00c6 is a transmedia project about China’s imminent Gendercide crisis, centering on a fictional post-apocalyptic SciFi webseries. The project was started in 2011 and went through quite a lot of changes, especially in title. To provide a complete understanding of its production and creation process as well as its structure, we created our trademark project DNA map, including all links to every channel.
“In a near future, China’s society has developed a critical demographic imbalance. The number of male Chinese increased rapidly. Women become a minority. A greedy subculture emerges, taking advantage of this situation. Ruled by a private conglomerate called “the æ Corporation”, the market for selling the pleasure of a woman for one night to desperate men is a monopoly. The price for this exquisite virtue are the men’s lives!
Set out on the remaining remote archipelago of deserted and flooded Hong Kong, men in groups of three have to compete against each other in a brutal fight of survival. The trophy, a single woman inside a secret compound. Only the last survivor is granted access…”
Let’s untangle the most confusing part of the project first, the title. Originally, this project was the Masters of Fine Arts thesis production of Marco Sparmberg at the HK Baptist University’s Academy of Film. When story development and location scouting began in late summer 2011, the initial idea was a 20min short film with the working title BLACK JUNGLE. Despite the positive experience gained on producing a new story format before (the webseries SQUATTERTOWN), Marco rooted for a traditional short film for his thesis to comply with outdated university regulations and the proven limited willingness of dealing with experimental formats by the university’s lectures and staff.
Soon, as the script progressed, most locations were locked down and pre-production began, the title was changed into HÆXAGON. The Æ became an integral part of the short film’s production design and story. Two project web pages were set up. One, the cryptic 00c6.org that was supposed to function as hidden code and primary project page. The other, haexagon.org, as corporate page for the fictional company from the original story.
[Æ logo evolution]
Updates about the production were mainly given via personal social media channels of cast and crew. Only a G+ page was launched to provide the ability to follow the project publicly. Fundraising for HÆXAGON was solely conducted on a private and corporate sponsorship level, no public crowdfunding campaign on any online platform. From the projected HK$300,000 the team was able to raise 1/3 in cash, the rest in soft sponsorship. The film was complete according to production plan by end of April 2012, without major quality trade-offs.
One of the primary challenges of this thesis production was the legal situation. The university did not provide any support on a single legal production issue, which means the team was not able to acquire any form of insurance needed as the university was not willing to stand in as production company. This situation rendered the entire project as an illegal venture under the Hong Kong law. Hence, we created our own production company, as it is common practice for feature film projects (but not necessarily for shorts).
Also, common practice is to name a production company by the title of the film. In January 2012, Haexagon Concepts Ltd. was founded and HÆXAGON was its first project. The previous fictional haexagon.org project web page was turned into the official company page and 00c6.org became main focus of the project.
[00c6.org page evolution]
After the short film was completed, screened internally at the university to fulfill its thesis production purpose, an international festival run was attempted.
Meanwhile, Haexagon Concepts, the production company, was turned into a transmedia IP management & development agency and started regular business operations by producing other content and IPs.
The storyline of HÆXAGON was further developed into a feature film treatment with the title DAMAGE REMOVAL. The short film however, was never screened publicly nor released officially. Screener copies on DVD and Blu-Rays are available but not for sale.
[HÆXAGON poster collection]
Despite dealing with other projects and new clients we always felt HÆXAGON, as one of our in-house signature IPs needed a next step forward and won’t just end with the completion of this short film. In late 2012 we always used HÆXAGON for technical experiments and tried to pair it up with new solutions and strategies that emerged. Like a lab guinea pig, it got every media injection available to see how it reacts.
In early 2013 the plan was made to bring the project into its second phase. In order to reduce the title confusion with our company, the project was renamed 00C6 and the short film reedited into a webseries season, adding a number of new content. Hence, five episodes for the first season were created. The story got extended by means of an interactive tumblr blog (access password: 00c6) that functions as whistle-blower character, disclosing secrets from the series’ fictional universe.
[blip.tv http://blip.tv/play/AYOVrBoA.x?p=1 width=”640″ height=”388″]
Objective in this phase is to provide a stronger focus on the project’s non-fiction aspects. A new Twitter account is used to provide articles, writings and other background documentation about the real Gendercide situation in China. While 00c6.org functions as fictional extension to the webseries that is hosted at video platforms alongside with other videos about the production, Flickr (make sure to log-in otherwise you might not be able to see all pictures) is used to host the incredibly powerful set photography of Jonathan van Smit that tell their very own little stories. Combining platform of fiction and non-fiction elements is Pinterest, providing an array of pin boards on both topics and all major project content.
With this strategy, we created a number of entry points for new users/participants. Depending on from what side 00c6 is being approached, there are always interconnected links or additional information that lead to another platform without duplicating content in different channels simultaneously. The range and versatility of the non-fiction project part will be growing within the months to come.
Right now, we just started Phase #2 and want to test the general response on the project and what kind of feedback we get from online/mobile audiences in order to develop further storylines and project extensions.
We already experimented with some technology last year and were planning to create a hiking experience. A trail that leads to the locations where the webseries was shot with either an augmented reality overlay app (image recognition like Aurasma) or hidden NFC check-ins where hikers can watch clips from the project that were shot at that respective location. This experience would tap into the local Geo-cashing community and needs specific incentives to be conducted successfully.
On the non-fiction side of the project, we are currently talking to other related organizations that deal with a similar topics and exploring co-operations and future side projects. Hence, there is much underway but primarily it depends on the audience and where it wants us to be headed with 00c6.