TEDxWarsaw Talk: Erica Speaks on Transmedia Character Development

Erica

Erica in Action

 

Our own Erica Hargreave was fortunate to enjoy an enriching experience as she spoke to a group of enthusiastic storytellers at a TEDx event in Warsaw.  Now we all have the great fortune to enjoy what she shared!  Both entertaining and informative, Erica created a mini storyworld right on the stage as she enveloped different characters to demonstrate her unique brand of transmedia character development, and the permission we must allow ourselves to be creative.

 

 

About TEDx, x = independently organized event In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)

In the Online Classroom this Autumn, Teaching Interactive Storytelling

BCIT StoryToGoWe are excited to be starting a whole new chapter of teaching and storytelling for us this Autumn, with our first post-secondary accredited online course in Interactive Storytelling available through BCIT StoryToGo’s Media Storytelling Department (formerly Part-Time Broadcast Studies). This means that anybody can register and take this course from anywhere in the world, on their time, and they don’t have to be a regular student of BCIT. Pretty cool!

It also means for us, that we, ourselves have been experimenting with both new methods of digital storytelling and teaching to better reach our students. So we have created course videos, webinars, step-by-step technology manuals, interactive quizzes, and discussion boards … and that is just been the beginning. We look forward to experimenting with new ways of connecting and engaging with our students as the Course gets underway.  As the Course content has already all been built, we also love that this now places the emphasis in teaching, on engaging with our students, and trouble-shooting with them, as they begin to build their own interactive storytelling projects. Here’s a little of what you can expect from the Course:

 

Our course is not the only new online storytelling course this term through BCIT StoryToGo‘s Media Storytelling Department. Thanks to Steve Dotto, Marty Strong and I discussed storytelling and the online courses available through BCIT StoryToGo last week on the Dotto Tech Radio Show on AM 650. You can listen to the broadcast here:

The three Courses available online through BCIT StoryToGo’s Media Storytelling Program this Autumn, include:

You can also catch an online course with Steve Dotto, as he launches his own series of online courses in Email Management and ProTECHtivity.

UNWTO Travel & Media Conference: #WeVisitEgypt ‘Real’ Time Digital Travel Storytelling Presentation

For those of you that sadly could not be with Audrey Scott and Daniel Noll of Uncornered Market and I at the UNWTO Tourism and Media Conference last week on Egypt’s Red Sea, here is a slide share of our presentation on our #WeVisitEgypt ‘Real’ Time Digital Travel Storytelling Demonstration.

 

 

With any luck, we will also get our paws on the video that was shot of our presentation to share with all of you too.

 

#WeVisitEgypt ~ A Digital Egyptian Travel Tale

Courtesy of Audrey Scott & Daniel Noll of UnCornered Market

 

We are Roamancing Egypt (again)!

As some of you may be aware we launched Emme Rogers and Brie Mason into their latest digital, interactive transmedia tale this past summer, Roamancing ~  a travel tale in search of those most elusive of creatures: love and romance.  We’ve been having fun with it and for those of you that are familiar with Emme, I am sure you can imagine the silly shenanigans and characters we’ve met along the way, from being presented with a key to City of Yorkton with the fabulous Katrina German to forever bumping into a few delightfully mischievious Blues Men that have wormed their way into our hearts and our stories. With a trip to Egypt this past December to speak at the International Organisation for E-Tourism Conference in Cairo, Lori Yearwood and I decided that like many of the wonderful storytellers that we work with, it was time to weave ourself into our own tales.  I am glad we did, as I had a lot of fun telling a tale or two with Lucy Duck and the Roamancing Red Boots in Egypt, and I am proud to say I am the first of our team to have done the Roamancing strut overseas (even if I looked ridiculous in doing so).

 

Lucy prepares to enter the Mosque

 

One of the realisations from being in Cairo during demonstrations in Tahrir Square, was the impact of mainstream media images on people back home.  I was perfectly safe and having a grand time, yet perceptions from media images in North America were that Egypt was in a state of violence and chaos.  The biggest threat to me?  Too many marriage proposals.  Here are two posts I wrote on the topic, upon returning home:

It struck me that when we’ve seen images of rioting in Canada, no one worries for ones safety in still visiting the country.  That is not the case with Egypt, as the culture is so different from our own.  Yet I felt welcomed and safe in visiting Egypt and saw how damaging the media images from Tahrir Square have been to Egyptian Tourism, a major player in the Egyptian economy.

 

Hmm … Clearly the ‘flat’ aspect of the bread making was lost of me.

 

It is for this reason that we have been consulting with the Egyptian Tourism Authority on using digital storytelling to share the wonderful and exciting travel experiences that you can have in Egypt in ‘real’ time. I am also pleased to share that the Egyptian Tourism Authority has similarly been consulting with two of the wonderful digital storytellers and fellow speakers that I recently met in Cairo, Daniel Noll and Audrey Scott. Daniel and Audrey are the husband-and-wife storytelling team behind the award winning travel blog, Uncornered Market. For over five years, they have continuously travelled around the world, inspiring others to create their own life and travel experiences.

Together with Audrey and Dan, I will be heading to Egypt from April 21 – 29, 2012 with Emme Rogers, Lucy Duck, and the Roamancing Red Boots in tow to share our adventures in Egypt in ‘real’ time and demonstrate for the World Tourism Organisation (UNTWO) Conference on Media and Tourism: Partnering with the Media in Challenging Times how digital media and travel bloggers can be used to change the conversation about tourist destinations challenged by negative perceptions related to current events.  As a part of this, Dan, Audrey and I will be hosting an informal session with the Egyptian Tourism Authority at the beginning of the  Conference on Thursday April 26th, 2012 to demonstrate our #WeVisitEgypt digital storytelling campaign.

 

Audrey Scott & Daniel Noll of Uncornered Market in Cairo

 

We invite you to join us on our Digital Egyptian Adventure by following along with the hastag #WeVisitEgypt on your social networking feeds, as well as through uncorneredmarket.comroamancing.com and emmerogers.com.  Furthermore, we invite you to join us in demonstrating to Tourism how effective digital media, including social media and blogging can be in sharing a message. Here are some ways that you can become involved in the #WeVisitEgypt Campaign:

  • Share what we are doing in Egypt and the #WeVisitEgypt hashtag to your media channels;
  • Follow #WeVisitEgypt on your social networking channels and retweet content that appeals to you;
  • Interact with us on our adventure at @UMarket@Roamancing@EmmeRogers and @EricaHargreave; and
  • Share your own photos, video and blog posts from Egypt with the #WeVisitEgypt hashtag (and we will do our best to retweet them).

Thank you in advance for whatever ways you decide to join in the #WeVisitEgypt Adventure.

Best wishes,

Erica Hargreave

Happy 2012!

2011 was a year of challenges, both personally and in business.

In terms of Ahimsa Media, it was a year that saw much growth in the company in a positive way, in which Lori and I really were able to make some informed decisions on the direction we wanted to take the company.  It was also a very busy year for the company, in which we:

  • Built the social media strategy around a number of television series;
  • Managed the digital storytelling, digital audience building and social networking for 6 TV Series and Films;
  • Wrote successful funding applications for clients;
  • Taught at 3 Post-Secondary Institution across Canada, including a grad school lab;
  • Spoke around the World at film festivals and travel conferences on the digital space;
  • Launched a new transmedia travel property, Roamancing, with Emme Rogers; and
  • Sat on the Advisory Board for Merging Media and the Adhoc Advisory Board for a new Digital Program at a Post-Secondary Institution.

It even ended personally with 2 marriage proposals in 2-days, but then I guess that’s Egypt for you.

As we head into 2012, we look forward to exciting new challenges, growing as speakers around the world, building in the travel industry in addition to the fun we have with the film and television world, and of course, a little Roamancing (before long we shall have this word in everyones vocabulary, as really who doesn’t want to roamance).

 


Happy New Year everyone!  Wishing you a year of love, health, happiness and a whole of fun, wherever your adventures end up taking you.

With love and laughter from,

Erica, Lori and the rest of the Ahimsa Media gang

Burnaby Village Museum – A Storyteller’s Delight

At Ahimsa Media the winter holidays are all about relaxing and spending time laughing and having fun with the folks we love.  It is for this reason that Lori and I take a break from the pre-holiday craziness each year to laugh, be silly and shoot our holiday card together.

Erica and Lori captured on camera by Jeremy Lim, enjoying a goofy moment.

This year’s shoot was even more delightful than usual, as we were fortunate enough to shoot at Burnaby Village Museum, which is an absolutely magical place.  For two storytellers, this was a wonderful present to the senses as we were surrounded by rich stories from the history of BC .  Talk about inspirational!

If you haven’t been, you must go.  Burnaby Village Museum is a living history museum, with historic interpretors dressed in period clothing spinning tales of BC’s history.  Having worked in such environments in my teens and twenties, I can tell you I have discerning eye and am not easily impressed when it comes to interpretive sites.  Burnaby Village Museum impresses me.  It is a place of magic.

To experience a bit of the magic for yourself you can visit the Museum from noon until 8 pm each day, up until January 2nd, 2011.  Who knows you may even see Rudolph.  He was after all created there.

Burnaby Artist Denver Gillen's Illustration of Rudolph.

After that the Museum doesn’t reopen until May 2011, except for special event openings.  Hoping they host their scavenger hunt again in February and March.

New Courses for the New Year

We are pleased to be ringing in the New Year with two new Interactive Storytelling Courses for Professionals at BCIT and Capilano University.

Photo Courtesy of John Biehler

The focus of both these courses are to inspire the participants to use digital tools, such as social media, to make your online communications more engaging, build community and to learn to use storytelling elements to impart information, whether about yourself, a brand or a more traditional story, such as a novel or a television series.  We will look at the new world of transmedia storytelling and will explore the development of digital media strategies around your properties. The courses are hands-on and the goal is for participants to choose a project to focus on and build over the 8 – 10 weeks.

A review from a past student:

“Erica has the gift of making a very “technological” subject accessible and understandable for everyone… even those who are not quite up to speed yet with all the ins and outs of Social Media. Her wealth of examples and stories infuse what could be an overwhelming topic with a sense of normality and fun. Her willingness to go above and beyond when it comes to encouraging the learning process, creativity and support is highly appreciated and mark her as a very generous educator.” ~ Ina Stockhausen,  April 5, 2010

Winter 2011 Interactive Storytelling Courses:

Audiences today want to access media from multiple platforms: online, offline and on the go. Learn the art of interactive storytelling and learn how to use the tools, such as Twitter, WordPress, Flickr, YouTube, Facebook, podcasting and blogging, to tell your stories.

  • 10 Wednesday Evenings, January 12 – March 16
  • 6:30 – 10:00 pm
  • Instructor: Erica Hargreave
  • 3 Credits
  • Burnaby Campus
  • CRN: 77465
  • $349.30
  • Interactive Storytelling (A Capilano University Continuing Studies Course)

The face of media is rapidly changing. Join traditional and digital storyteller, Erica Hargreave, as she introduces you to the art of interactive storytelling and how to use tools such as Twitter, WordPress, Flicker, YouTube, Facebook, podcasting and blogging to tell your stories. Audiences want to access media from multiple platforms: online, offline and on the go. More and more audiences are demanding the ability to interact within the story, and with the characters and authors. The collective “voice” of media is changing, audiences desire a much more personal tone in what they read and interact with. This personal tone and voice extends beyond the story to the corporate brand as well. Audiences want the story behind the story, to feel that they are part of the story, the creators and the brand itself.

  • 8 Tuesday Evenings, January 25 – March 15
  • 6:30 – 9:30 pm
  • Instructor: Erica Hargreave
  • North Vancouver Campus
  • CRN: 10047
  • $329

The Vancouver Sun asks: Can Technology Improve Literacy Skills?

Last week The Vancouver Sun‘s digital life writer Gillian Shaw approached Erica Hargreave to discuss the effect technology is having on literacy skills.  An issue often discussed in the Ahimsa Media office and, it would seem, many other offices too. Gillian’s article went to press on Saturday, and it was fascinating to read the full analysis, and hear other opinions.

Gillian discusses the use of technology in our schools and the changing face of learning at home.  Many, myself included, were initially fearful, of social media’s growth, particularly amongst children and teens.  Spelling seemed to go out the window, closely followed by sentence structure and even sentences themselves.  But Erica makes a great point about twitter’s 140 character rule: “with young people having to tighten up what they say, they are learning to write very precisely, to focus on what they want to say.”

Another educational tool which I had not previously considered is the ipad, Gillian writes:  “Today’s preschoolers can read books on an iPad that brings the touch features of a traditional print book: they can flip pages and read it sitting on their laps in the back seat of the car, not only at a desktop or laptop computer. The digital version also brings enhancements, from Alice literally tumbling down the rabbit hole on the screen in Alice in Wonderland to books that read aloud and let children take part in the story creation and other features.”

Photo by Tim Bishop for Weber Shandwick Worldwide

One of the reasons we, at Ahimsa Media, love technology is the ease with which it allows us to interact with ease, and The Vancouver Sun piece reflected this.  Less than a day after publication, an email popped into our inbox, from retired news reporter Alexander Young.  He had just read the article and found us through it.  It was timely as he has recently taken his first step into personal publication by beginning a blog, and he too has been pondering the issue of literacy.

He said: “As far as faulty spelling and grammar may be concerned, the point is whether the viewers of the writer can be understood. Take a look at usage in e-mail and facebook and twitter. It’s a fright if you insist on perfect spelling and grammar. But that, as I see it, is mainly because the people, especially the younger generations, who use those avenues of expression are in a hurry, they have little time for worrying about  typos and grammatical niceties, and they comfortably use multitudes of abbreviations and graphic symbols. So cut them a little slack.”

So, as Gillian concludes that if technology is used correctly it can improve literacy.  Please enjoy the full article here: Can technology improve literacy skills? Yes, if done right.

And in true interactive style we want to hear from you, do you agree or disagree?

Back to School With Ahimsa Media – An Interactive Classroom This Fall

It never fails, since my third birthday the autumn still means it time to head back into the classroom for me, some more conventional, some a little less so.  This is probably why in my mind the year runs from September to June and the new year starts for me afresh every September.  With a life long love for learning, the autumn also bring with it a sense of readiness and anticipation.

This autumn is no different, although over the years my classrooms have changed as has my role within them.   The classroom brings two most exciting educational opportunities for me this autumn. The first is my second Interactive Storytelling Course for Industry Professionals and other adults through Capilano University’s Continuing Studies Department.  This promises to be 10 thought-provoking and inspiring Tuesday nights, in which we learn from one another and all come out of the course with the beginnings of our own online storytelling for self, business or a creative endeavour. Here’s a description of the course:

 

Interactive Storytelling (A Capilano University Continuing Studies Course)

The face of media is rapidly changing. Join traditional and digital storyteller, Erica Hargreave, as she introduces you to the art of interactive storytelling and how to use tools such as Twitter, WordPress, Flicker, YouTube, Facebook, podcasting and blogging to tell your stories. Audiences want to access media from multiple platforms: online, offline and on the go. More and more audiences are demanding the ability to interact within the story, and with the characters and authors. The collective “voice” of media is changing, audiences desire a much more personal tone in what they read and interact with. This personal tone and voice extends beyond the story to the corporate brand as well. Audiences want the story behind the story, to feel that they are part of the story, the creators and the brand itself.

  • 10 Tuesday Evenings September 21 – November 23 6:30 – 9:30 pm
  • Instructor: Erica Hargreave
  • North Vancouver
  • CRN: 30049
  • $329

The second classroom is at the Merging+Media Conference that is being hosted by CMPA. I have had the honour of being invited to sit on the Advisory Board for the Conference and will be speaking on one of the panel.  Its shaping up to be an interesting conference, exploring the worlds of transmedia and convergence and how we build stories to cross platforms. It has speakers from current transmedia projects, gaming, ARGs, technology, viral marketing and broadcast media.  Promises to be an interesting conversation.  Take a peek at the agenda.  The dates to keep open are October 28th (Masterclass) and October 29th (Conference).

Hope to see you in the classroom!

The NSI speaks to Ahimsa Media (part 2)

As promised, please enjoy installment two of Liz Hover’s NSI interview with Erica Hargreave and Susan Brinton. Here, the conversation turns to the unknown elements of applying to a brand new funding stream and our project’s future should the application be successful. Erica also takes the time to briefly discuss the funding changes within the convergent branch of the CMF. Since the podcast went live the CMF have announced an overwhelming number of applications, pushing back decision dates to October 2010.

Emme Rogers sets her sights on the CMF Experimental Stream

That means that Emme will have to wait a little longer to begin development on her travel adventures. We will keep you updated on the project’s progress as we learn more and if we forget, I’m sure Emme will shout about it all on her site.