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Student takes bite out of the Big Apple with media opportunity

Media release

A Curtin University student who calls the remote Pilbara region her home has travelled to New York for a unique internship involving a major Hollywood transmedia producer.

Anthropology and Sociology student Sharleah Ramirez worked with Jeff Gomez and his team at Starlight Runner Entertainment for two weeks.

Starlight Runner is responsible for producing the multifaceted franchises of Hollywood blockbusters such as Pirates of the Caribbean, Avatar, and Transformers. Mr Gomez, a Professor in Communications at City University of New York, has also gained international recognition for his work with governments in Mexico and Colombia on campaigns for social, cultural and behavioural change.

In transmedia, different aspects of the same story are told using a number of media channels and platforms with the individual choosing where and how to engage with the story. Previously, the same story was told across multiple media channels and on multiple platforms.

Kariyarra, Ngarluma, Yindjibarndi, Nyul Nyul and Nyikina woman Sharleah and mass communication student Thomas Marlow are working with Curtin on the transmedia project to help regional and remote students and those from low socio economic backgrounds succeed at university.

Gomez’s experience in transmedia storytelling and population activation will be used to empower students collectively, connecting them more effectively with the University’s academic and support services.

Student Support Services Director Michelle Rogers said the pilot project would enable deeper insight into the needs and aspirations of students through understanding the personal narratives that complement statistics.

“In the first phase of the project we are inviting students to tell their story – both good and bad – of their personal journey to the University and their experience of first year. These stories will be collected and analysed, along with existing Curtin data, to provide insight into trends, issues and opportunities for first year retention and support,” Ms Rogers said.

“While in New York, Sharleah had the opportunity to work with Jeff and his team on analysing and understanding the narratives so far, as well as sharing her personal insights, as they develop a framework for future engagement and retention.”

A transmedia project team at Curtin will implement and launch the campaign in early 2016, with ongoing advice from Starlight Runner.

“The First-Year Student Project at Curtin University will stand as a milestone in the application of transmedia storytelling to the challenges and issues faced by educators,” Mr. Gomez said.

“We recognise that education and learning is very personal and the needs of the individual and different groups of people can be very different. We are working with Curtin to develop materials and technology for students that encourages inquiry and supports students in their own learning.”


Notes to Editor

About Starlight Runner Entertainment

Starlight Runner Entertainment, Inc. is a creator and producer of transmedia franchises, maximizing the value of brands, intellectual properties and social narratives by preparing them for extension across multiple media platforms. Starlight Runner produces films, television shows, and video games, as well as compelling social, corporate and political multi-platform campaigns with world-renowned partners and clients. The company is now producing original film and television properties.

Chief Executive Officer Jeff Gomez, Executive Vice President Mark S. Pensavalle, and Chief Creative Officer Chrysoula Artemis founded Starlight Runner in 2000. The company’s clients include Coca-Cola, 20th Century Fox, Microsoft, The Walt Disney Company, Campbell’s, Viacom, Sony Entertainment, Showtime, Mattel, Hasbro, Ubisoft, Scholastic and governments and institutions across the globe.