Posted by: Noni | June 28, 2010

What is ARG? Trends in Transmedia

My career evolved out of a high school foray in electronics and technology.

This is my grade 11 school picture

While many of my classmates held jobs like; sharpening skates at the ice rink, flipping burgers or delivering pizzas, I was managing a Radio Shack® retail store.   Herman Gerrits was one of my most memorable bosses. Back in the 70’s most Radio Shacks were franchise operations and the store owners had control over hiring staff and management.  Herman hired me despite the fact that I was only 15.  He recognized my potential and paid me accordingly.  The average wage at that time started at about $1.50 (there is no minimum wage for students under 16) and most of my friends were making about $2-$3

I was earning $5.00/hr!

After my last class each day I would race to store.  I worked each day until closing at 6pm and Fridays until 9pm.  I put in a full day each Saturday and would have worked Sundays too, except back then everything was closed on Sunday.  The training and experience I gained over the years at Radio Shack help lay the foundation for my work ethic today.  I arrived early (it’s disrespectful to arrive late) looked for things to do if I wasn’t busy (I found that the time passed faster the busier I was) and treated each customer as if they were spending a fortune.  (some people just came in to browse or collect a free battery each month)

Herman was a fantastic boss.  He told each employee that we were the manager.  If a customer asked to speak to the manager, we were given the power to make decisions and solve problems.  I learned to do the daily balances, deposits, payroll, inventory, sales reports and implement security measures.  I held a set of keys to the store and was responsible for closing on Friday night and opening on Saturday morning.  For a tenth grade student, I handled a lot of responsibility.  It never once occurred to me that I was incapable of such tasks.  If something needed to be done and I just did it without questioning my abilities.

Radio Shack Game Console - 1975 Fad

I will never forget when the first home video game (console would hook up to television via antennae input) was introduced.  PONG caused such a stampede one Christmas that we had to lock the door and let people in a few at a time.   Before the store was even open, there would be a line-up of shoppers hoping to get one of our daily allotment.  Thing haven’t changed much since then.  People still camp overnight to get the newest gadget or tickets to special events.

What has changed is the type of entertainment we enjoy today.  With increasing capabilities in electronics and demands of savvy viewers comes  the challenge to create unique experiences.  Piracy has forced both the music and film industries to deliver entertainment in new ways.  Expanded content on DVD’s, interactive websites and games, phone calls, emails and SMS messages, treasure hunts and road trips.

Transmedia, or cross-platform interactive entertainment is evolving at breakneck speed.

If you haven’t heard of it before you will have soon enough.  In Europe gamers commonly partake in collaborative experiences like the German game (Follow the Rabbit)  http://folge-dem-kaninchen.de/ and the Transmedia landscape is much broader and more developed.  Most games have elements where participants work together to solve a puzzle or social convergence is  required.  In London a Transmedia film called Breath was screened in 3 episodes and interactively enacted over a 3 week period.

Transmedia Resources

A great site for North Americans is ARGNet.com There isn’t a lot of material readily available on the trend toward Transmedia but more and more is being posted each day.  As puppet-masters (manipulate the players) learn through past experience and from each other, thus new projects become more complex and elaborate.  A forum like Unfiction is a platform  for developers, writers, players and collaborators to build teams and share tips, clues and knowledge.

Noni is building a team

Besides creating “Noni’s Happy Ending” Noni has a couple of other tricks up her sleeve.  She’s putting together a frothy (that’s a clue) experience for the Pacific Northwest with a group of recent film school grads and some interested gamers.  Noni also has a major international Transmedia Film Experience in development.  If you are interested in participating subscribe to this blog and someone will send you more information.  Or send Noni an email nonimovie {at} gmail {dot} com

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