UCLA and USC jointly present 'Transmedia, Hollywood: S/Telling the Story' symposium

For the first time ever, the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television and the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts will join forces to present the innovative industry symposium "Transmedia, Hollywood: S/Telling the Story." The event will take place Tuesday, March 16, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., at the Ray Stark Family Theatre on the USC campus.

The one-day public symposium, co-hosted by UCLA's Denise Mann and USC's Henry Jenkins, will bring renowned scholars together with several of Hollywood's top creators, producers and executives from the realms of cinema, television and video gaming for a critical dialogue exploring the impact of transmedia and what the future holds for storytelling. Jenkins is the Provost’s Professor of Communication, Journalism and Cinematic Arts.

The "S/Telling" in the symposium's title refers to transmedia's unprecedented fusion of marketing and storytelling. This multi-pronged approach, which has expanded the popularity and reach of such hit TV shows as "Lost," "Heroes" and "V" and such movies as "The Matrix," "Cloverfield" and "Star Trek," allows audiences to follow stories from one narrative format to another.   

"New social-entertainment formats have entered the zeitgeist to a startling degree," said Mann, an associate professor in the UCLA Producers Program and the symposium's co-director with Jenkins, USC Provost's Professor of Communication, Journalism and Cinematic Arts. "In addition to the plethora of webisodes, mobile-phone apps and casual games that are available online to keep fans thinking about a favorite television series like 'Lost' or 'Heroes,' the committed fan can participate in alternate-reality games. A perfect example is the recent 'Why So Serious?' campaign associated with 'The Dark Knight,' which invited Joker look-alikes across the world to come together to track down clues and solve the game."

"Transmedia, Hollywood: S/Telling the Story" will turn the spotlight on a new, media-savvy generation of content creators following in the tradition of J.J. Abrams ("Lost," "Fringe," "Star Trek," "Cloverfield") and Tim Kring ("Heroes"), who consider close commercial ties a natural extension of their creative process and who understand that stories must be sold before they can be told.   

The discussions between the executives, creators and top researchers from across a wide spectrum of media and cultural studies will explore transmedia's shake-up of existing business models and consumer behavior.   

Symposium participants will include:

Jonathan Taplin  

USC Annenberg communication professor

David Brisbin

Art director and production designer for "The Twilight Saga: New Moon"  

Laeta Kalogridis

Screenwriter for "Shutter Island" and executive producer of "Avatar"  

Marti Noxon

Executive producer and writer for "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Mad Men"  

John Hegeman

Chief marketing officer for New Regency Productions and one of the first to create true transmedia with the marketing campaigns behind "The Blair Witch Project," the "Saw" film series and "Crash"  

Diane Nelson

President of DC Entertainment  

Jordan Weisman

Creator of the first alternate-reality game, "The Beast," for "Artificial Intelligence: AI"