I teach Digital Storytelling, Storytelling Across Media, Digital Marketing, Web Design, and Branding to the next generation of media creators and producers as an Adjunct Professor of Media Studies at the New School and Concordia College.
I co-produced the first transmedia hack-a-thon in New York City in 2012 together with the rest of the founding team at StoryCode, a transmedia incubator focused on the intersection of technology and storytelling. This event attracted over a hundred participants and garnered press from the tech, film, and media industries including Forbes, The Washington Post, and Filmmaker Magazine.
I went on to found StoryForward NYC, a transmedia storytelling organization producing interactive panels and lectures with filmmakers, technologists, marketers, and writers. I wanted to establish a setting where both new and experienced creatives with great ideas for cross-platform properties could learn from their peers in the industry how to create elements on different platforms. The Amphitheater of LIncoln Center’s Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center provided an intimate setting for participants to learn about cross-platform production and to access professionals at every level from emerging talents to studio executives.
In March I am bringing a panel to SXSW 2020 entitled “Decolonize Hollywood: Why Representation Matters.” Diversity is an enormous topic in Hollywood right now as the paucity of roles throughout the creative process for minorities and women has created both public and industry indignity. Our panel of Indigenous actors, producers, and writers will seek to dispel the myth of Indigneous women as sexual objects and discuss how the hyper-sexualization of their bodies through the media degrades perception of them as peers of all women in society and facilitates their abuse through sexual assault and trafficking. We will discuss the importance of having Indigenous voices both in front of and behind the camera to create a more accurate portrayal of Indigenous people.
DIGITAL STRATEGIST & CONTENT CREATOR
I develop digital strategies and create content for cross-platform media projects to develop audiences and promote active engagement.
My work has encompassed social media, marketing, podcasts, documentaries, film, television, and live events. Clients and employers include Netflix, Universal Studios, Disney, public broadcasting, and the PGA. I also work with indie films and small transmedia projects.
Many of my endeavors center around social justice, community building, and calls to action.
I am currently working on:
Son of the South: I am the transmedia producer on this Spike Lee production, a film about a young white man from a Klan family in Montgomery, Alabama who, in 1961, risked everything to join the Freedom Riders movement and become one of the founding members of the S.N.C.C.
This multi-channel experience will include the following activations: a podcast featuring a series of interviews with original members of the Freedom Riders and the S.N.C.C. hosted by Chaka Forman, son of Civil Rights activist James Forman; a social media campaign that will shed light on the movement by drawing parallels to the film; and the film’s call to action, “step out of line”, encouraging audiences to take action when they see injustice. Echoing the Black Lives Matter and 1960s Civil Rights movements our team aims to generate discussion and inspire action to eradicate voter suppression and gerrymandering.
Media Matriarchs, Building a Better Storyworld, and Financial Lit: I am producing a series of podcasts for BronxNet Community Television, a not-for-profit public access television and media studio serving the underrepresented Bronx community. BronxNet is also a teaching studio, educating Bronx residents in the arts of studio production, editing, writing, and podcast production.
Media Matriarchs looks at the world of media through the eyes of women in the industry. We discuss what it means to be a woman in predominantly male industries, how getting older changes one’s views, the experience of working across different generations, and the challenges of navigating changes in technology. In Building a Better Storyworld, host and fellow educator Steele Filipek breaks down the mechanics of storyworld building for multi-platform narratives. The host of Financial Lit, Jonathan Ortiz, a financial advisor in the Bronx who is currently running for New York’s’15th Congressional District, educates his audience about personal finances with a Bronx based flair.
Red House: For the last 2 years I have been developing a project with an incredible team of Indigenous writers and producers that focuses on the shockingly underreported crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) in the United States and the relationship this has to extractive industries. The year 2016 alone saw over 5,700 women in Indigneous communities across the US either murdered or missing.
The center of Red House’s multi-platform experience is a crime-drama TV series featuring an Indingeous female teen protagonist. The podcast reveals the diegetic world of the show and expands the national story of MMIW only touched upon in the series. The documentary explores additional aspects of the story. An interactive website hosts real stories of families and friends who have experienced the loss of loved ones.
Each of these platforms has the potential to reach a different audience and increase awareness of the crisis to audiences outside of the native community. In addition to awareness, we are working with multiple partners to create calls to action including raising funds for researchers, organizing outreach campaigns, and supporting Indingeous artists.
TELEVISION WRITER & PRODUCER
The Red House multi-platform project grew out of a television series I started developing a couple of years ago. As I learned about the devastating effects of extractive industries on Indigenous communities through the loss of their daughters, sisters, wives, aunts and mothers and the virtual invisibility of this crisis in wider American society, I felt compelled to expand awareness through storytelling.
The story centers around an Indingeous female teen protagonist and explores the themes of small towns and hard economic times, Indigenous and non-indigenous communities, fracking, and crime.
I have written the pilot and outlines for the first season and, together with the Red House team, produced a pitch deck and series bible. We’re currently in development talks with studios, executive producers, and actors.
Jen Begeal CV
- M.A., Media Studies, The New School, New York, NY, 2010
MASTER’S THESIS: Kinky TV: The Representation of Fetishism in American Crime Show Television
- B.F.A., Film Studies, State University of New York at Purchase, Purchase, NY, 2000
Adjunct Professor, The New School, New York, NY, 2017 to Present
- Designing and teaching curricula to graduate and undergraduate students in the Media Studies program.
Adjunct Professor, Concordia College, Bronxville, NY, 2014 to Present
- Designing and teaching curricula to undergraduate students in the New Media program.
Adjunct Professor, Feirstein Graduate College of Cinema, New York, NY, 2017 to 2018
- Taught curricula for the course “Producing for New Media” to graduate students in the Producing program
Adjunct Professor, The International Center for Photography, NY, NY, 2016 to 2017
- Designed and taught curricula for the course “Transmedia Storytelling” to undergraduate students in the New Media program.
Teaching/ Research Assistant, The New School, New York, NY, 2009 to 2010
- Media Studies Graduating Student Class Speaker, 2010
- Digital Storytelling: a lecture class that outlines the fundamental principles of digital and traditional storytelling
- Web & Marketing: a production class teaching the fundamentals of web design, marketing and advertising.
- Interactive Multimedia Design: a production class instructing students on the theories and practices of developing interactive, multi-platform experiences.
- The Business of New Media: a lecture and writing class providing insight into the global media industry and instructing students on how to market themselves and apply for jobs after graduation.
- Transmedia Storytelling: a production class teaching the principles of multi-platform storytelling for photographers and journalists
- Producing for New Media: A production class teaching character development and screenwriting for multi-platform projects. Students’ completed projects feature pitch decks and a TV pilot or a feature-length script.
- Storytelling Across Media: A production class teaching students how to develop and produce multi-platform story experiences. The outcome includes a completed story bible and a project component which includes a feature-length screenplay, pilot episode of a web series, or published novella.
- ReMix and Mash-up Culture: An online production class providing historical context of mashup media and how to use it as a socially responsible content maker.
Executive Producer & Creator, Red House Project, 2017 to Present
- Executive producer on the Red House TV series which takes place in the fictional town of Red House, PA and tackles the issues of Missing and Murdered Indigneous Women (MMIW) and the relationship of this crisis to extractive industries.
- As E.P. created a team of mainlyIndigneous writers and producers to develop the project team and accurately depict the Indigenous community and characters within the storyworld.
- As the project’s creator wrote the pilot episode of the TV series, developed the story bible, and am currently co-writing the fictional podcast and interviewing family members, activists, and artists working to raise awareness around MMIW.
Transmedia Producer, Son of the South, 2019 to Present
- Developing and implementing the multi-platform experience for the film Son of the South, directed by Barry Alexander Brown and executive produced by Spike Lee.
- Creating the podcast series promoting the feature film featuring interviews with prominent members of the 1960s Civil Rights Movement and activists from the Black Lives Matter movement.
- Developed a social media strategy that focuses on educating today’s activists on the history of the 1960s Civil Rights Movement and the founding of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.
Director of New Media, BronxNet Community Television, Bronx, NY, 2017 to Present
- Developing multi-platform digital strategies for a Bronx-based not-for-profit public access television station reaching over 1 million viewers.
- Executive producing on six bi-weekly podcasts featuring topics on storyworld building, financial literacy, food equity, and women in media.
- Overseeing a team of social media managers, content writers, and digital producers.
Digital Marketing Manager, Natural Markets Food Group, Irvington, NY, 2015 to 2017
- Proposed, developed, and implemented all digital marketing campaigns and materials.
- Oversaw a team of social media managers and graphic designers.
Digital Media Director, Brigade Marketing, New York, NY, 2015
- Managed a large team of social media managers on experiential marketing campaigns for clients including Netflix, Disney, and Universal Studios.
- Oversaw the development and implementation of digital marketing campaigns for the Emmy Award-winning TV series Grace & Frankie and the Oscar Award-nominated film Sicario.
Digital Media Consultant & Strategist, JLB Hart Media, Irvington, NY, 2013 to 2017
- Produced digital media strategy for the documentary film Out of My Head, a project exploring the myths and realities of migraines.
- Packaged the British interactive TV series TryLife and pitched it to American agencies.
- Produced digital media strategy for the documentary film The Last Crop, which highlighted the burdens of small, independent farmers in the United States.
- Developed multi-platform pitch packages for creative agencies and networks including Click 3X, No Mimes Media, and Starz Entertainment.
Digital Marketing Manager, Verizon Fios, Rye, NY, 2012 to 2013
- Produced an interactive multimedia marketing campaign for an in-depth series on Occupy Wall Street.
- Created marketing campaign strategy for the premier of documentary director Josh Fox’s short film How Pink the Sky.
- Booked and managed relationships with on-air talent including governors, senators and Academy Award nominated filmmakers.
- Created multi-platform marketing strategies for internally produced social justice special reports on topics including gun control, the school to prison pipeline, elder abuse, rape kit testing, stop & frisk, and the anti-fracking movement.
Digital Producer, Current TV, New York, NY, 2011 to 2012
- Developed and implemented multi-platform digital strategy for an integrated campaign sponsored by Toyota and the TED conference focused on alternative energy called Current Covers.
- Developed and implemented a multi-platform strategy for the Urban Mobility campaign highlighting the works of inventors, innovators, and engineers working to solve the issues of urban sprawl and transportation.
Transmedia Producer – Zenith, Surla Films, New York, NY, 2010 to 2011
- Created a multi-platform strategy for the independent sci-fi feature film Zenith
- Wrote engaging content across multiple social media platforms.
- Co-wrote press releases, sponsorship letters and transmedia pitch decks to market both the film and transmedia project.
- Assisted in the authoring of the project case study and presented at conferences.
Founder, JLB Hart Media, Irvington, NY, 2009 to 2017
- Established a digital agency focused on the development of experiential and content marketing programs for clients in film and television.
Founder, StoryForward NYC, New York, NY, 2014 to 2018
- Created an event organization with a team of creators producing monthly panels and seminars focused on storytelling across mediums.
Co-Founder, StoryCode NY, New York, NY, 2012 to 2013
- Established a not-for-profit transmedia incubator with a team of filmmakers and technologists.
PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT – HIGHLIGHTS
The following are a few examples of the programs, lectures, and panels that I have developed with StoryForward, StoryCode, or as an individual producer throughout my career:
- “Art of the Festival” (2016) A panel discussion on navigating the path of getting your film into a festival. Panelists included Ingrid Jean-Baptiste (Chelsea Film Festival); Terra Renee (AAWIC); Gabrielle Kelly (Filmmaker); Jim Jermanok (Award-Winning Film Director).
- “Storytelling for Social Good” (2016) A panel and online seminar demonstrating the application of storytelling as a tool for social and political change. Speakers included Andrea Phillips (Transmedia Writer); Ram Devineni (Creator of Priya’s Shakti); Lee-Sean Huang (Co-Founder of Foossa); Dan Bigman (Creator of VERSE).
- “State of the Story: Transmedia Past, Present and Future” (2016) A discussion on the current and future state of transmedia as a tool for brands, marketers and storytellers. Vladan Nikolic (New School Media Studies Dean); Natalie Braxton (Transmedia Producer); James Carter (Transmedia Producer).
- “Data Driven Storytelling” (2016) Developed in partnership with Lincoln Center this lively panel discussed how data is used as a storytelling tool both as a means to inform creators about their audience, but also as a way to generate audience engagement through targeted outlets. Panelists included Matt McGowan, Ashley Taylor Anderson , Caitlin Burns, and Will Kreth.
- “Art of Advertising” (2015) Develped in partnership with the New York Film Festival and Convergence, this program was developed to discuss the art and craft of making content that accomplishes promoting a brand’s message and creating experiences that appeal to modern consumers. Panelists included Behnam Karbassi (No Mimes Media); Steve Coulson (Campfire NYC); Jennifer Warren (Brand Cinema); Doug Scott (Ogilvy Entertainment).
- “Film Linc: Story-Hack” (2012) Produced in partnership with The Film Society of Lincoln Center, Free People Clothing and open-source technologies, the story-hackathon was a 24-our event that created a collaborative atmosphere, where storytellers and technologists came together to build projects showcasing their talents, and bridging the gap between the two communities.
- Begeal, Jen; Parenteau, Tanis; Gavin, Jason; Thomas, Marilyn (2020), “Decolonize Hollywood: Why Indigenous Voices Matter.” This panel has been accepted into SXSW for the March 2020 conference in Austin, TX.
- Begeal, Jen; Graboyes, Blaine; Roderick, Michael, Schein, Mike (2015) “The Art of Networking and Relationship Building.” Presented at Adorama for StoryForward NYC, New York, NY.
- Begeal, Jen, (2015), “Transmedia – The Now of Storytelling.” Presented at the Tribeca Film Festival, New York, NY.
- Begeal, Jen (2014), “Telling Your Brand’s Story” Presented at Supercharging Your Business Growth Through Storytelling for the NY Technology Council, New York, NY.
- Begeal, Jen; Scott, Geoffery Jackson; Carter, James; Schulenberg, August (2011), “Transmedia in Theatre” panel discussion following the play FEEDER: A LOVE STORY about using transmedia storytelling to socialize and engage theatre audiences.
SERVICE & PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
- Communications Committee Member, NYWIFT, 2012 to Present
- Member, New York Women in Communications, 2011 to 2013
- Student Mentor, International Center for Photography, 2015
Conferences – Attended
- ProducedBy NY Annual Conference, New York, NY; 2015 to Present
- Women in Media in New York, New York, NY; 2018
- ITV Festival, Manchester, VT; 2018
- StoryWorld, Los Angeles, CA; San Francisco, CA; 2013 to 2015
- New York Film Festival – Convergence, New York, NY; 2014 to 2018
- The National Association of Broadcasters, New York, NY; 2014 to 2016
- NYFF: Convergence, New York, NY; 2013 to Present