Next-gen media co and content studio Astronauts Wanted, owned by former MTV Networks CEO Judy McGrath and Sony Music Entertainment, has launched Flight Club, an incubator program geared at helping online influencers develop their storytelling abilities and increase audience reach.
The program signifies Astronauts’ increased dedication to developing new scripted content — a goal the company first flagged in May when it hired Kim Rosen and Christine Murphy to lead development and branded entertainment.
Megan Westerby, VP of social and transmedia with Astronauts, said in a statement that Flight Club is regarded by the company as “story R&D.”
“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 expanded periods of time and setting an evolving series of storytelling challenges,” she said.
To that end, the incubator is working with five creators, all in the mid-range of subscriber numbers and who have been given various assignments and storytelling challenges. The program is specifically designed to create content for new and emerging media platforms, incorporating interactive transmedia elements.
One of the first projects to come out of the incubator incorporating those elements is Midsømmer, a contemporary (and gender-bending) take on Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Multiple aspects of the story will be told through various social-media platforms, including Vine, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat and Facebook Video, with the participating influencers portraying characters and telling their stories through both staged scenes and vlogging.
The first of the videos launched on Facebook Video June 13.
That style of storytelling is similar to the one that earned Bernie Su, of Canvas Media Studios, Emmy awards for Emma Approved and The Lizzie Bennett Diaries, both multi-platform, social media-infused takes on Jane Austen novels.
Creators participating in the first Flight Club program are:
- Viner Carly Incontro (259,600 followers);
- YouTuber Jade Hilliard (110,700 fans);
- Alex Vergel (7,500 subscribers on YouTube);
- Vlogger Erin Gilfoy (76, 500 YouTube subscribers); and
- YouTuber Joshua Santos (268,400 followers).
Photo: Viner Carly Incontro