jonathan Kramer

This is a valid point though at this stage there are over 10 million users. As the user base grows I'm sure Twitter's engineers will continue to update, improve and expand the platform. On my Android phone I have yet to have problems with it, though it's been used more for viewing broadcasts than uploading. I DO feel it has tremendous potential however :)

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