Today was no ordinary work day for me. For a start, it was interesting. It was also inspiring. My work often has tinges of these two things, but that is tempered with the other 90% which is reality, budgets, constrained strategy and bureaucracy. But today, I got in my car at about 9am and drove 90 minutes north west of Melbourne to Marylands Country House in Upper Yarra Valley.

For the past week or so, teams of incredibly creative people have been working on projects in the name of the LAMP VIII Victoria residential workshop. The ideas that the teams brought to the workshop were brainstormed, workshopped, poked, prodded and moulded with the help of a bunch of other creative people in the form of other participants, mentors, AFTRS big wigs and finally today a group of industry professionals were invited as “VIPs” to attend the final pitch from each group and give feedback, development ideas and next steps.  The teams and projects were selected from submissions which could have, and did, fall into these types of categories:

* Advanced TV – Projects that are targeted to local ‘OpenTV-like’ interactive TV over satellite and cable TV (Foxtel and Sky New Zealand) with a mobile phone component. These can include synchronous enhanced TV alongside the programming, simple casual games or multi stream formats
* Social Virtual Worlds – Rich story based virtual worlds that can be built in existing large 3D social multi user environments like Second Life, Multiverse or These must have a strong community aspect and include co-creative elements.
* 360 Entertainment – Cross-media, collaborative play services. Often called Extended Entertainment or Alternate Reality Games these will be strong narratives played out across many websites, mobile, physical locations, TV and print. Themes are usually investigative and draw audiences into complex scavenger hunts that blur the line between fact or fiction.
* Serious Games – Specifically interested in rich gameplay on consoles, pc or mobile that delivers real learning. The range can be short form flash/sms type games that require brief periods of play spread over many weeks or continuous online games that involve collaboration with others in Massively Multiplayer Online Game (MMOG) environments.
* Sharing Web 2.0 – Applications and services that draw together communities on web and mobile with the purpose of sharing and growing around a niche interest. This could be mash-ups of iconic web 2.0 services such as flickr, YouTube, Facebook or something completely new and original that will activate key interest groups.

I went along today as one of the said “VIPs” (which is in quotation marks as I really don’t feel like I warrant the V or the I), and it was such an incredible day. The ideas that came out of the group were really astonishing. Some were built from preexisting content that was to be extended to a digital sphere, others were completely indigenous ideas born out of personal experience and analysis of a gap in the market.

I met some incredibly inspiring people, a couple of whom have blogs that I read on a regular occasion, so it was fantastic to meet them in the flesh. I would love to immerse myself in that level of generous creativity for a week – what bliss.


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