Scott Ellington's Blog

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Time, Money and Attention

Each of us gathers and spends these three things differently.  Possibly uniquely.  And the weight/importance we percieve in our jobs, our fascinations, our stuff — varies from decade to decade just as it varies from person to person, creating recognizable patterns of similarity that make some of us nostalgic about StarWars, summer camp or band practice.  The measure is personal…satisfaction.

“The hours I spend with a cue in my hand are Golden.  Help you cultivate horse sense and a cool head and a keen eye…”  Attention, time and money…invested, squandered, earned, stolen…

The Producers Guild of America, this week, was the first professional entertainment organization yet to create an official designation recognizing the Transmedia Producer as a legitmate occupation.  You can look up the definition of the job, but by the time you get to it they’ll have changed it to more accurately reflect the objections of concerned industry workers who took exception the moment the announcement was made to fictional narrative stretched across at least three discrete media platforms, and yadada yadada, yawn.

  • Transmedia Producer – A Transmedia Narrative project or franchise must consist of three (or more) narrative storylines existing within the same fictional universe on any of the following platforms:  Film, Television, Short Film, Broadband, Publishing, Comics, Animation, Mobile, Special Venues, DVD/Blu-ray/CD-ROM, Narrative Commercial and Marketing rollouts, and other technologies that may or may not currently exist. These narrative extensions are NOT the same as repurposing material from one platform to be cut or repurposed to different platforms.

Money, time and attention are spent and gathered by each of us uniquely.  Controversy over the definition of “transmedia” will persist until a lot of money is made by people who weren’t much involved in the semantic squabble, people who managed to make something profoundly (valued and) lucrative —  which will garner the attention of the squabblers, who will spend lots of time, money and attention attempting to replicate the success of those who demonstrated something that worked while the squabbling continued ad nauseum.

The problem I see with this historic announcement is that it has focused attention on product, return-on-investment, and technique, while distracting people from thinking about who they’d love to work with, what they’d love to do together and how to love budgeting personal time, money and attention to design coherent experience that magnetizes their collective attention (and has the identical kind of effect on a global audience).  I can’t think of anything that motivates people more than the invitation to collaborate.  I’d rather spend time collaborating in the writers’ room than sit through the eventual movie that’s created.

Transmedia entertainment is mostly about people who invest time, money and attention pursuing what they want to do…on both sides of the camera, screen or creative/receptive process.  It isn’t concerned with the prioritized agendas of media executives, nor box office receipts, nor fads.  It’s the further adventures of culture; coherent, self-aware, aspiring initiative to make stuff happen within the limitations of the money, time and attention you have to do so.  Transmedia entertainment is all about you.

Thanks for your time and attention.  We validate, but don’t forget to tip.

This post was inspired by this one:

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10 Apr 10 - Posted by | Uncategorized |


  1. You’re exactly on point, Scott. My team and I, and so many colleagues that I’ve had the good fortune to meet since the transmedia space coalesced, are fiercely passionate about what we do — so much so that we have worked diligently with the Producers Guild of America and with conference holders all over the world to open up perceptions about this kind of narrative and convince them of its value proposition.

    Of course, we would rather spend our time with the who, what and how of the actual implementation of our vision, our art, but in order for us to earn a decent wage we have to create a language that bridges our minds to those of the people who are most likely to pay us. The Transmedia Producer credit contains that language. It was very specifically designed to be understood by certain kinds of people. A few words to the left or right of it (typos notwithstanding), and I promise you it would not have existed at all. I’m hoping that soon we’ll all start exploring the greater implications of the credit and the universe of artistic expression its potential can open for us all…

    Comment by Jeff Gomez | 11 Apr 10

  2. The people of the WGA once pitched a story-idea for the future of entertainment that raised the hair on the back of my neck and opened my imagination. Writers, shop stewards and showrunners all said, “They get paid, We get paid (because) We’re all in this together.”
    When the strike began and the Cone of Mainstream Media Silence descended I chose to boycott studio product, suspended my iTunes and NetFlix accounts and wrote to the WGA asking how I might lend my support to a necessary revolution in their conduct of business-as-usual. Patric Verone, himself wrote back providing instructions, so I followed them, sending a hundred bucks per month to the Motion Picture and Television Fund and waited for him, Michael Winship or a designated representative to speak to a bewildered nation via the latenight talkshow soapbox.
    But mainstream media outlets maintained their radio silence, and the only means to learn anything about the ongoing plight of storyarchitects and writers’ room interns was Nikki Finke and United Hollywood v1.0. Transmedia entertainment is only another aspect of the larger, continuing fight between art and commerce.
    The nation remains bewildered, long after the strike has ended, but it seems clear to me that responsibility for the education of the world audience belongs to writers.

    The people most likely to subsidize an overdue revolution in entertainment are slightly obssessed with typos. And the people who’ll make it happen will wield the support of a global audience. You guys just don’t yet realize how many of us are listening for instructions, so you aren’t providing any.

    And Jeff, thanks for listening.

    Comment by Scott Ellington | 11 Apr 10

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