Video - Alison Norrington at TEDx Transmedia 2012 - ‘Transmedia Storyworlds - Theme, Audience & Play’


Alison Norrington has more than 15 years of novel and playwriting experience, penning three bestselling novels, two stage plays and the first transmedia romcom. She is a creative producer, storyteller, consultant and educator in transmedia storytelling and founded storycentralDIGITAL & storycentralLABS, working closely with writers, studios, brands, broadcasters and publishers globally advising on strategic planning, incubating new entertainment IP, story architecture and cross-platform implementation.

At TEDx Transmedia 2012, Alison focused on a theory of playfulness within storytelling and how a story’s theme, genre and audience behaviours help shape strategy, active engagement and levels of immersion.

Alison’s website:

Short film featuring interviews with TEDx Transmedia 2012 speakers

Interviews with kids’ philosopher Øyvind Olsholt, transmedia storyteller Alison Norrington, games writer Rhianna Pratchett and TEDx Transmedia Curator, Nicoletta Iacobacci, all feature in this English-Italian short made at TEDx Transmedia 2012. 


As choreography doesn’t explain dance, composing doesn’t explain music and taste doesn’t quite evoke flavour, transmedia is an approach to storytelling that invites fun and participation rather than a quick fix.

Alison Norrington, TEDx Transmedia 2012, Rome.

Our brains are made to fill in blanks. Our brains are good at cutting out the irrelevant – this is called grokking - chunk learning – this is common throughout play. Be more impulsive, quicker to play. Look out for fun. It’s everywhere! It takes courage to play in a world that does not play.

Alison Norrington, TEDx Transmedia 2012, Rome.

Building a universe begins with story – but defining genre, message, core themes will impact on audience behaviours.

Alison Norrington, TEDx Transmedia 2012, Rome

Fun and quirky facts about our TEDx Transmedia 2012 speakers

A collation of fun and quirky facts about our TEDx Transmedia 2012 speakers so you can get to know them a bit better. Enjoy! 


SPEAKER FACT 1: Producer of ideas, Saku Tuominen, won a silver medal in the Old Timers (35+) World Championships in Ice Hockey. But not only is he an elite sportsman, he also has some enviable culinary skills and produces his own Olive Oil.


SPEAKER FACT 2: Peter Espersen, Online Community Lead for LEGO, is a huge heavy metal music fan, which might just account for the long metalhead hair style? He was once at a Rollins Band punk concert when the lead singer dived into the crowd and began biting the leg of the guy he was stood next to. Peter only noticed when the man started screaming.


SPEAKER FACT 3: Josh Shore, filmmaker, transmedia producer and founder of the Guerrilla News Network, practises meditation whilst scuba diving (!) and is a big fan of Minimal Techno… 


SPEAKER FACT 4: Games writer Rhianna Pratchett has just launched Narrativia - a new film, TV and digital production company. The company is a partnership with her fantasy author father, Terry Pratchett, and collaborators Rob Wilkins and Rod Brown. First projects are the adaption of Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman and an adaption of The Watch, also by Terry Pratchett.


SPEAKER FACT 5: Author Alison Norrington left business cards for her character inside shoes in shoe shops to help attract an audience for her chick lit transmedia story Staying Single.


SPEAKER FACT 6: Robert Tercek, one of the world’s most prolific creators of interactive content, has had some really exciting work in his life. We are very enamoured by the fact he got to work on the visual design for the Rolling Stones Steel Wheels tour early on in his career. Wonder if he’ll have any inside gossip on the rock and roll worlds of Mick, Keith, Ronnie and Charlie?


SPEAKER FACT 7: Ana Serrano, founding Director of the Canadian Film Centre Media Lab, has an unusual hobby: she sings in operatic style and often to her son Néo. 


SPEAKER FACT 8: Philosopher for children, Øyvind Olsholt, is a pianist and currently learning Swan Lake to play for his young daughter while she practises her ballet dancing.


SPEAKER FACT 9: Maurice Wheeler, of the Little Big Partnership, gives a funny talk on goal setting and measurement inspired by the fact he lost nearly half his body weight in just over a year, going from a massive XXXL (20st 10lb) to a slight and lithe M (around 11st)! You can check out his talk ‘Using Measurement To Motivate’ here:


SPEAKER FACT 10: Derrick de Kerckhove, world-leading thinker on technology and mass media, has a fascination with the alphabet and once co-edited a book which scientifically assesses the impact of the Western alphabet on the physiology and psychology of human cognition. 


SPEAKER FACT 11: Poonacha Machaiah, CEO at the Qyuki social network for creativity, rides his motorcycles as a means to clear his mind. He regularly braves Bangalore’s crazy traffic, on his classic 1950s-style 500cc Royal Enfield or Yamaha R1, en route to work. He’s explored most of south India on a bike and plans to take a long journey into the Himalayas next year. 


SPEAKER FACT 12: Social Designer Andrew Shea has a wandering spirit and has been on many travelling adventures around the world. Some of his most memorable include: hitchhiking from Mexico to Memphis, and hanging out with a Bushman, in the highlands of Papua New Guinea, who was wearing the same Michael Jordan T-shirt Andrew owned as a kid.


SPEAKER FACT 13: Rosalía Lloret, Chief Digital Officer at PRISA News, worked closely with the Huffington Post to bring the American brand to Spain.

Fun facts sourced and compiled by Hannah Wood. 

TEDx Transmedia 2012: A taste of what the speakers will say…

With a month to go before TEDx Transmedia 2012 opens in Rome we can reveal more detail about our exciting programme of speakers and the ideas and vision they are bringing to the event. 

The theme is WEkids: Dreamers, Geeks, Mindshifters and through it we seek to awaken the free spirit and courage of the inner child. We want to have fun and inspire you to create great media of the future!

The speakers are divided into Dreamer, Geek and Mindshifter session and each bring a unique energy to this special TEDx conference on September 28. 


Alison Norrington: Storyworlds Inventor

Alison, a novelist and transmedia strategist, will open the event and highlight the narrative power of non-linear stories through her personal experiences and those of her colleagues in the industry, from Hollywood to publishing. She’ll demonstrate how you build a robust Transmedia IP.

Poonacha Machaiah: Spiritual Technologist 

Poonacha, CEO of Qyuki, will focus on the need of the hour to have “purposeful technology” that can inspire generations to make positive changes in their communities.

Øyvind Olsholt: Kids’ Philosopher

Øyvind, a Norwegian children’s philosopher, will argue for philosophy as “evocative entertainment” and a focus on, not what “turns him on” in a physical or psychological sense but what challenges his intellect.

Rosalía Lloret: Multifaceted Journalist

Rosalía, the Chief Digital Officer for PRISA News, will explore how, when a new media is born and becomes successful, media gurus usually forecast either the deterioration of the human being and society because of the new media, or – if they like the new thing – the immediate death of any previous media industry. She’ll claim they’re wrong.


Maurice Wheeler: Youth Scholar

Maurice, with his 15 years of experience working with industry giants like Disney, Microsoft, Nintendo, Nichelodeon, Universal and Procter & Gamble, will analyze the different stages of child development, focusing in particular on the difficult generation tween (no longer a child and not yet a adolescent) and showing how difficult it is to communicate and create engaging content and success for this specific audience.

Ana Serrano: Experience Mastermind

Ana Serrano, Canadian director of the Media Lab at the Canadian Film Centre, will reveal how being a geek, a dreamer and charismatic futurist may contribute to the development of collaborative environments, useful for the creative transformation of our ecosystem.

Andrew Shea: Social Designer

Andrew, writer, designer and educator, will demonstrate how design and graphics can be used to disrupt our habits and make us more socially responsible.

Rhianna Pratchett: Narrative Paramedic

Rhianna, one of the queens of writing for games, will discuss how the word writer is quickly becoming an archaic term almost detrimental to the writers themselves, who should carve out a new role in the video game industry. 

Peter Espersen: Play Leader

Peter, Online Community Leader 13 + LEGO Group, will present case histories on how Lego failed to attract fans adults, as well as how it’s creating and managing communities online, using all the resources of social media. 


Saku Tuominen: Stargazing Idealist 

Saku, a Finnish TV producer who has won more than 30 awards, will seek to understand the meaning of life through dreams. Despite “hating” the term transmedia, he’ll explore how passion becomes a bold idea and then how to work hard to make a passion happen.

Josh Shore: Catalyst Filmmaker

Josh, a filmmaker, television producer and a catalyst of socially transformative communities, will ask a series of challenging questions about transmedia products and how to make them indispensable.

Derrick de Kerckhove: Digital Visionary

Derrick, who worked closely with Marshall McLuhan and is currently Professor of the Department of French at the University of Toronto and the Department of Sociology at the University Federico II of Naples, will show that technology not only intervenes in our social relations, but also in our nervous systems, creating new connections between body and machine that will result in new responsibilities.

Robert Tercek: Creative Activist

Robert, one of the world’s most prolific creators of interactive content, will argue that we are waking up from a “60-year trance” where we have outsourced our storytelling and become “wasted” by consumption. He’ll show how participatory media has given back the power to tell stories and answer some of the world’s urgent questions. 

Find out more about the speakers and register for the event at

“It was only in 2007 that I became aware that what I’d actually been working on had a name… ‘transmedia.’” Quickfire Q&A with TEDx Transmedia 2012 speaker Alison Norrington

If you’ve heard of transmedia then you’ve heard of Alison Norrington. Alison is one of the major creative forces in the movement and has been involved with TEDx Transmedia since it started in 2010.

This year she moves from behind the curtain to the stage, as a speaker in the Dreamer session of our programme.

Alison is constantly flying all over the world developing her projects, advising major creative companies on strategic planning and storytelling and running transmedia masterclasses. Read her full biog on the official TEDx Transmedia site

We managed to pin the author down for a few minutes to chat about her background, upcoming TED Talk and why she finds the WEkids: Dreamers, Geeks, Mindshifters theme inspiring.   

Hi Alison, please can you give a brief overview of your relationship with Transmedia and what led you to thinking about it?

I actually didn’t think ‘transmedia.’ I thought about interacting, reacting and engaging with my readers beyond the confines of book. I was writing contemporary novels for women and made a point of infusing them with modern cultural touchpoints that referenced European cities, musical genres and artistic practices. The more the stories featured classical, jazz or blues, referenced Degas’ ballerinas and reached out to Valencia, Paris and Lisbon, the more I wished I could expand the mythology and offer a more sensory, immersive experience that was discoverable and playable beyond the page.  

I could see the potential for opening up my storytelling box, but it was 2005 and my only options seemed to be an accompanying DVD/CD with each book. It was clunky and smacked of ‘bolt on’… When I started my MA in Creative Writing & New Media in 2006 I began writing my fourth novel, which became my dissertation project and was told experimentally through blog posts, forums, email, a YouTube channel, machinima and social media platforms. It was only in 2007 that I became aware that what I’d actually been working on had a name… ‘transmedia.’  Who knew!

The theme of this year’s TEDx Transmedia, WEkids, is about harnessing child-like wonder and courage to make media that has a social impact. What do you see as the potential of that approach? 

Fabulous storytelling that can interact and engage directly with niche audiences is, in itself, hugely powerful and has the potential to make significant impact. Brian Clark of GMD Studios has begun to write about phenomenal work and that’s what we should all be aiming to achieve.

Childhood wonder and courage is phenomenal in itself and it’s the insights, observations, freedom of expression and absence of fear that makes kids like that. We tend to lose some of that along the way. WEkids is exciting as a TEDx Transmedia theme this year as it challenges us to shake off the constraints that prevent us from thinking outside the box, encourages us to play within our stories and to share and test our ideas. It’s playful, free and non-judgmental. 

The subheading is Dreamers, Geeks, Mindshifters; which do you most identify with and why?

I’m a combo of all three, but your funky little quiz told me I’m a Mindshifter. I feel like a character from Dr Who!

What did you want to be as a kid? What were your dreams and aspirations?

Everything! Like most kids I wanted to experience anything new, but found that writing seemed to underpin and then override all of my ideas.

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Latest News: TEDxTransmedia 2012 Speakers with a Difference


TEDxTransmedia 2012 is not your average conference about media. Nor is its focus solely on non-linear storytelling and transmedia.

This is a conference with that TED magic that asks speakers to tell personal stories in creative talks that will inspire you to think about future media - and the road to it - in new and exciting ways. 

That’s why we bring you speakers from a range of different professions, walks of life and countries. Some have no obvious connection to transmedia, but all have ideas and visions worth spreading. 

If you’re wondering what TED and TEDx are then visit the About section of our official website for the lowdown. 

The awesome Dreamers, Geeks and Mindshifters we have selected for TEDxTransmedia 2012 are (you have to click Read More to find out….:)

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