By Charlie Bossy
Located in the heart of the Rogers Communication Centre at Ryerson, the Transmedia Centre gives students resources to create new ways of telling stories and flesh out ideas in the future of content, specifically through digital media. The centre offers the mentorship and the environment needed to realize these ideas.
Richard Lachman, who has had gigs working for networks like the Discovery Channel and CTV, is the director of the centre.
“The centre focuses on project-based learning,” Lachman said. “We love finding new ways to craft a story and tell it a different way. We are looking for ideas that push the boundaries and that can connect to the audience in a new way and break new ground.”
Lachman said that he is excited about the changes in the media. He sees it as an exciting time and the Transmedia Centre as an integral part of the evolving digital world.
“Clearly it’s a time of huge change,” Lachman said. “We are in the time of experimentation. It’s going to require all of us to work in different ways. We have a lot of smart people and enthusiasm in the world, the centre wants to tap into that.”
Will Noack, the production coordinator at the Transmedia Centre, said that the zone was officially opened at the end of 2013.
“The space has been open for students to just relax and work in. In [September 2013], we opened the zone to applications for student projects and we now have 11 projects in the zone,” Noack said.
An example of a student project taking place here is Who Are You. Who Are You is a video game created by fourth-year new media student, Jordan Sparks, which involves questioning the player about themselves in order to answer psychological questions.
“I heard about the zone when Richard came to our class [October 2013] to tell us about an extension for projects,” Sparks said. “I’ve been working on this since April  … the centre has given me the space, networks and resources to develop and execute this idea.”
While he does not have plans to market this game, he wants to use it as his final thesis before graduating.
“This is still a project, but it tells the player about themselves and their own story,” Sparks said.
Ghost Catcher, another Transmedia Centre project, is a virtual platform created by Kwame Newman-Bremang. Bremang, a new media graduate, also received his masters in media production from Ryerson in 2013.
“This is a location driven role playing game. The focus is to capture a ghost on Ryerson’s campus; it’s a mix of entertainment and education,” Newman-Bremang said.
Ghost Catcher also features local businesses in this platform, allowing for users to learn and engage with their community.
Lachman said now is the time for students to let their creative juices flow.
“Working in an industry, everything you do will be for a profit or have client,” Lachman said.
As much as the goal of the centre is for students’ projects to succeed, Lachman said that failing is also a form of success.
“Success for us can include deciding this isn’t a good idea,” Lachman said. “We think that the mentality it takes to take an idea, pull a team together to build it and actually make it, is a process that is useful across many different platforms.”