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Power to the Pixel: Transmedia Proposal

Visit Zen Films


ParasitesMultiverse.com vCard
Contact Details

Date: August 2009 Version 2.0


Change Control

DOCUMENT ORIGIN

Name Job Title Date


Author Robert Pratten Producer July 2009

DOCUMENT HISTORY

Version Ammendment Issued

1.0 Initial draft. 30 July 2009


1.1 Updated coverpage graphic 3 Aug 2009
1.2 Added financial information, links to partners and 5 Aug 2009
minor changes throughout.
1.3 Minor rewrites/editing. Added info on partnerships 9 Aug 2009
sought. Added links to supplementary materials

2.0 Added new diagrams and competition T&Cs 13 Aug 2009


Contents

1 Contact Sheet .................................................................................................................................................. 5


2 Key Creative People ..................................................................................................................................... 5
3 Producer/Director/Writer: Robert Pratten ....................................................................................... 6
4 Project Type & Status .................................................................................................................................. 6
5 Synopsis............................................................................................................................................................ 8
6 Engaging the Audience across Multiple Platforms ........................................................................ 10
7 Distribution and Marketing Strategy.................................................................................................. 12
8 Finance Plan................................................................................................................................................. 14
9 Confirmed Partners .................................................................................................................................. 15
10 Partnerships Sought ................................................................................................................................. 15
11 Supplementary Materials ....................................................................................................................... 15
12 Agreement to Terms and Conditions .................................................................................................. 16
12.1 Terms and Conditions ...................................................................................................................................... 16

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1 Contact Sheet

Project Title: Parasites

Production Company: Zen Films

Zen Films is a British independent production company currently


based in San Francisco!

Formed in 2000 by Helen & Robert Pratten, it has made two award-
winning feature films: London Voodoo (2004) and MindFlesh (2008).
In 2006 Zen Films commissioned and published an anthology of short
fiction called Love and Sacrifice to support the UK release of London
Voodoo.

London Voodoo, a supernatural thriller, is available in 21 countries and


in 6 languages. On its theatrical release in Singapore it charted at No.4
on the opening weekend.

MindFlesh, a psychological horror based on the novel White Light by


Horror Writers Association member William Scheinman, is an arty
somewhat experimental film that Zen Films has used successfully to
experiment with DIY distribution and social media marketing.

Producer: Robert Pratten

Nationality: British

Contact Details: robert@zenfilms.com

www.zenfilms.com
www.twitter.com/zenfilms
zenfilms.typepad.com

2 Key Creative People

Writer & Director: Robert Pratten

Interactive Producer (Games): Christopher Allen

Cinematographer: Patrick Jackson

Editor: Matthew Jessee

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3 Producer/Director/Writer: Robert Pratten
Robert Pratten is an award-winning feature film director, producer and writer. He resigned from
employment in 2000 to take up full time study for two years at the London Film School and then
establish production company, Zen Films. Responsible for all aspects of film production, promotion
and sales. Main achievements:

• Producer, director and writer for supernatural horror feature film London Voodoo (2004,
98mins, super 16mm blown-up to 35mm). Won 7 festival awards including Best Director
(San Francisco), Best Picture (Warsaw & Boston) and Audience Award (Cinenygma,
Luxembourg Film Festival). Film now available in 21 countries and six languages.

• Producer, director and writer for MindFlesh (2008, 75mins, HD 25p 1920x1080). Optioned
Buddhist horror novel and adapted to screenplay. Won Best Horror award at Philadelphia
Independent Film Festival (June 2008).

• Edited and published anthology of short stories, Love & Sacrifice, to promote UK release of
London Voodoo.

• Published articles in Indie Slate magazine on independent film distribution and in the book
Connect! Marketing in the Social Media Era

• Between Sept 2008 and June 2009, Robert worked in a consultancy role as Chief Marketing
Officer for a Boston start-up that recently launched a user-generated viral video service for
brands.

Robert started working life at 16 as an apprentice with the Ford Motor Company and was
sponsored by Ford to Salford University. After graduating he worked for ICI and Europe’s leading
telecom consultancy where, working for clients such as Ericsson, Lucent, NTL, Telia and Telcordia
he became an internationally recognised expert in Intelligent Networks.

He has an honours degree in microelectronics, a post-graduate diploma in marketing management


and a Chief Scout Award. When trying to beat his addiction to Bejeweled Blitz on Facebook he plays
guitar.

Robert has written a popular industry blog since 2007.

4 Project Type & Status

Type: Fiction (science fiction/horror with social relevance)

Status: In Development

Transmedia: Feature Film, Web Series, Live Event,

Games: Social RPG, Strategy & Casual

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Collaborative Community, Online Marketplace

Figure 1 Parasites Transmedia Components

Stage of Project: Parasites is in an early stage of development with some interest


expressed from named cast for the feature film/web series and with
some finance attached to the cast.

We have agreed a partnership with Klatcher (Menlo Park, CA) who will
provide a unified transmedia technology platform to deliver the
community management, integrated social media marketing, an online
marketplace and event management. This is currently in development
and we shall soon start trials with our MindFlesh property.

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5 Synopsis
Set in a near-future dystopia, contagious flesh-eating parasites fatally convert human cells into
metal. The slow parasitic assimilation of the human body induces alternate waves of pleasurable
hallucinations and frightening paranoia. Some, at the insistence of the Government, have chosen to
embrace the nano-scopic predator; others have rejected it and live as anarcho-Buddhists outside
the cities.

Parasites is a collaborative, open-source storyworld that spans a feature film, web series,
interactive live screenings and social gaming. As a true transmedia project from inception,
audiences have multiple ways to engage, collaborate and compete across the various media
with each media dependent on and contributing to the next.

All ideas, characters, story threads and digital assets - including the feature film, web series and
game assets - are submitted to the project under a Creative Commons+ license that allows free
copying, sharing and remixing for non-commercial use. Some commercial use is allowed but all
transactions must be conducted in the Parasites online marketplace where the project will charge a
transaction fee.

Figure 2 Parasites offers multiple opportunities for digression, personalization & contribution

As in life, nobody has a monopoly on reality. The professionally produced feature film and web
series is just one simplified thread through this complex storyworld; it's just one reality, one
character's story from many.

Audience participation and collaboration is actively encouraged but production of the feature film
and web series is not dependent on it. Where collaborative projects often depend on community
consensus to move forward, Parasites allows for multiple realities and parallel, maybe
conflicting, storylines. This is shown in Figure 2.

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The feature film & web series components are the driving force for the community, providing the
initial motivation to collaborate and the digital assets (video clips, music and graphics) for remixing
and reuse.

Selected rushes (dailies) will be made available to the community to edit their own versions
of the movie, to alter particular shots with their own digital effects and create their own web
series. If nobody chooses to remix, it's no problem because the movie and web series is not
dependent on community collaboration, just better for it.

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6 Engaging the Audience across Multiple Platforms

Parasites engages the audience in four ways:

1. The umbrella project of interlinking media is designed to stimulate social activities:


collaboration, competition, consuming, gaming, voting, creating, socializing (see Figure 3),

2. The storyworld is designed to stimulate debate about politics, technology, art &
spirituality with each audience member asked to choose a Sect and argue its ethos,

3. The feature film premise is a provocation to stimulate debate. It is: "modern life is
rubbish",

4. Participation is incentivized. For community members, there is an online marketplace for


the sale of premium digital assets and personalized (remixed) DVDs. For people working in
creative industries, there is an opportunity to add to their portfolio and to network with
friends & industry contacts.

Figure 3 Creative Elements Created Around The Audience’ Social Activities

The Parasites online community is a social network of fans, gamers and creatives
contributing to (or simply observing) the storyworld. The live screenings are real-world meet-
ups and a chance for online collaborators and competitors to network face-to-face. Importantly,
everyone in the game must choose to belong to a Sect (tribe) and are motivated to wear their Sect
apparel to live screenings as whoever is the dominant Sect will affect game progress.

Audiences interact with live feature film screenings by voting with their cellphones to determine
the movie's resolution. Voting outcomes affect progress in the online game and gameplay online

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affects the screening long before audiences sit down in the theatre. Game clues are contained in the
movie & web series.

The Parasites game is a player-driven persistent world RPG which means gameplay continues even
when a player is not online. Developments within the game will be Twittered as a game stream and
individual players can be notified via SMS or email with game alerts (for example when they are
under attack). The alerts maintain interest in the project and stimulate addiction.

The web series will be “multi-threaded” meaning that although it borrows digital assets from the
feature film (such as music, rushes, graphics etc.) because everyone is free to remix the assets there
could be multiple versions of the series and multiple entry points. The audience and collaborators
are free to branch off at each episode to follow their own storyline.

Additional webisodes & clips will be locked and permission to view granted only to those who have
made sufficient progress in the game.

Figure 4 Fans Are Free to Create Their Own Webisodes

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7 Distribution and Marketing Strategy

Our distribution and marketing strategy is this:

• grow as large a community as possible of creative, connected people by rewarding and


incentivizing their participation,

• give away for free the feature film , web series and game to stimulate as much
awareness and spread as possible,

• charge for utility, convenience, personalization and merchandise, not for content,

• create a marketplace that allows the community to sell their work.

Completion of the movie is not dependent on community/fan support, but will be better for it. It is
a fully funded production that is able to start and finish like any other. However, selected rushes
(dailies) for the feature film and web series will be available for viewing, editing and screening as
they become available during production. Everyone is free to create their own webisode and to
edit the movie. Our digital assets are available to the community to use.

This openness and free (as in beer) approach encourages the viral spread of the movie (Figure 5).

Figure 5 Free and Open (CC+) Business Model Stimulates Viral Spread

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Some footage will be held back as a teaser and to not reveal the possible conclusions (of which
we plan three).

Obviously there will be heavy use of social media (blogging, podcasting, twittering, relationship-
building) from the Parasites production team but also from community members who we view as
stakeholders in the success of the project. This will spread word-of-mouth to connected, cinema
and game-savvy audiences and that will in turn inform the less savvy. Part of our strategy is to
create a Parasites "insider" and "outside" mystique which will add a lot of fun to live screenings
(think flash mobs).

Simultaneous with our first interactive festival screening, the feature (with the Director's preferred
ending) will be available for download & streaming (free) and for sale (DVD & pay-per-view
download) on the Parasites marketplace.

From here on, interactive festival screenings will continue around the world and the movie will
continue to be available for free download and for sale as a DVD and paid download.

We shall also seek to sell direct to distributors on the usual territorial basis for TV, DVD, On-
demand etc.

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8 Finance Plan

The two charts below (Figure 6 and Figure 7) identify different revenue scenarios depending on the
popularity of the project (and assuming of a small production budget).

These scenarios assume a micro-budget feature film with a cash spend of $350,000. Note that a
bigger budget film would magnify the revenues because, among many other things, this would
provide access to better-known cast. However, $350k is believed to be an acceptable entry-level
budget given the planned community support & partnerships that allow us to punch above our weight.

Note that in the “pessimistic case” scenario, 40% of net revenuei comes from new revenue sources
not typically associated with feature film: voluntary donations, vanity (personalised) DVD, sale of
rushes (dailies), game revenues (only year 1 has been included) and an online marketplace.

Figure 6 Net Revenue i Potential (Pessimistic Case): $600,000

Figure 7 Net Revenuei Potential (Better Case): $2.3 Million

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9 Confirmed Partners

International Sales Agent: Left Films (Helen Grace, Managing Director)

Technology Partner: Klatcher (Johannes Bhakdi, CEO)

Game Developer: Skotos Tech (Christopher Allen, CEO)

10 Partnerships Sought

We welcome partnerships from any potential financier, of course, but more specifically:

• Digital agency

• Social network

• Established media: TV/Cable channel and national newspaper.

What Parasites can offer these partners is discussed in our supplementary materials.

11 Supplementary Materials

Our online supplementary materials include feature film synopsis, game architecture, Parasites’
community manifesto and much more. Please go to http://zenfilms.typepad.com/zen_films/05-
parasites.html for a list of links to this material.

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12 Agreement to Terms and Conditions

By writing my name and signing below, I hereby accept Power to the Pixel’s Terms and Conditions
of application as below.

Robert Pratten

APPLICANT NAME

APPLICANT SIGNATURE

12.1 Terms and Conditions


Applicant has full right, title and authority to enter the project to The Pixel Pitch.

Power to the Pixel’s decision will be final and no correspondence will be entered into.

No hard copy materials will be accepted as any part of this application.

Teams will only qualify for the Babelgum Pixel Pitch Prize if they are selected for and participate in
The Pixel Pitch on 15 October 2009 in London as per Guidelines.

Applicant hereby agrees that if the project is one of the finalists all information given in the
application including supplementary materials can be forwarded to potential financiers and
partners who are not employees and have no affiliation with Power to the Pixel.

Applicant hereby agrees to provide a budget top sheet by 31st August 2009 if requested to do so.

To be eligible for The Pixel Pitch, this application form and supplementary materials must be
received by 18.00 BST 14th August 2009 at pixelpitch@powertothepixel.com.

Notes

iNet Revenue refers to revenue after deduction of direct costs. For example, for DVD it is revenues after
deduction of duplication & shipping costs.

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