Creative Digital Lab NYC: Steps into 2015-2016

The « French-American Digital Lab // Connecting Cultures » is a creative lab and an economic development program for startups and content creators of the cultural sector. The 2015 inaugural theme is narration, aka storytelling, transmedia, digital media, games, journalism & publishing. En français – Presse en ligne : Usine Digitale  –  Maddyness 

This post is in the « Transmedia Diaries » category of my writing, really, I cannot totally divide the professional from the personal, the two are intertwined for too long and what happened in 2015 was pretty intense, on both sides. Let’s share some aspects of it.

The #ParisAttack happened just after I have arrived on 84th street, Manhattan, New York City, where I lived when I was in my twenties studying Film and Media at CUNY. 25 years later, going back to a beloved place and beloved people, I’m getting not only so much compassion from the New Yorkers about the emergency state in France (let’s be clear, call it « war »), but I also get attention of my peers with the participation of Transmedia Ready to the 1st « French American Digital Lab // Connecting Cultures »(*) organised by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the USA. We are among the 10 French startups of the lab, > here is the press release.

#Gratitude to all speakers and organisers! It was intense, rich, useful, and it does leave a good track of progress. The main target was the #Museums, but I did so much more than experiencing my transmedia concept to the world of culture. It’s a long « yellow bricks road » to arrive in Manhattan bridging NYC and my other home town on the French Riviera. A teenager dream being realised with my heart and the « Network of Networks ». All came into place, in one year. To celebrate 2015 and close the 1st half of a century of my personal life, here is a small pix album > LINK.

But what else in the Transmedia Ready Renaissance?

After processing several proofs of concept for the « 7 Transmedia Families » coaching tool and card game (the prototype is on PINTEREST), I took the non profit organisation Transmedia Ready to a new level and beginning. Moving to the South of France, putting in place new partnerships, starting concrete projects to implement my methodology, reaching the scope of the universe I was planning, including praxis and research, opening to new talent, fairies and alchimists. Sophia Antipolis, in Antibes, France, is a tiny « Silicon Valley » where we can have it all in terms of technology, research, cross culture and creativity. We work in English, we are 20mn away from Nice international airport, it is 15mn away from Cannes (by the way, another home town of mine…). Every day we work and skype in between the Med sea and the Alps.

I found out that being a pioneer is hard and painful. I had many losses, besides some successes. What cannot be accomplished because of the lack of understanding, coherence, trust and finance, needs time to get everyone prepared for the move, the change, the synchronicity. The move has come. It is smooth. People do get transmedia ready, slowly, and parasites disappear, vampires get tired and toxic practices and people get discovered. Transmedia is socio-cultural, therefore there is a political bond to it, it is related to the Participatory Culture. Therefore it can only succeed in trans-parency! Transmedia understanding is related to what the societies are going through in terms of changes. It is not entertainment, or gaming, or marketing, or technology, it is all of the above, BUT more. It is a communicational mode and behaviour. It is a phenomenon, as mentor and transmedia alchimist Brian Clark would put it. (You can support the Brian Clark Fund >

I have a pretty political viewpoint for co-creation. Therefore I have targeted pretty large communities and tough topics. The more difficulties, the more you need the peers. The bigger the budget, the better is the work to convince the stake holders. It works like in the business of films, which is where I was trained. Please understand that some details cannot be shared here for strategic reasons, but here are some clues.

After 5 years of advocacy for transmedia as a transdisciplinary art form, we can now get into the motion of transmedia practice that is more socio-cultural, community focused, carrying out integrity and transparency, less critiqued, maybe. In order to accomplish a transmedia campaign or creation, one needs the other one, one cannot be a transmedia creator on his own, it can only work if talent is associated to talent. Because you need to be in a « transient group » in order to reach a 21st century audience… (More of this thinking is elaborated in the coming guidelines for the « 7 Transmedia Families », join our group here >

« Woodstock 5.0 » is a project based on a documentary film I made for the 25th anniversary of the Woodstock Music and Art Fair, in 1994 (#Love4Peace). The term « 5.0 » (five dot zero) is conceptualized from a vision and understanding of what could be the « Web 5.0 », including « data storytelling » and « transmedia design » with transmedia fairy Mylène Leitzelman. In order to experiment this new form of global and eco-communication, I play the real life game of the « 7 Transmedia Families » with talent from a « Directory » I created, and I use the « Network Of Networks » to bring together the energy that needs to be in place for bigger projects. My role is the one of the facilitator, the conductor, the producer, and creative director, all of these in one « character », a « role » (or a « card »…). We enhance the talent of the creative partners that will make it happen, it works like in a « Family ».

During the « Digital Lab » I was able to meet with the United Nations, thank you to the French Embassy. I had a great experience with the UN in the past and did work with organisations such as the OECD, the European Commission and other governmental agencies and ministries. That experience gave me the strength to envision the potential of an international campaign that would serve the interest of the civil society, in relation with the Media and the Policy Makers. In 2015, the geopolitics made me step forward… #Love4Peace is the global tag. #Progress is my personal tag.

The « Digital Lab » gave me opportunities to meet with organisations I can partner with. Welcome @foossa_com, @NYMediaCenter, @FracturedAtlas, the MET Media Lab with @macascos & @sree, @MartinRogard at Dailymotion, @franceinnyc, @AprilArrg, @datvized and @Caitlin_Burns, and all the beautiful cultural startups of the Digital Lab LINK. But on the personal level, it gave me the opportunity to manifest the assets I had gather over the years between New York, Paris, Brussels, Cannes and now Sophia Antipolis. It was – it is – making sense! Poking peer @Wuxia for the philosophy of making sense with transmedia storytelling.

When something is making sense you can actually feel it with your guts, it is what I call the « feel-effect ». It works with creation and with business, and works well in storytelling for all kind of communication. Poking peer Michael Margolis @GetStoried. It is the synchronistic integration of so much preparation. Now comes the time, now is the need, now are the societies ready and connected. We have seen the potential with bad, and some good, examples. I let you picture the events we have been going through, thanks to social media for the good and the bad, we learn. Not to mention the personal events for each of us, we grow. We are all humans, even with chips, wi-fi, devices and bots. Even with Jedi costumes.

The society is in need for better communication, better relations, better practices and more integrity. We need facilitation and mediation. We need quality curation in a world overloaded with content and knowledge. We need a better management for knowledge and transmission. We actually need trans-mission in a trans-disciplinary world.

This year we launch the new version of the « 7 Transmedia Families » card game, and real life game. You do not have to be a professional creative to participate, you can just give your point of view, or support the game, by buying the cards, and their ebook, and use them in any way you want, or posting online. There are real plain and traditional guidelines, but there will be the hacked ones, the ones you can DIY.

If you are an individual, a project curator, a business in need for transformation, transmedia strategy, or design thinking, you can ask us for a workshop, and project coaching, whatever format you pick among the ones we have created on purpose, and that we facilitate ourselves and with our partners. If you are a start-up, become a « smart-up », you can bêta test your tool or service in our « living lab » which is the child of our Think & Do Tank started in 2010.

All of this is just starting, new ideas and practice will emerge even more. The « Transmedia Living Lab » is both virtual and in real life, based in Sophia Antipolis, linked with New Yok City, and other places of the world. Partners are welcome. Once in a while, we process a « Transmedia Mix », where a project is incubated with the participation of experts and creatives, and a good deal of facilitation and coaching. Join us in May 2016 in Sophia Antipolis for a short visit and presentation.

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