January 27, 2010
Three Awesome Events: Transmedia/Hollywood, Free Culture X, and ROFLcon 2

Transmedia, Hollywood: S/Telling the Story


Transmedia, Hollywood: S/Telling the Story is a one-day public symposium exploring the role of transmedia franchises in today's entertainment industries. The event brings together top creators, producers, and executives from the entertainment industry and places their critical perspectives in dialogue with scholars pursuing the most current academic research on transmedia studies.

Co-hosted by Denise Mann and Henry Jenkins, from UCLA and USC, two of the most prominent film schools and research centers in Los Angeles, Transmedia, Hollywood will take place on the eve of the annual Society of Cinema & Media Studies conference, the field's most distinguished gathering of film and media scholars and academics, which will be held this year in Los Angeles from March 17 to 21, 2010.

By coinciding with SCMS, Transmedia, Hollywood hopes to reach the widest possible scholarly audience and thus create a lasting impact in the field. It will give cinema and media scholars from around the world unprecedented access to top industry professionals and insight into their thinking and practices.

Admission is free to Students and Academics, $25 for general public.

Register now at: http://www2.tft.ucla.edu/RSVP/


USC Cinematic Arts Complex, Los Angeles

Conference Summary:

Transmedia, Hollywood: S/Telling the Story

As audiences followed stories as diverse as Heroes, Lost, Harry Potter, and Matrix, from one format to another--from traditional television series or films into comics, the Web, alternate reality or video games, toys and other merchandise--Hollywood quickly adopted the academic term "transmedia" and began plastering it above office doors to describe this latest cultural phenomenon. This is not to say that convergent culture and transmedia storytelling are new concepts; instead, the emergence of convergence can be traced to the 19th century when a Barnum and Bailey-style mode of entertainment first took hold, maturing in the mid-1950s with Walt Disney's visionary multi-platform, cross-promotional, merchandising extravaganza known as Disneyland.

Since then, Hollywood has created countless new transmedia titles, everything from Batman to Star Wars - an evolution only accelerated by the advent of digital convergence. While transmedia, in one way, vindicates the logic of the integrated media conglomerate and activates the synergies long hoped for by the captains of industry in charge of Hollywood's six big media groups, it may also prove to be more than they bargained for. Engaged, "lean-forward" consumers--coveted by advertisers and entertainers alike--are not content simply to watch traditional media but rather, they produce their own videos, remix other people's work, seek out those who share their interests, forging concordances and wiki's, fan fiction, and various forms of interactivity that are still in their infancy and that corporate Hollywood is just beginning to explore. Copyright law, guild rules, and the conventions of audience quantification are frequently operating at cross-purposes with these new, expansive sets of cultural-industrial practices. As the demise of the music industry shows, active audiences and technological advances can create an explosive combination, powerful enough to bring down an entire industry. The entertainment industry wants to embrace this new, active consumer while ensuring its own survival by seeking to recreate familiar rules of what is considered "valuable" and "entertainment" within traditional business models.

Transmedia, Hollywood turns the spotlight on media creators, producers and executives and places them in critical dialogue with top researchers from across a wide spectrum of film, media and cultural studies to provide an interdisciplinary summit for the free interchange of insights about how transmedia works and what it means.

Free Culture X will take place on February 13th and 14th at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Featuring keynotes by Jonathan Zittrain (Harvard Berkman Center) and Gigi Sohn (Public Knowledge), the conference offers an rare opportunity for student activists to work directly with leading thinkers, entrepreneurs, and technologists on the most pressing issues facing the Free Culture movement. This year's conference is focused on developing greater openness among institutions of higher education; specifically investigating:

* Open Access publishing among faculty and widespread Access to Knowledge,
* The development and availability of high-quality Open Educational Resources, and
* The politics of campus networks, from Fair Use to Net Neutrality.

See the complete conference schedule for more detail: http://conference.freeculture.org/schedule/

Free Culture X, the fourth Students for Free Culture conference, will bring together net policy luminaries and student activists to discuss free software and open standards, open access scholarship, open educational resources, copyright reform, network neutrality, and university patent policy, especially in the context of higher education.

We want the conference to be open to a wide range of people. For that reason, we're running with a "pay what you want model" in which you get to decide how much registration costs. Is the conference worth $1 to you? $100? Pay what you think it's worth and support SFC. Last year, with over 300 registered guests, the average ticket price was over $20!


Students for Free Culture (SFC) is a diverse, chapter-based, non-partisan organization consisting of student groups at over 30 colleges and universities across the United States. Students for Free Culture was founded in 2003 by two Swarthmore students after they successfully sued voting-machine manufacturer Diebold for abusing copyright law. Today, Students for Free Culture has three major functions:

* Creating and providing resources for our chapters and for the general public
* Outreach to youth and students
* Networking with other people, companies and organizations in the free culture movement

For additional information, contact: Ben Moskowitz, (714) 420 6471.


ROFLCon 2008. Remember that? Those were good times.

Sure, we've done some events here and there since. ROFLCon-SF in Summer 2008 was tons of fun, and ROFLCon-NYC in January 2009 was graced (awesomely) by Vincent "Comic Sans" Connare (and Alexis Ohanian shadily swabbing internet celebs for DNA). We even had a chance to mix it up with the amazingly swanky Titans of Small Town show in between.

But really, in the end, we got to talking, and all of these events have been pale versions of the original insanity of April 2008. Because, no doubt, while you can certainly get your OMG YAY INTERNET THANG ON in a day, there's just all these limits to doing weenie one-day event in bars around America. They're too small, they're too short, and the wifi is weak like a wet paper bag.

Ultimately, we realized that we couldn't do enough of the cool, substantive, fun stuff that we would like for ROFLCon in that kind of format.

We also kind of agreed that we liked it old school. ROFLCon was a massive, 900+ person, 2-day slog in Boston with more internet culture notables invited than you could shake a stick at and some real thinking about web culture, where it's been, and where it's going (and, of course, the quiet joys of seeing shit like this). Lord knows a helluva lot has happened on the ol' Information Superhighway since Spring 2008, and we'd want to bring ALL of it back to hometown Boston.

So, after long last, we've made a fateful decision and set a course. Sitting in front of your computer? Mark your calendars and set phasers for awesome.

ROFLCON II -- April 30th and May 1st, 2010.

We're back. And we're bringing the entire internet with us.

We're offering attendance for the complete two-day extravaganza of internet culture, web celebrities, scholars, and commentators with a general public pass of $65, with a discounted student rate of $45 also offered. Payable in credit, Paypal, or gold doubloons. The registration page is here.

In an effort to avoid running out of standing room and accidentally turning MIT into an overcooked meme-irradiated warzone, it's important to note that tickets will be limited (and that prices will rise as we get closer to the conference), so it'll be worth snagging them at this (somewhat-early) bird level if you're sure you're coming ASAP.

And, yes, we're serious about the $500 "mystery pass." Serious applicants should drop a line to tim AT roflcon.org.