Story Hack: Beta, Part 3

(Read parts one and two.)

I’m sitting deep inside the bowels of the Elinor Bunin Monroe Film Center on West 65th Street. The Story Hack got off to a friendly start around 10:00 this morning with an orientation by Aina Abiodun, Mike Knowlton, and Film Society of Lincoln Center Executive Director Rose Kuo. We made sure everyone was on the same page and were told our final wild card, the Emily Dickinson quote “Fortune befriends the bold,” which has to be included in every hack. Aina’s opening thoughts also laid down the gauntlet when she said that our work in these 24 hours would initiate the growth of transmedia as much as anything else happening right now. It’s a bold claim — the hack’s theme is courage, after all — but when you think about it, she’s probably right. Not only is it a fantastic experience for each of the participants, but we’ll also hopefully come up with some new uses for the technology we’re using and advance the state of the art. Plus all the attention StoryCode and FilmLinc are bringing to transmedia will really help push it further into the public sphere.

As the hours wane the room’s getting progressively giddier, and the trash-talking tweets are flying at #storyhack (also the best way to follow the hack in real time). We’ve had great mentorship throughout the afternoon, like Brian Clark of GMD Studios who helped steer us toward using Geoloqi for a geolocation tool we wanted to build into our app. I’ve personally spent the day editing last night’s footage in Final Cut Pro, a pretty straight-forwardly old-school task, and I’ve been amazed at the speed of the rest of the team in cranking out the rest of the entire project — and the other teams too.

Kudos to the representatives from Social Samba for staying throughout the night with us. It was great when they casually said this afternoon, “Hey, we’re hackers too.” And they’re still plugging away. The same goes for FilmLinc Executive Assistant Matt Bolish, who’s personified FilmLinc’s commitment to new media — “We’re in with both feet,” as he said a couple hours ago.

So what are the lessons of the day?

* Get help, ask the experts — there’s always someone who knows more than you.

* Deadlines, even self-imposed ones, can push you to get things done much faster than you may believe possible. When we hashed out our title — Reclaim Anna – in a few minutes over pizza, team member Carrie Cutforth-Young commented, “This would have taken three weeks of meetings at my regular job.”

* When you have a deadline like this, you can be really motivated to work through or around problems quickly; but at the same time you have to realize when something’s not working, change your game plan, and go with Plan B. After all, as Mark Harris of Broadcastr told us tonight, the audience will never know if they’re watching Plan A or Plan B; they’ll just know if it’s any good.

And that’s what we’re hoping for…