Can Transmedia Save the Soap Opera

Speaker: Brooke Thompson

For over seventy years, soap writers have been able to engage fans on a variety levels – from the hardcore daily viewer to the lurker who checks in on sick days. Yet, sadly, there are fewer than half the soaps on the air today then there were when OJ Simpson first took the stand. And as our society has become more and more reality craved, soap operas have lost more and more of their audience. Can soaps become more real? more engaging? Can Transmedia save them and what would a General Hospital ARG look like?

This session will rip apart an existing genre of entertainment (in this case, the soap opera) to find its strengths and weaknesses and show how to transform it into a satisfying transmedia experience. In the process we’ll take a look at some of daytime television’s best experiments with transmedia and see where they succeeded and how they failed.

Brooke Thompson


Brooke Thompson is a freelance experience designer specializing in alternate reality gaming, transmedia storytelling, and real world play. A pioneer in the field, she launched her first game in early 2002 and quickly followed that up with Metacortechs – a fanfiction piece placed in the Matrix universe that had an audience so passionate that some of the players wrote a book about the experience. It was then that she realized this was much more than a hobby and that she had a real talent for creating experiences that could engage a community large or small. Since then, she’s worked on award-winning projects for major studios and television shows, corporate and military training & team-building experiences, and a number of independent projects. Clients and collaborators have included The American Film Institute, PBS, Shaftesbury Films, Sony Entertainment, Turner Broadcasting, Warner Brothers, Insomniac Games, General Motors, Alltel Wireless, 42 Entertainment, GMD Studios and more.

Brooke is actively engaged in communities at the both the developer and audience level. She was recently elected to serve as Chair of the International Game Developers Association’s Special Interest Group on Alternate Reality Games and has served as an administrator for the forums at since their inception in 2002. And, of course, she is the chair for this year’s ARGFest which may or may not be how she weaseled a presentation about soap operas into the schedule!

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