Astronauts Wanted is going deeper into the transmedia space with Flight Club, a social residency program that will brings together five up-and-comers to experiment with new ways to present narratives across multiple platforms.
“We look at it as story R&D,” said Megan Westerby, VP of social and transmedia for Astronauts Wanted, in a statement “With Flight Club, we’re using the entire Astronauts Wanted social media world as one gigantic creative incubator. We’re handing over all our social handles to Flight Club participants for extended periods of time and setting an evolving series of storytelling challenges.”
Launched in 2013 as a joint venture between Judy McGrath, former Chairperson/CEO of MTV Networks, and Sony Music Entertainment, Astronauts Wanted has already turned out a handful of transmedia projects, inlcluding “@SummerBreak” and “SnapperHero,” produced in partnership with The Chernin Group, Fullscreen and sponsor AT&T, and the pilot for the dark psychological drama “Socio,” created by Bernie Su (“The Lizzie Bennet Diaries,” “Emma Approved”) and produced with his Canvas Media Studios.
The inaugural Flight Club class includes Viner Carly Incontro (259.6K followers), YouTubers Jade Hilliard (110.7K followers), Alex Vergel (7.5K followers), Erin Gilfoy (Total followers: 76.5k), and Joshua Santos (Total followers: 268.4k).
Flight Club’s projects will include periodic tent pole transmedia productions, the first of which is “Midsømmer,” a contemporary gender-bending take on Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” In Shakespeare’s play, royalty, the upper class, the class and mystical fairy creatures come together in the woods. In “Midsømmer,” the culture clash takes place in a world of Vine, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat (@AstrosWanted) and Facebook video, beginning today.
Instead of the woods, the characters in “Midsømmer” get lost in a fun house where artist Alexa Meade and her boyfriend Chris, play a heightened version of themselves. The lovers forbidden to marry are a lesbian couple. Puck, the mischievous imp, is a man lwhose gender presentation is fluid over the course of the story.
The upper class share their stories on Facebook video and YouTube. The artistic fairies are on Instagram, and the carpenters who put on the play within a play are fame seekers on Vine. Everyone comes together in real-time, live on Snapchat.
Although the story of “Midsømmer” will unfold in real time and chronologically, like a play, it is not linear. The audience can explore different story lines at different times on different platforms.
Flight Club comes on the heals of last month’s announcement of a slate of eight new original series from Astronauts Wanted starring a lineup of top digital influencers including Kian Lawley & JC Caylen, Timothy DeLaGhetto, Kingsley, Alexa Losey and Hannah Witton. The shows will take company into new genres such as food, fashion and sketch comedy with titles that include “H8TERS,” “Underbelly” and “Smeared.”