2013 already started promising in HK. The annual film industry fair, HK Filmart, adopted a number of interactive exhibition tools and the word storytelling is finally used in combination with technology and cross platform. Of course, one of our flagship projects, the immersive FullDome entertainment for high resolution live-action content production was one of the major presentations at Filmart and hopefully injects a new wave of interactive next generation content.
However, the local film industry has yet to go all-in on the transmedia game. But content creators in other sectors of the entertainment and media business are much faster in implementing their ideas to and with new media. I came across 2 exceptional projects and will give a brief intro:
#HKproblems The Play
A friend of mine and former actor in our short film “Haexagon” told me that he got involved in a new theater play that draws its ideas from the popular social media phenomenon that is generally known on Twitter as #HKproblems. These are all-day-life troubles of (primarily) expats living in HK. Common situations of the absurd, annoying or funny nature that only people who actually live or lived in HK can fully comprehend.
Now, a group of expats and returnees turned a selection of the best (or rather worst) episodes into a full blown theater play during which they animate the audience to keep their phones turned on and tweet. Of course, everyone from the team is on Twitter and event promotion via YouTube (video extensions!), WordPress and Facebook is part of the project as well.
I was able to attend a preview show during the bi-monthly #TDHK (Twitter Drinking Hong Kong) and get an idea where this project is headed. While I liked the selection of this sketch comedy like setup what most struck me was the daring presentation of topics. In a city where mainstream rules everything and media makers are afraid of losing even a single audience with appalling or offensive content (despite having a tradition and recent proof in cinemas of selling with such topics) this play came off quite refreshing.
On the other hand I wished that the makers of this play would have gone a bit further in redefining the medium of theater while assimilating the features of the source content’s original medium. Reciting in 140 character blocks for example. However, I saw on Twitter that they took use of phones and messaging services during the actual stage performance which is an admirable, yet tricky thing for a live show. Hope there is more to come. Shows ran from March 21-23, 2013.
GigaBitePlus – Keith Sir
During Filmart I bumped into a workshop called “Micro-Film is the Future of Media – Personal TV Station” organized by the HK Television Association where young students were presented with a music video shooting set that would explain the production process. I met Keith Sir, a young musician and music educator who manages to do something most self-proclaimed transmedia talkers deny that it exists: he makes a living with transmedia.
In late 2011, Keith opened his own studio for recording music and teaching students. He browsed the web and found that music instruction videos on YouTube are tremendously popular, only, no one in HK is actually doing it. Hence, he re-branded the idea, gave it a full local make-over and fired up about 500 instruction videos for a number of instruments, styles and song writing on his YouTube channel. Those videos are mostly split-screen with him playing the instruments and the keyboard and/or note papers. His channel got almost 26k subscribers and over 6 millions views. However, this channels is only partially monetized and he does not charge for the videos!
Old media people would be shocked now, as he is giving away such a huge amount of potential cash-in by the traditional business models. For Keith, these videos are customer care, branded storytelling extensions in a way. He makes his money with music education and students visiting his studio. In fact, this became so successful during the past months that he opened 4 more branches and created a team of fellow teachers to take care of the vast amount of customers.
Social media is a major part in his strategy. He turned his personal Facebook profile into a blog with over 17k subscribers and is also active on Google Plus and Sina Weibo. The What’sApp messenger service is crucial for his customer care and he provides a phone number in every video so people can get in direct contact with him.
It is important to understand that Keith offers an entirely localized service. All those video views, all those subscribers, all the interaction come from Cantonese speaking people in HK only. He found himself a market niche and serves it well by having a direct connection and feeling for the needs of his audience.
Transmedia Watch Hong Kong will return soon, with more projects and new insights on the local transmedia developments!
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