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Case study: Finding innovation in new places

Posted by Kyle Montero on September 17th, 2013 at 3:13 pm

Hollywood is no longer the go-to place for movie or TV show production. As a resident of Los Angeles, I am well aware of the region's fear of "runaway production," the newest buzzword spreading fear among Hollywood bigwigs. Sure, this in part is due to California's failure to retain old and attract new production, but it is also the result of innovative efforts outside of California to entice creatives away from the Golden State.

At the iMedia Entertainment Summit in Hollywood, Calif., we heard from two innovative individuals who are solidifying Oregon's place in the future of entertainment, storytelling, and technology. Vince Porter is the executive director of Oregon's Governor's Office of Film and Television. In this position, he has recruited a record number of films and TV shows to the Beaver State, including shows like TNT's "Leverage," NBC's "Grimm," and IFC's "Portlandia." Rick Turoczy is the co-founder of PIE (the Portland Incubator Experiment), which is a startup accelerator formed in partnership with Wieden+Kennedy -- the agency behind the "Old Spice Guy."

According to Turoczy, the "Old Spice Guy" was so successful because "every creative in the room understood YouTube and Twitter, and how audiences engage with them…which is why the campaign worked." As such, PIE is trying to expose more creatives to innovative technologies in order to inform the digital storytelling process. In his words, PIE wants to enable creatives to "step inside the tech bubble."

Not only does this result in some of the most unique storytelling in the business, but it has also contributed to the bottom line of the economy. According to Turoczy, "Over the four years we've been in business, we've created more the 400 jobs in Oregon's tech sector and raised more than $100 million in VC investment."

Given this success, Turoczy joined forces with Porter to establish the nonprofit Oregon Story Board, an organization that is dedicated to supporting and promoting storytelling and digital media production in Oregon. Two unique projects the Oregon Story Board has worked on are Intel's "Future of Narrative Hack" and TrackTown USA's "Hack at Hayward."

According to Turoczy, the "Future of Narrative Hack" was a "daylong brainstorm of creatives whom were given 10 hours to think about what storytelling will be like 10 years in the future." In other words, attendees were challenged to dream-up a new form of storytelling. One of the fruits of labor was the idea for location-based narratives using augmented reality.

In addition, the "Hack at Hayward" took place at the University of Oregon's Hayward Field, which is seen as a Mecca for runners. A group of storytellers were brought to the field to figure out, using the technology at disposal today, whether there was a better way to tell the story of track and field. According to Turoczy, one result was the "Voice of Hayward: a social media presence in which Hayward Field is embodied."

The success of these two projects lead Turoczy and Porter to pitch the idea of "Grimmfest," a project that presented the challenge for creatives and technology specialists to come up with a unique digital solution to launch the new season of "Grimm." The winning team was composed of a video game company out of Eugene that developed an augmented reality game and an animation company that came up with a digital trading card game.

To conclude, Porter presented the following quote, which helps sum-up their mission:

"If you want something new, you have to stop doing something old." -- Peter Drucker.

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