A Thin Black Line

A 12 minute animated documentary VR project for SBS (Gear VR, Go), I was brought in as a Narrative Design consultant by VRTOV. I worked with Douglas Watkin, Oscar Raby, Katy Morrison, and Brooke Mags.

An animated documentary in interactive VR, A Thin Black Line is directed by Douglas Watkin with artwork by Vernon Ah Kee and is produced by the VR production studio VRTOV.

A Thin Black Line invites you to step into a pivotal event in the history of one family, and a nation, as seen by a young child. The bombing of Darwin in 1942 was the first and largest aerial attack on mainland Australia during the Second World War. When the bombs reach Patima’s hometown, she is forced to flee, leaving her father behind.

A Thin Black Line has been commissioned by SBS with support from Screen Queensland as part of their Untold Australia series which offers uniquely personal stories from some of Australia’s diverse communities.

8 Word Story

On 10th October 2017, The Queensland Writers’ Centre opened submissions for a special story competition. Called “8 Word Story”, the competition invited writers to submit a story in 8 words maximum. If selected, it would be displayed on digital billboards around Brisbane. Mine was selected, and broadcast on 24th October to multiple locations. There were over 10,000 entries.

New publication: Hand Made High Tech

In 2011, I was commissioned by if:book Australia to write an article on transmedia writing. The article, ‘Do You Have a Big Stick?’, has now been published in their first ebook: Hand Made High Tech, along with a great collections of essays on writing.

Throughout 2011, if:book Australia commissioned essays from ten Australian writers on the future of writing and reading in a future tilted towards the digital. Each writer drew on his or her experience in fields diverse as publishing, transmedia, gaming, and comics to observe the changes taking place in ‘books’ and discussing where this might lead for authors, readers, and reading culture. High Tech Hand Made is the result.

Download the collection now, in EPUB, Kindle, and PDF formats. Yay!

Announcing UC101's first "playful story": Authentic in All Caps :)

Hello everyone!

As many of you are aware, for the past few years I’ve been concentrating on two things: finishing my PhD (which I submitted in 2009), and working on great projects conceived by other people. I’ve conceived, designed and executed some small alternate reality games, but all the major projects were work for other people. This I still love and will continue to do, but now I’ll also be going back to doing my own projects as well. In the past I’ve conceived and created theatre shows, short stories, a literature installation and websites. But now I’m happy to announce something different…

It is with great pleasure that I announce my first “playful story” from my company Universe Creation 101. It is called “Authentic in All Caps”. It is a story that explores the importance of being yourself, through an endearing and entertaining comedy-drama. It also is an innovative technological experience that combines the best of radio drama with dispersed online entertainment. Check out the main website to view the teaser video we’ve created, sign up for updates, give feedback in our social media channels, and even pre-order to help progress the production! Enjoy! 🙂

Transmedia writing article for if:book Australia

if:book, the Institute for the Future of the Book, has organisations in London and New York. It now also has one in Queensland, Australia! “if:book Australia promotes new forms of digital literature and explores ways to boost connections between writers and audiences, and is a small think-tank and part of the Queensland Writers Centre”. Recently, I was commissioned to write an essay on transmedia writing. It is the first essay in a series that will run until November this year, and will culminate in an ebook (various formats) freely distributed under Creative Commons licensing. My essay titled “Do You Have a Big Stick?“, an overview of transmedia writing, is now online! 🙂

Videos and slides from Power to the Pixel

POWERPIXEL logo As I outlined in a previous post, I was fortunate to be invited back to be a part of Power to the Pixel, London Film Festival 2009. The videos and slides are now online and so here is a selection of ones I’m sure you’ll enjoy/get something out of. 🙂

Take Back What Has Always Been Yours – Ted Hope, Producer & Co-Founder, This is that corporation


What did they do? Lessons Learned in Cross-Media – Christy Dena, Universe Creation 101

View more presentations from Christy Dena.

I wanted to note too, that not all projects have to have a strong globally-targeted online component. Some can have an online component that is local. For instance, some projects are created so they can be sold in different territories, and some are designed to be local only once. But many projects are designed with little thought about the online, and global experience. It is important to consider the online and global strategy in the design on cross-media projects.

The Evolution of Storytelling – Lance Weiler, Filmmaker and Story Architect

View more documents from Lance Weiler.

Extending the Experience: The New Storytellers – Martin Elricsson, The company P

Extending the Experience: The New Storytellers – Steve Peters, No Mimes Media

Extending the Experience: The New Storytellers – David Varela, nDreams

View more presentations from David Varela.

Christy Dena, Martin Elricsson, Steve Peters, David Varela

How To Be “Better Than Free” – Brian Newman, Consultant

View more presentations from Brian Newman.

More videos at Power to the Pixel! 🙂

Next public event: Power to the Pixel, London

POWERPIXELHello everyone!

I haven’t been updating this site for a while. That will change. 🙂

My next public gig will be at Power to the Pixel, London Film Festival. As you may recall, I did the keynote and a workshop there last year. So, I’m thrilled to be invited back again. Ted Hope will be giving the keynote (yay!) and I’ll follow him with these:


14th October Conference
10:30 – 11:00

Despite the fact that cross-media is still emerging, there have been a number of experiments, successes and failures over the past few years. In this talk, Christy Dena will share some lessons learned from cross-media projects in film, television, gaming and marketing in a way that will help guide your project. While there is so much yet to explore, and the area will certainly continue to evolve, you can lean on the ground-breaking efforts of those who have ventured before you.

15:40 – 16:40
Presentations and roundtable discussion

What kind of experience does today’s film audience want and what can be done with existing technologies?

Interactive tools, emails, text and voicemail, mobile apps and geo-locational services can connect an audience to characters.  Live events and alternate reality games can bring the audience into the world of a film and extend the storytelling experience.  The more filmmakers can extend their vision into the world of the audience, the more rooted the audience becomes in the experience of the film.

But how do you know how much to give them?  Mystery will bring people into your world, but for your cross-media audience, there is an implicit promise of a clear correlation between how much that audience gives – of their time, of their own interactions and emails and phone calls, their trips to places where they are promised live experiences – and how much they get back.  You must dazzle them with innovate storytelling techniques but you also need to reward them with meaningful emotional content and layers of reveal.

Leading story architects of some of the world’s most successful extended story experiences – The Dark Knight, The Truth About Marika and Xi – demonstrate how to bring a fictional world into the lives of the audience.

Moderator: CHRISTY DENA, Director, Universe Creation 101
MARTIN ELRICSSON, Producer & Creative Director, The company P
STEVE PETERS, Experience Designer & Partner, No Mimes Media
DAVID VARELA, Producer, nDreams

15th October Workshops
10.00 – 11.30

The majority of cross-media projects to date have been created by making additions to an existing mono-medium property. A film is made, for instance, and then content is added on to other media afterwards. While this can work, there is a significant difference in the quality of projects that were designed to be cross-media from the beginning. In this workshop, Christy Dena will show how the intended cross-media experience of a project changes the initial concept; how planning for interactivity happens right at the beginning; what influences the choice of mediums and many other techniques to optimise a project’s potential. Feel free to bring ideas in development, as that is obviously the best time to strategise!

14th October Pixel Pitch
I’m also judging the cross-media projects. More projects for people!

If you’re in London, I hope to see you there (come and say hi). Check out all the awesome people that will be there (not including the ones in the audience!).

* Unfortunately, my use of terms like ‘lessons’ gives prizes to followers of Wank Words Bingo

Ep 004: Tim Wright Interview


Another podcast! Yay! At this rate I might even crack three podcasts a year. hehe. Joking aside, I’m excited about our guest today. UK digital writer Tim Wright shares his vast experience with over a decade with online interactive drama and more recently multiplatform storytelling. Below is a time guide showing you topics Tim touches on a certain points. Everything Tim (and I) refer to is in the show notes.

00.00: Online Caroline
11.10: Lonely Girl 15
13.18: closure
15.58: Balancing world creation and fan fiction
19.56: Mount Kristos
25.33: The Search of Oldton
39.32: Multiplatform storytelling
52.09: Scaling


Show notes:

More info about Tim:

Other interviews conducted at UC101:

Sorry about the technical difficulties with the podcast. The video editing software I use doesn’t let me do edits to the second, and I’m still trying to figure out how to get both myself and the interviewer at the same sound level. Tim teases me about being in a black room (it was midnight for me!), and being close to the screen with bad lighting. What can I say, I’m an interactive drama cliche. I’ll have to increase the drama with a call to save the world or something. 🙂

Techniques for Segmenting Content Across Media

Hello everyone! Today we’ll delve into segmentation techniques. By segmentation I refer to the various ways unique content can be continued across different media platforms. This doesn’t mean cutting up content created for a single session (a feature film for instance) and then delivering it in parts (although you can do that!). But here I’m referring specifically writing or designing the production with a certain episodic structure in mind. While the notion of episodics is fairly understood, what isn’t is the variety of episodic techniques available and how these can be utilized in a cross-platform project. So, in this post I’ll outline ways a production can be designed for multi-platform segmentation.

Continue reading

Death of a Blog, Birth of a Podcast

Well, not quite ‘death’ but an indefinite hiatus. I’m powering down this blog for a few reasons, one of which is my desire to finish my PhD. I’ve tried for the last year and a half to do PhD writing and work and this blog, but found the mindsets are somewhat incompatable. I’ve decided therefore to close this blog down. I don’t know if I’ll bring it up again and if I do when, or whether I’ll start another one. But I do know that I have thoroughly enjoyed blogging here these past few years. I have especially enjoyed meeting many of you because of the blog, and seeing ‘cross-media’ (etc) projects become ubiquitous. Thankfully, the area has alot more people looking at it now, from alot of different perspectives. Here are some blogs that will keep you informed:

I don’t plan to be blogging here about events or publications I’m involved in, instead I’ll pop them on my bio site. But for now, here are some events I’m involved with, in the not-too-distant-future:

  • I’ll be on the ‘expert panel’ with Mark McCrindle and Tim Flattery at Mitchell Communications Group ‘s launch of ‘While You Weren’t Watching’, a documentary on changes to branded entertainment etc in which I was interviewed. The launch is private but the documentary will be put online I believe in Nov; 
  • I have my own panel on ‘Designing, Experiencing and Analysing Games in the Age of Integration’, and I am a panelist in Darren Toft’s panel on ‘What Happened to New Media Art?’ at the Australasian Conference on Interactive Entertainment in Dec;
  • I’ll be on the panel on ‘Cyber-Born Film’ at Megan Spencer’s Destination Festival (or DestFest) in Dec;
  • In Jan 08, I’ll be a guest lecturer again for Sue Thomas and Kate Pullinger’s Online MA in Creative Writing and New Media, De Montfort University, UK;
  • In Feb 08, my essay on ‘Tiering in Alternate Reality Games’ will be published in the special issue of Convergence edited by Henry Jenkins and Mark Deuze.

For now though, I will continue to be online in a different way. I’ve started a podcast, a podcast where I’ll interview talented people working in this area. My ‘birth’ podcast is a bit awkward, but the second is a great one: an interview with Stitch Media’s Evan Jones. At the site, I also provide sneak preview information about Stitch Media’s latest project.

UC101 Podcast

That is it for me here, thankyou all for sharing this time with me. I’ll see you on the other side of my PhD.


Check it out: www.ChristyDena.com  

Check it out: www.UniverseCreation101.com