cpn connect

Editor's View: 'Half the Sky:' Transmedia That Means Something

10/23/2012 8:03 AM Eastern

I’d like you visit www.halftheskymovement.org for some education—and inspiration—but also for a sense of how you can work across multiple platforms. I’m certain you’ve heard a lot of talk over the past year about “transmedia”—it’s a word that also appears in a document I keep titled “Things I Don’t Totally Get But Should,” along with “multiplatform,” “third screen” and “augmented reality.” (This was the same document that used to include “the cloud” and “Ultra-HD.”) If you’re like me, you hear “transmedia” and commence an eye roll, and then try to decode what that means for video production in the real world.

On location with Half the Sky: Olivia Wilde and Rebecca Lolosoli in the Umoja's women village in Kenya. Photo by David Smoler

The, yes, transmedia project Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide turned me around. Part of the Women and Girls Lead initiative and produced by the Independent Television Service (ITVS) in partnership with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and PBS, it fuses documentary production with a range of educational and interactive tools.

While the two-part, four-hour documentary Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide highlights inspiring individuals working to bring about change—and the women and girls who confront extreme gender inequality in their daily lives—the project doesn’t end there. In addition to the documentary there are Facebook-hosted social action games and mobile games created by Games for Change, two web sites, 20 educational video modules with companion text, a social media campaign supporting more than 30 partner NGOs (non-governmental organizations), and an impact assessment plan.

The result is involving and absorbing, using the documentary to spur education, discussion and action. So now I get it—this is what transmedia can do.

To learn more, visit www.pbs.org/independentlens/half-the-sky or www.halftheskymovement.org.