Dream Detective Media awakens in NYC

The new media company has developed a sexy new mystery property with a transmedia story strategy and lots of room for integrations.

Last week’s Comic-Con extravaganza in New York saw the debut of many geek-chic new properties, and it was amongst that discerning crowd that Vancouver’s Dream Detective Media Properties and Zeroes 2 Heroes Media unveiled their noir detective property, Are You Awake.

Starring a series of sultry and mysterious characters, the multi-platform transmedia property includes comic books, which were distributed to around 50,000 Comic-Con attendees last week, an interactive website, an augmented reality game, a motion comic, an upcoming web series, a digital soundtrack and even an apparel line. A film and TV series are being shopped as well.

The property is the brainchild of Keith Turner, an investment banker-turned-producer, with an ambitious plan to redefine the monetization of media.

‘I wanted a fresh approach to unveiling this property and quite literally, we are reverse engineering the usual entertainment business model,’ Turner, who heads prodco Dream Detective Media Properties, explains.

‘I looked at it from the point of how can we take the properties, the live action, the comic book, the alternative reality game, the social network, the music assets, and turn them into profit without having to hit that proverbial home run; although we do believe that we will.’

Are You Awake is a quintessential transmedia property, its story extending backwards and forwards across its various media properties. As such, it has also been designed as a property that is fully integration friendly, and Turner says although nothing has been locked in, the company is hiring an integration firm to start shopping it around.

Extending his ambitious approach to production and funding to the brand-integration arena, Turner says he would like to go far beyond regular old product placement and offer up Awake’s assets to brands looking for a unique approach.

‘I can give an illustrative example of something that I have contemplated,’ he says. ‘We are in the middle of making a music video right now. That music video comprises scenes from a live-action promo that we did and it includes original material to go with one of the songs that we wrote.

‘Our live-action promo, and our sizzle reels, include a 1968 Shelby Mustang. So, the idea was to take the song, and the live-action footage, and say to Ford, who has reissued the Shelby line of Mustangs, ‘Here’s our live action, it’s going to become a TV series. Here’s our music and our music video – how about ’bout we do a split screen between the music video and the 1968 Shelby and the 2011 Shelby, and make yourself a really nice commercial using our music and our live-action assets.”

Alternatively, he says, the company would be interested in writing brand integrations directly into the show and tying that integration into the real world with product. As another example, one of the main characters of Are You Awake is a flight attendant, so Turner sees aligning with an airline, and not only featuring that airline in the show, but having comic books carried on all of that airline’s flights.

The goal behind the integration strategy is to fund media executions that don’t rely on traditional funding models, such as government grants or private investment, but rather take advantage of the fact that the TV game is changing drastically right now.

‘The statistic that we live and die by here is that there is about $12 billion in TV advertising that is set to gravitate to mostly online. How do you get your share of that? How does old media meet new media? We don’t believe that it necessarily does. But we do know that there’s a whole bunch of ad dollars up for grabs in creative ways that incorporate the fact that the average under 25-year-old [watches] more video on the internet than they do on TV.’

With files from Etan Vlessing, Playback Daily