Screen Australia: How to write a transmedia production bible

Screen Australia: How to write a transmedia production bible free pdf ebook was written by Gary P Hayes on July 26, 2011 consist of 20 page(s). The pdf file is provided by www.screenaustralia.gov.au and available on pdfpedia since April 20, 2012.

how to write a transmedia production bible a template for multi-platform producers by gary p hayes 1 introduction this..be repetitive but should reflect a different perspective and specialisation on..for guidance only, and the included diagrams are intentionally simplistic to...

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Screen Australia: How to write a transmedia production bible pdf




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Screen Australia: How to write a transmedia production bible - page 1
HOW TO WRITE A TRANSMEDIA PRODUCTION BIBLE A template for multi-platform producers By GARY P HAYES 1
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Screen Australia: How to write a transmedia production bible - page 2
INTRODUCTION This document is intended to provide a useful, best-practice guide to the thinking, planning, documentation and supporting materials required when developing a property across multiple media platforms. It is predominantly aimed at the producers of such projects, who have responsibility for the overall direction of all key areas, and should inform the input they need from their various multi-disciplinary team members. The bible that this document will guide you towards is not a production bible in the traditional sense – a format document for franchising a TV property into other markets – but rather a catch-all that covers key components of a complex multi-platform service. Your bible may be extended to a full production reference document as the sections it contains become more detailed. Some sections across each ‘chapter’ may appear to be repetitive but should reflect a different perspective and specialisation on common areas of the project. The Transmedia Production Bible is primarily a document that captures key story and design IP elements, rules of engagement, functionality and technical issues across multiple platforms, and an overview of the business/marketing plan. Each of the five main sections requires specialist members of the project team to be responsible for its development as the service goes from conception to production and the document becomes a fully detailed production bible. You don’t necessarily need to follow this structure precisely as the final format will depend on the range of content, scope and scale of your proposition – the amount of story, technical complexity, business elements or design thinking, etc. The suggested length of each section is for guidance only, and the included diagrams are intentionally simplistic to encourage your own interpretations. Template written non-exclusively by Gary P Hayes as a blueprint guide for multi-platform producers. July 2011. 2
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CONTENTS INTRODUCTION. ............................................................................................... 2 . TREATMENT........................................................................................................ 4 Tagline.................................................................................................................. 4 Back story and context .......................................................................................................4 Synopsis ..................................................................................................................................4 Plot points............................................................................................................................... 5 Characterisation and attitude ........................................................................................... 5 Scripts ...................................................................................................................................... 5 User-centric scenarios........................................................................................................ 5 FUNCTIONAL.SPECIFICATION...................................................................... 6 Multi-platform form............................................................................................................. 6 Rules of engagement .......................................................................................................... 7 Platforms and channels ..................................................................................................... 7 Service build overview ........................................................................................................ 7 User journey ........................................................................................................................... 8 Key events .............................................................................................................................. 9 Timelines................................................................................................................................. 9 Interface and branding....................................................................................................... 9 DESIGN.SPECIFICATION.............................................................................. 10 Design aesthetic .................................................................................................................10 Branding and design guidelines introduction .............................................................10 Storyboard ............................................................................................................................10 Wireframes ........................................................................................................................... 11 Style guide, colour and font specs ................................................................................12 Media design styles ...........................................................................................................12 Full assets list .....................................................................................................................12 TECHNOLOGY.SPECIFICATION.................................................................... 13 Technology platform vision .............................................................................................13 System architecture ..........................................................................................................13 Underlying magic in the technology .............................................................................14 Service build infrastructure ............................................................................................14 Device methodology ..........................................................................................................14 User management .............................................................................................................15 Content management, back-end and server .............................................................15 Coding and builds ...............................................................................................................15 Quality assurance testing ................................................................................................15 BUSINESS.&.MARKETING............................................................................. 16 Goals ......................................................................................................................................16 Success indicators .............................................................................................................17 User need ..............................................................................................................................17 Target audience and marketing .....................................................................................17 Business models.................................................................................................................18 Projections, budgeting and timelines ...........................................................................18 Production team .................................................................................................................19 Status and next steps .......................................................................................................20 Copyright, IP & licensing .................................................................................................20 Summary and calls to action ..........................................................................................20
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01. This opening chapter introduces the story world driving the multi-platform service. It is a story-centric overview, and will reveal the key narrative and/or service arcs in simple language, making the context of the service clear. The focus should be on describing an engaging story or experience (if the service is more utility or documentary-focused). It should not introduce any explicit design, functional or technical elements. At the end it should introduce a range of user scenarios as routes or journeys through the story world, making simple references to platforms. The treatment should comprise the following sub sections, which are described in more detail below: + . + . + . + . + . + . + . Tagline Back.story.and.context Synopsis Plot.points Characterisation.and.attitude Scripts User-centric.scenarios TREATMENT Tagline A tagline is a single-line hook that ‘teases’ the reader about what the service will achieve, or what questions it raises, from an experiential point of view. The best taglines for user-centric services include the user as ‘you’; for example, “How will you save planet Orgon from Humans?”, “Your journey into the mind & body of a refugee” or “Uncovering the truth behind Australia’s biggest secret, and you’re the detective.” 1.or.2.lines Back story and context This will describe the environment in which your service exists. For a story universe, it will cover historical context, preceding narrative and/or the general mythology. Services that have less story elements will talk about it as an experience, including competitor landscapes, consumer markets, and/ or technology trends. It will set the foundation and scene for the rest of the treatment section by bringing the reader of the document into the realm of the service. It can be enhanced with one or two scene-setting mood images or actual interfaces to entice the reader. Approximately.1.page Synopsis This is an outline of the ‘actual’ project or service being produced, describing how the story elements or experience unfold over time. It will clearly define the story environment, as a self-contained world, and concentrate on the narrative threads, introducing key characters or specific functions. As a story-focused subsection, it need only hint at the role of each platform, acting instead as a synopsis for the multi-platform service as a whole. However, it needs to be clear how and why the different platforms work with different aspects of the story or utility. The synopsis doesn’t need to be rigid in its chronology, as that will come later. 1–2.pages. 4
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01. Plot points Most multi-platform projects will play out as a sequence of events as the service evolves over time. To aid understanding by third parties, a numbered list of how the service is launched in phases and sub-elements is very useful. Therefore it is valuable to include a list of key story-centric elements or plot points as they are released and that encapsulate the narrative arc and/or user experience in sequence. 10–20.lines Characterisation and attitude This section will describe specific characters or key personalities in the show, game or main story. It provides the human element, looking at fictional protagonists and their roles, and how they could perhaps be represented in social media or on fictional websites. It will also refer to biographical information; insights into real people and specific roles users may be required to take on. Even a multi-platform service that is not story-centric will mention the style of the instruction, guides and overall attitude of the experience. Approximately.1.page Scripts Examples of script writing are recommended, but the amount required for your bible will depend on what stage the project is at, with less required at early development. Whether it is five to ten lines of a social media exchange, a full-page script for a web video, or copy for a faux website, it is illustrative supporting material for the story world. This section should clearly list where pre-written material will be required to inform the rest of the document. At.least.an.initial.1–2.pages User-centric scenarios User-centric design begins by understanding typical users of your multi- platform project to such an extent that you can visualise them using it. This section will focus on three or four hypothetical and individual users, defined psychographically http://bit.ly/lCkv86, and describe at high level their chronological and individual routes through the service. It will highlight their particular lifestyles, and how the project is relevant to them. It will clearly state their points of entry (POEs) into the service, and elements that will motivate and call them to action. These ‘colourful’, textual descriptions will be used later to map out a global user journey. Approximately.1.paragraph.per.user 5
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FUNCTIONAL SPECIFICATION This chapter covers how the service actually works. The functional specification is a detailed description of the user experience and interface elements as a service architecture at a relatively high level, and builds a more rigid structure around the story or service treatment preceding it. Often written by the producer and experience designer together, it is the bridging section between story and the design/technical elements, and therefore is the centrepiece of the bible, linking to all other chapters. The functional specification chapter would include the following sections: + . + . + . + . + . + . + . Multi-platform.form Rules.of.engagement Platforms.and.channels Service.build.overview User.journey Key.events Timelines 02. Multi-platform form This is a catch-all format label and/or precise list of elements that defines what the service ‘actually’ is from a multiple platform perspective. Every multi- platform project can be described in a few words as a form, often made out of several sub-forms. Here are some examples of the components that may be a part of the service, and thereby indicate the form: 1. 2. 3. 4. Webisode: audio or video content delivered as a developing fictional or social series. Often called podcasts, vodcasts or mobisodes. Community Hub: a connected service site dedicated to growing and managing a community of interest around a property. Games – Casual: easy to pick-up, dip in and out games, from single player to massively multiplayer. Physical Installation: any project that is rooted in or focused around a fixed physical interactive build such as an interactive kiosk or sound installation. The interaction is often event-driven such as projection mapping at festivals. Social Film or Social TV: a hybrid project combining social media and connected linear video elements. Games – Serious: games that specifically put the user into real world scenarios to fulfill a range of objectives, or that use game mechanics but have an underlying educative intention. Location-based Service: telling stories, running services or game- play in defined, geo-cached, relatively large areas, layering digital elements over the real world using GPS systems or markers. Social Media Storytelling: using a range of existing social network channels to deliver fictional or factual narrative. Games – 3D Worlds: goal-driven game formats with high production values and extended narratives. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. Social Virtual Worlds: a virtual shared space where the key intention is to allow users to socialise and create their own stories often around a shared theme; different from goal-orientated games. 11. One-way websites: an obvious category, the infamous static brochure website that can be used commercially or as part of a fictional narrative. Although terminology varies across the digital industry, it is critical that the production bible for the service describes exactly ‘what it is’ from a functional form perspective. This section will also cover any special features or variations from the core components, as well as any unique mash-ups or combinations of elements. 1/2.–.1.page + . Interface.and.branding 6
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02. Rules of engagement This section covers high-level ‘interface’ and usability aspects of the service from a user perspective. In essence, it should paint a hands-on picture of the experience, including what users will be confronted with, what they can expect to have to agree to and challenges they will face. Depending on the form, the areas covered here will include first stages of level design, game mechanics, user contribution, subscription, API (Application Programming Interface) links with other services (eg Facebook Connect), privacy of data, user communication, and terms and conditions. 1–2.pages Platforms and channels Drilling down further, this section will list each platform and a likely range of channels or services on those platforms, covering at a high level what the content will be on each. For example, if the platform is a generic smart-phone, the range of channels used on that particular platform might include (a) generic SMS (b) a cross-mobile OS (operating system) bespoke-built app, and (c) a QR (quick response) pattern-based app. This section will document all channels as a reference point for the rest of the production bible, and is likely to be updated regularly throughout development and production. 1.page,.probably.tabulated Service build overview This section provides further details of each of the channels identified above, in approximately one paragraph each, to clarify exactly what needs to be created. Each component will either require a specific build or, if using existing open services such as YouTube and Twitter, a description of what content will be produced for those. These can be represented in a simple block diagram, so that the scope of production is clearly evident. 1.paragraph.per.item PROJECT WEB BUILDS Project X Hub Web Site Project X Character Web Site Project X Web Flash Game EXISTING RESOURCES AND OTHER SERVICES Project X Google Earth Layer Project X Facebook Page Project X 5 Twitter Accounts Project X 6 Youtube Videos PROJECT NON-WEB BASED BUILDS Project X iPhone & iPad App Project X Android App Project X Pop-up Book Project X Rail Station Posters 7
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02. User journey This is primarily a diagram with accompanying notes, which figuratively demonstrates a range of routes through the service as a multi-channel / multi- platform experience, and echoes the user-centric user journey in the treatment section above. With time mapped on the X axis, and channel or platform on the Y axis, it provides a clear idea of dependencies and bridges between each component serving to highlight any issues with points of entry, calls to action (CTAs), or service exits. The text in each box should be used as a reference to a more detailed description of each component in a numbered list in the Key events section (see below). For projects launched all at the same time, such as a website or mobile app, this section should show from a UX (user experience) perspective the route users may take through each individual element of the service. Here is a basic example of a user journey through a ‘detective’ style pervasive game-like service: 1.landscape.page.per.diagram.(possibly.multiple.diagrams) Simple User Journey facebook auto update user status clue 1 reveal facebook profile youtube viral ad as TV tease url character video call for help character 2 video has evidence twitter auto update user status user update tweet to revealed character CHANNEL show on TV promo station posters contain qr codes 4SQ checkin local cafe to get problem clue 1 mobile real world qr app scan for url sms’s 5 calls help book club 1 reveal pages of book hub site games subscription asks for mobile number, twitter etc tv/film viral ad local TV lease url 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1st TV episode club 1 embed 9 10 11 12 TIMELINE OF EXPERIENCE DAYS ©© Gary P Hayes 2011 www.personalizemedia.com 8
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02. Key events Essentially this is a key to the user journey chart above as a narrative description of elements, numbered in the chart. It will highlight the CTAs of each key event, detailing those triggers that will motivate the user through the service and/or across platforms, referring to how each fits into the context of the overall narrative. Depending on the complexity of the service, the user journey chart and key events, this may be split into chapters, seasons or weekly blocks. The level of detail required will depend on the status of production and purpose of the bible. 1–2.pages Timelines This is a short section combining the channels that need to be created (identified above), with a chronology of when they are required (as dictated by the user journey and key events). It will talk from a practical production perspective at reasonably high level about what needs to be in place in order to launch and progress the user journey through the key events. It should cover basic resource issues, top level numbers of people, and likely testing required. It can refer to specific dates and include traditional project management Gantt charts. 2.pages Interface and branding This section introduces, from a functional perspective, how dynamic elements such as branding or advertising may fit within and change across the service. It will contain guidelines for how the branding will integrate with the ‘story’, and a simple description of potential unique elements of the interface, including the thinking behind UI (user interface) and how this influences the design planning. 1/2.–.1.page 9
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DESIGN SPECIFICATION This chapter provides an overview of the ‘look & feel’ of the visual and audio elements, much more detailed design components, branding guidelines, wireframes, style guides, fully mocked-up interfaces, and so on. It will add colour by visualising the story and functional components and as far as possible show finished designs for the service for each platform and channel. Sections would include: + . Design.aesthetic + . . randing.and.design. B guidelines.introduction + . Storyboard + . Wireframes + . . tyle.guide,.colour.. S and.font.specs + . Media.design.styles + . Full.assets.list 03. Design aesthetic This section sets out the overall vision behind the design. Similar to the art direction in linear film and TV, it will describe and portray the environments and scenes from the story. For both fiction and utility services, this will include interface design, comparing and contrasting with existing projects, and clearly showing points of difference. It can also be extended with mood board examples illustrating the evolution of the design process. 1–2.pages Branding and design guidelines introduction This is a treatment and design style guide describing the thinking behind the branding of the property across platforms. It will cover aspects such as logo design and, where logos and other branding elements appear across channels, may have precise coordinate charts for each platform. It will also introduce the first sight of key interfaces for the service as mock-ups and ‘look & feel’ diagrams. 1.page.text,.2–3.pages.interface.design.mockups Storyboard This will be a designed walk-though of each of the platforms as a sequence of rendered interface windows, perhaps showing four or five key frames of each, to give a clear sense of the UI on that platform. Each frame will be described with a line or two covering how the menu, navigation, functional boxes, etc, will work. This is one of the key sections of the whole bible, and links to the user journey charts above, so the production team has a strong idea of how the platforms link as a whole. The storyboards can be as detailed as required depending on the status of development. If the bible is still functioning as a planning document then the storyboard can be limited to suggestive wireframes, but just prior to or during build the storyboard may actually advance to screen shots of work in progress. Planning.2–3.pages./.Pre-production.8+.pages 10
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