All posts for category: Interactive Industry

Ellyn Winters-Robinson: Promote Storytelling in Your PR Strategy

CFCML11042014-4 When developing your company’s PR strategy, Ellyn Winters-Robinson says that you first need to establish your goals. What are you trying to achieve? Do these goals align with your overall marketing strategy? Some potential goals can include attracting investors or talent, showcasing your expertise, or managing conflicts or perceptions around your branding. Your PR strategy should be customized based on your goals. CFCML11042014-26 This past Friday, the CFC Media Lab hosted a day-long ideaBOOST Media Training workshop. The day was hosted by Ellyn Winters-Robinson from Ignition PR, a marketing communications and PR firm specializing in the technology sector. Throughout the time we had with her, Ellyn trained ideaBOOST cohort 3 companies on how to develop a well thought-out PR strategy, as well as how to work with media when pitching stories and conducting press interviews. CFCML11042014-131 Here is a taste of what she had to say:

  • In House or PR Agency: When deciding whether to keep PR in-house or outsource it to an external agency, both options have their pros and cons that requires consideration. A pro for keeping PR in-house is that it is often perceived as being more credible than an agency’s PR. However, a con is that in-house PR can have limited reach and resources. On the other hand, a pro for using a PR agency is that it may allow for greater creativity and they generally have a wider reach. A con is the sometimes high cost and agencies can be perceived as being overly aggressive at times.
  • Build a Storyline: Successful PR strategies leverages an enticing story when approaching media for press. When developing your storyline, consider telling the tale of a hero’s journey such as when an underdog achieves success. One can also look at the following for sources of inspiration: Surveys, the news cycle, being newsworthy yourself or talking to your customers.
  • Tactics For Getting Press Attention: To get your company’s story and message to market, you can consider the following tactics: Position yourself as a thought leader, write a news release, ask for a product review, pitch a story directly, find press opportunities on HARO and Twitter, promote a product launch, and offer contributed articles or customer stories. Each tactic experiences varying levels of success, depending on a case-by-case basis.
  •  Create a Positioning Statement: When prepping for an interview, create a positioning statement. This is a general statement which provides context for your main message. It functions as a good starting point for an interview and will help your interviewer hook your story into a larger issue or trend.

CFCML11042014-37 During the workshop, ideaBOOST participants were also put through faux press interviews on camera. This was to test out and improve their on-camera body language and performance. It took a few attempts, but by the end of the exercise our cohort 3 teams were bonafide experts. When the next interview opportunity arises, they will be ready for their close-ups! CFCML11042014-101 Apply for ideaBOOST today!

Are you trying to get your technology start-up off the ground? Have you got a product idea that will revolutionize the digital entertainment space? Then apply for ideaBOOST today!

Founded in partnership with GoogleShaw Media and Corus Entertainment, ideaBOOST is a business accelerator for technology platforms and interactive applications focused on enabling and enhancing the entertainment industry. For more information, please visit www. or contact Leonardo Dell’Anno at








Photo Credit: Aida da Silva

Welcome to the Glassroom of the Future

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Hot on the heels of CES, the wearable technology trend continues to be a heavily contested topic of conversation. Deloitte predicts that in 2014 consumers will be wearing more than $3 billion worth of newly purchased technology. With those in the world of fashion failing to buck the trend until wearable tech gets well, fashionable!


The CFC Media Lab has been keeping a close eye on the wearable movement, particularly with the launch of ideaBOOST/Mind Pirate Production Lab, the world’s first lab for the production of apps for smart glass.
Recently, we hosted a user-testing weekend, where participants experienced the first six apps under development in the lab. On top of claiming bragging rights for hosting the largest collection of Canadian Google Glass owners, users were blown away with our teams’ apps for Google Glass and Epson Moverio, and discussed the implications of a world where smart glass prevails.
Will AR or VR reign supreme in wearable computing? Our users were certainly blown away with the Epson’s fully immersive experience, and we encourage any fans of Oculus Rift (a modest $300 USD) to consider a purchase of Epson Moverio (mid-level $700 USD). unlike Oculus Rift, Google Glass (at the steeper end of the price range at $1,500 USD) is designed to keep users grounded in their physical space while complementing their field of view with relevant information/apps.
We’ve yet to bet on a front runner, but we certainly did learn a few things about developing for glass:
  1. Colour/Contrast Hierarchy: When designing the overall aesthetic of the app, don’t forget to maintain a hierarchy both in colours and contrast. If not, you will just end up burning out your users’ retinas and I’m assuming that is something you wouldn’t want to do.
  2. Breaks: Don’t forget to include breaks in the play or you’ll tire out your users after a short time. And, keep them short so that they also don’t lose interest. From your users you want longevity and sanity, not short and unfocused.
  3. Focus Navigation: Keep the navigation controls focused on where the game’s action is. Don’t put navigation in the background or middle ground, as it will only confuse the user.
  4. Simplicity is King: Keep the mechanics of the interface clean and simple. It’s like fashion, you’ll eventually hit a point of diminishing returns when accessorizing your outfit.
  5.  Be Intuitive: Make sure the app controls are intuitive, as you can’t expect a user to be patient enough to learn how to use it. We suggest taking a look at popular apps and replicating their user flow. (Since, they’ve already invested the time and effort into figuring out all of this for themselves.) 

Don’t forget that this is just a teaser folks. Make sure you stay up to date with the lab by signing up for our newsletter.

Calling all Canadian glass users! If you’re the lucky owner of a pair of Google Glasses and wish to take part in the next workshop just email us at


All apps will be launched and announced in March 2014 in San Francisco! Attendees will get to experience and enjoy applications from:

May the Glass be with you…

han solo

What is ideaBOOST/Mind Pirate Production Lab?

ideaBOOST/Mind Pirate Production Lab is a 3 month boot camp for developers and companies that want to navigate the incredible potential of games on the next consumer mega trend of wearable technology. Created in part by the Toronto-based CFC Media Lab and Silicon Valley-based Mind Pirate, the lab marks the first-ever program focused on developing games and consumer apps for the emerging smart glass consumer market. Visit us online.






CFC Media Lab Alumni Nominated for Canadian Screen Awards


This week, the Academy of Canadian Film & Television announced the nominations for the 2014 Canadian Screen Awards. Much to our delight, several alumni and current program participants of the CFC Media Lab were included in this year’s crop of digital media nominations.

We congratulate the following on their nominations:


Best Cross-Platform Project – Children’s and Youth 

  • The Next Step Interactive - Secret Location - James Milward


Best Cross-Platform Project – Fiction 

  • Continuum Interactive - Secret Location - James Milward
  • Murdoch Mysteries: Nightmare on Queen St. - Shaftesbury Films - Christina Jennings, Jay Bennett


Best Cross-Platform Project – Fiction 

  • The Republic of Doyle Ride-Along App - CBC - Eva Riinitze
  • The Amazing Race Canada Interactive - Secret Location - CJ Hervey, James Milward


Best Cross-Platform Project – Non-Fiction 

  • Big Brother Canada - Secret Location - C.J. Hervey
  • Perfect Storms Interactive - Secret Location - James Milward
  • Over the Rainbow - CBC - Paul Mcgrath, Tessa Sproule

Screenshot 2014-01-15 11.29.51

Best Original Program or Series produced for Digital Media – Non-Fiction

  • The Real Backpackers - Smokebomb Entertainment - Jay Bennett


Best Original Interactive Production Produced for Digital Media 

  • Ruby Skye P.I. - Jill Golick Enterprises LTD. - Jill Golick

We wish everyone the best of luck!

Winners of the digital media categories of the Canadian Screen Awards will be announced on March 4, 2014.

Photo Sources:, Secret Location, SmokeBomb Entertainment,

CFC Media Lab Presents: Digital Futures Initiative Industry Day


Showcasing the Work of Talented Students from The Digital Futures Program

This past Tuesday, the CFC Media Lab partnered with OCADU to host E-Leo: The Digital Futures Initiative’s Industry Day. Accompanied by good food and cool music, the evening featured work created by the talented students and alumni from the Digital Futures Initiative (DFI) program at OCAD University.

About the program: The Digital Futures graduate program responds to the increasingly important and sophisticated role of digital technology as a magical catalyst for integrating societal, cultural and economic change. Candidates for the Graduate Diploma in Digital Futures are practising designers from a wide range of professions wishing to augment their skills and knowledge to play leadership roles within their industries and organizations. This program is offered in partnership with the CFC Media Lab.








ideaBOOST Launch Pad Introduces 6 Start-Ups

SS2_0621 A standing-room only event at the Steam Whistle Brewery in Toronto, Wednesday’s ideaBOOST Launch Pad event was an exciting night for Canadian entrepreneurs and investors to rub shoulders and wrap up months of intensive work. SS1_8450 Hosted by Jian Ghomeshi, host of Q on CBC Radio One and CBC TV, ideaBOOST participants from the Spring 2013 cohort took to the stage to make their pitch for investment and to entertain questions from the audience. SS1_8373 “ideaBOOST is the only niche accelerator for digital entertainment and I’m thrilled to say is growing from strength to strength since its launch last year,“ Ana Serrano, the CFC’s Chief Digital Officer said. “Tonight, we are here to view the six companies who have each participated in an intensive bootcamp helping prepare them to navigate the entertainment ecosystem and to build sustainable digital entertainment properties.” SS2_0774 In no particular order, here is a rundown of ideaBOOST’s Spring 2013 cohort:

  • Wondereuran app that brings storytelling to e-tailing, beginning with contemporary artists
  • BeMused Networka community-based discovery service for entertainment and events
  • Motion Panels+ – an authoring tool that animates graphic novels, cartoon strips and story books for mobile devices
  • ALERT-TV+an online system that enables producers to target and engage audiences using multi-platform strategies to measure success
  • Lightning Platform – a cloud-based platform that tracks and targets user actions to aid product and service development
  • Instaradio – a simple and powerful way to live stream and record audio that can be listened to on any device.

SS1_8661 “The IdeaBOOST program has been an amazing journey that provided Motion Panels with opportunities which was previously beyond our reach. Last night’s Launch Pad was a milestone for us that signifies the start of our new adventure as we move forward with the launch of our exciting products. We thank the CFC for their valued support and hope that ideaBOOST continues to live on to help out other start-ups with their endeavours.” Melch Valimento, Motion Panels+  SS1_8819 “ideaBOOST program is a fantastic way to introduce your business to the Canadian creative community. The network is not only resourceful but also responsive and willing to get behind your idea.” Kevin Kilman, Instaradio SS1_8583 “Participating in the ideaBOOST program gave us access to mentors and resources that accelerated the development of BeMused Network’s beta service. The assistance we received at the early stage of our knowledge network development will go a long way in allowing us to reach our next goal. Turning an idea into reality truly takes a village. The amazing team running the program gave us the support we needed, and advocated for us wherever we went. The colleagues and supporters that we worked and continue to work with will no doubt be the most valuable thing from this experience.” Margaret Lam, BeMused Network SS2_0810 ideaBOOST’s third Cohort was also officially announced at Wednesday’s event. This cohort includes:

  • Bublcam – a consumer ready camera that captures everything through spherical photos and videos.
  • L.A.R.G.E.  - a tool kit for the creation of location-based and augmented reality experiences.
  • RadioMogul – a platform to create, customize & curate your own monetizable Internet radio station.
  • ThinkDirty – a mobile app that makes reading beauty and body care product labels simple, easy and fun.
  • uMentioned - a location app that allows you to anonymously flirt and make new friends with people nearby.
  • WeirdWood Manor – a unique storytelling experience—a novel brought to life through interaction and animation.

Be sure to stay tuned for updates on these new companies, and on the ideaBOOST program as a whole. SS2_0381

ASTOUND Initiative at Buffer Festival


Last weekend marked the inaugural Buffer Festival, which encompassed 3 days, 5 cinemas and 38 live screenings. We had some of YouTube’s biggest stars on-hand to host shows, including the likes of Grace Helbig, Hannah Hart, Mamrie Hart, Charlie McDonnell, Mitchell Davis, the Gregory Brothers, the Fine Bros, Prank vs. Prank and more.

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On Friday, the ASTOUND Initiative hosted Dialogue Session: The 4Ms – Messaging, Managing, Mobilizing & Monetizing Your Content, featuring a special panel of industry practitioners and audience-engagement pioneers to discuss ‘audience’ as an alternative form of financing, distribution and revenue generation. Panelists included YouTube’s Bing Chen (Global Creator Development), Graham Bennett (Strategic Partner Manager) and Andy Stack (Partner Product Manager), along with YouTuber entrepreneurs Corey Vidal, Founder, ApprenticeA/Buffer Festival and Alex Carpenter, musician, writer and vlogger. This panel was moderated by ASTOUND project manager Orla Garriques.

Caption: Pre-show Buffer Festival red carpet coverage courtesy of the Canadian Film Centre and ASTOUND Initiative. Despite the rain and cold, YouTube stars and fans came out to shine.


On Saturday, Buffer Festival hosted a VIP gala at the Jane Mallett Theatre where our stars walked a red carpet, hosted by Tim Deegan from ApprenticeA Productions and Shira Lazar of What’s Trending. They were met by hundreds of screaming fans who camped outside of the venue to meet their favourite internet idols.


The gala itself was hosted by Craig Benzine, also known as WheezyWaiter and Michael Buckley of the What The Buck Show. New never-before-seen content was showcased to our audience of YouTubers and industry delegates. Megan Tonjes and The Gregory Brothers both performed live onstage.


Buffer Festival, produced by ApprenticeA Productions and co-presented by the Canadian Film Centre, showcased the best creative content on YouTube and offered insight into why a growing generation is consuming media online.


Photo Credit: George Pimentel

ASTOUND Summit: The Business of Audience Engagement


Now is a great time to be an artist and entrepreneur, but one thing’s for sure: you have to do your research, understand the landscape and be creative with your engagement efforts. Otherwise, you could get lost in the mix.

That was the message that attendees heard from a number of different presentations and workshops geared towards content producers and investors at the very first ASTOUND Summit, which took place Saturday, October 19 at OCADU in Toronto.

Consumer intelligence, data and analytics, the business model canvas, social media strategies and the art of pitching were some of the main presentation topics addressed at the event.


“It’s been an excellent event,” Kevin Naismith, founder and CEO of digital media start-up OnePape said. “The speakers have been great and the content has covered everything. This is the stuff you need to know.”

Naismith is one of many entrepreneurs and producers that attended the summit this weekend and is part of a huge contingency of creative young people looking to disrupt a space and start their own business.

“ASTOUND has been really great, and it’s addressing a big gap that exists,” Shari Cohen, a program consultant at Ontario Media Development Corporation said. “This is a great initiative.”


A few key takeaways from the summit:

  • “Your audience is not on all platforms – you need to understand where they are and how they’re accessing it,” digital media strategist Eric Leo Blais said during his presentation on social media strategies. “Every time you ask your audience to leave one platform for another, you will likely lose them.”
  • “It’s not enough just to use social, you need to have a plan,” Blais said. “How do you know if your campaign has been successful? You need to use metrics.”
  • “How do we understand the value of experience?” Todd Cherkasky from SapientNitro asks, pointing to a slide showing brand and marketing ROI, return on media channels and experience optimization. “We need to reframe what we measure.”


  • “Your film, your project, your product – it’s got a million things to it and you love it. You’d like to share everything possible with the person who’s going to invest their money, but they’re not actually interested in it,” business coach Warren Coughlin said during his presentation on the art of pitching. “You’ve got to distill it down to the salient points in the timeframe you have in order to convince them to take the action that you want.”
  • “People forget facts, but they remember stories,” Coughlin said. “You need to build that into your presentation. What you’re trying to do is bypass the logical critic that the investor has so you can tap into their emotion. Stories will do that, but you need to think strategically about what story is important. Is it your story? Is it the investor’s story? Is it the story of the potential customer? Is it the story of the marketplace? You need to tell some kind of narrative that brings me along with you.”


The ASTOUND Initiative is led by CFC Media Lab in partnership with Hot Docs, and OCADU. ASTOUND is made possible through The Entertainment and Creative Cluster Partnerships Fund administered by the Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC) on behalf of the Ministry of Tourism, Culture, and Sport.

For more information on the ASTOUND Initiative, or the ASTOUND Summit, visit

ideaBOOST Announces Cohort 3 Shortlist

After reviewing a long list of exceptional entrants, ideaBOOST jury members had the difficult task of narrowing down a list of shortlisted candidates. We are pleased to announce that the following eleven projects have been shortlisted and invited to proceed to the final stage in the selection process; a live pitch taking place November 4th in front of Founding Partners Shaw Media, Google and Corus Entertainment.

The shortlist is as follows:

1. Bublcam
The bublcam is a consumer ready camera that captures everything through spherical photos and videos.


2. Codename: Hotslime
Private communities for sharing. Codename: Hotslime — the third incarnation of the Bulletin Board System (BBS).

ideaBOOST Shortlist

3. L.A.R.G.E. Location-based AR Gaming Engine
L.A.R.G.E. is a tool kit for the creation of location-based and augmented reality experiences.


4. LongStory
LongStory is a progressive and queer-positive romantic adventure game for tweens.


5. Poesis
Aerial robotics. The company is focused on providing high resolution images and video captured by a low-altitude, custom-designed UAV’s with fully stabilized, full tilt/pan/360 control equipped for the RED EPIC, ALEXA M or DSL cameras.


6. RadioMogul
Create, customize & curate your own monetizable Internet radio station.


7. Soothsayer
A 3D previsualization tool for filmmakers to prototype their movies.


8. StoryTrigger™
StoryTrigger™ is a mobile app enabling the package to release info to the consumer’s smartphone.


9. Think Dirty
A mobile app that makes reading beauty and body care product labels simple, easy and fun.

Think Dirty

10. uMentioned
A location app that allows you to anonymously flirt and make new friends with people nearby.


11. Weirdwood Manor
A unique storytelling experience—a novel brought to life through interaction and animation.

Weirdwood Manor

The CFC Media Lab would like to congratulate all of the shortlisted companies and thank everyone who submitted their project for consideration this year.

ideaBOOST’s third cohort will be formally announced on November 20th at our Launch Pad event at Steam Whistle Brewing, Toronto.

ASTOUND Salon: Accessing Private Investment by Numbers

SalonPic 1 - logo

Last night at the Spoke Club in Toronto, producers and content creators learned the importance of crunching the numbers and understanding analytics for attracting investment at this year’s second ASTOUND Salon.

Anne Marie Maduri, from Maduri & Associates, along with Debra McLaughlin of Strategic Inc., teamed up and laid out some tips for digital, film and TV producers looking to raise capital in today’s market.


Three core questions that must be answered for investors are:

  • Why should they invest?
  • What is it exactly that they are investing in?
  • What is the expected return?

Without the answers to these questions, investors could quickly walk away from a deal. They don’t want to do your homework for you, they want you to come prepared with numbers in tow.

“What’s the profile of your target audience? Who is the target market? Investors want to know this,” Maduri said, as she outlined her core revenue equations.

But where all of this data comes from varies between mediums and also by market and contractual agreements. There really is no such thing as too much data when looking for investment.


Some other key takeaways from the presentation:

  • If you are pitching a pilot, try to build into your contract with a broadcaster that you attain the broadcaster’s performance data report.
  • Broadcasters want to see a diverse revenue mix for TV content — not just one revenue stream. Think branded content, second screen, etc.
  • Use the large resources available to you, as well as smaller niche measurements to form an audience profile. The CRTC & CMPA have extensive data resources that are helpful in this regard.
  • Investors want to know what your market differentiator is, and they want to know that you are aware of all of your competition. To say that you have no competition is a major faux pas in raising capital.
  • For digital media properties, you have to think outside the box, develop a dialogue with the right investors and find ways to appeal to them, as they may not fully understand the market. “The investor’s children will likely know more about digital media than they do,” Maduri said.


This Saturday, October 19, is the ASTOUND Summit. For more information on the day’s events and how you can participate, please visit

The ASTOUND Initiative is led by CFC Media Lab in partnership with Hot Docs, and OCADU. ASTOUND is made possible through The Entertainment and Creative Cluster Partnerships Fund administered by the Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC) on behalf of the Ministry of Tourism, Culture, and Sport.

CFC & Mind Pirate Announce the ideaBOOST/Mind Pirate Production Lab

Program seeks developer superstars to create games and apps for wearable technology devices

Potential to be among the first to publish games and apps for mobile wearable devices with excitingly new Callisto technology.

TORONTO, Canada and MENLO PARK, Calif., October 1, 2013 – Do you have what it takes to create the next blockbuster game or mobile app? Today the Canadian Film Centre (CFC) and wearable technology company, Mind Pirate, announced the companies have partnered to create the ideaBOOST/Mind Pirate Production Lab: a program that will give select developers and/or companies the opportunity to create games and apps for the next consumer mega trend of wearable technology. Select products from the program may be published and brought to market at a future date. Together the program employs the framework of CFC’s ideaBOOST accelerator program and the technology, expertise and vision of Mind Pirate.

Up to six U.S. and Canadian developers and/or companies will be selected to participate in a three-month boot camp where they will use their own programming prowess and Mind Pirate’s next-generation game platform, Callisto, to create products for mobile wearable devices, like Google Glass. Callisto does not release publicly to third parties until 2014, making ideaBOOST/Mind Pirate Production Lab program participants among the first in the world to get their hands on this next-generation technology.

“We are thrilled to be providing best of breed developers and/or companies with this unique opportunity. Through our digital entertainment accelerator ideaBOOST, the CFC is at the forefront of taking business mentoring techniques from the lean start-up

movement and applying them to the media and entertainment industry. With the ideaBOOST/Mind Pirate Production Lab, we can direct these proven prototype development and lean business acceleration methods towards the creation of wearable technology experiences,” said Ana Serrano, Chief Digital Officer, CFC.

“Having participated in ideaBOOST as a board member, I knew it would be an ideal forum to give developers the opportunity to create exciting, new experiences for the wearable technology megatrend using our Callisto game platform,” said Shawn Hardin, Founder & CEO of Mind Pirate. “Callisto is the only wearable technology game platform on the market; it gives developers the tools to create engaging experiences that merge the virtual and physical worlds. This program is perfect for developers who are ready to take the leap into the next-generation of gaming. We can’t wait to see what kind of gaming experiences the ideaBOOST/Mind Pirate Production Lab participants will create!”

Callisto is the market’s first and only tightly integrated client-side and server side game-focused platform that supports leading mobile devices with a special emphasis on “wearables” such as smart glass and smart watches. It enables developers to create engaging experiences that merge the virtual and physical worlds through rich applications that take maximum advantage of the native capabilities of the underlying hardware but at the same time preserve a consistent experience across device types.

Interested parties can start submitting applications on October 2, 2013 by visiting The application deadline is October 22, 2013 at 11:59 p.m. PST. The program will begin November 20, 2013 at the CFC headquarters in Toronto.