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Andrea Phillips is an award-winning transmedia writer, game designer and author. She has worked on projects such as iOS fitness games Zombies, Run! and The WalkThe Maester's Path for HBO's Game of Thrones, human rights game America 2049, and the independent commercial ARG Perplex City. Her projects have variously won the Prix Jeunesse Interactivity Prize, a Broadband Digital award, a Canadian Screen Award, a BIMA, the Origins Vanguard Innovation Award, and others. Her book A Creator's Guide to Transmedia Storytelling is used to teach digital storytelling at universities around the world. 

Her independent work includes the Kickstarted serial  The Daring Adventures of Captain Lucy Smokeheart and The McKinnon Account, a short story that unfolds in your email inbox.  Her debut novel Revision is out on May 5 from Fireside Fiction Co. and her short fiction has been published in Escape Pod and the Jews vs. Aliens anthology.

You can find Andrea on Twitter at @andrhia. I mean, if you like that sort of thing.


Following are a select few projects Andrea has worked on. If you're interested in hiring her for design, writing, or consultation, please reach out by email.

The Maester's Path for HBO Game of Thrones (Copywriter)

This transmedia campaign reached out to new and devoted fans alike through a series of sensory experiences meant to create the feeling you had truly stepped into the world of Game of Thrones. Andrea Phillips worked with Campfire Media and particularly the stellar creative director Steve Coulson to execute this ambitious and engaging vision with relentless care for authenticity and quality.

Five Sensory Experiences

The project was structured into five lavish sensory experience, each one crafted to convey the feeling that the audience had stepped into the story.  To begin with, influencers were sent beautifully handcrafted scent chests that evoked specific locations in the world of Westeros.

The program also included virtual experiences: a 3D audio journey through the Inn at the Crossroads that let the audience eavesdrop on conversations and discover their secrets, hopes, and fears; a virtual construction of the Wall, where you could stand guard as a member of the Night's Watch; and Ice and Fire, an iOS app that gave you an exclusive window into locations in the show based on current weather conditions.

Finally, for taste, we teamed up with star chef Tom Colicchio to recreate dishes authentic to the story. Lucky fans in New York and Los Angeles were able to taste them by visiting food trucks available for just a few days. 

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The Maester's Path

These sensory experiences also held the potential for a deeper level of engagement. Each experience included a puzzle to be solved. Dedicated fans could solve all five to earn their Maester's chain by visiting The Maester's Path.

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Pledge Your Allegiance

HBO asked Campfire to follow up The Maester's Path in the second season with Pledge Your Allegiance, a campaign that encouraged fans to declare their loyalties to a noble house. An exclusive Wondercon event showed the price of disloyalty — attendees lined up for an exclusive green-screen rendering of their own heads on a pike.

Fans also submitted tens of thousands of videos taking the oath to join the Night's Watch, resulting in an inspiring remix truly by and for fans. And many of the most dedicated fans made the ultimate pledge — getting the sigil of a noble house tattooed on their skin.

Diesel Reboot (Interaction Designer) 

Diesel Reboot is a Tumblr-based, collaborative art community launched as a rebranding effort for the Diesel fashion brand. For this project, Andrea Phillips designed the overall interactive structure and established moderation and communication standards. 

Searching for Creativity

The brand went to Tumblr with a series of missions, asking the community to answer questions or share opinions through art. Moderation was specifically designed to foster a warm and sharing community, and not a competitive one.

After each mission, a few submissions were selected for a high-impact installation or display; for example, a full-page ad in The New York Times, or projection on iconic global landmarks like the Colosseum in Rome.

The campaign was shortlisted for the 2013 Mashable Award for Digital Marketing Innovator of the Year.

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Routes (Lead Game Designer) 

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Routes was a transmedia educational thriller commissioned by Channel 4 Education in the UK, with additional funding from The Wellcome Trust.  It was produced by Oil Productions. Routes launched on Jan. 29, 2009 and ran for eight weeks. The goal was to engage teens, particularly teen girls, with science content.

The experience revolved around a central portal site, RoutesGame.com. Routes also made heavy use of blogs, websites, email, and social media to tell the story. Characters had a social presence on Facebook, Bebo, and YouTube, and responded to comments and emails – usually within a few hours.

Andrea's role project was lead interaction designer. She designed the structure of the interactive experience, including specifications for the games portal and minigame mechanics; scripted the flow and sequence for all live events; wrote copy for websites and responded to player activity; and defined and tracked social media elements. 

Four Key Pieces

There were four core elements to the Routes project. Weekly minigames demonstrated scientific processes like heredity and the spread of an infectious disease through sneezing. A documentary piece followed award-winning comedian Katherine Ryan as she had a DNA test performed and grappled with what the results meant for her and her future children. 

An alternate reality game allowed players to help teenager Rachel Burren and journalist Matt Blacker solve the mystery of why bioscientist Marcus Schoenberg – Rachel’s uncle – was murdered. And weekly recap webisodes covered the events in the alternate reality game, to make them accessible for a wider audience.

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Success

The project was an unimitigated success. The videos received over half a million unique viewers in the first year, and the minigames were played over 23 million times. Better yet, 40% of players were in the target audience — teens in the UK.

Routes has taken home a number of awards:

  • The 2010 IVCA Gold in the Web 2.0 category
  • The 2010 IVCA Grand Prix
  • A 2009 BIMA in the Interactive - Content category
  • The 2010 Prix Jeunesse Interactivity Prize

Routes has also been shortlisted or nominated for several others:

  • 2010 Rockie Award for Original Online Program 
  • BIMAs in the categories of Online - Website, Informational, and Children's - Interactive
  • 2009 BAFTA for Best Children's Interactive
  • 2010 MediaGuardian Innovation Award for Use of Web Platforms
  • UK Writer's Guild award
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Levels of Participation

Throughout the experience, players were given the opportunity to engage with the content and story on several levels, as much or as little as they chose.

  • Watching the weekly documentary and ARG recap webisodes
  • Playing minigames on the main portal site
  • Helping and communicating with several characters as the story unfolded, even becoming another character in the story
  • Exploring online content by following clues and discovering new websites
  • Attending live events, including a launch party and a comedy show
  • Assisting both online and on location with a finale raid on a bioscience lab to obtain evidence of the murderer’s crimes

 

The Alternate Reality Game

Routes was launched as a traditional games portal and documentary. The characters of Matt and Rachel attended the launch party in-character; they each had a web presence established well before the run of the game.

During the party, Rachel discovered that her uncle, Markus Schoenberg – one of the science advisors for the Routes game portal – had been murdered, launching the murder mystery component of the experience.

In real time and via several media, Rachel and Matt investigated Markus’s death. The community of players helped them translate Portuguese police reports, infiltrate an unscrupulous private security company, help an informant escape kidnapping, and more.

Ultimately, they pieced together the facts: Markus had stumbled on a plot in which the Prometha, a bioscience company, was paying a field agent to obtain illegal DNA samples of protected plants and animals from Brazil. This agent’s actions inadvertently wiped out an indigenous tribe, the Murutaibo, by infecting them with measles. When Markus found out, he was killed to keep the secret.

In the experience’s finale, players participated in live chat and watched security camera footage in real time as the characters and a select few players broke into Prometha’s labs to obtain concrete proof.

  

Perplex City (Writer, Game Designer & Producer) 

Perplex City was a two-year treasure hunt where the story played out in real time, with the audience directly influencing events in the story world. Players purchased packs of puzzle cards to get deeper insight into the world and story, and raced each other up the leaderboard to earn points and glory.

The project ultimately included several interactive characters, dozens of web sites, and over half a million words of content. The first season concluded in 2008 when player Andy Darley unearthed the "missing" Receda Cube from its hiding spot in the woods outside of London and won the £100,000 prize. 

Deep Engagement

The story took place in Perplex City, a place that prized intellect and problem-solving ability above any other trait. The city existed only by its digital footprint, beginning with the Sentinel, which covered political news, celebrity gossip, and more. Fans could write letters to the editor to be published, and even a guest column.

The city wasn't just a newspaper, though. It had its own subway and maps, a university, the record label Hesh Records (that released a real album), trendy restaurants and apartment buildings, and more.

Characters living in Perplex City had their own blogs and email addresses, too — and if you reached out to them, they would respond to you personally. (They would've been on social media, too... but at the time, social media as we know it hadn't been invented yet.)

Fans were so engaged by the two-year project that they created a wiki with over a thousand pageswrote a book when we told them to, folded 333 origami cranes to send to our main office when a character was murdered. Players even attended live events in New York, London and San Francisco where they participated in solving intensive group challenges, were spooked as all their phones all rang at once, and even chased a spy through the streets  — losing him only when he escaped in a black helicopter.

...and, of course, the fans bought millions of our collectible puzzle cards. 

Truly Multi-Platform Storytelling

This video was the start of a pre-launch campaign to build awareness and excitement for the game, and serves as an excellent example of the complexity of both the whole game itself, and the variety of creative and production tasks Andrea Phillips performed over the course of the project.

Blank spots in the video were filled in over time with more dates and newspaper names. Each newspaper ran a classified or display ad with a piece of a fictional news article. The campaign culminated in the launch of a fictional news site, creating a persistent virtual world in which much of the campaign unfolded. 

Andrea wrote and recorded the voiceover for the pregame video, planned and purchased the media buys, designed the actual ads, and wrote the majority of the copy for the site this campaign launched, the Perplex City Sentinel, over the two years that it was live.

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Awards

Perplex City was a critically acclaimed project, and collected a very respectable number of accolades. 

  • Perplex City received an Origins Vanguard Innovation Award in 2005. 
  • Frozen Indigo Angel, an interstitial episode of Perplex City, was nominated for a Radio Academy Edge Innovation Award in 2007.
  • Perplex City was shortlisted for a BAFTA in the Best Video Game category in Aug. 2006.

America 2049 (Lead Game Designer & Writer) 

America 2049 was a Facebook-based human rights game meant to put a face and historical context on issues such as human trafficking, abortion rights, and racial discrimination. Andrea Phillips collaborated with Heidi Boisvert to write and execute this innovative experience on behalf of Breakthrough, a global human rights organization that uses the power of pop culture to advance equality, dignity, and justice.

The Experience

America 2049 is a groundbreaking alternate reality game on Facebook that presents a near-future America at a dangerous crossroads. Human rights are in peril; democracy is on the brink of destruction.

Players found themselves in the role of an agent of the Council on American Heritage. Tasked with the capture of a presumed terrorist, they were sent into high-risk situations that challenge you to ask hard questions and make difficult decisions about how to build a better future.

America 2049 is the first Facebook game to integrate the social networking platform with many other resources, online and off: multimedia and interactive features, historical artifacts, clues planted across the Internet and real-life events at leading cultural institutions nationwide.

The game features appearances by Harold Perrineau (LOST), Victor Garber (Alias), Cherry Jones (24), Anthony Rapp (Rent), and Margaret Cho (Notorious C.H.O.), who generously donated their time to help put a face on complex issues. 

The game was nominated for a Games 4 Change award and a Katerva award. 

 

Public Reaction

America 2049 is a testament to how Facebook gaming has expanded far beyond the scope of watering your neighbors’ corn crops on FarmVille."
 –Huffington Post

"America 2049 may eventually become a quintessential example of an online advocacy campaign promoted entirely through social gaming."

 –The Atlantic

"Facebook game America 2049 is activism as entertainment, education as political thriller."

 –NBC News

"When was the last time you played a really engrossing video game that didn’t involve shooting zombies or controlling irrationally angry birds? Something that took a little more brainpower, with codes, secret videos and Easter Eggs located both on the Web and in real life ?

Now, when was the last time you heard about one of these games existing on Facebook?

Probably never, which is what makes America 2049 such a compelling experience."
 –Salon

 

 

 

A Map of the Floating City (Game Designer) 

Floating City was a browser-based trading and set collection game created with Thomas Dolby to promote his first studio album in twenty years. Players traded with one another to complete sets of items mentioned in Thomas Dolby songs. They could also participate in collaborative storytelling; fans could tell their own stories of life as the captain of their own ship, and even patent "inventions," by submitting sketches or plans for devices assembled from available materials.

Moths, Dolls, and Player-Driven Narrative

Throughout the game, the team worked to adapt the story and platform to the wishes of the audience, sometimes quite aggressively. Many of the game's most beloved moments came from players, not from the development team. For example, one item available in the game was a doll. One player took on the personality Haunted Dolls, becoming the creepy embodiment of all of the dolls in the game — and the rest of the community took it in stride, so the fact that the dolls were all haunted and linked together became an accepted fact of the world.

Another common item in the game was a moth. Players joked that the moths were popping up so frequently that they must be multiplying. The team decided to take the joke a little further, and implemented code to make the moths reproduce. If a player had two or more moths in inventory, they'd get another one every 16 hours. It took the players several days to notice, but once they did, it launched a story arc including the moths devouring other inventory items, a quarantine, and ultimately a moth plague that made the species highly endangered — but none of it would have ever happened without listening to the audience. 

A Creator's Guide to Transmedia Storytelling (Author)

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Download your free chapter from A Creator's Guide to Transmedia Storytelling right now:

Mobi • Epub • PDF

Subscribe to the newsletter to also get a free bundle of sample planning documents!

From transmedia pioneer Andrea Phillips, this is the first major, comprehensive resource to feature instruction on the principles of storytelling, platform selection, execution, big-picture strategy and structural considerations -- plus case studies of milestone transmedia projects and interviews with more than a dozen leading transmedia creators.

Whether you're in marketing, games, publishing, film and television, theater, or any other medium, A Creator's Guide to Transmedia Storytelling will give you the concrete tools and knowledge you need to tell your story and create deeper audience engagement right now.

Available Now

Indiebound
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Chapters
Powell's

 

Why You Need A Creator's Guide

If you want to attract, engage, and captivate your audience, you need this book. Written by an award-winning transmedia creator and renowned games designer, this book shows you how to utilize the same marketing tools used by heavy-hitters such as HBO, Disney, Ford, and Sony Pictures — at a fraction of the cost.

You'll learn how to: 

  • Choose the right platforms for your story
  • Decide whether to DIY or outsource work 
  • Find and keep a strong core production team 
  • Make your audience a character in your story
  • Get the funding you need--and even make a profit
  • Forge your own successful transmedia career

With these proven media-ready strategies, you'll learn how to generate must-read content, must-see videos, and must-visit websites that will only grow bigger as viewers respond, contribute, and spread the word. You'll create major buzz with structures such as alternate reality games and fictional character sites — or even "old-fashioned" platforms such as email and phone calls. The more you connect to your audience and the more you get them involved in the storytelling process, the more successful you will be.

This isn't the future. This is now. This is how you tell your story, touch your audience, and take your game to the next level--through transmedia storytelling.

What People Are Saying

"Phillips' book is a powerful tool for anyone who wants to make a career for themselves within the world of transmedia. Through her guidance, the reader is able to understand the fundamentals of transmedia and the power it can have when used with a compelling and strong story."

David Gale, Executive Vice President, MTV Cross Media

"A Creator’s Guide to Transmedia Storytelling is an excellent and fair-minded primer and survey of the underpinnings and fast-evolving techniques behind multi-platform narrative. Andrea Phillips is one of a small handful of writers capable of both practicing and clearly conveying the principals of transmedia storytelling. Highly recommended!"

Jeff Gomez, CEO Starlight Runner Entertainment

"Transmedia storytelling is a bold and exciting new arena for creativity and innovation that has already proven its potential to engage audiences in immersive stories and deep experiences. Andrea Phillips provides a compelling, thoughtful and clear guide to a next generation of creators in this medium. She demystifies the process and she proves that you, too, can push the envelope and be part of the future of storytelling."

Michelle Satter, Founding Director Sundance Institute Feature Film Program

"Andrea has written a straight forward and no nonsense guide for the fun filled and strangely awesome world of transmedia storytelling."

C.C. Chapman, Co-Author Content Rules  and Amazing Things Will Happen

 

The Daring Adventures of Captain Lucy Smokeheart (Author and Game Designer)

The Daring Adventures of Captain Lucy Smokeheart is a year-long pirate adventure serial told in monthly episodes. It's also a treasure hunt. Each month a new short ebook tells you of Lucy's latest exploits -- and gives a clue to her treasure. 

The ebooks are now available through multiple channels, including Amazon, iTunes, and Barnes & Noble.

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Beyond the Book

The Daring Adventures aren't just a series of short ebooks. Each episode includes a visual puzzle in it. When you solve the puzzle, you can go on the Lucy Smokeheart website to check your answer. If you're right, you'll receive a page of the Captain's log kept by Lucy's brother. By the end of the story, this log will tell you how to find the (virtual) treasure for yourself! 

The series also features monthly Google Hangouts where the audience can ask for help solving puzzles, or just share their thoughts on where the story has gone so far – and where they want it to go next. 

The project had its genesis in a Kickstarter campaign which ultimately collected $7701 from 251 backers.  An ancillary video series, 30 Days of Piracy, supported the fundraising effort.

 

The Story

Lucy Smokeheart is a lighthearted pirate romp about a pirate captain's journey to find her missing brother and his lost treasure. So far, the story includes carnivorous mermaids! Socialist lizard-people! Enormous amounts of chocolate! The Royal German Marinological Society! Go fish! And much, much more.