The live event is vital to any transmedia strategy as it brings the story into the real world and presents it to a live audience. A live event gives an audience a shared experience and engages it with the storyworld. It also brings together a group of people with a shared interest who will engage with one another and then share these experiences with their friends via social networks.
During the AWP pilot project we ran two successful live events. Both were set or staged ‘inside’ the AWP storyworld and were ‘organised’ by characters from the story.
The first event was an evening of student short films and music held in a bar in the fictional town of Sheerport, the real world location was Newcastle. It was supposed to be a Student Christmas Party but was hijacked by the film tutor who paid for the event out of his own pocket due to cuts. This backstory to the event was told through Granular Content or story fragments such as video diaries, prior to the event taking place. It meant the audience would understand why the film tutor character was hogging the stage and showing his own films.
During this event characters from the story showed their short films and a character’s band performed a live set. We had also written a sequence of Granular Content to give us story content that surrounded the live event. This enabled people who couldn’t attend the live event to still value it as story content. Another character video-blogged her version of story events that unfolded during the event.
Our approach was to cover all angles and create as much story content from the live event as possible. This enabled us to incorporate the live event into the main story and the storyworld and not have it sidelined as a stand-alone event.
The second event was held at Live Theatre in Newcastle which was dressed as the fictional Sheerport Theatre Workshop. As soon as a member of the audience arrived at Live and stepped through the door, they entered the AWP storyworld. The short play was written by one of the storyworld characters and performed by actors who played fictional actors from Sheerport – keeping track of everyone’s identity was a fascinating challenge we accomplished with great success.
We again took the approach that the live event had to generate story content in order to merge it into the main story so it wasn’t sidelined as a stand-alone event. We wrote sequences of dramatic story action including an ugly incident in the theatre bar, rehearsals and backstage tantrums. This story content was delivered online to the wider audience.
Both live events and the story content they generated sprung from the storyworld. Without a detailed and expansive AWP storyworld the events would not have felt like organic parts of the story and would have jarred with the world’s logic.
Although not directly relevant to the main thriller story we were telling, the live events gave great substance, weight and context to the AWP storyworld. They helped immerse and engage the audiences, both live and online, with the storyworld and therefore with the main story.
This is how important live events are to your transmedia storytelling strategy so start thinking about them from day one.