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Frankfurt Book Fair 2012

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Big insects and storytelling ecosystems
By Lucy Diver
 
‘Page to screen’ is the norm at the moment. This year alone sees adaptations ranging as widely as Anna Karenina, The Hunger Games, The Great Gatsby, and of course, the big draw card, The Hobbit. But book to film adaptations aren’t enough anymore. A recent trend is transmedia, where stories are not isolated: digital media like movies, games, and apps unite with analogue media like merchandise, books and exhibitions to create a story ecosystem which completely envelops the reader.
 
Enter StoryDrive, stage left. Frankfurt is no longer just the number one hub for publishing professionals. The fair launched StoryDrive in 2010 – a conference specifically designed to blur the formerly strict borders between film, games, merchandise and publishing into a republic of story, where content is the only king. One of this year’s many highlights will be a three-part delegation from New Zealand’s Weta Workshop.
 
The word ‘weta’ may not be familiar – the name for a large, native New Zealand insect that looks very scary but is in fact harmless – but you will definitely have heard of their work. It seems if you name any film with breathtaking visuals, they’re Weta’s. Remember the beautiful world of Avatar? Weta companies played a large creative and technical part in it. It’s not just Avatar though: they were involved in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, King Kong, Tintin, District 9 and most recently The Hobbit. And that’s only a selection.
 
Steven Unwin © Weta Workshop Ltd
Weta Workshop Richard Taylor and Martin Baynton
 
Co-founded twenty-five years ago by Sir Richard Taylor and his wife Tania Rodger, Weta Workshop is one of the largest conceptual design and physical effects studios in the world. Taylor was named 2012 New Zealander of the Year and has won scores of prestigious awards, including five Oscars and four BAFTAs.
 
S. Unwin © Weta Workshop Ltd
Weta Workshop Greg Broadmore
But rather than resting on his laurels, Taylor has continued to expand the business, and can now truly be called an industry leader in transmedia, with many unique projects: from IP development to children’s television, publishing nine books, and developing the digital app for Tintin. Richard Taylor will travel to Frankfurt together with Martin Baynton (writer and, with Taylor, coowner of Pukeko Pictures) and Greg Broadmore (creator of Dr Grordbort, conceptual designer for Weta Workshop), each of them with something interesting to bring to the transmedia table. Together they will give a StoryDrive masterclass: ‘From book to film and beyond.’ The heart of storytelling was never ink or e-ink, it was always dragons and ray guns and little people with hairy feet. Storytelling is evolving, from voices round a campfire, to ink on paper, and now to transmedia, the multi-platform, multi-faceted world of story. Weta may be the biggest insect in the ecosystem, but there’s room for plenty more, and you’ll need to get your spot at StoryDrive to get your spot in transmedia.
 
 

 
 
StoryDrive and Weta Workshop at the Frankfurt Book Fair:
 
Across all channels: From book to film to game – and back again
Fri 12 Oct, 1.30 p.m. – 2.30 p.m.
Hall 4, Room ‘Europa’
Sir Richard Taylor, Creative Director, Weta Workshop Martin Baynton, Author and Illustrator, ‘Jane and the Dragon’ Greg Broadmore, Author and Designer, Creator of ‘Dr Grordbort’
 
StoryDrive Conference
Thurs 11 Oct and Fri 12 Oct 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Room Europa, Hall 4.0
Under the motto ‘Maximise your story, maximise your business’, Frankfurt StoryDrive will highlight the potential of crossmedia collaboration. The two-day conference will demonstrate how you can best implement and market content and projects and provide concrete recommendations for succeeding in the crossmedia business.
 

 
 
New Zealand at the Frankfurt Book Fair
 
A Nest of Singing Birds
Wed 10 Oct 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Forum Ebene 1
The development of NZ writing and art has been critically influenced by a single publication. Joy Cowley, Dylan Horrocks, Jenny Bornholdt & Patricia Grace explore the influence of the New Zealand School Journal.
 
New Zealand Editor’s Buzz Panel
Thurs 11 Oct 11 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Sparks Stage 8.0
Four of New Zealand’s top editors will share their passion for books, moderated by Kevin Chapman, President of the Publishers Association of New Zealand.
 
Margaret Mahy – a celebration of her life and work
Thurs 11 Oct 4:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Forum Ebene 1
With Joy Cowley & Kate de Goldi Followed by NZ Happy Hour.
 
Körero Paki / Storytelling
Sat 13 Oct 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Forum Ebene 1
Exploring the many forms of Maori storytelling and their influence on contemporary practice, with Paula Morris, Witi Ihimaera, Robert Sullivan, Karl Johnson and James Rickard.
 
He Wahine Toa
Sun 14 Oct 11 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Forum Ebene 1
1893: New Zealand was the first country to give women the vote. Five women authors discuss the female voice in New Zealand writing – exploring our past and changing our future: Pat Grace, Aroha Harris, Barbara Ewing, Eleanor Catton, Emily Perkins.
 
30 Years of New Zealand Comics
Sun 14 Oct 12 p.m. – 1 p.m.
Forum Ebene 1
With Colin Wilson, Roger Langridge,
Dylan Horrocks & Greg Broadmore.
 

 
 
International highlights of the Frankfurt Book Fair 2012
 
International Rights Directors Meeting
Tues 9 Oct 2 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Room Europa, Hall 4.0
This year’s meeting will explore the differences between bigger and smaller markets, will look at China as a market giant, and will consider perspectives and risks. A number of smaller markets, such as Turkey, Estonia and the Baltics, Israel and Scandinavia, will be highlighted.
 
Editors in a Brave New World
Fri 12 Oct 11 p.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Room Symmetrie 2+3, Hall 8.1
After last year’s success, the Frankfurt Book Fair is once again offering the admission-free seminar ‘Editors in a Brave New World’, focusing on the changing role of editors within a growing digital world. This year’s focus will be academic publishing and will include a presentation by Huw Alexander from Sage in the UK, a round-table discussion and
a networking reception to follow.
 

 
 
Comic Strips
 
These illustrations were originally published in Alemania, a booklet issued by the Frankfurt Book Fair for the German Guest of Honour presentation at the 2011 Guadalajara International Book Fair. The accompanying texts were written by Saša Stanišic and translated into English by Shaun Whiteside.
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