From A to Zeega: New open-source web platform for collaborative multi-media docs in development | Harvard Gazette


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Excerpt:

Justin Ide/Harvard Staff Photographer

“Harvard affiliates Kara Oehler (from left), Jesse Shapins, and James Burns have won the Knight News Challenge, a fiercely competitive international contest, and will use the funding to develop a prototype software called Zeega, an open-source web platform designed to make collaborative multimedia documentaries cheaper and easier to produce.

Three Harvard affiliates — two fellows and a graduate student — have won the Knight News Challenge, a fiercely competitive international contest that funds digital news experiments that use technology “to inform and engage communities.”
There were 16 prizewinning projects selected from 2,500 submissions. The awards were announced today (June 23).

Contestants from Harvard have won a few times during the five-year life of the Knight contest, but never for as much money — a grant worth $420,000, said Colin Maclay, managing director of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society. The competition is “insane,” he added. “Getting into Harvard College has nothing on this.”

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which sponsors the competition, calls its winners “journalism futurists.” They are described as thinkers and designers who employ emerging technologies to make citizen journalism more accessible, compelling, and intellectually rich.

Starting Sept. 1, the three Harvard team members, who were Knight finalists last year, will use their 18-month funding to develop a prototype software called Zeega. The open-source web tools will be designed to foster new genres of investigative journalism and media art, making collaborative multimedia documentaries cheaper and easier to produce.

The Knight project “grows out of a unique combination of documentary arts and experimental media research we’ve been doing within Harvard and beyond,” said Jesse Shapins, one of the three winners. He is a Ph.D. student in Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, where he also lectures in architecture.

James Burns, who graduated in May with a Harvard Ph.D. in economics, is a creative technologist and relational knowledge fellow at the metaLAB (at) Harvard. Shapins and Burns worked together on courses such as Media Archaeology of Place and The Mixed-Reality City, which have used test versions of Zeega, with support from the Presidential Instructional Technology Fellows program…”

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From A to Zeega: New open-source software for interactive docs in development | Harvard Gazette


Media_httpmedianewsha_rqsbf

Excerpt:

Justin Ide/Harvard Staff Photographer

“Harvard affiliates Kara Oehler (from left), Jesse Shapins, and James Burns have won the Knight News Challenge, a fiercely competitive international contest, and will use the funding to develop a prototype software called Zeega, an open-source web platform designed to make collaborative multimedia documentaries cheaper and easier to produce.

Three Harvard affiliates — two fellows and a graduate student — have won the Knight News Challenge, a fiercely competitive international contest that funds digital news experiments that use technology “to inform and engage communities.”
There were 16 prizewinning projects selected from 2,500 submissions. The awards were announced today (June 23).

Contestants from Harvard have won a few times during the five-year life of the Knight contest, but never for as much money — a grant worth $420,000, said Colin Maclay, managing director of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society. The competition is “insane,” he added. “Getting into Harvard College has nothing on this.”

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which sponsors the competition, calls its winners “journalism futurists.” They are described as thinkers and designers who employ emerging technologies to make citizen journalism more accessible, compelling, and intellectually rich.

Starting Sept. 1, the three Harvard team members, who were Knight finalists last year, will use their 18-month funding to develop a prototype software called Zeega. The open-source web tools will be designed to foster new genres of investigative journalism and media art, making collaborative multimedia documentaries cheaper and easier to produce.

The Knight project “grows out of a unique combination of documentary arts and experimental media research we’ve been doing within Harvard and beyond,” said Jesse Shapins, one of the three winners. He is a Ph.D. student in Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, where he also lectures in architecture.

James Burns, who graduated in May with a Harvard Ph.D. in economics, is a creative technologist and relational knowledge fellow at the metaLAB (at) Harvard. Shapins and Burns worked together on courses such as Media Archaeology of Place and The Mixed-Reality City, which have used test versions of Zeega, with support from the Presidential Instructional Technology Fellows program…”

Amazing: Sundance and Topspin Bring D2F Direct to Fan Marketing to Indie Film | via Topspin Media


This morning, the Sundance Institute announced an expansion of their incredibly forward-thinking Sundance Artist Services program, and we at Topspin are honored to be included alongside distribution outlets iTunes, Amazon, YouTube, Hulu, New Video, Netflix and Sundance Now as the provider of Direct-To-Fan Marketing and Distribution tools. We’re humbled to have our first major expansion outside of music to be with such a storied and benevolent institution, and we’re quite literally stoked to start helping Sundance filmmakers connect with fans and create new channels for their amazing work.

This quote from Robert Redford really says it all:

“When I founded the Institute in 1981, it was at a time when a few studios ran the industry and an artist’s biggest concern was whether their film would get made,” Redford said. “Technology has lessened that burden, but the big challenge today is how audiences can see these films. The Artist Services program is a direct response to that need. We’re not in the distribution business; we’re in the business of helping independent voices be heard.”

If you’d like to read the official press release, you can DOWNLOAD HERE.

In addition to the expansion of the Artist Services program today, Sundance also launched an online alumni community containing blog posts and essays from some of the brightest and bravest minds in indie film, like Tim League and Ted Hope. The goal is to provide a place where Sundance artists can share data and advice, and interact with distributors, technology partners and each other. Somehow, I managed to sneak my two cents in there, too. Below is a reprint of my “Direct-To-Fan Keynote” that appears inside the Sundance Artist Services site.

My hope is that all filmmakers find it useful. Please share it liberally.
You can it download it as a VIDEO or as a PDF.

http://cdn.topspin.net/api/v2/widget/player/89676

Hello. My name is Bob.
I’m here to talk about Direct-to-Fan Marketing (D2F) and Distribution. I work at a software company called Topspin. We’re honored to be a part of Sundance Artist Services.

Topspin makes software used by 
Kevin Smith, David Lynch, Ed Burns, Trent Reznor, Arcade Fire and thousands of other artists to sell downloads, merchandise, tickets and memberships directly to fans. Our company mission is to create an artistic middle class, and we’re doing it by building a self-serve application you can use to market and distribute your work yourself.

You may think I mean self-release. Or DIY Distro. Or “creative” distribution. But those are not the same as Direct-to-Fan. What I’m talking about is a distribution and marketing strategy that should be a part of every filmmaker’s career. I’m talking about making sure you are directly connected to your core audience. I’m talking about selling premium products to super fans. And I’m hoping to persuade you to treat your audience like your most important asset. It is time to invest in your fans.

Very cool grad project at UChicago: Oscillation Transmedia Game Trailer | HASTAC


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Very cool grad project at UChicago:

“A portion of my research concerns the emergent artistic form of Alternate Reality Games (ARGs), which are also often called “transmedia,” “pervasive,” or “immersive” games. One early vision of ARGs is David Fincher’s film The Game (1997), which is about an investment banker (Michael Douglas) who begins playing a game that quickly becomes indistinguishable from his daily life. Popular ARGs released after this film have included The Beast (2001), I Love Bees (2004), and Year Zero (2007). Recently, Jane McGonigal has written extensively about this form in her book Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World. She has also designed ARGs such as Evoke (a World Bank Institute project that won the 2010 Games for Change social game of the year award)….”