|Trouble times Two|
|Written by Groupe Intellex Global|
|Thursday, 08 March 2007 00:00|
‘Trouble times Two’ – broadband-enabled imaginative science
The Internet enables “innovation without permission”. This unconstrained freedom – a spirit of adventure – is celebrated by a project in which broadband capabilities are essential for its projected global success.
TxT’s four central elements (film animation, interactive on-line game, a novel distribution channel and supportive website) revolve around a film animation concept that has already been piloted and tested for its target young audience. The project will take this concept from its creative laboratory in Belfast to the next stage of development for global commercialisation.
In this captivating blend of rich cartoon entertainment and science-education, the story-line features two young heroes whose comedic adventures (and home-built rocket ship) carry them towards a wider awareness of environmental and other challenges, and the discovery of science-based solutions.
The heroes of ‘Trouble times Two’ – Belfast brothers Conor and Christopher – are from the 7-11 age-group of the primary audience but the production is designed to work on several levels for imaginative minds of all ages. The two new 10-minute episodes will be an expansion of the original pilot.
The longer-term TxT objective is to develop its market potential for a 26-part broadcast and IPTV series together with comic strip stories and other spin-offs based on the main characters, scenarios and technologies. At this stage, however, the TxT project is focused only on the transition to a market-entry commercial production to serve as a launch-pad for long-term international opportunities. Projects of this kind need a carefully-developed collaborative approach to risk management in a way that does not compromise creative integrity.
TxT’s original creative concept is rooted in the talents of the NI-based team of William and Ken Simpson. Their approach to production has significant quality/cost advantages, international experience and digital expertise. Building on the foundations of story visualisation and production, the project design is a response to the challenges of securing audience engagement, novel delivery and future investment for commercial sustainability.
The initial 10-minute episodes will be delivered in two versions – both episodes for normal web-based download/streaming but additionally in a form specially rendered for projection onto the domed ceilings of planetariums. This special digital treatment is a response to the need to identify a first-stage market-priming delivery channel that targets the core 7-11 year-old audience.
The Armagh planetarium led by Dr Tom Mason is the hub of a global astro-educational network that has identified the need to blend serious science with imaginative entertainment – and it is through this network that TxT plans a novel approach to market-entry aided by global viral marketing.
Young audiences will be encouraged to engage at school or from home in pull-through engagement via an interactive game and a website that gives access to support materials for the topics raised in the films. Whilst the total market reach of planetariums is limited, the promotional potential, particularly for the target first-adopter demographic group and their teachers, is exceptionally powerful.
The technology solutions featured in the episodes will illustrate the scope for future commercial sponsorship around emergent and innovative ideas.
The project is critically dependent on both commercial-grade and consumer broadband capacities for (i) international production collaboration, (ii) global distribution (whether streamed or downloaded), (iii) end-user engagement via interactive game elements, (iv) viral marketing and (v) access to support materials for the educational dimensions.
Interactive engagement is central to delivery of the full creative portfolio. The TxT on-line adventure game and interactive support materials are cross-linked with print productions (e.g. comic books) to promote the on-line and downloadable game elements as part of educational project and entertainment experiences.
The primary market is children in age-range 7-11 years with an extended market amongst older children and adults around the world. Multi-language versions will be developed as the international market emerges and the website will be the vehicle for determining demand profiles.
The international commercial development potential is very large – once the market-entry hurdles have been cleared. The Planetarium-rendered version and initial web-hosted episode will be available entirely free of charge but the following episodes, spin-off materials, and merchandising will be sold on-line and in collaboration with the Armagh Planetarium’s global network.
The product is new to the market but has been piloted with a short non-commercial version. The project brings together several NI and International partners for creative and commercial collaboration.
The products will be accessible from all conventional broadband-enabled PC/Mac/PDA and web-browsing terminals. The adaptation for planetarium projection will be developed for distribution via high-capacity hosting centres.
The production of original content is at the heart of the TxT project and the novel technological elements (specialist projection, interactive game and website design) support the route to commercial sustainability.