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Talk nerdy to me

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By Julia Knope

The art of storytelling is evolving  — with geeks.

Geektropolis is a project that tells multimedia stories about Toronto’s geek culture — from their leaders, gathering places, events and interests like zombies and comics.

The project partnered with Ryerson’s Transmedia Zone (TMZ) incubator at the Rogers Communication Centre. Geektropolis was accepted into the TMZ on Oct. 6, shortly after their application in September.

The TMZ looks to partner with a mix of projects that reflect the diversity of the media ecosystem.

“They had a great presentation, and the three team members had the kind of collaborative, eager energy that does well in the TMZ,” said Ramona Pringle, media director at the TMZ.

The project is a product from the company *nocampfirerequired, which aims to tell stories on a platform that allows the user to enter at any point of the story and consume as much or as little as they want.

“Maybe [the information for the story] is in video format or maybe it’s a book or it’s audio and we put is all together so one story is being told across multiple mediums. All the integral parts  are over different mediums and can be experienced in different ways, but it’s one experience,” said Chris Casselman, co-creator of Geektropolis, who is currently working at the TMZ.

Geektropolis was created by Casselman, along with Emily Smith and Camile Gauthier.

Geektropolis began telling their stories through weekly short videos featured on their website.

But Geektropolis plans to make their videos more interactive through a virtual map filled with stories from “geekdoms” around Toronto. Casselman and the other Geektropolis members also plan to “gamify” storytelling.

The creators intend on creating online identities through characters for its users. Points will be rewarded when members interact with other members and contribute to the website.

Once the database is established and identities are virtually created, Geektroplis envisions an entire virtual geek world in their future, consisting of missions and quests.

“Our partnership with [the] TMZ has given us access to lots of great resources and equipment,” said Casselman. The TMZ provides Geektropolis with a “collaborative incubator environment” as well as resources and technology, mentorship and opportunities to share their innovative work within the industry.

“I think there will be some relationships and alliances formed,” Casselman said.

Casselman said that Geektropolis is interested in some of the other projects at TMZ and are looking forward to collaborating with them — such as The Next Super Geek and The Canadian Nerd Show, both multimedia platforms that feature geek and nerd culture.

Geektropolis isn’t aiming for a short-term project but a world that will last, by connecting geeks with one another, fans and events to create a stronger geek community.

But the project has a four-month time period at the TMZ to work on their project before their partnership agreement expires.

“They are able to apply to stay longer if they show that they have been producing high quality work that pushes the boundaries of storytelling in interesting ways, and that staying in the zone will be of benefit to their work,” Pringle said.


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