gettin’ busy

The past week’s been a bit of a blur and completely fantastic.

Me, preparing for our project presentation at last week’s StoryCode hackathon. Yes, I ate all those pizzas behind me. (Big up to Amanda Lin Costa’s article on PBS’s Mediashift where the shot is featured.)

When I greet my friends and ask how it’s going, I often get the answer, “Busy.” Typically, they follow the response with a heavy sigh or a diatribe about the pressure they’re under at work. I’m conscious of giving this canned response to people when I’m asked the same question. If I do feel the need to tell people how busy I am (I live in New York – like I’m ever not busy?), I try to let people know it’s a “good busy.”

Last I wrote here, I was gearing up for the first ever transmedia StoryCode Hack: Beta offered by StoryCode, a new not-for-profit supporting transmedia/cross-platform projects. For the past couple years the group has been just that: a Meet Up group that gave speakers a forum at which to share case studies of successful projects. When Aina Abiodun and Mike Knowlton incorporated, they fashioned this mission:

StoryCode is a non-profit community hub for independent immersive and cross-platform storytellers; supporting, incubating and showcasing projects created by them.

Aina Abiodun and Mike Knowlton introducing the StoryHack presentations.

Their action shift was the incubation directive. Transmedia Meet Up groups the globe over offer panel discussions and speakers showcasing projects, but StoryCode kicked it up a notch. They’re in the business of cross-platform story formation. StoryCode realized creators are tired of talking and want to get their hands dirty, fail and learn from those failures.

I’m not going to go into the details of the Story Hack here. My super awesome US Maple hackathon teammates, Randy Astle and Carrie Cutforth-Young give great analyses here, here, here, here and here.

The hack home stretch before presentations.

What I want to acknowledge is the community created. Real community can’t sustain unless its members feel fed, and this past weekend, 27 storytellers, developers, game designers, filmmakers, and theater-makers devoured the challenge, nourished themselves, and grew into a team of transmedia creators.

It was the most fulfilling artistic experience I’ve had this year.

On top of all this, last week I announced my new project, NY_Hearts: LES, which is part of the Game Play Festival at The Brick Theater. StoryCode provided the platform for me to share this exciting project and ask for immediate essentials I need. I sought an associate producer, a geo-tagged location based storytelling platform, and small business partners in the Lower East Side. With this assistance, I’ve fulfilled several of these needs. You can read more about one of the new developments on the NY_Hearts blog.

It’s challenging to make new work, and thanks to StoryCode and The Brick Theater, I’ve been busy. Very good busy. And I hope to continue being good busy for the next several months.

team u.s. maple – storycode hack: beta

For a little over a year, I’ve been entrenched in the transmedia world, and part of that immersion (pardon the pun) includes StoryCode, a not-for-profit that grew out of the Transmedia NYC Meet Up.

StoryCode is blowing up. Between its new residency at Lincoln Center Film Society, partnerships with Kill Screen Magazine, becoming a legit company, and the creation of new programs like StoryCode Immersions — monthly small group “deep dive” sessions into focused topics like tech, fundraising and entrepreneurship — StoryCode supports the transmedia community like no other organization in NYC. In addition to offering case studies and environments from which creators may learn, StoryCode fosters environments in which creators can, well…create.

Like so many companies, StoryCode is implementing the hackathon structure to create new work and bond its members. Like the 24-Hour Plays (or the 47:59 Play Festival for which I wrote a few years back), this experience plans to fast forward the story creation process. Over 24 hours, teams of four work to develop a brand spanking new transmedia project pitted against other teams. Storytellers, producers, video artists, and programmers converge to birth and present projects in hopes that judges proclaim their team winner of the first ever StoryCode Hack.

I’m super psyched to meet all my team members tomorrow at orientation and head into next weekend’s hackathon with fire and fury. The competition is fierce. Friends will become enemies. Platforms will be compromised. And one team will reign victorious

Check out our cheeky team description below, and follow Team U.S. Maple on Twitter or Facebook for more on this madness as it develops.

OFFICIAL (UNOFFICIAL) U.S. MAPLE PRESS BLURBImageHow do four strangers, who have never licked each others’ faces, unite to create an epic transmedia spectacle that unfolds on three platforms in only 24 hours??? Armed with only two Panasonics DVX-100s, A CASE OF RED BULL and a DREAM, TEAM U.S. MAPLE will document their entire experience where they collide together to accomplish the seemingly impossible (but not quite impossible and therefore definitely attainable ONLY due to this motley crew’s MAD SKILLZ) for Storycode’s Hackathon’s TRANSMEDIA CHALLENGE. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter as we update LIVE from inception to conception AND BEYOND.

FOUR STRANGERS!!!! THREE PLATFORMS!!! TWO PANASONIC DVX100a’s!! ONE EPIC TRANSMEDIA STORY EXPERIENCE LIKE NO OTHER! = TEAM U.S. MAPLE smacking down at Storycode’s Hackathon. ROOT for them ONLINE (throughout the week on FACEBOOK & TWITTER) and IN PERSON at the Lincoln Center April 28 & 29th.

To learn more about the challenge the team faces visit

there’s something happening here

Since March, I’ve been attending regular gatherings of the Transmedia NYC Meetup, and every month, I look forward to congregating with cutting edge professionals and making new friends.

Recently, the group made two big announcements: It is incorporating as a not-for-profit organization called StoryCode and the Film Society of Lincoln Center is a new sponsor, offering the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center Amphitheater for the group’s meetings. Wonderful, dramatic changes for this vital organization.

Last night, Frank Rose and Nate Goldman spoke about immersive entertainment, “fear of fiction,” and how Orson Wells influenced Goldman’s project Undead End, a zombie-pocalypse transmedia extravaganza in Boston, MA and now Bloomington, IN. Sylvain Lerou from Orange shared FanFan2, an interactive project based on the novel of the same name. All the presenters had great case studies, sharing what worked and what fell flat with their respective projects. Zach Leiberman, too, offered a 5×5 call for collaborators for his nascent 3D venture he likened to a little boy’s Alice and Wonderland meets The Red Balloon.

It was very eventful with some “who’s who” in the biz, a packed audience, and after, the Film Sociaty at Lincoln Center offered its green room for drinks and conversation. In a way, that was the best part – exchanging ideas one on one with other energized creators.

The big news of the night was TransmediaNYC Meetup is all grown up. Jen Begeal addressed the group in her new, official capacity as the Managing Director of StoryCode and announced they’re seeking a PR person to jump on board. Got a knack for publicity? Reach out to Jen to find out more.

If you’re the least bit interested peaking at the future of media, stop by the next meeting on November 15th. Same bat time, same bat place. The outstanding Lina Srivastava speaks on transmedia activism. Lina is at the forefront of transmedia for good initiatives, specifically in the documentary film world. She offers innovative ways to integrate tech and social change. Check her out.

Thanks to Aina Abiodun & Mike Knowlton for all their hard work organizing and Rachel Fairbanks, Brian Fountain on the LiveStream and still photography, respectively.

Happy to be part of this growing community.