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A five-day residential lab to develop multi-platform strategies for feature films

Directed by StoryLabs

Multi-platform content, transmedia storytelling and cross-media production offer dynamic new ways to enhance the value and extend the reach of a feature film. Audiences now expect to encounter rich personalised interaction across and in all their media, with a different yet connected experience no matter where they are and what they are doing. Recent high-profile examples include extensions to The Dark Knight, District 9, Prometheus, Salt and Tron: Legacy but these strategies can be equally applicable to lower-budget productions.

With a view to strengthening and advancing Australian digital storytelling culture and its practitioners, Screen Australia has designed an intensive workshop to focus on the deeper potential of 360° storytelling.

The aim is to help screen storytellers, digital creators and film distributors go beyond basic narrative extensions such as webisodes, web scavenger hunts, Facebook and Twitter updates, or brochure-style 2D websites, to develop a strong ‘story bible’ defining the environments for a ‘distributed narrative’. Mentors will discuss story constructs that can drive meaningful interactions for users across relevant platforms, and will advise on techniques to retain a deeper narrative structure and sustain a longer storytelling period.

To produce the workshop, Screen Australia is collaborating with a multi-platform production and training pioneer Gary Hayes, who will be supported by a number of domestic and international mentors with a proven track record in their fields (see mentor details). Case studies and exercises will explore development of a multi-platform strategy in order to hone participants’ skills in a practical environment, and ensure they leave with a tangible ‘bible’ and clear list of next steps for their project to get it off the ground.

What is it?

The Digital Ignition Multi-platform Clinic is a five-day residential workshop designed to enable participants to focus on the development of a multi-platform production process to truly grow the scope of their property.

The 2012 clinic is aimed specifically at exploring multi-platform opportunities for compelling feature films.

Teams of up to four per project will be considered for the clinic, drawn from the following key roles: producer, distributor, writer, director, writer/director, multi-platform producer, interactive lead (such as a web or game developer or other digital specialist), craft or business lead (such as a designer, marketer or social media specialist). Teams MUST include at least one member with demonstrable understanding of the technical aspects of multi-platform storytelling. (See ‘Eligibility’ for more details.) Distributors are strongly encouraged to send a representative as part of the team.

The workshop will run from Monday 26 November to Friday 30 November 2012 in New South Wales.


This program is aimed at professional content producers and distributors, and their key team members, who are developing a feature film with a demonstrable likelihood of proceeding into production. To be eligible, a feature film project must:

  • be fully financed; or
  • hold a Screen Australia Letter of Interest; or
  • hold a Letter of Interest for Australian theatrical distribution from a recognised distributor.

Completed but unreleased feature films with a recognised Australian distributor will also be considered but will be at a disadvantage in the selection process due to the more limited multi-platform opportunities available post-completion.


  • Teams can comprise up to four members, at least one of which MUST have demonstrable experience and understanding of the technical aspects of multi-platform storytelling. This is likely to be the multi-platform producer, interactive lead, or digital marketing director from the distributor, and they must have worked in that role on at least one produced and released feature film, TV series or product marketing campaign.
  • Applicants must be available to undertake the workshop.
  • Applicants must also meet the general eligibility requirements set out in Screen Australia’s Terms of Trade.

The workshop

Over the course of a five-day residential workshop, under the tutelage of world-class mentors, participants will develop and refine their full multi-platform strategy and come away with a realistic production pathway. The highly structured and practical program will include sessions on deliverable narrative storytelling, user experience, design, technical, business and marketing aspects. The week is also designed to lock in mentors to act as ongoing consultants as projects move into production, and appropriate mentors will be selected on that basis.

This is an intense and highly practical course. Participants will be required to develop their ideas during the clinic, and will be expected to present progress and respond to feedback.

The clinic will be facilitated by StoryLabs under the direct guidance of its key founder Gary Hayes. Gary is recognised as one of the foremost digital thinkers. An award-winning multi-platform producer, author, educator and director, Gary has designed and led multi-platform/transmedia courses internationally and in Australia with AFTRS and Metro Screen. He was the director of AFTRS’s LAMP program for five years, was Senior Interactive Development Producer at the BBC for eight years, and was a Social TV Producer in the US. He now runs MUVEDesign and the influential media and marketing site PersonalizeMedia, and last year founded multi-platform mentoring community StoryLabs.

The week will feature a range of high-calibre domestic and international experts who will be announced on the Screen Australia and StoryLabs websites when confirmed. The speakers will share their creative philosophy and process, as well as focus in detail on a specific project, talking through how they took it from idea to users. The afternoons will be a mixture of targeted mentoring, developing each project’s production strategy and documentation and a range of tried and tested group exercises.

Workshop preparation:

  • We expect all participants to do some preparatory tasks before the workshop including:
  • be familiar with the Screen Australia How to Write a Transmedia Production Bible and the various sections it contains (available to download at right)
  • prepare a short physical presentation pitching your story world to all participants
  • bring a range of assets to the clinic including trailers, graphics, scripts, video sequences, existing EPOCs and documentation.


No fees are charged for applications to this program. Participants’ workshop fees will be paid for in full by Screen Australia.

Airfares only of up to $400 (or $600 for WA applicants) per participant can be claimed (on provision of a valid tax invoice with appropriate receipts attached) for non-NSW residents who take part in the workshop.

Selection process

Applications will be considered by a combination of Screen Australia Investment Managers and industry specialists as required. Decisions will be made against the following criteria:

  • the strength and distinctiveness of the feature script, including strength of the concept and quality of writing
  • the value of a multi-platform strategy for the feature relative to the producer and distributor’s expectations
  • the likelihood that the feature will come to fruition
  • the track record and capacity of the creative team.

Screen Australia will advise applicants in writing of the success or otherwise of their application. Where an application is declined, the applicant will be advised of the reason.

Application materials

Applications must be submitted using the relevant Screen Australia form, and include all supporting material listed in the checklist on that form.


[2012 guidelines released 7 August 2012; page updated 26 September]