GVS Transmedia Accelerator Program Kicks Off
The GVS Transmedia Accelerator Program, a partnership between Global Virtual Studio, the Hawai’i Strategic Development Corporation, the County of Hawai’i, and the GTA Development Fund, provides entrepreneurs the opportunity to launch original transmedia franchises for commercial audiences. Each selected start-up franchise is empowered by a $50,000 seed capital investment and mentors from the industry to provide guidance.
On Tuesday, one of the seven companies choosen to join the 2015-2016 GVS Accelerator was represented by Alex Farnham, the Big Island’s own YouTube star, at GVS’s Accelerator Kickoff Event. Among other attendees were a number of award-winning entertainment industry mentors, as well as Senator Glenn Wakai, Representative Nicole Lowen, Mayor Billy Kenoi, and County Council Member Karen Eoff.
“This is really the recipe for economic development the State has been looking for… for a small [State] investment, we partner with private investors and good things can happen,” said Senator Wakai said of the county’s involvement in the accelerator program.
A number of accelerators who will act as mentors were on the Big Island for the Kickoff week. Screenwriters Janet and Lee Batchler, known for their work on Pompeii and Batman Forever, were in attendance, as well as former Marvel Creative Director Jim Krueger, Frank Tate, who has been associated with MTV, MindQuilt, and Super Franks, and Mike Frank, the co-founder of Level 3 Communications
Each of the companies represent a cross-section of media and entertainment that provide insight into multiple platforms.
Beyond the $50,000 investment to be used for development and mentorship with industry leaders, graduates of the accelerator program have the potential to receive up to $250,000 in matching funds if they raise a 25 percent minimum of their follow-up budget in private equity and secure product distribution.
“I think it’s great to have something like this here – great for the community and for the kids growing up here,” said Farnham, who got his start on YouTube with “one dolla,” quickly turning into a YouTube sensation with 68 million views and 229,000 subscribers.
The 2015-2016 cohort companies include:
Captive, founded by John Shepherd and Patrick Hibler, is an action adventure film about a former SAS Officer who sets off on a series of suicidal adventures, traveling the Pacific on his only worldly possession – a 50+ foot sailboat.
The Medicine Runner, founded by Edwin Marshall and David Cunningham, is a story about a homeless orphan boy of mixed race and a “haole” (white) village doctor fighting for their place in the small coffee farming community of 1920’s Hawai’i.
Mockstars, founded by Alex Farnham and Richard Farnham, is a web-driven series starring Farnham, a YouTube star. Each video parodies a current celebrity, movie, song, concert, or happening through original music.
Oceanna, founded by Laurie and Wayne Nunez, is an animated children’s TV series about a young girl whose daydreams transform her into the underwater superhero “Oceanna: Protector of the Sea”.
Giant robots inhabit the wilderness in WINGS, which is founded by Kaveh Karden. It is a steampunk tale about a young female pilot who sets off to solve the mystery of her parents’ disappearance.
Native, founded by Joel Angyal and Mike Leahy, is a feature film about a troubled teenage boy who isgiven an opportunity to develop his inner warrior by connecting to his Hawaiian roots and training in mixed martial arts (MMA).
Surf Break Hotel, founded by Stefan Schaefer and Jonathan Stern, is an original comedic series about a washed up surf pro, Byron “ALL BIZ” Waggie, who is forced to take a job as a surf instructor at a Maui beach hotel.