A Brüno Case Study: The 2009 Audience uprising! (Part 3)

Part 3 – New 21st Century Strategies for SuccessUnknown

Brüno was the first film to be so drastically effected by the power of the audience – who had an opinion, broadcast it and drowned out the marketing messages. This Coup d’état on Hollywood, from audiences over studio giants, has effected how the entertainment industry creates and sells stories. For the industry to survive, it will need to understand, accept and adapt to these changes (see Hollywood and Disruptive Storytelling).

So what exactly does the ‘Bruno’ story teach Hollywood about how to craft an IP in the age of social media? Continue reading

A Brüno Case Study: The 2009 Audience uprising! (Part 2)

Part 2 – The Social Media Revolution

How did Brüno go from being the #1 movie in America to #3 in less than 24 hours?

Many people have tried to explain why Brüno crashed on its opening weekend. Some have blamed the filmmaker and others the marketing campaign. But Universal did their best with a bad movie on their hands. The most important factor effecting the unprecedented decline in ticket sales from that Friday to Saturday night, was the unaccounted for rise of social media. Let’s take a look back at what was occurring in the sociocultural landscape at the time Brüno was releasing.

The Social Media RevolutionFacebook-2011

Back in late 2008/early 2009, while Universal was planning the marketing campaign for Brüno, Facebook and Twitter were exploding and revolutionizing the global social and cultural fabric (the “Year of the Social Network”). Continue reading

A Brüno Case Study: The 2009 Audience uprising! (Part 1)

Part 1 – The Story of Brüno

bruno_posterWith the rise of social media, there has been a dramatic shift in audience behavior and how they gather information and choose which movies to attend. This shift has had a dramatic effect on how we measure a movie’s success (or failure) at the box office, and in the ethos of culture. In the past, opening weekend numbers indicated a film’s success – a testament to the marketing campaign and the studios wisdom in choosing a successful story. Today, social media provides a means for the audience’s voice to grow louder than that of the marketing campaign. Which makes it extremely challenging (if at all possible) to sell a bad movie to the masses.

When did this change? Back in 2009, we saw the shift when Universal’s Brüno hit the marketplace. Let’s break it down and see what happened and what it means for releasing films today. Continue reading

Story 101: Story is Active, Entertaining & Human




sto·ry  /ˈstôrē/ noun — A narrative, either true or fictitious, in prose or verse, designed to interest, amuse, or instruct the hearer or reader; tale.



At the heart of StoryDisruptive changes is the power of story and how it lives, breathes and moves in people’s lives. To engage audiences in story, we need to take a closer look at “story” itself. How is story used in peoples lives? In culture? What makes a “good” story? Let’s start with the basics …  Continue reading

Binge Viewing & 5 Insights on the Future of Story Consumption

imagesThe recent Harris study confirms that binge viewing is the new norm. They found that 62% of people watch episode after episode, right after each other.

I’m definitely one of those 62%. I’ve partaken in the lure, escape and enjoyment of diving into a beloved story world for hours on end. In fact, I watched all 75 episodes of Battlestar Gallactica while writing my masters thesis and working full time (and I don’t regret a single moment!).

Binge viewing might be new, but the instinct is not.

What is behind this “new” phenomenon? Why is this becoming the “new” trend? Should we be concerned? Continue reading

Creating The Ultimate Transmedia Story Experiences: 3 Key Principles

images-2 copyAre you a storyteller who wants to create transmedia experiences that attract huge audiences? Well, to do so requires that you understand more than just how to tell a story via multiple platforms. You also need to know how to craft a story experience that resonates with audiences and inspires them to move from one platform to another.

The transmedia impulse is a concept that Jenkins referred to when he introduced the idea of transmedia in 2006. The transmedia impulse is the key to understanding what motivates audiences toward engagement with stories across platforms. I believe in order to build out successful transmedia story experiences, we need to not only build storyworlds across platforms, but we need to consider the psychological motivating factors that get audiences to move with the story from platform to platform – the transmedia impluse. So what does it take to spark the transmedia impulse in audiences? Continue reading

Transmedia = More than “Storytelling Across Platforms”

storytelling-1 Storytelling is a foundational human experience across time and cultures (thank you Joseph Campbell). Stories are a means of entertainment and escape; how we pass on culture and history; a way we connect and belong; and how we share who we are and come to know each other. Humanity has used stories from the very beginning as a fundamental tool to make sense of our world and our selves – from tales around the campfire to Shakespearian theater. Today, we continue to use story to share, express, belong, connect, think, learn and hope but in convergence culture we are doing so via many different media platforms.

The end of uni-directional storytelling

Transmedia storytelling has emerged as a result of the rise of different media platforms, which has provided us more ways to tell and experience story. Continue reading