Winners of the first ever Transmedia Jam!!!


We had a very successful first ever Transmedia Jam and had 6 remarkable projects.

Our winner for the first Transmedia Jam:

The Tri group:


A wonderful short ARG.

Our runner up was Team Sanmich with the BagsAlive project:



Twitter: #bagsalive #bagapocalypse

Follow the story of what happens when plastic bags become alive

The third place:

Bavaria Boots:


The story of a boot on a quest. Starting in Bavaria in the 1930’s, I’ve been searching for 80+ years for the “spice of life” that will enable me to get my kingdom back from my evil uncle.



One team that also gets our Kudos:

Mobile Personality

By team phonies


IOS GAME – that gives your phone a personality!!!

Their website that goes along with the app:


Transmedia Seattle Team + Vancouver Team

Jammed remotely and kicked some Transmedia behind:)


Surreal World Seattle: A CrossPlatform Love Story


This is a story about Webbie, an obsolete web camera in the interview room of the reality show “Surreal World: Seattle”. Webbie is in love.

Transmedia: We used a web site, youtube, twitter, and Google+ for different elements of the story and characters.

Surreal World Seattle Web Site:

Youtube Channel Link:

Twitter: Follow @surrealworldsea and @soundguy4

Google+: Search for Mike Rophone

The Last Fling:

Story told through story and social samba saga writer:


Social Samba:


Jam Tips: How To Boost Your Creative Process With The 7Transmedia Families Game

Because Transmedia projects are fundamentally transdisciplinary, they can only be the result of collaborative work between several team members, who come from various backgrounds or industries and have different skills. French digital and cultural communications consultant Karine Halpern created the 7 Transmedia Families deck of cards, a brainstorming and design thinking tool meant to help teams figure out how best to leverage the skills of their team members, boost the creative process and improve the transmedia project as it’s being built. Jammers, if you’re unsure what role you can play in a team, or if you’re stuck at some point of your project building, the cards are here to help – and the TSF team as well.

TransmediaSF: what is the deck of card?

Karine Halpern: The game should help people to get “transmedia ready”, no matter what their background or skills, or specialty are. The cards are based on a real game from the 19th century in its version with 6 family members. The original British version has 4 members and the French version has 6 adding the grand parents. For the Transmedia family game, we called family members “transmedia characters” so it does make sense in the context of transmedia production. It helps to design a more open storyworld, using more platforms and ideas. The game should be used for training, creative processes, design thinking, and it works very well as a tool for coaching and evaluating a transmedia project at any stage. There are several ways it can be used it. The guidelines only work for a small group, so the idea is to hack the game and reinvent the rules each time someone wants to use it. In a way, it is a transmedia tool.

TSF: what is the vision behind this project?

KH: This project is an experiment for a research work, and I wanted other people to use it for their own work too, as an experience in shared knowledge. I shared this project with designer Cynthia Jabar (, she was a very good partner to make the game a reality. The current version is the “Prototype”, but I am expecting feedback from practitioners (or advocates) in order to modify the cards so we can iterate and move to a more scalable version of it. About 80 people around the world have a deck of the prototype already. The most obvious family is, of course, the “Storyworld” family since the story is the key element of a transmedia project. But once you have a story, what’s next? You can’t just have a story, you also need to design an experience. For me, the most important family is actually the “Communities” family. It is your fan-base and your audience. The card game is basically looking for methodologies and best practices. I wanted to show how complex a native transmedia production could be. The 7 transmedia families shows that a transmedia project is fundamentally collaborative. Nobody can work on its own, you need a combination of different expertise to produce transmedia stories and experiences. In my opinion, it is necessary to have a least one card from each family to create a transmedia project. The goal is to use the deck of cards to figure out what cards – and what expertise – you need for your transmedia project. You can start by forming an ideal native transmedia opus, and then iterate; each model is ad hoc and you will never repeat a model.

TSF: How did you come up with all the cards and transmedia characters? Is it going to evolve?

KH: Besides the ideas already mentioned, I based my research on all the stories I came across and worked on during my career working in film, media and politics, so it really is an empirical work. I met with people like Lance Weiler, visited hackerspaces, attended conferences, read blogs, tweeted about it, attended workshops and meetings on the current Open Culture movement. I drew on my experience with creative processes, methodologies and maieutics, where asking the right question leads to the right answers. For now we are just about to design a crowd-funding campaign to pay back expenses of the prototype, share insights about the business model itself, create a 2.0 version, and then an 1 app! If it works well, it should lead to a collection of cards… Some would be free and online, some will be only IRL, some will be “collectors”. People could buy their cards online, and make their own to keep improving the mapping of transmedia families as the industry matures. The cards are under the Creative Commons license. We’ll most likely change the design, improve some cards, but the tool remains the same no matter what the cards say.

TSF: Are there old media professions as well as new media professions? Are some cards new types of profession we see emerging because of transmedia?

KH: We’re definitely seeing new professions emerge, but “old” professions are actually not that old and are still needed. However, it is true that the industry is also looking for more more polyvalent professionals, so in a way it is becoming harder to have only one expertise. The idea with the 7 families is to show that a transmedia project requires very different types of expertise, so we do need to work with others collaboratively, sometimes in co-creation. However, we do have a super power. We are Fairies and Alchemists, we can create transmedia from scratch (if not a franchise) and transmedia is changing the traditional models of creation and production, in the same way it is the concept of authorship, and business models. Transmedia as such is not a consequence of the digital age, but it is now emerging as an art form of itself because of the new tools available, the potential of interactivity and of social influence.

TSF: How can it typically be used in a hackathon or workshop? What advice would you give to people who don’t yet know how to use their skills for or what role they can play in the building of a transmedia project?

KH: First of all, be free. Basic mantra : everyone is a storyteller. Optional mantra: tools and platforms are here to serve you and not the other way around. The cards are made to foster communication, to help build good teams, and boost the creative process and thinking. Based on your needs and where you are in your creative process, you can get inspired by the cards, use them to improve the experience you’re designing, to think about group dynamics … If you are stuck or lacking creativity during while creating your project, take a short break, let it go. You can use the cards to boost your imagination, take a step back, or challenge your self. Typically, you can pick a card out of the complete game and ask those basic questions:

“Do I already have this profile in my team?”
“What skills do I have that can add value to my team and to the transmedia experience we’re building?”
“Is my transmedia project too big? Too small? Can this card change anything in my creative process to reach the right balance…”
Look at all the cards now: “What do I miss the most for a good native transmedia project?”
Turn to your team: “Can you read (interpret) this card for me?”
You can also pick each card you think you already have in the current development of your project, and ask what you’re missing. For instance, if you think you are done building your Storyworld, why not take a look at the Communities Family and explpore ways in which you could improve your Storyworld to make it more open. Then, take a card in the Gameplay family and try to think about whether adding some gaming elements would enhance the experience you’re building, for instance. The cards work very well if you are going to implement into Social Samba and Conducttr. Since the TransmediaJam will focus on social media, you might think that you only need the “Communities” family, but not at all. Every family has its own qualities and characteristics to bring.

About Karine Halpern:

Karine Halpern is a digital and cultural communications consultant from Europe who has created crossmedia and transmedia content in the field of international cooperation for governmental agencies and institutions, as well as culture. She has been conducting independent experimental work since the 1990s, has made creative content through public grants, and has produced the 7 Transmedia Families, a card game for creative and design thinking and transmedia project development. She began her career in the international film and TV markets, working in production, sales, marketing and festivals. She has founded and managed nonprofit associations dedicated to cultural content and multimedia. She holds a master’s degree in Public Communication and a certificate in Cultural Mediation. Getting into a PhD on transmedia practice as an emergent form in the arts and culture. You can find her experimental writing archives via She is a speaker, now teaching, and has founded several active online and offline groups.

@KHenthuZiasm from @TransmediaReady #7TF

Jam Tips: How To Use X2TV

Marisa Jaffe is Marketing Manager at X2TV, an Rome, London and San Francisco based service to enhance engagement for live and on-demand content. X2TV will be one of the tools available for jammers to use ant the Transmedia Jam. And watch out, they’ve been working with serious folks like Vogue (demo video here). Tips right below from Marisa!

TransmediaSF: What is your platform’s super power?

Marisa Jaffe: X2TV has developed a social and reactive tool for making videos and media more engaging on any screen. X2TV’s super power is to enable millions of viewers to interact with Video, TV, Radio and Brands at a whole new level.

TSF: What is challenging about it?

MJ: The work flow process can take some getting used to. It’s a flow that involves adding new frames, dragging and dropping a background on to those frames, dragging and dropping icons and assigning actions to those icons, then adding the frames back into the timeline. Repeat! It takes some getting used to but like riding a bike, once you’ve got it – you’ve got it!

TSF: Can you give us a transmedia piece that you think is a great example of best practice for using X2TV?

MJ: Combining radio, social media, news and iTunes X2TV for RDS, a radio station in Italy, proves there’s much more to a radio station than listening.

TSF: What are relevant criteria to assess the work of a project using X2TV?

MJ: A diverse ratio of types of content (pop-ups, overlays) and appropriate interactivity, what did the viewer learn from the X2TV interactive elements.

TSF: Do jammers need any skills to use X2TV?

MJ: No. Although HTML always helps. X2TV studio is very get up and go. Once you’ve go the hang of it, it’s a breeze.

TSF: Any tips or secret trick you would want to give to our jammers about using X2TV?

MJ: Be creative! The best and coolest part about X2TV is stretching the limits of the technology to make it work for you! And – be careful not to use TOO many icons. It makes the viewer longer than expected to sort through any information you throw at them.


Jam Tips: How To Use Conducttr

As in most hackathons or creatathons, the Transmedia Jam will give guidelines and challenges to participants. Since this first jam will be focusing on social media, we picked two awesome platforms that enable transmedia producers to build, monitor and power their story or specific narratives within the story: Social Samba and Conducttr. Each team will have to pick one of those two platforms and use it in their story projects. Conducttr creator Robert Pratten shares a few tips and best practices about what he calls a “pervasive entertainment platform.” – Jammers, read carefully!

TransmediaSF: What is your platform’s super power?

Robert Pratten: It allows to create connected, personalized experiences across social media, email, SMS and more.

TSF: What is challenging about it?

RP: Understanding the concepts of participatory storytelling

TSF: Can you give us a transmedia project that you think is an example of best practice for using Conducttr?

RP: I’m not sure it is an example of best practice per se, but an interesting project that used Conducttr is the Lowlifes murder mystery.

TSF: What are relevant criteria to assess the work of a team using Conducttr?

RP: They are good stories that either personalize the experience for different people based on their interaction with the storyworld, or have a branching narrative based on community behaviors.

TSF: Do jammers need any skills to use Conducttr?

RP: It does helps to understand the 3 act structure of stories and/or have a rudimentary grasp of basic logic. For instance, “if the audience asks for fruit, give them apples; if they ask for vegetarian, give them cabbage, etc.”

TSF: Any tips or secret trick you would want to give to our jammers about using Conducttr?

RP: Think of a story that would be interesting without any interactivity or transmedia. Think how you might make it more surprising or engaging with interactivity. Think how you’ll personalize the story based on someone’s interaction… Now you’re ready to begin with Conducttr!

#Conducttr from @tStoryteller

Jam Tips : How To Use Social Samba

As in most hackathons or creatathons, the Transmedia Jam will give guidelines and challenges to participants. Since this first jam will be focusing on social media, we picked two awesome platforms that enable transmedia producers to build, monitor and power their story or specific narratives within the story: Social Samba and Conducttr. Each team will have to pick one of those two platforms and use it in their story projects. Today, Social Samba co-founder and CEO Aaron Williams shares a few tips and best practices concerning the social storytelling tool. 

TransmediaSFWhat is your platform’s super power?

AW: We’re a dual threat – deep story engagement & massive fan reach! We enable storytellers to put characters into social networks, and script their interactions with fans. We play that script back for each fan when they want the story, which gives them a very deep connection to the characters: they call each fan by their name and let them decide how the story unfolds. It also gives the storyteller the opportunity to reach millions of fans since we play the story for each fan when they want it.

TSF: What is challenging about it?

AW: The biggest challenge is thinking through how a multi-path story – like a choose your own adventure book – should play out for your narrative. The different paths open up some exciting new ways to engage fans in personalized experiences, but it’s not as “simple” as writing a linear story.

TSF: Can you give us a transmedia project that you think is an example of best practice for using Social Samba?

AW: I’ll share two examples: A Pokemon parody and a Fake Mitt Romney page with stories about Mitt and his buddies. The first is a simple case of what we do – a branded and skinned story. The second is a more complete case where we can work with the teams to create a full character page and timeline, and embed the social stories as a tab in the page.

TSF: What are relevant criteria to assess the work of a team using Social Samba?

AW: I would look at how they engaged fans across the two “super powers”: did they get a deep engagement by making the story personal to each reader? Did they offer good choices for the fan to make, and create rewards for making the “right” choices? Did they script a story that can scale to be experienced by millions of fans, not something that requires “real-time” engagement?

TSF: Do jammers need any skills to use Social Samba?

AW: No, our SagaWriter tool is very easy to use, and we’re currently seeing 5-15 new stories created a day now from random fans who get no training from us – just the video tutorials we have on the site. We also have a more complex CMS on the back end that we’re happy to give teams access to, if they want it.  We can them a demo of the CMS over screen share, and set them loose if the story they want to tell is more complex than SagaWriter can handle. The Pokemon example above was written using CMS, by a fan, so even the CMS isn’t very complicated.

TSF: Any tips or secret trick you would want to give to our jammers about using Social Samba?

AW: Our platform can also script out SMS messages as part of the story. So, if a team is interested in creating a story that requires mobile interaction, we’re happy to show them how to add in SMS messages from the characters to the fans.


“You Have To Create An Experience That Is Native To The Social Channel You’re Creating It For”

Frank Marquardt is Director of Content Strategy at The Barbarian Group, a digital-centric creative agency.

In this second interview of our “How To Make Transmedia Jam” series, Frank shares his views on transmedia storytelling, and a few tips on social media.

Transmedia SF: How is transmedia important and interesting to you and The Barbarian Group?

Frank Marquardt: We live in a transmedia world. Storytelling doesn’t take place via a single channel. Brands are on YouTube, they’re on Facebook, they’re on Twitter, they’re on Pinterest. They’re telling stories through video, and blogs, and Instagram photos, and Tweets. Our job is help them tell that story, to make sure that story’s relevant to their audiences on each channel, through the content they’re creating and curating. As a digital-centric creative agency, we are necessarily in the transmedia business.

TSF: Can you give us an example of work from The Barbarian group you consider to be transmedia?

FM: With GE, for a campaign called “GE Works,” we’ve been helping tell a story of GE’s work across multiple platforms. On, we tell the story of GE’s work through data and video through regularly updated stories. Through Instagram and Tumblr, we are showing beautiful photography from inside its research labs. The GE Show tells stories about how its products work, how they’re made, and how they make lives better through interactive games, video, and visualizations. In Louisville, we put LED displays on the sides of GE factories with video content from inside the factory, showing what happens inside the facility and fostering pride in GE’s work. By using a variety of media and platforms, we’re able to communicate what GE is doing and why it matters in beautiful, unexpected ways.

TSF: What do you think transmedia brings to traditional marketing/advertising?

FM: I don’t speak traditional marketing/advertising. What I can say is that transmedia is how we are telling stories today. Entrepreneurs keep inventing new platforms and tools to tell these stories, and we’re at the very beginning of learning how to use them meaningful, and it’s going to be a lot of fun to see how we apply transmedia to our creations in the years to come.

TSF: Our jammers will have to build a story based on social media. Any advice to give them about how to use social media in a transmedia project?

FM: My primary advice is to create an experience that’s native to the social channel you’re creating it for. Each social channel invites a different type of engagement, and it’s important to honor what the channel is and how people are using it.

TSF: If you had to pick one social media platform as a starting point for a campaign, which would it be?

FM: To me, that is always going to depend on the problem I’m trying to solve, the things that need to be communicated, the context for the campaign. They’re all so different. I don’t have a one-size-fits all answer.

TSF: What is the most challenging aspect of social media as being part of a story?

FM: It requires a lot of care and feeding. You need a plan upfront for what you’re going to do, then you need to engage and stay engaged. For a lot of us, that’s the fun of it, but it requires thoughtful preparation, persistence, and commitment.


“The Biggest Challenge For a Transmedia Hackathon is Scope”

Mike Knowlton is the co-founder of StoryCode Inc. and organizer of New York City’s Story Hack: BetaToday Mike looks back at this event to help our jammers prepare for San Francisco’s Transmedia Jam with insightful best practices and cool tips. Learn from the best!

Transmedia SF: You organized Story Hack: Beta in New York. How did the event go?

Mike Knowlton: The event was really amazing. We had never seen anything like this done before and we believe that for this kind of immersive storytelling to take its place in the mainstream, we all need to create it deliberately, not accidentally or as a side product of something more “important”. So we borrowed something that works really well in the tech space: the hackathon. The “hack” culture doesn’t exist in the entertainment space but we really felt it was applicable. It was really interesting seeing how the teams worked together – most were comprised of a designer/filmmaker, developer, dramatist/live theater creator, and producer. There was also a lot of excitement about the event at Film Society Lincoln Center and within the larger tech community. We had technologies that were not typically considered to be storytelling tools jumping at the opportunity to participate.

TSF: What were the most successful projects and why?

MK: Our event was capped with a “demo days” presentation event at the end of the weekend of hacking. At this event all the teams presented their story hacks. Projects with a strong live component seemed to resonate best with the audience and judges. The winning team was comprised of a number of folks with a lot of interactive theater experience and their project/presentation included puppets and was quite dramatic and engaging. Another team added an additional challenge to themselves and decided to only use animated GIFs as opposed to videos. The result was really awesome. A number of other projects had a strong film/video component to them. Overall the most successful projects were the most original and immersive. When presenting your project, don’t “tell a story about your story”, just tell your story and engage the audience accordingly.

TSF: What challenges do people come across when participating in a transmedia hackathon?

MK: Well first off there is SLEEP (or lack thereof). Our Story Hack: Beta was 30 hours straight-through…so there were many bleary eyes (mine included).  The biggest challenge for a transmedia hackathon is SCOPE – defining it, and making it achievable in the limited time you have. Of course the STORY needs to be there, but since this is an event with a very finite timeframe, I found that clearly establishing the SCOPE of your project was one of the biggest challenges. Then after teams started, the next big challenge was knowing when to CUT BAIT. One of the best pieces of advice one of the mentors (Mark Harris – @megamarkharris) gave was at 6pm on the first day, where he basically said if you don’t know the tech you are using and have a working prototype of it, you really need to consider cutting it, or scaling it back significantly. Teams also ran into a few tech “gotchas” like server permissions etc… so it really helped to have a hovering technologist around to help out each team with these simple things. As with any project that has a strong technology component, your developer(s) are key to its success.

TSF: DOs and DON’Ts of the transmedia jammer – What to do and what not to do at a hackathon that focuses on stories and technology?  

MK: DOs – have fun, stay calm and keep an open mind. These events are about learning new skills, honing existing ones, and making new partnerships. Focus on a compelling story and keep the scope of your project to an executable level. DON’Ts – don’t drink 5 red bulls…you’ll start to shake. Trust me, I know. Seriously though, don’t overbuild, these are prototypes of sorts, so get it to work and then move on to the next component. These events are all about time pressures, so plan accordingly.

TSF: What is the secret ingredient to a good transmedia project?

MK: A great STORY. It sounds so simple, yet is so hard to achieve. Your story is the key and again I would recommend you focus on a story that is clear and fairly easy to understand. We gave our teams 15 minutes to present their Story Hacks, so you can imagine that within those time constraints it was imperative to tell a simple and well constructed story that the audience/users could “digest” easily.

TSF: Any other advice to give to our jammers?

MK: Have fun! What a great experience. I was part of the team putting our event on, but I really wanted to be a participant (maybe next time). Use this as an opportunity to prototype a story or work within a technology you are thinking of using on a future project. These types of events provide a great testing ground for story ideas or platform executions you are thinking about – so just do it, create something and then iterate on it after the event.