Shared Story Worlds and transmedia projects are still searching for the big success story. The DINO-PIRATES OF NINJA ISLAND setting is joining that search. How can we build sustainable businesses on top of open content?
The following is a guest post from Corey Reid, creator of the Dino-Pirates of Ninja Island shared story world. In this post, Corey talks about the benefits of combining an open world setting with traditional, linear stories and why (and how!) he’s using Creative Commons to integrate a collaborative world building framework with a structure for commercialization of stories set in that open world.
This is a great follow up to my post about Creative Commons earlier this year, and I’m looking forward to seeing Reform School Ninja Girls – the first comic from the Dino-Pirates of Ninja Island – hit the presses!
Too much information can be a serious problem.
I don’t mean those folks who want to tell you about their bizarre and graphic health issues, or the personal blogs that share way too much about their sex life or depression – although these can be problematic as well.
SSWs present some very interesting opportunities (and challenges) from a copyright perspective. As soon as you allow the remixing of content in your SSW, whether it’s content you created or submitted content you published, you have to decide what kind of legal license framework you want. Ideally, this will be shaped by your goals for the SSW and the kind of experience you want to create for audiences. And, ideally, you’ll seek legal guidance from an attorney.
Some creatives want to maximize collaboration and remixing of content, so they construct legal frameworks that support this kind of SSW. Others prefer a more conservative approach (e.g., the SSW owner retains complete control over all content) with select invitations for audiences to contribute being issued in very managed and controlled ways.
Whatever you decide, default copyright is both country- and state/province-specific, so you’ll need to get appropriate legal advice on what applies to you and your SSW.
I use role-playing game development as a way to build setting. A shared world needs setting – locations, landscapes, and institutions that characters can interact with, that can ignite and illuminate their stories. When you’re writing a story, setting elements can arise naturally, as the story proceeds, but developing these attributes without the engine of a plot can be challenging. By taking a queue from role-playing game development, you can more easily craft elements that draw players/readers in, and in turn inspire their stories and contributions.
After posting several entries on SSW design here, I had the chance to expand on them at DIY Days L.A. 2011. Although I had about an hour to make the presentation, I barely had time to cover the absolute basics (I hope to go into more detail in future posts).
Still, the exercise of bringing together some of the things I’ve discussed in isolation about SSWs was extremely helpful, and I was humbled by the reaction of the audience and the great questions they posed. If I can make the time, perhaps I’ll do what a few of them suggested and write a book…!
In addition to the presentation, I handed out copies of the design questions to help people follow along and perhaps even make notes. Below is the presentation and a link to download the .pdf of design questions.