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Curtin University
Transforming Learning at Curtin

Transmedia Storytelling

Media and technology are dramatically changing the way we learn. Children of the millennial have grown up with the internet, social media, interactive television and virtual reality gaming. Their approach to learning is through active participation, collaboration and inquiry and they will go anywhere in the virtual world to find the right product, the right tool, and the right learning environment, at the right price.

At Curtin, we are planning to meet these expectations through a model of teaching and learning known as Curtin Converged, where a mix of traditional and digital tools are used to allow students to explore ideas and knowledge in learning environments that are collaborative, interactive, personalised and fun. It also means they are able to learn at their own pace, in their own terms and from anywhere in the world.

This is what Curtin calls distributed learning. The principles behind it are taken from the entertainment industry and a communication approach known as transmedia narrative, which engages fans to explore and expand a storyline developing new narratives for a range of different media platforms, both traditional and digital. This approach allows the story to be unraveled by its audience with different aspects of the narrative delivered on a different platform in varying layers and complexity.

Transmedia enhances the central story with each media component providing additional information, giving increased importance to minor characters in the main narrative, or even adding new characters that were not in the original story. These techniques are widely used for movies, television, and advertising and are also gaining traction in teaching and learning and research, as well as social activism, leadership and geo-political change.

A series of targeted group forums, presentations and seminars on transmedia storytelling and its application in research, teaching and learning, and leadership development are being hosted by Curtin’s Education portfolio, Greater Curtin and Uni Marketing from 29 September to 3 October.

Guest speaker is internationally renowned transmedia expert Jeff Gomez, CEO of US-based Starlight Runner Entertainment. Jeff is well known for his work on projects such as Avatar, Hunger Games, Doctor Who, and Halo, as well as brand campaigns such as the Coca-Cola's Happiness Factory. Jeff has also worked on many compelling social, corporate and political multi-platform narratives with world-renowned partners and clients.

Curtin has invited Jeff to Perth as part of a University-wide think-tank on the potential of transmedia narrative as a method of delivering teaching and learning globally, and an area of emerging demand for future leaders worldwide, as well as its applications in the research field.

The week-long calendar of events includes seminars targeting general staff, students, external stakeholders and the general public. See below for details.

Tuesday 30 September 2014

Population Activation: A Transmedia Approach

Staff only

9am – 12noon

Building 407: Room 208

Live streaming available

Wednesday 1 October 2014

Academic Board Forum- Transmedia storytelling: Application in Research, Teaching and Learning

Curtin Guests and Staff

12noon – 1.30pm

Council Chambers Building 100: Level

Wednesday 1 October 2014

Transmedia Storytelling with Starlight Runner Entertainment CEO Jeff Gomez

Invitation Only Curtin Guests

5.30pm – 7.30pm

John Curtin Gallery

Thursday 2 October

Transmedia Storytelling: The Future of Story Across Multiple Media Platforms.

2pm – 5pm

Students only

Live streaming available

Jeff Gomez and Starlight Runner Entertainment

A Latino who spent his childhood in the low-income housing projects of Manhattan’s Lower East Side, Jeff champions the concerns of young people and is a recognized expert on leadership and success strategies for children and teenagers, with an emphasis on how to overcome bullying in schools.

Jeff Gomez is CEO of Starlight Runner Entertainment, the world's leading expert at expanding entertainment properties, premium brands, and socio-political themes into highly successful transmedia narratives and international campaigns. While best known for producing transmedia around blockbuster pop culture properties such as Avatar and Pirates of the Caribbean, Jeff also uses his 9-Step process to conceive and produce peacebuilding, ecumenical, and population activation campaigns that educate and foster dialog among the disenfranchised, to promote spiritual enlightenment, and to move societies away from violence and corruption.

His presentation on Transmedia Storytelling for Health, Education and Social Good can be viewed here.
A condensed (38 min) Population Activation seminar can be accessed here.

Jeff’s work with Columbian youth will potentially have a profound impact on the future of Columbia and its place in the world. Through transmedia storytelling, Jeff’s project aims to deliver a New Generation of Leaders in Colombia. View the Heroes Fest in Medellin, Colombia, population activation project here.

As a consultant to Fortune 500 companies, Jeff and his company Starlight Runner also develop corporate and individual brand narratives and contribute strategic planning and production for the extension of narrative content across digital and traditional platforms. He created the smash hit Hot Wheels animation universe for Mattel, and has worked with such companies as The Walt Disney Company (Pirates of the Caribbean, Fairies, Tron Legacy), 20th Century Fox (James Cameron’s Avatar), Sony Pictures Entertainment (Men in Black 3, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Venom), Microsoft (Halo), Coca-Cola (Happiness Factory), Hasbro (Transformers), Nickelodeon (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), Showtime (Dexter), and Pepperidge Farm (Goldfish).

Jeff’s team at Starlight Runner possesses the ability to glean vital narrative elements from vast quantities of data, which enables them to derive the essence of a story world, brand or message and maximize its impact with mass audiences. Starlight Runner designs, develops, strategizes and implements carefully orchestrated transmedia implementations, often on a global scale, with partners and clients. In the process they drive new revenue streams, open up significant new media opportunities and capture the imagination of millions for movie studios, television networks, videogame companies, book publishers, and consumer product corporations.

Coverage of Jeff Gomez’s work and seminars appears in Variety, Forbes, BusinessWeek, Wired UK, Los Angeles Times, and dozens of newspapers, magazines and blogs from around the world. He was selected by Details magazine to be one of the 2010 Mavericks for his contributions toward shifting the business and artistic paradigm in the global film and entertainment industry. He was designated a Hollywood “Power Player” by Variety in January 2012. Jeff was also recently awarded the Director’s Coin for Excellence by the United States Special Operations Command / InterAgency Task Force for his transmedia work on asymmetrical conflict and international crisis narratives in the field.

Transmedia Reference Material

Television & Video

Jeff Gomez about Transmedia Experience

Jeff Gomez on The Rush TV Show

Jeff Gomez Interview on Electric Playground TV Show

Brainwave Thought Leadership: Jeff Gomez responding to technology in education

Additional Resources

Henry Jenkins: Transmedia in Education  

The Moz Blog: Building Worlds For and With Fans

Introduction to Transmedia Learning for Training & Education

Transmedia Storytelling in Higher Education

Transmedia and Education: How Transmedia Is Changing Classrooms