A special thanks to Samantha Mercier and JK Rowling.

So much has been written about Harry Potter.  As millions line up for the final movie, “Deathly Hallows, Part 2”,  I’m reminded of that first book and what that book did for me as a Mom.

My son Ben was in 3rd grade, 9 years old. His teacher at Spofford Pond Elementary School, Samantha Mercier had been to London over spring break and came back with a new book to read the class after lunch. It was called “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone”.  She read this book to the class in 15 minute segments every day.

It started simply enough. I’d ask Ben  “How was school?”.  One day he answered “Harry has a scar like a lightning bolt”.  Another day he answered  “Harry can play Quidditch” and “Harry can talk to Snakes”.   Soon he was talking about Harry Potter non-stop. Complete obsession.  Through Ben I learned about a giant named Hagrid, a school named Hogwarts, and He Who Must Not Be Named.  Just what was this Harry Potter?  It seems obvious now, but not in the beginning.

I stopped by the classroom one morning to ask the intrepid Mrs. Mercier about this book  that had so captivated my son. She said the kids begged her to keep reading it beyond the 15 minutes each day and that she had started rewarding good behavior  with additional reading minutes.  Wow … a book that 9-year olds can’t stop reading?

By June the book was done and Harry Potter had emerged as  the “every kid” hero.  On the last day of school Ben came home from Miss Mercier’s class with a package. Taped to his report card was a book,   “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets”, the UK edition.  This  public school teacher had purchased a copy of the second book for every child in her third grade class.    My son read that book in 3 days straight and proclaimed it the BEST BOOK EVER.  Harry Potter may have been the hero, but the real hero was Samantha Mercier. Maybe the BEST TEACHER EVER for inspiring a love of reading .

I’ll watch the last movie this weekend and will be a little  sad to see the end of this beloved series, but I’m sure that Harry Potter will hold a special place for all the kids who grew up with Harry. And for all the Moms and Dads who got to live the experience of growing up with Harry Potter – both the kid in the book and the kids in our house, say a thank you to JK Rowling for inspiring a life long love of reading and the excitement when the Fedex truck appeared  with 3 copies of the Deathly Hallows so that no one had to wait to read it .

Transmedia …what is it?

Today I attended an event called “The International Game & Film Lounge” . The theme was “Transmedia”.  Sounds interesting, right?

I listened to over 40 speakers (and 100+other industry experts) discuss Transmedia. I came away asking “is it a buzz word”? or “is it real”.

Here’s the elevator pitch …..

Transmedia is the development of content that goes beyond traditional platform …. Movie to Game to Mobile to Consumer Products. Transmedia is the building of a community that lives beyond the movie or game …. it is the creating of a lifestyle that engages consumers in the i.p. and leaves them wanting more. It’s a way to build a brand, build an audience, and ultimately increase the average revenue per user (ie the average revenue per FAN).

There’s some great examples of Transmedia out there, but mostly in the TV world.

True Blood – millions of Truesters following Twitter, Facebook, online communities, the novels  and actually participating in the story.

Glee – millions of Gleeks downloading music, watching Glee on Hulu, posting to communities, playing the iPhone App.

Harry Potter –  many million of fans and their parents reading books, playing games, watching movies, buying the toys, going to the theme park, writing fan fiction, engaging on the facebook page, playing online games.

There was a lot of discussion about the best “process” for developing Transmedia properties. In other words, how do you get the creatives for Games and the creative for Movies thinking about the i.p. holistically. Sounds suspiciously like creating something by committee to me!

Net, net, anyone creating i.p. today is thinking about how to dimensionalize it (or to put it more crassly, MONETIZE it) across platforms.  This isn’t easy and as stated by one of the speakers today …. “the expertise doesn’t exist in the studios or the games companies” to create a property from scratch that lives across all platforms.

I don’t believe that. I think the next generation of content will live everywhere.  It’s all about the Concept, the Character, and the World. If the creator can figure that out, she need only get some smart people to help her execute it …. just like Stephanie Meyer with Twilight or Toy Story 3.

More to come, but an interesting Pre-E3 day for sure!