April 15, 2008 Jill

The Writers Guild of Canada hosted the Canadian Screenwriting Awards last night and it was fabulous. But the guild hosted another event over the weekend as well: the National Forum, an annual gathering of writers from around the country to review the past year and look ahead to the future of writing.

Two guests on Monday morning brought us news of the digital world. Gavin McGarry and Eli Singer were both inspiring and interesting guests. Gavin’s presentation was an overview of what’s going on across the web now and the possibilities for writers. Eli gave us an insiders look at one possible funding model: working directly with brands.  Both Eli and Gavin stressed that the opportunities for writers in the digital world are enormous.

Take a look at Gavin’s presentation. There are tons of links to keep you busy for hours. If you’d like to experience some of the excitement of what’s going on in new media live and in person, there are some great events happening in Toronto this month: the Innovation Exchange, Startup Camp and CaseCamp, where I’ll be presenting Story2Oh! There’s also a nextMedia conference in Banff right before the television festival in case you need a reason to spend a few extra days in the Rockies.

The way I see it, if you’re taking your storytelling skills to the net, you’ve got three big things to worry about: content, financing and building audience. Each has its own challenges, but I think financing might be the thorniest.

I was at Ice08 a couple of weeks ago and learned that there is no clear financing model yet. Our potential partners are the broadcasters, the video hosting sites like Metacafe and Heavy or social networks like Bebo and MySpace and the brands. Can they all play nicely together? What is everyone’s role? Who pays how much? How do the revenues get split?

I don’t know the answers, I’m not even sure what the questions are. So forging into the digital frontier is not for the faint of heart. But go take a look at Gavin’s presentation. It might get you excited enough to try.

Comments (3)

  1. Chris Lites

    I was wondering if you had a link that actually explained the presentation. There seem to be many great concepts, but they aren’t developed in the Powerpoint slides.

    I am a writer, I want to explore the world of new media further, where shoul I start?

    Thanks much.

    Chris Lites

  2. admin

    Start by watching and getting to know what’s out there and then move right into experimenting with the myriad of tools that the net offers and trying to tell a story using them.
    You can learn a lot from Gavin and the many other internet evangelists around. Get thee to a few conferences.

  3. Patrick O

    Thanks for all the info Jill – though startup camp seems a little snooty… I don’t think I could take having my ticket revoked because I wasn’t important enough!

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