Digital Storytelling: The Evolution of Publishing Fiction on a Mobile Device (TOCCON 2010)

O'Reilly Tools of Change for Publishing Conference 2010At O’Reilly Publishing Tools of Change (TOC) conference in New York was the session Digital Storytelling: The Evolution of Publishing Fiction on a Mobile Device by Geoffrey Young (StopWatch Media).

Mobile phones know where you are, what time it is, are communications devices and are fully programmable.
Starting question: Given these features, what story can you tell?

The Carrier is the first transmedia graphic novel as an iPhone app. In it’s “print” form, the novel would consist of 680 panels, 35 chapters — about 120 pages if printed out. Really it’s just images on a screen. But given the transmedia way it is told — in real time over 10 days — the story is a lot more.

Landscape mode of The Carrier iPhone appBecause mobile phones know what time it is, stories can be revealed over time. Depending on the time of day that reading begins, readers begin the story in a different way. This puts the storyteller in control. In real time the story pushes out messages.

The authors have created a lot of fictional sites — alternate reality game-like. They also created merchandise in Cafe Press that they linked to, which readers could buy. Messages were pushed to iPhone readers using Urban Airship (first 250,000 messages sent a free!) Geoff considered using SMS for messaging, but that option was too expensive (the author pays for the messages, not the reader).

This was an interesting presentation, given the transmedia features and story extras we built into Kontax.

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