Brad Lichtenstein’s blog

Behind the scenes of What We Got: DJ Spooky’s Journey to the Commons

What Transmedia Means to Me

with 5 comments

Vernon and Brad directing Commons Commercials

Vernon and Brad directing Commons Commercials

I’m producing What We Got:  DJ Spooky’s Journey to the Commons.

It’s not enough to just make and release a movie, anymore.  Technology has caught up to us filmmakers, and if we happen to be filmmakers who also want to have an impact on the world, to address issues of justice and motivate change, then we are in luck.  Here’s what I mean.  Filmmaking for change used to be a fairly linear process.  Filmmaker makes film.  Filmmaker releases film.  Filmmaker tries to build audience.  Filmmaker tries to educate audience.  Filmmaker tries to get the audience to turn their knowledge into practice.  Filmmaker tries to get the audience to change the world.

No longer!

Transmedia means offering the audience multiple ways into the storytelling process at all phases.  For us, this is what it means.

Us is Brian Glazer, Vernon Reid, Sam Pollard, Jason Grote….and YOU.  At every stage of the creative process we will share what we are doing and give our creative assets to anyone who is interested.  What does this mean?  It means we share our media with you so that you can remix it, reuse it, re-purpose it, even collaborate with us on the movie we are making.

You are no longer an audience that shows up only when we are done editing.  We get to meet you earlier.  And while we love your hearts and minds to be engaged with the story we choose to tell, we also invite YOU to see something different, make something new, build on what we have made – redefine what it means to be an engaged audience.  My bet is that you’ll be more excited and motivated to take what you learn from us and do your own thing, do new things with your friends and networks, become engaged in ways we never would have thought of ourselves.  Maybe you just put a title up on the screen and use some of our media for your next conference presentation, or maybe you grab a snippet for class.  Maybe you will share a clip with your colleagues working on issues like water or climate change.  Maybe you’ll remix our entire film, making it better or different.

We took our first step in this direction, yesterday.  We filmed our story meeting where we discussed the second draft of our treatment.

For the moment, all I have is this blog, so I’ll try to post some snippets of the meeting soon.

But we are working with Civic Actions to create a web presence that gives you access to our media and the tools to share it and mess with it, to make it something new.  We’ll govern our sharing with a Creative Commons license, so that we can guarantee that you’ll share what you create downstream, keeping the “gift” in circulation.  And that, my friends, is how it will work.

For the moment, I’ll keep you informed, here.  And, I’d love to hear from you.  Tell me about participatory media projects or share media projects that you know about.  Any media — not just video.  I’d love to know about them.

Thanks!  And stay tuned.

Written by Brad Lichtenstein

December 9, 2008 at 3:45 pm

5 Responses

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  1. Audience participation is definitely taking new turns, to the point where it might not even be accurate to call them an “audience” any more. Creative Commons, participatory culture and open-source are definitely changing the game, and it sounds like you’re using all three.

    Can’t wait to see how things unfold. Good luck Brad!

    Paul Conigliaro

    December 9, 2008 at 4:30 pm

  2. […] Brad Lichtenstein has just started his own blog. His entry on “transmedia” covers the unique way in which he and his fellow cohorts are approaching their new venture What We Got: DJ Spooky’s […]

  3. Hey Brad:
    I am loving the vision thing here. I was at a conference in Berkeley in November called THE CONVERSATION, THE FUTURE OF CINEMA, GAMES, & ONLINE VIDEO: New tools, new distribution, new rules,
    and it was clear that participatory media is not just our present and our future, but a really great way to *communicate* with our audiences. So I am really excited to see this site and be able to watch your project take shape.
    Best of luck!

    vicki callahan

    December 9, 2008 at 10:15 pm

  4. Hey Brad – My two favorite social action films were KICKING IT about my friend Lawrence and the homeless street soccer league. Much more on that if you are interested. And maybe less social action and more social outrage and commentary, Trouble the Waters made with local footage during Katrina and the stories and trajectories of the amateur filmmakers. I would love to link what you are doing to my blog, cause of the week. So keep me updated and we can coordinate!


    December 9, 2008 at 10:26 pm

  5. Brad, I just ran across an article about a short animated film that put out assets to animators and built up the film in an open, collaborative way. Sounded like an interesting project:


    December 11, 2008 at 5:06 pm

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