A winner of at the 2012 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in the Branded Content & Entertainment category was a project called New York Writes Itself (see website here): a crowd-sourcing platform of New York City stories. The inspiration for the project was that if there was ever a city that is a dynamic, living play it would be New York City. As such, a team from the Village Voice and Leo Burnett in New York wanted to capture these interesting stories from the people who create them – New Yorkers. The purpose of the crowd-sourcing platform was to find the most interesting stories and turn them into creative content that people could enjoy on a large scale.
On November 1st, the biggest creative endeavor of the platform to date will be performed – an off-Broadway play called 8 Million Protagonists. As the title suggests, it is a play made out of a patchwork of real life stories from New Yorkers and their daily lives in the Big Apple. The stories were woven together to form an overarching plot by a team made up of people from Leo Burnett, famous writer Caitlin Gallo, and director Stephen Biship Seely. The play runs only until November 10th so you should get your tickets now if you are keen to see it.
There have been several creative initiatives that were spawned out of New York Writes Itself, such as an art exhibit at the Art Director’s Club that brings to life the real words heard on the streets of New York City (see pictures below and website here). The work was incredibly powerful and very graphic, paying homage to the graffiti style that was born out of NYC. The attendance at the event was a record for the Art Director’s Club.
Another interesting output of creative content was a short story video series titled The Chairman (see website page here). Narrated by legendary New York actor Kevin Conway, these short stories are real life happenings read and brought to life by Conway in a way only he knows how. The stories range from funny to bizarre to heart-wrenching. An example is below but you can go to the website to discover more.
I absolutely love this platform because it allows the beauty, strong identity, and magic of New York City to be brought to life and memorialized. This city is one-of-a-kind due to its unique history, demographic makeup, and geographic situation (a very tight city due to the limitations of the island, and a unique commuter infrastructure). It continues to attract people from around the world because it is the symbol of possibility, creativity, culture, and individuality. No other place on earth can claim its attraction and culture-defining DNA. As such, an organic platform that capture this every-changing definition of New York City is beautiful.