I recently went to a workshop with Jeff Gomez of Starlight Runner Entertainment, who is inspirational on several fronts.
First of all, he came from a poor background, with a Jewish mother and a Portuguese father at a time when that was really frowned upon (I may be understating that), and has lived his entire life with one side of his face paralysed due to the forceps the doctors used when he was born.
He’s now a transmedia storytelling expert, used by the big Hollywood studios to amp up their storyworlds on other platforms (like web, television, books, merchandise and social media) around the release of films and other storytelling products. He’s worked on big name films such as the Pirates of the Caribbean and Avatar, for brands such as Coca Cola and Hot Wheels, and is now expanding out the techniques he’s been using for years to help in other realms such as encouraging young Columbian people back into positions of leadership within their country.
What I really liked about Jeff was that he laid his life bare to us, to help explain where he was coming from with regards to the area where he is generally accepted as a guru. He talked about when he realised that he should pass on the knowledge that he has, rather than crushing it against his chest and guarding it with his life. And then he told us alot of what he knows, how we could try to reproduce, replicate, and perhaps improve on the techniques that he has been practicing for the last 15 years and more.
It’s kind of daunting to think about the kind of storytelling techniques he’s talking about. Creating a story bible of your entire story world, understanding the basic themes that underpin your story, and having a complete profile of all your characters, might not seem that big a deal. But it’s actually really hard to distill your story down like that. When it’s big and sprawling, and you’re grappling with the multiple situations, storylines and characters, it’s hard to go back to the basics and see what the real themes underneath everything are.
But I think it’s worth it, and I’ll be doing it for the Carnival Series in the next few weeks. I may even blog about it a little bit. But in the meantime, I just wanted to say thank you to people like Jeff who aren’t afraid to pass on their knowledge and help the rest of us get our heads around concepts like transmedia storytelling.
To those people who aren’t afraid to talk about their special knowledge, and understand that it will just make our world better and more powerful to share knowledge rather than hide it, I say thanks.
I appreciate it.