“The story is always better than your ability to write it.” — Robin McKinley
Last summer, I met Nina in Liverpool. It was a serendipitous meeting. We’d been circling around each other for awhile apparently.
She’s the director of the Writing Center at The Soho Theatre, a cool multi-level joint smack dab in the middle of Soho in London. She’d been working developing new avenues for theater, particularly those tied in with emerging technology.
We kicked around some ideas for teaching a transmedia workshop for playwrights, artists, actors, writers and the like who are associated with the theatre. We weren’t exactly sure what we wanted to do, but we knew we wanted to do something.
This summer, we had the chance.
Nina gathered 11 folks for a six day, 18-hour workshop where we’d run through some of the basic principles of transmedia storytelling (after Nina helped them bridge the gap between what theater is and what games are) and then turn them loose to create…something.
This is what they looked like early on.
But Nina did a good job getting them up to speed on the intersection of theater and games and then helped them get started developing their stories. I’m looking forward to using a few writing techniques in my classes.
I did persuade my friend Jo and Chris (who isn’t pictured) to swing by. Jo works at The Times of London and Chris runs similar types of workshops for writers and poets in Brighton. His hair isn’t red, though, which doesn’t translate as well for pictures.
The groups spent the last few sessions outlining their stories, building small websites to get a sense of how these things might be done, shooting short videos. It was basically roll up your sleeves time and brainstorm.
By the time Wednesday rolled around, the teams were really honing in their stories – and the structures for how they envisioned “doing” the story.
On Thursday, Group A presented The Professor (aka The Ghosts of Soho).
Meanwhile, Group B presented an entirely revamped and redone story, one that was crafted in less than 24 hours. This after 5 days of work. Because sometimes it just works out that way.
It was an amazing experience for me. I loved meeting everyone and helping them work through the creative process for conceptualizing a transmedia story. Both groups are fired up to complete their projects, which I hope they do.
Either way, it was a great learning experience for me as well. And a great way to end my time in London.