Sparrow Hall is an immersive storyteller, branded content producer, and transmedia innovator. Author of Two Blue Wolves and Nightwork, Hall is known for creating unique narrative experiences through a hybrid of mediums – including literature, music, video, graphic design, handmade artifacts, and web-specific content. He has led branded content development for a variety of global brands, and has chaired thought leadership panels discussing the future of publishing and cross-platform entertainment. Read More >
“This is Water” by David Foster Wallace / Short film by The Glossary
Commencement speeches usually make me feel like I’m sleeping with my eyes open. Here’s an exception.
This short-film interpretation of David Foster Wallace’s address to the graduating class of Kenyon College in 2005 elegantly reframes the soul-crushing realities of a day-in-day-out work week as an opportunity to think and choose differently – and the promise it holds.
Afterparty Bar 13 / 13th Street at University Place / 6 PM – 8:30 PM
Helping creators fund, develop, distribute, and sustain their work.
DIY DAYS is a free one-day event where creators from all over the world descend on New York to present their latest discoveries, innovations, and methodologies. This year, I’m helping the team host the afterparty at Bar 13 in Union Square.
You can still register for the conference at www.diydays.com, view the schedule, learn more about the speakers, and even sign up as a volunteer.
Highlights of this year’s DIY DAYS include:
Last year, I contributed to the “Measuring Success – New Methods for Funding, Engaging and Creating” panel with transmedia creative director Nick Braccia, media anthropologist Ele Jansen, and digital strategist Ryan Aynes. Here’s an excerpt form the talk.
Looking forward to checking out “Mistaken for Strangers” the opening night film for the Tribeca Film Festival.
The documentary captures The National’s “High Violet” world tour from a rare insider’s point of view – directed by lead singer Matt Berninger’s brother, Tom Berninger, who believes indie rock is “pretentious bullshit.”
The National lead singer Matt Berninger (left) with filmmaker brother Tom Berninger (right).
You know when you’re at your friend’s place eating pancakes and he’s playing something off his laptop that’s like this bizarre hybrid of Afrobeat, The XX, and Frankie Goes To Hollywood, and it’s got you all dancing with your shoulders, and you’re like “WTF is this?”
We need more of that.
But you and I both know we’re not hanging out with our musicologist friends 24/7. So where do we get some sweet ass music in the meantime?
Idea: Why not take the music magazine model and combine it with an online store that showcases the work of some of the most innovative off-the-grid music makers?
Good news. Bandcamp just did, and you’re going to like the look of it.
Transmedia, Hollywood Conference 2013: Spreading Change
Friday, April 12 / UCLA’s James Bridges Theater
Presented by UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television, USC School of Cinematic Arts Presents, and the Andrew J. Kuehn Jr. Foundation
What is Transmedia, Hollywood?
A one-day conference for early adopters and next generation thinkers centered around entrepreneurship, cause-based advertising, culture hacking, and philanthropy in the Digital Age.
Why should I spend my day around tanned, hyper-connected undergrads?
Transmedia is what happens when entertainment, branding, advertising, and philanthropy merge into an enormous crime-fighting robot whose sole purpose is to rid the world of inane marketing campaigns and champion the bizarre imaginations of storytellers. Because transmedia properties and campaigns play out over multiple platforms (social, mobile, big screen, tablet, live events), artists, studios, institutions and advertisers can reach larger audiences and monetize their efforts in a multitude of ways. If you’re somehow connected to any one of these industries and you want to have a job in the next 3 years, you probably want to attend this conference.
Will the speakers make me want to slit my wrists?
No, I have a feeling it’ll be a pretty interesting crowd and a solid networking event. The panels will feature a variety of experts – including Henry Jenkins, the Obi-Wan Kenobi of transmedia, United Talent’s digital media hot shot Milana Rabkin, and pop culture hacker Jonathan McIntosh, who’s doing some thought-provoking work around subliminal messaging and the future of participatory media (aka: remixed videos and other cool disruptiveness).
What happens when YouTube kitten videos nuzzle up to the next episode of Homeland?
Talent agent lion Ari Emanuel discusses the shifts and experiments taking place in Hollywood as it works to adopt a new convergent business model – where TV, Film, Social and Gaming combine and conquer.
What I like about Ari Emanuel, the colorful co-CEO of William Morris Endeavor, is that he doesn’t fart around where money is concerned. Clearly, Hollywood needs to shift into a new business model in order to sustain and grow as different forms of media, and distribution channels, continue to intertwine and overlap. And no – no one has found the magic bullet yet. But it’s interviews like these that remind me that the bottom-line business of convergent media isn’t simply being mumbled over by a bunch of bloggers and theorists – that there are actually a handful of shrewd, hungry, and surprisingly innovative people at the top that are trying to get this thing sorted.
This interview with Emanuel from last year’s D10 runs at about an hour, but it’s worth the watch. So go make yourself some coffee, or drink a Red Bull, or do whatever the fuck you need to do, and then go make some motherfucking convergent money.
“The big mistake is to just wait for inspiration to happen. It won’t come looking for you. You have to start doing something: you have to build a trap to catch it.” – Brian Eno / Artist & Musician
Dunhill has released a beautiful profile series (and an elegant example of branded content) called “Day 8.” Intimate, understated interviews with a handful of unique souls who challenge our sensibilities and champion imperfection. A mountaineer, an actor, a filmmaker, an Olympic rower – private meditations on why they do what they do.
Day 8 is better than most documentaries I’ve seen, and it just goes to show how marketing, if done right, has the power to transcend. That a brand is not a thing, not a product, but a glimmering representation of our inner selves.
Sandbox, a gathering of innovators under the age of 30, incubates people rather than companies.
Sanboxers Tahnee Prior (left) and Kyra Phillips (right)
Today’s post-collegiate world seems scarier than ever.
21-year-olds thrust into a jittery world of start-ups, scant job opportunities, and a ride-or-die necessity for building new relationships – all the while shedding the protoplasm of the womb that’s called college life.
Clearly, Sandbox is seeing the same thing.
Started in 2008, this incubator for exceptional thinkers and doers under the age of 30 has taken root and is slowly amassing a “family” that will no doubt take over the world. Like a bikini-clad Knights Templar, these 20-somethings – be they technologists, poets, artists – are getting together in different parts of the world, turning off their cell phones, and enjoying some bonding time away from the Worldwide Web.
Are they sharing ideas? Yes. Are they reading books and running beside wild horses on a beach? Probably. Are they all sleeping with each other? Most definitely. But, facetiousness aside, I’m almost certain they’re walking away from the experience truly inspired, feeling like they’re a part of a new family.
When I hear about something like Sandbox, there’s a part of me that wishes I were coming out of college right now, if only to be a part of something like this. Since leaving Bennington (my own sort of Sandbox), I’ve somehow managed to make a home for myself amid the often harsh realities of business and life. But there’s a part of me that will always recognize the value in these rituals that happen outside the normal fray – secreted away in a seemingly other world. Because what happens there is different than anywhere else. You see a side of yourself that you could have otherwise missed. And that’s the thing that means the most, and it’ll be the engine to wherever you go in the future.
HAIM (pronounced like “rhyme”) are 3 sisters from the west coast with a sound that I like to call “synthesizer-at-the-farm-market.” One part floppy hat Fleetwood Mac, the other disco-child Ladyhawke.
Listening to their songs you’d think HAIM had been putting out music for the last 10 years, honing their sound into the catchy, heartfelt awesomeness it is today. But the fact is, after playing music together since childhood, and writing songs together since 2006, they only started releasing music last year. Even then, the 4-song EP, entitled Forever, was recorded 5 times before the girls were finally happy with it.
“Forever” Official Video –
In contrast to today’s social media blitzkrieg, a low profile can work in an artist’s favor.
HAIM embody two rare qualities in the world of independent art-making – patience and temperance. In contrast to the social media excess of half-baked demos and washed out Instagram photos that accompany many of today’s self-propelled indie bands, these ladies went the way of the monastery – grinding out a handful of songs with the doors closed in the privacy of their own home. They played a bunch of local gigs, but basically went about their normal daily lives – college, work, and touring with fellow musicians.
There have been blog posts dedicated to them, praise from various music festivals, but HAIM never really “broke out.” It was more like they suddenly appeared, filling a place on our iPods that we didn’t even realize was empty.
In October, Red Bull’s Sound & Vision project dedicated an episode to HAIM’s story of growing up in a musical household, and the central role their parents (especially their father) played (sometimes literally – on the drums) in their journey.
And then there’s the style component. If you want to know what their music sounds like, just look at the way they dress. A certain je ne sais quoi of eclectic tom boyishness, vintage accoutrements, and a romantic and fun-loving spirit. Case in point, their latest video for “Falling” is visually stunning – where every frame looks like something you’d want to pin to a Pinterest board.
You can download HAIM’s music on iTunes and Amazon, and expect a full-length album from them later this year.
A big thanks to my DJ/photographer friend Giovanni di Mola for turning me onto HAIM and for art director/DJ Kurtis Powers for inspiring this blog post.