Teacher Seeks to Reinvent Storytelling with Transmedia Project

Jonathan Belisle, a Montreal teacher, script writer and web entrepreneur, has a storytelling system that combines old and new, traditional mythology and modern technology, and fantasy and reality.

Wuxia the Fox is a transmedia project that comes as an illustrated book paired with an iPad app.

Using the iPad app to read the symbolic blocks placed on one of the maps in the book. (PRNewsFoto/Wuxia the Fox )
Using the iPad app to read the symbolic blocks placed on one of the maps in the book. (PRNewsFoto/Wuxia the Fox )

“The app reacts to what it hears and sees,” explains Belisle. “As you read the story, the app adds the music and sound effects, based on where you are in the story and the tone of your voice. It’s the future of children’s books.”

The iPad app triggers new scenes of content using image recognition, and transforms into a musical instrument when interacting with small wooden blocks provided with the book.

It’s a revolutionary way to tell stories – for young and old. The messages in this kids’ book deal with the climate changes, earth and dreams. “This can be a tool for young people to increase their awareness of the technological and ecological changes currently underway,” said Belisle. “In addition to weaving a great tale, it can inspire people to be more environmentally responsible.”

Jonathan Belisle presenting Wuxia's Book & App interactions. (PRNewsFoto/Wuxia the Fox )
Jonathan Belisle presenting Wuxia’s Book & App interactions. (PRNewsFoto/Wuxia the Fox )

The story in this augmented book revolves around Oremia, an 8-year-old girl who has vivid recurring dreams of great whales. Convinced she is actually a hologram, she meets Wuxia, a young fox with telepathic powers. Wuxia agrees to join Oremia to search for a legendary humpback whale named Nioma.

The combination of highly sophisticated electronics and lush illustrations has placed a significant price tag on this groundbreaking transmedia project. Belisle needs about $64,000 for book graphics, audiovisual content for the iPad app, development of the sound and symbol recognition algorithm, and copy editing. From now until May 2, 2014, he is running a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for the project.

He plans to make the system available in French and English.

Depending on their donation levels, contributors can receive PDF versions of the book, soft and hardcover editions of the book in various sizes and wooden amulets.

“Our goal is to reinvent storytelling,” Belisle said. “It will inspire adults and children to connect with nature, developing new ways to share bedtime stories and explore their dreams.”


Kickstarter Campaign for Wuxia


Digital Book World Webcast to Discuss Multi-Platform Storytelling

DBWLogoWRITERS. Digital Book World is a year-round platform for consumer publishing professionals and their partners, including agents, booksellers, and technology vendors. Digital Book World offers a range of educational resources and networking opportunities — online and in person.

On Tuesday, August 13, Digital Book World is hosting a webcast entitled, “Think Outside the Book: Multi-Platform Storytelling and Digital Publishing.” Scheduled for 12 pm ET (9 am PT and 5 pm GMT), the webcast will explain why digital publishing is the perfect format for transmedia storytelling.

The content is designed to appeal to:

  • book publishers (large and small)
  • book app developers
  • authors
  • booksellers
  • artists
  • people who embrace technology
  • people who hate technology

Transmedia experts Connie Watts and Jen Olson will discuss how book enhancements such as video, music, narration, pop-ups, games, interactive maps, and 3D objects can be strategically used to give readers more context or provide multiple entry points into a story, whether it’s fiction or non-fiction. For examples, enhancements can be use to add more context around a fictional Elizabethan kingdom or liven up a golf book with local news clips from a golf tournament from the 1970s. 

Watts and Olson will explain how to use transmedia as a marketing tool, highlight strategies for collaborating with authors, and suggest techniques for connecting with children and other readers with short attention spans. They will point out that whether we like it not, digital book enhancements are here to stay.

Connie Watts and Jen Olson are the principals of WiredBallyWho, a transmedia publishing company that helps authors, business leaders, and non-profit organizations rethink their approach to traditional book publishing. They also work with artists, photographers, and musicians who want to share their talents through transmedia projects.

Tuition for the webcast is $27 for Digital Book World members and $45 for non-members.

An individual membership to DBW costs $99. Along with discounts on webcasts, online courses, and books, members get on-demand access to all webcast archives and featured audio and video and downloadable resources such an e-book formatting checklist and SEO best practices guide.

Future webcasts and courses include:

  • Webcast: Print to Digital, Digital First, Simultaneous First: What’s Your Strategy? (August 22)
  • 4-Week Course: Metadata Best Practices and Industry Certification (Begins August 19)
  • 4-Week Course: Metadata and the Future of Publishing (Begins September 16)


Webcast: Think Outside the Book: Multi-Platform Storytelling and Digital Publishing

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