On April 11, the immersive narrative, My Sky is Falling, premiered at Envision 2013 in New York City. My Sky is Falling (MSiF) is a collaborative creation and uses methods of data-driven storytelling and an immersive science fiction narrative to explore the social issues surrounding US foster care as experienced by former foster care child and writer/director, Lydia Joyner. The experience was well-received by conference attendees, which included documentary filmmakers, representatives from the United Nations, and members of the Independent Filmmaker Project, who hosted the event. Envision 2013 concluded with a keynote presentation of the experience by Lance Weiler and a discussion of the participant’s engagement data by HI’s Creative Technologist, Clint Beharry.
HI Research Analyst Alex Campolo attended the BAVC Producers Institute for New Media Technologies from October 12-16. Campolo delivered a keynote talk at the Public Conference Day on strategies for measuring the social impact of media. Other presenters included independent filmmakers, transmedia experts, and representatives of PBS and ITVS.
Throughout the week, Campolo worked individually with six selected teams developing innovative social-issue media projects. The teams brought together documentary filmmakers, technologists, and nonprofit partners to design innovative transmedia and interactive storytelling tools. Following the conference, HI will work with the teams to hone new strategies for measuring social impact as documentary storytelling moves to a variety of new platforms.
On October 12, Executive Director John Johnson and Graham Technology Fellow Clint Beharry met with a select group of journalists, entertainment executives, and activists to discuss preliminary results from HI’s recent study: “From Neural to Social Networks.”
The panel, titled “Innovations In Leveraging Behavioral Data To Influence Change,” was hosted by Bond Strategy and Influence, a leading strategic consulting firm that finds creative solutions for clients in digital markets. Johnson and Beharry presented HI’s study, which tracked the social influence of the popular AMC series The Walking Dead. Thousands of hand-coded tweets were matched with cognitive response measured using EEG technology to generate new insights into how audiences engage with entertainment. More broadly, Johnson and Beharry outlined how HI is using new data sources to understand how entertainment drives social change.
The HI office has moved! We’re now in a larger, more collaborative space that can support innovative new projects and accomodate our growing team.
Over Labor Day weekend, the Harmony Institute packed up and moved from 40 Elizabeth Street, in Manhattan’s Chinatown neighborhood, uptown to 54 West 21st Street in the Flatiron District. The building is also home to the offices of HI partner company, Buzzfeed.
We’ve launched our new blog! The Ripple Effect, run by the Harmony Institute, is an interdisciplinary site dedicated to commentary, analysis, and information on the influence of media and entertainment. It’s written for the interested public and tackles complex issues with clear, intelligent reporting, backed by strong evidence.
Check back often for the latest research and commentary by HI researchers and our partner organizations.
Graham Technology fellow Clint Beharry and Assistant Director Eleanor Cleverly will present at the first ever Benchmark Conference on May 9, 2012. Benchmark is a social media measurement conference aimed at sparking conversation between industry and technology leaders.
The session, “Lean Forward: Measuring and Understanding the Influence of Social TV,” will discuss findings from HI’s partnership with social media analysis platform Crimson Hexagon. Beharry and Cleverly will present insights into TV viewing and social media usage, with a special focus on social-issue entertainment.
Founder and Executive Director John S. Johnson served on the first ever jury panel for the 2011 inaugural Tribeca Film Institute ‘New Media Fund.’ The fund’s aim is to support non-fiction, social-issue film projects that integrate multiple media platforms, including social networks and mobile applications.
Six grant recipients were announced October 4, each receiving up to $100,000 to bolster their projects. Among this year’s grantees are 18 Days in Egypt, a “crowd-sourced interactive documentary” on the Egyptian revolution, and The Interrupters, a documentary and web campaign on Chicago’s “violence interrupters … who protect their communities from the violence they themselves once employed.”
For a full list of the 2011 recipients, click here.
In February 2009, HI partnered with the Screenwriters Colony, and the Producers Guild of America, to bring together innovators in the field of online storytelling for a provocative discussion on this new and evolving genre.
“The Power of Online Storytelling: A Conversation Among Innovative Writers and Industry Professionals Working Today on the Web” took place at The New School in New York City. Participants included Amy B. Harris (Writer, Sex in the City, Puppy Love), Dina Kaplan (Co-founder, Blip.tv), Virginia Heffernan (“The Medium” Columnist for The New York Times Magazine), Dinosaur Diorama (Creators of ‘The Burg’ and’ The All-For-Nots’), Mary Feuer (Writer for ‘Lonelygirl15’ and creator of ‘With the Angels’), and Jeff Gomez (Starlight Runner Entertainment).
To watch the webcast of the discussion, click here.