Meet Ahimsa’s New Summer Interns!

It’s summertime again, that glorious moment when Ahimsa Media gets to pull new talent onto our team. Two new talents, actually, fresh out of the school year and willing to lend us their creative energies for the summer. Meet Ahimsa’s summer interns for 2011, Kelly Lui and Kino Zhao!

Kino and her cat, “Mister”

Kino Zhao is a 3rd-year double major in philosophy and psychology at UBC, with strong interests in social psychology, storytelling and travel. She is an avid blogger and has lived in five cities so far, beginning with Beijing and currently resides – for now – in Vancouver. Restless for new experiences and full of wanderlust, Kino enjoys hopping on the bus in new cities and going where the wind blows her. She tries – without much success, she says – to convince others how important and interesting philosophy really is. Kino’s new companion is her recently acquired car, whom she affectionately calls May.

Kelly Lui

Kelly Lui

Kelly Lui is an English Literature major at UBC considering a minor in Sociology or Creative Writing. She had her appetite  for poetry whetted this year by Milton and Marvell. She loves getting into the psychology of fairy tale characters and superheroes, and re-telling the stories with a psychological twist. She is currently working on a story about superheroes, which she hopes to turn into a graphic novel with a friend. She is a big fan of the Canucks, and anything made with potatoes. She lived in Hong Kong until she was fifteen, has been living in Vancouver since grade 10, and, like Kino, is very well-traveled.

AhimsaMedia is fortunate to have these two creatives on board for the summer. We look forward to featuring their voices on our upcoming projects. A warm welcome to Kino and Kelly!

http://www.ubc.caKelly Lui is an English Literature major considering a minor in Sociology or Creative Writing. She had her appetite for poetry whetted this year by Milton and Marvell. She loves getting into the psychology of fairy tale characters and superheroes, and re-telling the stories with a psychological twist. She is currently working on a story about superheroes, which she hopes to turn into a graphic novel with a friend. She is a big fan of the Canucks, and anything made with potatoes (thus the futile marshmallow trail). She lived in Hong Kong till she was fifteen, has been living in Vancouver since grade 10, and is very well-traveled./Kelly Lui is an English Literature major considering a minor in Sociology or Creative Writing. She had her appetite for poetry whetted this year by Milton and Marvell. She loves getting into the psychology of fairy tale characters and superheroes, and re-telling the stories with a psychological twist. She is currently working on a story about superheroes, which she hopes to turn into a graphic novel with a friend. She is a big fan of the Canucks, and anything made with potatoes (thus the futile marshmallow trail). She lived in Hong Kong till she was fifteen, has been living in Vancouver since grade 10, and is very well-traveled.

We Are Canadian!

A fine example of some brand storytelling that you can’t help but love:

[youtube zWDXE9Pbjic]

Happy Canada Day!

Some Exciting Opportunities With Paperny Films

Storytelling excites us.  We have fun with it!  It’s how we get are kicks, and as such we are pretty pleased about our latest client, Paperny Films, as they are all about stories too and are telling some entertaining ones, from foodie adventures with true to life characters like Bob Blumer to the legends of music greats like Ron Sexsmith. No issues with getting out of bed in the morning around here.

Paperny has a couple of exciting opportunities for the filmmaking community coming up, that we wanted to highlight:

Opportunities for Television Writers and Story Editors

The deadline is fast approaching for this posting.  If you have experience as a story editor or writer on Doc. Series or Doc Soap genre programs and are available to work in Vancouver, then don’t delay, get your CV and list of references in.  All the details on who Paperny is looking for can be found on Media Job Search Canada.  The application deadline is Friday February 25th, 2011.

So You Think You Can Make TV? Contest

Paperny has just launched a pretty cool opportunity for young Canadian filmmakers aged 19-30.  Basically, they are challenging young filmmakers to have fun showing off their creativity and skill by creating a 2-minute or less trailer for a lifestyle or factual series.  The Prize?  $3000 and a one month unpaid internship at Paperny Films in Vancouver.  For all the details, check out Paperny’s contest page and be sure to get your submission in by the entry deadline on April 15, 2011.

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

Launch Party 10: A Vancouver Event Not to Miss (and where to win tickets)

Back in the days when I was a children’s and educational writer for television and magazines and first exploring the digital sphere, I was incredibly fortunate to be welcomed into Vancouver’s technology scene and shown the lay of the land by a few of the early leaders in the space.  My guides and translators in the digital realm included Boris Mann, Megan Cole and the gang at Strutta.  My first encounters with the folks at Strutta were at their inaugural Launch Party, which very much became an event that help me to meet and mingle with some of the brightest minds in technology in this fine city of ours and to spark my imagination on how some of their technologies could be used in telling stories.  I’d be remiss here if I were not to mention one of the founders behind Launch Party, Maura Rodgers, who I have found to be one of the key visionaries in building Vancouver as an International Hot Spot in technology.  Not only is she a forward thinker and a believer of life long learning, but she has been incredibly giving of her time over the years and has always offered her guidance and advice when I’ve needed it.  While still involved with Strutta, Maura’s main focus these days is on Bootup Entrepreneurial Society, a community and mentor driven non-profit organization that was formed to inspire entrepreneurship in Canada and help Internet startups take their idea from conception to commercialization.  And it is this organization that now hosts Launch Party Vancouver (LPV).


Launch Party Founders – Maura Rodgers, Danny Robinson & Dimitri Sirota – at LPV3, as taken by Phillip Jeffrey.

I’m telling this story as the next Launch Party – LPV10 – is this coming week on Wednesday December 1, 2010 at 6 pm at Canvas Lounge in Gastown, and I happen to know that Emme Roger’s is giving away a pair of tickets to the event.  All you need to do is comment on her post, before 9 pm on Saturday November 27th, 2010, as to why you wish to go to LPV10 and she will stick your name in a hat and draw the name of one lucky commenter for the pair of tickets.

Regardless, as to whether you win or not, LPV10 is worth checking out, if you are already in the tech community and want to reconnect with others in the industry and check out the latest tech launches or are new to the world of technology and are there to learn and immerse yourself in the community. Just be sure to purchase your tickets before Wednesday December 1, 2010, as after that tickets jump in price.

Look forward to seeing you on Wednesday!


Liz Joins #mobilersca to Experiment with the Android Galaxy Smartphone

Love any excuse to sing the praises of our team and I am most pleased that Liz Kearsley just gave us such an excuse.

Liz has been selected to be one of Canada’s first Mob!lers!  Samsung Canada picked her and 29 other 20-somethings living in Canada to take part in a competition with their new Android Galaxy S Vibrant Smartphones. Liz and her Team Vansung will duel it out against five other teams in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver for cash and prizes, including a trip to Korea, in 4 challenges designed to experiment with transmedia with their Galaxy Smartphones.

Before the fun started, Samsung set the guys a mini challenge in Toronto which Liz’s Team Vansung won.

Mohammed Hassan-Ali

Here are Liz and her teammates:


Mohammed Hassan-Ali – @skysurfer64

Desired Superpower: To change the weather, so everyday he can avoid ever getting caught in those Vancouver downpours.


In Real Life: Grad Student studying Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology

Gyslain Lalonde

Gyslain Lalonde

Desired Superpower: Batman Wannabe

In Real Life: Server and reality TV talent


Chris McGuire

Chris McGuire @chrisonhismac

Desired Superpower: To be untouchable, yet imperceptible.

In Real Life: Web & Mobile Developer


Peter Verge

Peter Verge @peterverge

Desired Superpower: Snooping on Other’s Text Messages (a fly on the cell, if you will)

In Real Life: All Round Personality, MC and Broadcast Journalist in the making

Liz Kearsley

Liz Kearsley @LizKearsley

Desired Superpower: Information Osmosis (not surprising, as we see her similarities with an amoeba)

In Real Life: PhotoJournalist

Please help us to cheer them on in their last 4 competitions by keeping an eye on the Samsung Mobile Canada facebook page.  Go Vansung Go!

Exciting Times for Media

Times are a changing in the Media World and we are highly excited by some of the most recent evolutions.   Particularly here in Canada where the new Canadian Media Fund (CMF) has been announced bringing in an experimental element. This is a perfect opportunity for members of the digital media community to get funding and branch out, trying new projects that funds would not have previously been available for.

This is the first year such funding options have existed here in Canada and although the fund’s guidelines are still evolving, it is this open invite for submissions that we feel can allow the creative juices to follow.  The CMF are also widening their view towards the advantages of transmedia storytelling for their more traditional television fund with the convergent program.  This provides exciting opportunities for traditional media to discover new avenues with their storytelling and really have fun with the new challenges and opportunities that the changing landscape of media offers.

In keeping with the times, the Yorkton Film Festival has really embraced the idea of Interactive Storytelling, and has contracted us to help them to tell their online story.  They are rebranding their image, doing a bit of marketing for the festival and the Golden Sheaf Nominees, and acting as a case study example to festival delegates of how interactive tools can be incorporated into their stories.  Way to go Yorkton!  And thank you for inviting us along for the ride!

To follow along on the Yorkton Film Festival’s online story, check them out on:

In keeping with this model of forward thinking and moving towards the future of media, the Yorkton Film Festival is hosting some great workshops on Friday May 28th, 2010 aimed at thinking convergently, including a few with our own Erica Hargreave.  Here is what you can look forward to:

Friday May 28

  • 8.30 am – 9:00 am:  Blast Off – Social Media at the Festival, Ramada Yorkton

A look at telling the Festival’s story using social media and how filmmakers can use this to build the buzz around their productions, with Erica Hargreave.

  • 9:15 am – 10:15 am: Panasonic Workshop and Presentation, Ramada Yorkton

Panasonic Canada presents and discusses the latest Panasonic video cameras and technology, including notes and news on 3D.

  • 10:30 am – 12:00pm:  Let’s Play CanCon Convergence Roulette, Ramada Yorkton

A fun filled game show where panelists compete by trying to adapt new convergent technologies and applications to classic Canadian TV shows. Hosted by Robert Hardy. Panelists Cam Bennett, Trent Haus, Rob Bryanton, Brenton Sawatzky and Erica Hargreave.

  • 2:00 pm – 4:30 pm: Which Way To The Future? Ramada Yorkton

Spend an afternoon with some of the biggest names in the industry, as they try to make sense of and figure out where the rapidly changing screen based media industry is headed. Hosted by Richard Gustin. Panelists Cindy Witten, Daniel Cross, Norm Bolen, Valerie Creighton and Rudy Buttignol.

Saturday May 29th, 2010 at the Yorkton Film Festival hosts some always needed industry staples, putting you face-to-face with the broadcasters, talking finance and actual production, and discovering how to get your proverbial foot in the door.

Saturday May 29

  • 8:30 am – 9:00 am: Blast Off – Social Media at the Festival Part 2, Ramada Yorkton

Explore ways to use social media as a storytelling device on your projects, with Erica Hargreave.

  • 9:15 am – 10:15 am:  Now’s Your Chance, Ramada Yorkton.

Table-hopping group discussions with industry leaders, broadcasters and distributors.  Ask the questions you’ve always wanted answered.  Join industry leaders for straight talking, small group discussions.  A rare honesty that Yorkton offers, unlikely to be found at larger festivals.

  • 10:30 am – 12:00 pm: Oh, Oh! They Said Yes – Now What? Ramada Yorkton

You’ve finally pitched a project that a broadcaster/investor likes enough to make an offer. Join the panel of experts as they share insights and ideas of what has to happen in order to get the proposal into a finished project. Hosted by Joanne McDonald. Panelists Stephen Onda and Peter Raymont.

  • 1:30 pm – 3:00 pm:  My Big Break, Ramada Yorkton.

Five successful Saskatchewan film and television producers discuss their first big “success” and how they found it (or how it found them).  Hosted by Bruce Steele.  Panelists Michael Snook, Jeff Beesley, Dennis Jackson, Melanie Jackson and Anand Ramayya.

Click here to register for this year’s festival.

We hope to see you in Yorkton!

A New Classroom & Course for the New Year

Leerlingen van lagere scholen volgen op demonstratieve wijze een les op het Binnenhof / Primary school pupils stage a learn-in outside the Dutch Parliament

Photo from The Hague’s Nationaal Archief

I’m excited to be embarking on a new educational adventure this year! My new classroom will be in the Broadcast Communication Program at BCIT and the Continuing Studies Department at Capilano University.  At both schools I will be teaching Interactive Storytelling.  Not completely sure, but I do think these are two of the first Interactive Storytelling Courses at Post Secondary Institutions in Canada.

So what is Interactive Storytelling?

I define Interactive Storytelling, as storytelling across platforms of media, some of which are interactive, allowing the audience to interact with the story itself, if they so choose.

For the purposes of these classes, whilst we will be looking at examples of other forms of interactivity, such as ARGs and Gaming, the focus of the class will be on using different forms of social media (such as blogs, twitter, facebook,, flickr, podcasting..etc) to make traditional stories (such as novels, films, tv, articles, radio, plays, brands …etc) more interactive. Through the course of the class, the participants will use these social media tools to build an interactive component to a project of their own.  This can be a project that they have developed in the past, are currently working on or are just using as a tool to experiment with telling stories interactively.

Who is this course for?

Anybody who has a story to tell, whether it is that of a place, a brand, a novel, a play or a film or TV series.

Here are the details on the two courses:


Capilano University

  • Course Code: CRN 10020 – Interactive Storytelling
  • 6 week course
  • Tuesday Nights from 18:30 – 21:30 (6:30 – 9:30 pm)
  • North Shore Campus
  • March 2, 2010 – April 6, 2010
  • This is a non-credited course through Continuing Studies.



  • Course Code: BCST 1073 – Interactive Storytelling
  • 10 – 12 week course
  • 3 – 3 1/2 hours a week
  • Course Date Pending: Either April or September
  • This is a credited course through the Broadcast Communications Program, but don’t let that scare you off, as it is open to the public and you do not have to be a full time student to take it.

Also stay tuned for an Interactive Storytelling Course for Youth during the Spring Break with the Delta School District!

Emme Out & About Kissing Calendars for Dyslexia

It’s been a year now since we pushed Emme Rogers out from behind her computer screen and out into the real world, and we are proud to see her flourishing in real life as well as cyberspace.  Like any proud parents, seeing your kid making their way in this world, and in this case, truly embracing the reality of cross-platform storytelling, is rewarding to see.

"Reading is Sexy" Launch Party

Emme at the Launch of Reading is Sexy (Photographer: John Biehler)

This Saturday we will be proudly looking on as Emme makes her debut in Toronto society, kissing calendars for dyslexia!  If you are in Toronto, come and meet Emme Rogers from 1 – 3 pm, Saturday December 19th at Ben McNally Books (366 Bay Street).  You can also support The International Association of Dyslexia and promote literacy by buying a Reading is Sexy calendar.  Calendars are on special for $18 at the event or $20, if you want to kick in an extra $2 to dyslexia. Cash or cheques will be accepted.

Stick around afterwards and Emme will be heading to a pub with anyone that wants to join her.  And knowing Emme, she will buy a couple of plates of nachos and a few pitchers of beer for the table.