‘Tis The Season-For Back To School!

As summer winds to a close, it’s time to gear up for another school year.  We would like to offer  some helpful advice to make the most efficient use of the time you have to prepare.  The whole family needs work and play together to make the mental and physical adjustment successful.

Yes...It IS that time again!

Yes…It IS that time again! (photo by Quinn Dombrowski)

Begin by slowly moving your sleep and wake schedule closer to that which will be required during the school year.  You don’t want that first early morning to be a shocker!

Play some family games that require thinking.  Fall back on the oldies, but goodies: Pictionary, Charades, Scattegories and trivia related games.  A new personal favourite of ours is Snake Oil, a very creative game that builds strong communication skills.

If your children have not been doing any academic work throughout the summer, it would be a good idea to print out some cummulatative review worksheets from the grade level they just completed.  Have them begin to write compositions by providing purpose driven topics.  For example, ‘Write a review of all the television shows you watched this summer, or video games you played’,  ‘Review and recommend different phone apps’.

In order to avoid last minute stress, start organizing school materials now.  For once, take the time to find out which markers are dried out and which pens no longer work! Start planning for those dreaded daily lunches and experiment to find different options with ‘summer taste tests.’

If your child is a school-age actor, plan to have a meeting with his/her teacher within the first week of school.  Gather the teacher’s contact information and decide on a mutual policy for missing school.  This will save you time when your child books a role.  We recommend creating a set kit that is always ready to go.  Be sure to pack paper, pencils and other miscellaneous school supplies.  Days on set can be long so we suggest  including a good book and educational games.  A mini version of your set kit can be made to take along on auditions.

At Ahimsa Media we are always available to help you with transitions between home, school and set.  We hope everyone has had incredible summers and that all of our past and future students have a successful school year.

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!

Brands Can Be Storytellers too!

A common misconception that we encounter with people when we tell them that we are interactive storytellers is that we create dynamic stories for children or that we strictly work with traditional stories in the form of books, movies, television series and films to make their stories more dynamic and interactive.  This is a myth (although we do  indeed work with traditional stories to make them more interactive, but our stories are not limited to traditional stories).

Storytelling is an age old art and tradition that allows us to pass on information in a manner that will be remembered.  The most powerful ad campaigns build a story around their product or company.  Similarly the most powerful political campaigns or actors have been adept at building stories around themselves.  This is what creates brands that people remember.  It doesn’t matter how old we get, everybody loves a good story and if you can create one around your brand, people will remember you.  Dove for example was brilliant in the building of ad campaigns that made them synonymous with embracing the real female body in all of it’s curves.

Photo by Selca Morales

Photo by Selca Morales

Now when we talk interactive storytelling, we are simply referring to making your story more dynamic and allowing your audience or customers to become a part of your story by interacting within it.  Storytellers have done this for ages with dance, sound effects, song and costumes, when they have their audience present.  The beauty of technology and the age of social media is we can now allow our audience to become a part of our story, even if they are not in the same room as us, the same city, the same country, or even the same hemisphere.

Photo by Rusty Stewart

Photo by Rusty Stewart

To explore interactive brand storytelling some more, join me (Erica Hargreave) for a Back to School with Kontent workshop tomorrow (Tuesday September 1st) evening on Creating Interactive Brand Stories.

Back to School With Kontent

Summer is winding down, and with it my days of zaniness.  Time to buckle down to more serious matters, like interactive storytelling!

Excited to be a part of Kontent Creative’s Summer School with a workshop on Interactive Brand Storytelling:

Creating Interactive Brand Stories

Tuesday, September 1, 2009 at 7pm – 9pm

No matter how many new technologies and forms of media we invent, the most powerful form of communication will always be the most ancient, the art of storytelling.  The beauty of these new technologies and forms of media is that they are vehicles for stories that allow us to tell them in new ways and spread them to new audiences. They also allow our audience to interact within the story itself, allowing them to feel a part of it.

Often we think of stories as medium strictly for entertainment sake.  The reality is that we are all storytellers, telling our own stories, that of a company or a brand, or those of the culture in which we live.  The trick is recognizing what our story is and learning how best to tell it.

In this workshop, we look at examples of brand storytelling, identify what others stories are and how they are using the online space and social media to tell their brand’s story and engage with their audience.  Just like the stories online, this workshop will be interactive and we will be doing some story building of our own.

Click here to register.

So what do you think –  should I go with my summer look:

…or move on to the autumn wardrobe?