As part of Nordisk Film & TV Fond's High Five Cross-Media Content for Kids Development Scheme, seven of the world's leading cross-media specialists attended the recent High Five Power to the Pixel Lab in Gilleleje, Denmark and gave mentoring support to seven Nordic cross-media projects for kids.

Producers were advised to focus on the core of the story universe and to consider new business models. The event took place November 12-16, 2012.

Organised by Nordisk Film & TV Fond with London-based cross-media expert Power to the Pixel, the High Five Power to the Pixel Lab was an eye-opener for several Nordic producers and creators who came to share ideas, experiences and receive professional guidance for their projects. The seven cross-media for kids projects that were discussed are Alfie Atkins (Maipo Film, Norway), Gigglebug (Anima Boutique & Kuusaerna, Finland), Karl Dymling-Guided by Ghosts (Breidablick, Sweden), The Snowflakes (Nice Ninja, Denmark), Twin Pigs (Kongo Interactive, Denmark), UB the Dog (Klassefilm, Denmark), and Valkyria (KORE Film, Sweden).

The mentors that shared their expertise were Liz Rosenthal, head of Power to the Pixel, Greg Childs, former BBC kids programme specialist and CEO of Childseye, Adam Sigel, LA-based writer/producer of content for multi-platforms, Paul Tyler, founder of media consultancy agency ‘Handling Ideas', Nuno Bernardo, producer of Transmedia company BeActive, Anne Mette Stevn, International Editor and User Experience Designer for Egmont Group and Thomas Howalt, Business Developer for game company

Rosenthal felt the Lab was successful in helping the cross-media content creators ‘focus on the core of the story again'. "It can be difficult for producers to go back to the heart of their project, to the reason why they want to make a cross-media project. They tend to concentrate on the bits around the core. We help them focus on the idea in the middle and find the tools to communicate that idea".

To help producers engage with users of different platforms, the experts stressed the need to look at what Paul Tyler called the ‘holy trinity of cross-media' consisting of the creative, business and financing plans triangle. "So far, European producers have been used to focusing on the creative and financing plans. Users' interaction with cross-media has brought in new business models and suddenly they are being challenged by this new triangle and the relationship between them that brings them together" said Tyler.

From the producers' perspective, the Lab was ‘inspiring' but also immensely ‘challenging'. "Everything I thought I knew was turned upside down," confessed Nice Ninja's Thomas Borch Nielsen who came to explore the possibilities to expand the universe of his project Best Project at BUFF:FF 2012 - The Snowflakes - with a game. "Being movie makers at heart, we thought that the game would be a smaller part of the trans-media universe, perhaps just a marketing tool. Not only did our approach to that strategy change completely, but we managed during the week to come up with an awesome game design and even had time to polish the gameplay and the marketing plan together with the experts. We got some new tools, both creatively and financially, that we have never worked with before, which we will put to use over the next months", said the Danish producer who also worked on the successful animation feature exports Sunshine Barry & the Disco Worms and Marco Macaco.

Anttu Harlin from the new Finnish production company Anima Boutique said the Lab‘enabled, inspired and challenged him' to think of his highly original project Gigglebug (developed for YLE) ‘in an even wider context'. "Back at home, work often becomes task orientated and the drawing of a larger context was useful and informative. It helped us think about the building blocks of why we do what we do. On top of that, the week built our confidence and we found plenty of little ideas to implement here and there."

Maipo Film's Kristin Ulseth who brought the project Alfie Atkins based on the famous Nordic property, felt the Lab helped her ‘validate the strengths of her project and pinpoint its challenges'. "While some of the mentors' input felt like new tools that will enable us as film producers to speak and work more confidently with the development of a game, other general and specific advices have already been implemented in our game concept", she confirmed.

The next stage for the recipients of High Five Cross-Media Content for Kids support will be to attend the Financing Forum for Kids in Malmö (March 11-13, 2013) where they will pitch their projects to potential financiers.

For further details on the seven Cross-Media for Kids click here.