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Building Audience through Transmedia Documentaries

More and more documentary filmmakers have been using transmedia storytelling to reach new audiences and communicate in a more engaging way. Consequently documentary filmmakers rarely function ‘just’ as filmmakers. But often act as creator and multi-format producer, moving between platforms and rushing to build apps, interactive websites, games, and social media. Likewise, audiences expect to access content on a variety of platforms and make use of rich interaction (many of which involve them as active participants). But technological innovation is not simply a more-is-better proposition. Making choices of what to develop, how to develop it, and how to attract new audiences are all key questions. This panel brings together filmmakers and funders to explore both the practical and ideal applications of transmedia--its potential and pitfalls. Including Jim Dunford, Series Manager, WGBH's American Experience, a TBD independent producer of a PBS documentary, and Jeff Hardwick from the NEH.

Additional Supporting Materials


  1. How do documentary filmmakers make use of the variety of platforms to better reach audiences?
  2. Apps, social media, blogging, twitter--which ones create buzz, which ones can deliver content?
  3. Do the up-front investments in various platforms pay off down the road in terms of a richer audience engagement?
  4. How can interactivity be utilized in the various platforms--especially in order to generate new content and participation?
  5. How do the platforms effect the actual storytelling? Length? Style? Content? Interactivity?



Jeff Hardwick, Senior Program Officer, National Endowment for the Humanities

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