MIPBlog: What is TIU?
Jérémy Pouilloux: Transmedia Immersive University is a project that is taking transmedia to France’s universities; an initiative I launched last year. The aim behind TIU is to encourage students to write transmedia material by supervising the production of their projects and then broadcasting these projects as part of a public event. This approach is supported by the expertise of more than 20 transmedia specialists working in France, including the producers of FDP, Fanfan2, Addicts, Detective Avenue, and Les Geeks, and brings together the leading transmedia figures from the various national broadcasters.
> Why did you decide to launch this initiative?
There were two main reasons. The first is that I deeply believe in the potential of this type of writing. Creative potential, emotional potential for the audiences, on the one hand, and economic potential and a source of renewal for French fiction, on the other. The second concerns the market situation facing this type of writing. It is still a very difficult undertaking to conduct large-scale projects in this field and find a way of exploring new narrative modes. It was necessary to do something that would allow professionals in the sector and the public to see this type of project. So that they can experience them.
> What stage are you at in your development, and what are your next steps?
This year, the intention is to support ten projects. TIU combines a period of tuition, administered to the students by their teachers and professionals from the industry, and an event during which their work will be broadcast. The tuition period includes a writing phase, which took place from October to December 2011; a pitch session organised in mid-January 2012 (click for pictures and videos); and a project production period, between February and June 2012. The projects will be revealed during a public event in October 2012 in Paris.
> Is France a pioneer in doing this? Or are other countries doing it too?
I do not know if France is a pioneer, but I am currently looking for some partners abroad to expand this experience to other countries, especially in Europe. The idea is to share experiences between teams from different countries and to make the projects travel around Europe.
> Why do students need transmedia training, given that they are multiplatform by nature now?
Yes, transmedia storytelling is an emerging form and we’re still at an experimental stage. This means there are no standards yet. However, transmedia storytelling still has some rules, be they to do with audience engagement, experience design, bridges between fiction and reality, or gamification. The students may be digital natives and be familiar with these usages, but they need to learn these specific types of storytelling and gather feedback from people that have had experience in these fields.
> What for you are the best examples of finalised Transmedia projects to date, which are used as best practices in your courses?
We try to explore many cases to give a number of examples and not only the successful cases because everyone learns from mistakes, especially in these experimental times. We also explore the projects that have marked the history of transmedia. I often speak about “The Truth about Marika” (the participative Swedish TV series) and “Why so serious” (the Joker-focused promotional vehicle for the film The Dark Knight), because of the great level of immersion, and confusion between fiction and reality, in these projects.