Heading digital media for client MPCA/Brad Krevoy Television at the first ever fan-con for their hit Hallmark Channel series When Calls The Heart was both a challenge and a joy
By Nicole Hansen, President, GGE and Founder of eBrandgelize Digital
Hearties admins visit the set of When Calls the Heart and meet actress Lori Loughlin
Last June, while setting up branded social media pages for our newest web design and online branding client, MPCA/Brad Krevoy Television, I checked to see if anyone was tweeting about one of its produced shows that was airing that night called When Calls the Heart.I noticed something I had never seen before from clients who had live events happening on Twitter: people were not only tweeting about the show, but they were having conversations. These fans calling themselves #Hearties were so actively working to get the show to trend that I made a point to mention it to Brad Krevoy the next time we spoke. He credited the #Hearties with getting the show a second season. He also tasked me with getting to know them and to find a way to give back.
Over the following months, I worked on behalf of Brad Krevoy with Brian Bird, the show’s executive producer and fan ambassador, as he brought me up to speed on how the fans were creating their own #HeartiesParties. He explained that a group of Hearties were creating a Heartie-Con, a fan convention for a hundred or so of the 31,000 members of the private Facebook group “Fans of Hallmark Chanel’s When Calls the Heart.” When Brian announced the event to the group, I saw that a single email address was given for people to register — not an easy way to manage an event. Brian connected me with the organizers and we suggested setting up an EventBrite page, courtesy of MPCA. The advantages included e-tickets, mass messaging of guests, and an easy to manage registration process.
During the planning process, I was blown away by the planning committee’s resourcefulness. The event sold out in an hour at $100/ticket. The ladies on the event committee made gift bags and swag by hand, using the show as inspiration. I shouldn’t have been surprised; I was tasked by Brian and Brad to transport fan-made woven blankets and personalized doilies to deliver to the stars on the set from one amazing fan. It seems many of these ladies, aged 16-75, were inspired by the show to produce their own 1910’s-era arts and crafts, so the homemade swag were definitely on-brand for this event. On MPCA/BKTV’s behalf, GGE created more tech-driven goodies, including Hallmark Channel-Hearties-branded flash drives, loaded with deleted scenes, family-friendly coloring pages commissioned from a popular #HeartieArt creator, Brie Schmida, and 10 social media marketing action items that the fans can do to bring in new viewers for season 3.
Periscope stats and broadcasts of WCTH’s author Janette Oke and executive producer, Brian Bird. Photo by Audra Morse
Leading up to the event, many fans voiced their desire for MPCA/BKTV to run a Periscope live stream for them. After weeks of promising that @MPCA_Film would be periscoping from #HFR2016, I had to out myself as the person who would be hosting the broadcasts. When I got to the first event in Vancouver, the Hycroft House High Tea, I did a brief introduction on my own Periscope of walking into Hycroft as a fellow Heartie (yes, I’ve been converted) and meeting the Hearties admins and event planners in person for the first time. Viewers then stayed tuned to @MPCA_Film for more periscopes of the event. Whenever I streamed star Lori Loughlin meeting and speaking to the fans and on the broadcasts, you could hear the chirps, as attending Hearties were notified that MPCA/BKTV was streaming. We watched the hearts (likes) grow from only 1 to over 55,000 by the end of the weekend.
Hearties Fan Site, upgraded by GGE
Before the event, we were tasked with lending technical and design support to the developer of the #Hearties fan website, to help make the site mobile-ready from the outset, with more social network integration for all things #Hearties. At the event, it was so gratifying to receive hugs and thanks for both the website upgrade and our online Twitter conversations with Hearties. They were also grateful for likes and retweets of fans’ posts, and especially for the Periscope streaming. Their Hearties friends who could not attend were thrilled to be meeting the attendees via the broadcasts! It was pure love for MPCA/BKTV to be supporting and appreciating their fans and meant the world to us. We also conducted video interviews of fans and produced a video interview (in collaboration with Edify Media) of the executive producers as assets for future stories in the press and on social media.
#Hearties Facebook Admin, Debi Watson-Bailey, GGE’s Nicole Hansen, actress Kristina Wagner and #HFR2016 planner, Kim Ferguson
All in all, the entire event was like attending a real family reunion. People I was introduced to from a distance, over digital media, came to the event from all over. It was like being surrounded by distant relatives from all around the world: my cousins, aunts, uncles and even a family representing with 3 generations from infants to grandparents. Spending time with the matriarch of all things Hearties, best-selling author Janette Oke, who wrote the books that inspired the series When Calls the Heart, reminded me why I loved my own churchgoing, humble and hard-working grandmother so much. They were all just good people coming together and supporting family-friendly entertainment, which in a world of violence and superheroes on TV put me right back to be a little girl watching Little House on the Prairie and then pretending I was Laura Ingalls Wilder. These fans just wanted to go back to a simpler time, and did it by supporting their show and connecting both online and at this amazing event.
Watch Q&A with When Calls the Heart actress Lori Loughlin originally broadcast on Periscope:
Notice the chirps at the opening when the Hearties get notified the @MPCA_Film is broadcasting
BattleKasters is a spell-casting adventure, launched in spring of 2015 at fancons across the U.S. The downloadable mobile game, an extension of Adams’ Norse mythology-based Legends of Orkney™ book series, turns live events into dynamic game boards, allowing questing players to collect digital trading cards and cast magic spells that literally change the state of the game for everyone playing.
“A mutual friend, Nicole Hansen, introduced me to Alane to discuss creating a mobile game for her Legends of Orkney book series. Originally, the idea was just to build a mobile transmedia extension of the book property.”
Even a teenager can see how important it is for a working-mom to value herself.
When my 18-year-old son looked at the title of my #WomenGameChangers keynote the night before I was going to speak, “Acknowledging Your Worth: How to Work with Social Enterprises and Non-Profits Without Becoming a Charity Case,” he said, “Mom, that’s something you know a lot about!”
How does he know so much about how important it is for a woman to acknowledge her worth? Well this boy knows plenty. He’s seen me do anything to make his dreams come to fruition. Green Galaxy was founded eight years ago as his production company, to produce his global warming commercial Save It. He said I had to help him get it made, and I did! But after we succeeded, and his PSA was out there, people started coming to me and asking me to help them as well. The only problem was they weren’t offering me anything in return for my expertise. All of these people expected me to give to their companies and their causes what I have given to my kids: my connections, my ability to be a cheerleader and the skills to bring everything together and make dreams a reality.
My 18 year old saw that I so overwhelmed, it was hard for me pay full attention to him and his autistic brother, because I was too busy trying to save the world that they care so much about. I was so busy nurturing everyone else that I had forgotten to make sure I was taking care of myself, first. Luckily, I have some amazing mentors, including men. One successful entrepreneur took me aside and told me to read the fable “The Richest Man in Babylon.” It made me realize that as an entrepreneur, and especially a social entrepreneur, you must pay yourself first and then pay everyone else. You need to put 10% off to the side, because otherwise you’ll never have anything to fall back on, nor will you be able to keep yourself from being a burden to your children once you’re too old to work.
My brother, who helps run The Center for Entrepreneurship in Moscow, also taught me to take stock of my skills and tools: my visual storytelling, my gung-ho attitude and my networking abilities, and to monetize them. My tools included creating pitch presentations, doing social-media marketing, designing websites and initiating strategic partnerships, but I needed to get paid for those services. I started empowering myself to ask for my piece of the pie, charging for my time, and taking producing fees off the back-end if that’s what it took. I had a client who had huge dreams to build her brand into a transmedia universe of books, games, events, media and charitable programs. I realized that it was humanly impossible for me to do on my own. So I put a budget together and made a proposal to get the work done, and had to empower myself to ask her to pay for it, which I’ve never been very good at, and guess what? My client approved that budget and we were off to the races. I could pay myself, my expenses, my subcontractors and put that 10% aside!
Finally, the most important lesson I’ve learned from one of my mentors was how to negotiate a contract for myself. When I started off my life in Hollywood, I made more money in my 20s as a working actress than most lawyers do coming out of law school. But that’s the thing: I had agents and lawyers negotiating my contracts. I just trusted their expertise, expecting that my union would take care of enforcing those contracts. But companies fail and file for bankruptcy, and I was left without any residuals to rely on. So my legal advisers taught me how to write and enforce my contracts: to be sure I only offer what I know I can deliver, and to only work once I receive a retainer upfront. This is because once I do start working, I give my clients my all! I take care of them as if they are my children and that sort of attention makes me great at what I do: building their business profile and cheering them on in every media outlet.
As women, our nature is to nurture. But as they tell you during the safety instructions on an airplane, when the plane is losing altitude and you’re traveling with a small child, “Put the oxygen mask on yourself first. Then help the child put on their mask.” In the business world, if you pass out from lack of funding, you’ll be no good at helping your client or your contractors. You need to build a team you can depend on, but make sure your team can depend on you first. That’s how we’ve been able to build websites, build brands and build partnerships with the entertainment industry successfully for so many of our clients. Because I’m able to acknowledge my worth, my business is healthy enough to help others.
Mainstage PR brings in GGE for Emmy Awards “Awareness Campaign” via social media for client, Aujanue Ellis star of, The Book of Negroes
From June 15-26th GGE’s awareness campaign helped Aunjanue Ellis’ twitter impressions to skyrocket.
With less than two weeks before ballots were to be cast for for the 2015 Emmy Awards Nominations, Mainstage PR’s Craig Bankey contacted Nicole Hansen of GGE to help his client Aunjanue Ellis with her social media. Ms. Ellis had starred in the BET limited series, The Book of Negroes. She had already been nominated for a People’s Choice Award and was now a contender for a nomination for an Emmy for Best Actress in a Limited Series alongside the likes of actresses Jessica Lang, Frances McDormand and Emma Thompson.
This Tweet posted to @bookofnegroes by Nicole Hansen to promote client, @aunjanuejlt became the top tweet for #FYC campaigns for an entire day.
Ms. Ellis’ Twitter page was unrecognizable as herself since her profile and background photos were of flowers and her bio had no description of her work. GGE set out to “brand” her page so as to be recognizable to her fans. We also set up a facebook page, curated followers, content, retweets and shares. We were thrilled to have the “Top Tweet” three days in a row for our #FYC #EmmyAwards campaign on behalf of our client, Aunjanue Ellis and Book of Negroes limited series on BET and eOne TV.
Our team consulted with Ms. Ellis on continuing to post her social activism thoughts and when her Op-Ed was published by TIME magazine about the tragedy that occurred in Charleston, SC we made sure it was published and shared on social media immediately. Proudly, Ms. Ellis’ twitter profile blossomed in the two weeks we worked with her and we even reached the goal of getting a coveted “VERIFIED” blue check mark. It was a wonderful and exhilarating opportunity and we look forward to seeing Aunjanue this fall when she stars in ABC’s Quanitco.
Green Galaxy Enterprises, a finalist for the Sustainable Small Business Award, provided social media posts leading up to and during the event, and hosted a Tweetwall during the reception.
The Sustainable Business Council Awards reception and ceremony spotlights Southern California companies working daily to create sustainably-focused products and services that reduce ecological impact. We were honored to be made a finalist for the Sustainable Small Business Award, recognizing our sustainable business practices in online marketing, PR and production services. But we noticed something quite unfamiliar to us in the social media world: the sound of silence. For us these days, that just doesn’t happen: How can a great event like this not be promoted?
That’s when GGE’s Nicole Hansen, who served on the SBC Awards Event Steering Committee for its first 3 years, called to ask why. It turns out that the Sustainable Business Council Award had become very popular. With so many entries and high-profile honorees, including Jessica Alba’s The Honest Company as Pioneers in Sustainability and Participant Media for Lifetime Achievement in Sustainability, the all-volunteer organization SBC was too overwhelmed to do social media. Nicole offered her staff to stand-inand give Twitter shout-outs on the @SustainableB account to finalists and sponsors. With dozens upon dozens of companies to mention, we researched each one and added photos from past events to make the Twitter posts more eye-catching. We also spruced up the SBC Twitter profile with a high-res profile logo and background photo, where there had been none. With only 3 days until the evening of the Earth Day event, we just managed to get every name mentioned before the awards.
The night of the ceremony, the GGE technology and social media team went into action. We set up a GGE-sponsored Tweetwall on a big TV screen, so that every guest who tweeted with the hashtag #SBCAwards became part of a live twitter stream. We roamed the event live-tweeting for @SustainableB, taking photos of each sponsor’s booth, featuring their food and wares and tagging them in each post. The sponsors were grateful to be getting some extra social media PR that showed up online and on the Tweetwall. And we were grateful to highlight everyone that was involved in making sustainability a priority for their work.
I would like to send the Green Galaxy Enterprises team a standing ovation for your tremendous support and participation with the 4th Annual SBC Industry Achievement Awards! It was an extreme honor to work with you and I can’t possibly thank you enough for the twitter support and twitter feed during the event! Your team did the most amazing job! You are a major reason the event was such an amazing success!
Artifact Technologies and Alane Adams Announce BattleKasters
Fantasy Illustrator Dave Dorman Creates Original Art to Promote Dynamic Spell-Casting Game for Adams’ Legends of Orkney™ Adventure Series
Orange, CA and Seattle, WA — March 24, 2015 — Today, Brent Friedman, founder of Artifact Technologies and Alane Adams, founder of Alane Adams Studios announced BattleKasters, a spell-casting adventure launching this spring at fancons across the U.S. The downloadable mobile game, an extension of Adams’ Norse mythology-based Legends of Orkney™ book series, turns live events into dynamic game boards, allowing questing players to collect digital trading cards and cast magic spells that literally change the state of the game for everyone playing. Fantasy illustrator Dave Dorman, best known for his Star Wars artwork, is creating original art for BattleKasters, which players of the game can win.
BattleKasters leverages Artifact Technologies’ proprietary Mixby™ platform, which uses location-aware technology to unlock rich experiences for users within range of specific hotspots where content can be acquired. For players of BattleKasters, that means discovering an array of interactive quests throughout event spaces such as fancons and other gathering places. Players who download the game are challenged to a race against time to cast the spells that will close a portal – the stonefire –between realms to prevent dangerous dark magic from seeping into the Earth realm.
“The emergence of location-based technology opens up entirely new opportunities for gaming and interactive storytelling,” said Brent Friedman, BattleKasters Lead Game Designer and Co-founder of Artifact Technologies. “We’re excited to work with a forward-thinking author like Alane, who sees the potential this platform represents to fans of her books and mobile gaming in general.”
Friedman created, wrote & produced across all transmedia platforms: working with all the major movie studios and networks, he wrote on shows such as “Dark Skies” “Star Trek: Enterprise” “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” and the feature film “Mortal Kombat Annihilation,” which opened #1 at the US box office. Friedman founded Electric Farm Entertainment, a leading digital media company, where he created and produced four award-winning multi-platform web series, working with a range of brand partners including Sony and NBC to Microsoft and Kodak. Additionally, he has written on several high profile video games such as “Halo 4,” “Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars,” “Tales from The Borderlands” and “Empires & Allies.”
“As a storyteller, my challenge is to deliver experiences that will trigger people’s imagination in new ways,” said Adams. “BattleKasters brings my Legends of Orkney series to life at fancons and provides an innovative and immersive experience for attendees.”
BattleKasters was created by Friedman, with illustrations from Lead Artist, Jonathan Stroh. To help guide the development of BattleKasters, Adams and Artifact have assembled an advisory board made up of experts in the fields of education, gaming, publishing and transmedia. The board includes:
Alane Adams, author, social entrepreneur, CEO of Alane Adams Studios and founder of the Rise Up Foundation, whose philanthropy efforts focus on organizations and initiatives that help families and children.
Gordon Bellamy, former exec director of IGDA, with two decades of experience and leadership in the interactive entertainment industry.
Peter Deutschman, Chief Buddy of digital engagement authority The Buddy Group, whose career has been at the convergence of marketing, storytelling and connected technology.
Brent Friedman, co-founder of Artifact Technologies, award-winning creator, writer and producer, with more than 25 years of experience in entertainment across all platforms.
Joe Heally, accomplished producer for projects ranging from independent films to cable and broadcast network programming.
Mitch Lusas, entrepreneurial, award-winning creative director and producer of apps, games, transmedia experiences, and scripted projects.
John Nee, CEO of Cryptozoic Entertainment, a premier developer and publisher of original and licensed board games, card games, comics and trading cards.
Pamela Rutledge, social scientist, educator and author focused on the intersection between behavior and technology.
Rob Salkowitz, writer, consultant, author of Comic-Con and the Business of Pop Culture, faculty at the University of Washington CommLead program and expert in digital media as it relates to business, culture and entertainment.
Nicole Hansen of Green Galaxy Enterprisesfacilitated the partnership between Artifact Technologies and Alane Adams Studios and secured Advisory Board members. She will Executive Produce the game along with Greg Heuss, CEO and Sam Teplitsky, COO of Artifact Technologies.
Fans can get a sneak preview of BattleKasters at fancons throughout 2015. Net proceeds from the art and Legends of Orkney™ series will go toward improving literacy. The first book of the series, The Red Sun, is available for pre-order at www.AlaneAdams.com. More updates on the release of BattleKasters can be found at www.BattleKasters.com.
About Alane Adams
(Wendy) Alane Adams is a social entrepreneur, philanthropist, professor and award-winning author. After retiring from a successful business career, Adams founded the Rise Up Foundation, which focuses on creating collaborations to empower people to make lasting changes in their lives with a special emphasis on improving literacy in children. A believer in the power of transmedia storytelling, Adams founded Alane Adams Studios to create more interactive, immersive experiences for readers of her books.
About Artifact Technologies
Artifact Technologies is a Seattle-based software development company specializing in location-based technologies. A pioneer in content-rich beacon programming and integration, Artifact Technologies partners with major event organizers, attractions and entertainment and education industry leaders to build world-class experiences. The company’s proprietary Mixby™ platform connects the physical and mobile environments, driving deeper engagement and bringing more value to the audience experience.